In his interpretation of Romans 1:19, Martin Bucer (1491-1551) argues that Paul’s theological anthropology teaches the notio Dei, the idea that God “possesses power over all things and is the highest good.” Distinct from the knowledge of God, which is made known through Christ, the notio Dei is a natural recognition of God imprinted on all humanity which renders all people able to recognize their distance from God and thus leaving all without excuse before him.

The Inexpungable Notio Dei Implanted by God

“For God revealed it to them.” This is the proof of what he had just said, that an idea of God is manifested to them. For since God himself revealed himself to humanity,Thus it is most certain that this idea of God—that he possesses power over all things, and is the Highest Good—is impressed on and engraved in the minds of all. the things that are lawful for men and women to know about him cannot be hidden from them. Thus it is most certain that this idea of God—that he possesses power over all things, and is the Highest Good—is impressed on and engraved in the minds of all, so that nobody willing to admit that he believes it to be the truth can deny that this idea was put within him by God. For those ideas that are not formed within us by the Author of nature himself are usually, in the common experience of all men and women, found to be uncertain and to not last very long. But that God exists is innate to us all and, as it were, engraved in the soul. Not only has this idea not grown old with the passage of time and the ages of humankind, but it has been confirmed and increased in strength to such a point that no matter how many people may strive by the most diligent efforts, they will nevertheless be unable to expunge this idea of God from the soul.

Commentary on Romans 1:19 (1562)

Romans 1-8, ed. Gwenfair Walters Adams, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. VII, p. 64.

 

RCS Series: Pauline Anthropology


Martin Bucer | The Inexpubgable Notio Dei Implanted by God

Huldrych Zwingli | Image Bearers of the First and Second Adam

John Davenant | The Natural Image and the Redeemed Image

Johannes Brenz | A Wolf, a Serpent, and Forgiveness in Spite of the Old Nature

Johann Wild | Spiritual Sacrifices of the Spiritual Priesthood

Martin Luther | There Is No Such Thing as Free Will

Peter Martyr Vermigli | The Whole Person Affected by Original Sin

Martin Luther | Men Are Like the Sun, Women Are Like the Moon

Johannes Bugenhagen | What Human Reason Is Good For