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Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. Paul appears to have had some kind of classical education, including training in rhetoric. Some direct evidence for this, according to Bruce Winter in his Philo and Paul Among the Sophists, is Paul's "use of rhetorical terms and allusions in 1 Corinthians 2.1-5" (158).

If we do treat Paul as a classically trained rheotrician, we can bring to bear that context when interpreting this passage. It was commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the shortsort of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. Paul appears to have had some kind of classical education, including training in rhetoric. Some direct evidence for this, according to Bruce Winter in his Philo and Paul Among the Sophists, is Paul's "use of rhetorical terms and allusions in 1 Corinthians 2.1-5" (158).

If we do treat Paul as a classically trained rheotrician, we can bring to bear that context when interpreting this passage. It was commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. Paul appears to have had some kind of classical education, including training in rhetoric. Some direct evidence for this, according to Bruce Winter in his Philo and Paul Among the Sophists, is Paul's "use of rhetorical terms and allusions in 1 Corinthians 2.1-5" (158).

If we do treat Paul as a classically trained rheotrician, we can bring to bear that context when interpreting this passage. It was commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the sort of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

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Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. Paul appears to have had some kind of classical education, including training in rhetoric. Some direct evidence for this, according to Bruce Winter in his Philo and Paul Among the Sophists, is Paul's "use of rhetorical terms and allusions in 1 Corinthians 2.1-5" (158).

If we do treat Paul as a classically trained rheotrician, we can bring to bear that context when interpreting this passage. It was a commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. It was a commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. Paul appears to have had some kind of classical education, including training in rhetoric. Some direct evidence for this, according to Bruce Winter in his Philo and Paul Among the Sophists, is Paul's "use of rhetorical terms and allusions in 1 Corinthians 2.1-5" (158).

If we do treat Paul as a classically trained rheotrician, we can bring to bear that context when interpreting this passage. It was commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

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Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. It was a commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. It was a commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

Here's a possible answer Paul could have had in mind, and one that his audience (educated?) would have readily understood: Our belief in God is innate.

This is a Non-Trinitarian purely historical answer, but perhaps of some interest. It was a commonplace among Hellenistic philosophers that belief in God/gods was innate, a product of nature. The Stoics and Epicureans for instance believed as much (about gods). The following passage from Cicero's "On The Nature of Gods" is representative.

You see, then, that what constitutes the foundation of this inquiry is excellently well laid, for since the belief in question was determined by no ordinance, or custom, or law, and since a steadfast unanimity continues to prevail amongst all men without exception, it must be understood that the gods exist. For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us, and as that upon which the nature of all men is agreed must needs be true, their existence must be acknowledged. Since their existence is pretty universally admitted not only among philosophers but also among those who are not philosophers, let us own that the following fact is also generally allowed, namely, that we possess a “preconception,” to use my former word, or “previous notion” of the gods (new designations that have to be employed when the objects of designation are new, just as Epicurus himself applied the term πρόληψις to what no one had described by that name before)—we possess, I say, a preconception which makes us think of them as blessed and immortal. For nature that gave us the idea of gods as such, has also engraved in our minds the conviction that they are blessed and eternal...

This is the short of intellectual commonplace someone like Paul could have appealed to. Indeed, to an audience who believed the idea of God/gods to be innate, God would "have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" as Paul says. Naturally, for Paul, God and not nature (or gods) was the source of this innateness. But even an educated pagan contemporary of Paul's could latch on to the punchline of your passage.

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