The ugly and ghastly distortion of Satan’s whole appearance in Scripture is that he who was formed to honor and glorify and praise and worship God has begun to rob God of His worship and seek to deflect it to himself. Isn’t that what happens in the temptation of Jesus? “Now,” he says, “I will give you the kingdoms of this world if You will fall down and worship me.” Have you ever thought how extraordinary and horrendous that here an angel, created to worship this holy Being who created Himself the heavens and the earth, now comes and says to Him and says, “You come and bow down and worship me.” I tell you, there is something utterly grotesque about this, both in the Garden of Eden and in the temptation in Matthew 4.
But, my dear friends, there is something equally grotesque about a man or woman who devotes the faculties God has given them and the gifts God has bestowed upon them to bring worship to any other creature or object in the universe except to the living God.
—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Revelation 19:10)” (sermon)
What poor Adam could not see was that he already was as like God as ever a creature could be. . . . In his vain search to rise above his God-appointed station he succeeded only in bringing down the human race into sin. . . . Adam’s folly lay in believing he could ever rise higher than his human station. There is no higher station open to any creature.
—Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Complete in Christ, 110-111
The idea behind the command not to eat from one tree in the garden was really all about this question: Who will be at the center of the human creature’s world? Who is in charge? When Eve eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she decides that the human creature will be at the center—will be in charge. And in that sense the serpent had told a half-truth: she did become like God, knowing good and evil as God knows it, insofar as the creature has assumed the right to apprehend and legislate morality as a god. In that sense, Genesis’ point is that we end up worshiping the creature rather than the Creator. This is the autonomy that manifests itself so clearly in a desire to be one’s own god.
—Dennis Okholm, Learning Theology through the Church’s Worship: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 140
In Revelation 14:7 the sum of the eternal gospel is described: “And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”’ The language in the first part of this verse reminds us of Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they did not honour [glorify] Him as God or give thanks to Him,” on which we have commented previously. Human sin is fundamentally a refusal to glorify God, a rejection of our created vocation to worship Him.
—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 223
Pride is self contending with God for preeminence. [Romans 1:21]
—Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
Worshiping God by affirming God’s worthiness flies in the face of the Fall. In the Fall, humans got hung up on our “self-worth.” We wanted the status God had. [Romans 1:21; Genesis 3:5] We failed to perceive our proper place in the created order, and so we threw that order out of alignment.
In the first book of the Bible, Adam and Eve say to God, “We are worthy.” In the last book of the Bible, the elders say to God, “You are worthy.” God is back in God’s appropriate place, we are in ours, and the cosmos is right again. In a way, our public worship each week is an exercise in this eternal act of putting God in God’s proper place. Michael Lindvall describes worship as “weekly practice at not being God.”
—Nathan Bierma, “Worshipful Service,” Perspectives Journal June 2006
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
“She took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6).
So simple the act, so hard its undoing. God will taste poverty and death before “Take and eat” become verbs of salvation.
—Derek Kidner, Commentary on Genesis