For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature;
and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;
but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.
If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them.
And if men were amazed at their power and working,let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.
Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.
For as they live among his works they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.
Yet again, not even they are to be excused; for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?
I found this Scripture when I was in college. I was literally "playing Bible," taking the family Bible, letting it fall open and sticking my finger down on the page. I was searching, hard, for God, and I kept blowing through my college physics and biochemistry studies, coming out the other side, saying "well, He's not there." I wasn't finding Him in the neighborhood church or the rote graces and bedtime prayers at home, because I was blinded by familiarity. Nobody was around me at the time to show me that I could find Him without heroism, that He was closer to me than I realized, waiting for my "Yes," and that I could be guided to the source and summit of all joy by the faith of my childhood.
The people described in this passage aren't sensualists, delighting in the sins of the flesh and in selfish pleasure-seeking. These are earnest seekers, studiers, ponderers. But the effort that it costs them, to delve and dissect and discover, fools them into stopping at their discovery of the things created and thinking they have found the Creator.
They represent a piece of my character and probably yours, too, and they are in for a heck of a surprise when they look at the Hand that puts all the world in motion. I was, and science repositioned itself and became a part of my religious outlook.