“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 ESV).
In Romans 1:18 we’re told, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness” (NET). We should note that it is not “truth” or “a truth” that some attempt to suppress- it’s “the truth.” So what’s so important about this seemingly insignificant word?
We can address this question with another question: what is the basic, essential, foundational truth about anyone? Well, the basic truth about any human being is that he or she exists. While there may be many things that are true about someone, the primary, fundamental truth about any human being is that he or she exists. With this in mind, we can ask, “What is ‘the truth’ about God?”
Well, the answer to that question is the same as it is for anyone else- God exists, or He “is.” We can illustrate this idea from the account of a conversation between God and Moses, the famous Old Testament patriarch…
“Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you'” (Exodus 3:13-14 NIV).
“I AM” is an important term because it identifies God as the self-existent, eternal Being. Unlike every member of the human race, there was never a time when God did not exist. As the uncreated, eternal, first cause of creation, only God alone can truly say, “I AM.”
Of course, some may challenge that assertion with the following objection: “We don’t know God exists. Therefore, we are incapable of suppressing that purported truth.” The Scriptures address that challenge in Romans 1:19: “That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Romans 1: 19 RSV).
The word for “evident” in that passage refers to something that is apparent, clear, or plainly recognized. (1) This indicates that God has personally delivered the evidence for His existence and makes it observable for everyone. We’ll consider the nature of that evidence next.