Seeking God? (Acts 17:27 and Romans 3:10)

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How do we understand passages like Acts 17:26-28: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” in light of passages like Romans 3:10-11: “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.”?


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
v27, "...that they should seek God." God offers all appropriate inducements to men such that--were they to make the best use of the first (and at times very many) revelations of himself toward them--they would grow up in their understanding of God, rather than (as the Athenians were demonstrating by their altar to Ἀγνώστῳ θεῷ) becoming futile in their cogitations on divinity.

Paul is not, therefore, saying one thing in one place: that men do or will seek God; and later on says the opposite: that men do not, have not, and will not seek God aright. The Acts passage states what God has done as man's Creator and Disposer in the earth, and his bountiful gifts. Romans teaches that man does not do what he should or ought to do, the gifts of God notwithstanding.
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