Just because unregenerate humanity suppresses the truth, that does not mean that they do not know the truth, at least on some level.
Apostle Paul makes reference to pagan Greek poets who make truthful statements in their writings, and their words will forever be found in God’s word. Paul makes it clear that people who do not know God have a basic understanding about Him.
God has placed the longing for eternity in our hearts, and He has revealed Himself to every person in a general way. Everyone sees His majesty in creation, and everyone knows that there is something wrong with humanity and creation in general.
Take for example the following lyrics from the anger-driven rock band Linkin Park (I advise youth to not listen to this genre of music):
“I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream.
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean.
I don’t know how I got this way
I know it’s not alright.
I’m breaking the habit tonight”
In medicine we deal with symptoms which lead to a diagnosis and then a solution.
These lyrics provide the symptoms of a serious problem, but they do not provide the diagnosis nor the solution for this problem. These are the symptoms of the corruption sustained by humanity as a result of original sin. Everyone knows that humanity “it’s not alright,” but not everyone is willing to accept the reason why we do evil acts and the reason for the existence of death.
Paul tells us the diagnosis in Romans 5:12
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
And he tells us the solution in Romans 5:18-19
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Paul is of course talking about the sacrifice of Christ in place of sinners who believe in Him.
It is not enough to know that we are “not alright.” That is the first step in acknowledging a fundamental truth, but it must be followed by two other steps: accepting the diagnosis of sin and embracing the solution.
The solution is none other than Jesus Christ.
In Him we receive righteousness by justification!