Paul continues to rant against those who are not following the way of God. He also makes clear that God is allowing their inappropriate behavior to continue. This is one of the problem of a theology of an all-powerful God rather than and all-creating God. When people are allowed to do evil there has to be some explanation why God allows it if we believe that God is “in control” of everything. I find it is much more reasonable to believe that God always creates rather than controls. So that God does not control us, or anyone, or any circumstances, but creates us, and everyone, and gives new opportunities in each moment of our lives.
Well, back to Paul. The list of bad behavior is very extensive. I used The Message today. I think if you look a the front page of any new paper (or fan magazine) you will find all of these behaviors. I particularly like the line, They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives.
28-32 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
The given is that these people are in our world. In the next chapter Paul tells us not to judge these people. Paul is a very complex man. I am looking forward to this journey with him through his most famous letter. Peace