Perhaps the most commonly referenced verse in support of the cosmological argument for the existence of God is Romans 1:20,
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Since, however, Gordon Clark rejected the cosmological argument it might be of some value knowing how he understood Romans 1:20. Fortunately, he wrote about this question in many places.
That Clark did not view Romans 1:20 as supporting the cosmological argument is evident in such places as his article on “The Existence of God” in Encyclopedia of Christianity:
“In spite of the Roman Catholic claim that Paul the apostle put his stamp of approval on Aristotle and Aquinas in Romans 1:19-20, it is clear that the Bible offers no argument to prove God’s existence. The heavens indeed display the glory of God; but a modern scientist who had no prior conviction of God could see there only a display of nuclear energy.”
He repeats much the same in God’s Hammer, pp. 87-88:
“Thomas Aquinas and the Roman Catholic Church hold, not merely that God can be known in nature, but that the existence of God can irrefragably be demonstrated, without any a priori equipment, from the data of sensory perception. To make good this claim, Thomas, following the lead of Aristotle, worked out an amazingly intricate system of philosophy. This tremendous achievement merits professional and meticulous examination. … In another volume (Thales to Dewey, pp. 274-78), I have tried to show that technical analysis can indicate several points (e.g., the concepts of potentiality and motion, the circular argument on infinite regress, the theory of analogy) at which the chain of Thomas’s syllogisms breaks down. Surely it is extreme to claim, as the Thomists do, that the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20 guarantees the validity of the complete argument.”
In the same volume, p. 92, Clark notes,
“Though dim and restricted, this natural knowledge of God is not to be denied. Romans 1:20 may not guarantee the validity of the theistic proofs, but it plainly asserts some knowledge of God derived from ‘the things that are made.'”
Finally, in an unpublished paper titled “Nooumena Kathoratai” he is more explicit about what this “some knowledge” is:
“One may note that nobody can recognize a flower as God’s handiwork, unless he has a prior knowledge of God. As Calvin said, the knowledge of God is the first knowledge a person has. It is innate; not derived from experience.”
We might summarize Clark’s view of Romans 1:20 by saying that it is not that we know of God because we see His power in the universe, but that because we already know God innately we understand the power in the universe to be His.