1. The natural helplessness of men is seen in their ignorance of God. The experience of good things did not lead them to the knowledge of Him who is. They were interested in his works, but they did not recognize the author of them.
2. Fire, wind, air, the sphere of the stars, rushing water and the lights in the sky were held as the rulers of the world.
3. If, charmed by such beauty, they took them for gods, let them know how far superior is their sovereign.
4. And if they were impressed by their power and activity, let them understand from this how much mightier is he who formed them.
5. For the grandeur and beauty of creatures lead us to ponder on their Author, greater and more magnificent.
6. No doubt these men are not to be blamed severely, for possibly they strayed though they searched for God and desired to find him.
7. They pondered over the created things that surrounded them and were captivated by the sight of such beauty.
8. Even so they are not to be excused,
9. for if they were able to explore the world, why did they not discover first the world's Sovereign?
10. But unhappy, indeed, are those people who give to man-made artifacts the title of gods! Cursed is their hope in dead things, objects worked in gold and silver, likenesses of animals, and even useless stones carved long ago!
11. Take a woodcutter - he fells a tree that is easy to move, expertly strips off all the bark and with the wood makes a utensil needed in daily life;
12. he uses the bits left over as fuel for cooking his food and he has a good meal.
13. Then he picks up an utterly useless left-over piece, all gnarled and knotted, and carves it in his leisure time, using his professional skill to give it the shape of a man or
14. maybe of a worthless animal. He covers it with ochre and paints the surface red, covering all its blemishes.
15. He then makes a suitable niche for it in the wall and fastens it in place with iron nails.
16. The craftsman is careful to keep it from falling, knowing that it is unable to help itself. It needs help because it is no more than an image.
17. Even so, when it is a matter of his marriage, his children and his household, the man is not ashamed to pray to this lifeless object. He prays for his health to something without strength;
18. for life he prays to what is dead, for help he implores something insensitive, for a successful journey he has recourse to what cannot walk,
19. for his profit, his concerns and success in his craft he asks help of something that has no skill whatever in its hands.