1:25: They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator . . . for this reason God handed them over . . .
1:28: As they did not see fit to take cognizance of God, God handed them over . . .
These verses show that the prior, non-moral but religious or theological, fall consisted in a rejection of the knowledge of God, an idolatrous turning from the Creator to the creature. This is what the main passage, 1:18-23, says; and this (in Paul’s view) is the fall, not the consequence of it. Man was surrounded by the handiwork of God, his infinitely beneficent Creator, who established him as lord over all his surroundings. But having tasted dominion he sought to be free even of God, and to extend his lordship upwards as well as outwards. He thus refused to glorify God as his Lord, and to give thanks to Him as the giver of all good things. This inordinate pride, the perversion of a lordship that God himself had created for man, was accompanied by the loss of man’s knowledge of God, and idolatry; that is, man’s subordination to the creatures he should have ruled.
—C. K. Barrett, From First Adam to Last: A Study in Pauline Theology, 19
The glory of creation and the glory of God are as different as the love poem and the love, the painting and the landscape, the ring and the marriage. It would be a great folly and a great tragedy if man loved his wedding band more than he loved his bride. But that is what Romans 1:19-23 says has happened. Human beings have fallen in love with the echo of God’s excellency in creation and lost the ability to hear the incomparable original shout of love.
—John Piper, The Pleasures of God, 85
Sin has not destroyed man’s religious capacities; it has simply turned them in an apostate direction away from the “Living God,” so that he now prefers the worship of finite deities of his own invention. [Romans 1:25]
—Geoffrey B. Wilson, Romans: A Digest of Reformed Comment, 25
It was Adam who above all perverted his knowledge of God and sought to escape the status of creature, and believed a lie and became a fool and thus set the pattern (Adam-man) for a mankind which worshiped the idol rather than the Creator. [Romans 1:21-25]
—James D.G. Dunn. Romans 1-8 (Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 38), 53
Adam was not content to be the Son of man he was; the tempter’s promise, You shall be as God, moved him to attempt self-aggrandizement by disobedience. [Genesis 3:5; Romans 1:21]
—C. K. Barrett, From First Adam to Last: A Study in Pauline Theology, 16
Paul’s account of man’s wickedness [Romans 1] has been deliberately stated in terms of the Biblical narrative of Adam’s fall.
—M. D. Hooker, “Adam in Romans I,” New Testament Studies 6 (1960), 301
The sequence of events outlined in Romans 1 recalls the story of Adam in Genesis 1–3. God revealed to Adam what can be known of Him (Rom 1:19), and that from the creation onward, God’s attributes were clearly discernible to him in the things that had been made and that he was thus without excuse (v. 20). Though Adam knew God, he failed to honor Him as God, and grew vain in his thinking and allowed his heart to be darkened (v. 20). Adam’s fall was the result of his desire to be God, to attain the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:5), so that, claiming to be wise, he in fact became a fool (Rom 1:21).
—M. D. Hooker, “Adam in Romans I,” New Testament Studies 6 (1960), 300