Teaching. Equipping. Defending
Simple: The reference is to those who by their nature cannot be gods. In other words, it is not that a specific nature is in view that makes one a god, but a specific nature (or set of) that makes them not gods.
The simple fact that these gods don't exist shows that they can't be gods by nature. You are just stating the obvious. But rather than merely state, "your gods don't exist," Paul says that they aren't gods "by nature." So what ontological distinctions set those who are gods by nature apart from those who aren't gods by nature? Or perhaps you could elaborate more on this "specific nature" that makes them not gods.
If you carefully read Paul's words he is referring to their nature, not a god nature. An idol, which is by nature whatever material the idol maker made it of is not a god because of possessing that nature.
Help me understand what you're saying. You say that Paul is referring to their nature, but not a god nature. But isn't Paul saying that they aren't "gods by nature?" We both agree that these are gods made by human hands, etc. And that's not the point. The question is, what distinguishes those who are gods by nature from those who aren't gods by nature?
Actually what Paul says that they "by nature are not gods," again, referring to their nature. J.P. Green reflects this: "The ones by nature not being gods." So again, a god nature is not in view, their nature is.
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