The great overriding hope that Paul had was summed up in one verse….
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” Ro 11:36
The Amplified Bible renders it more clearly…
36 For from Him [all things originate] and through Him [all things live and exist] and to Him are all things [directed]. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.
Preston Eby wrote….”There was a day when Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus (Mars Hill Auditorium) declared to the philosophers of Athens,
“The God who produced and formed the world and all things in it, made from one common origin, one source all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined their allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation – their settlements, lands, abodes; SO THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK GOD, IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MIGHT FEEL AFTER HIM AND FIND HIM, although He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, FOR WE ARE ALSO HIS OFFSPRING” (Acts 17:24-28, Amplified).
Oh, yes, He turned us to destruction, but planted deep in the subconsciousness of every man the SECRET COMMAND to RETURN, which is revealed in that inner desire, yearning, craving, seeking, feeling, compulsion which is never satisfied until man does find himself home in God once more.
All the religiousness of men, from the witch doctor in the jungle to the modernist in the pulpit in America, is the manifestation of this FEELING AFTER GOD, IF HAPLY THEY MIGHT FIND HIM. While mankind in general is still lost in the hellish darkness of sin and death, yet there is a first fruit company whose hearts have been charged by the inward call to return, and with the Shulamite maiden in the Song of Solomon share this blessed experience:
“By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loves; I sought Him, but I found Him not. I will arise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loves: I sought Him but I found Him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw Him whom my soul loves? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I FOUND HIM WHOM MY SOUL LOVES AND WOULD NOT LET HIM GO” (S. of S. 3:1-4).
As the Spirit has witnessed through the prophet,
“And yea shall seek Me, and find Me, when yea shall search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13)”