“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”
King James Version (KJV)
4:17 Before God - Though before men nothing of this appeared, those nations being then unborn. As quickening the dead - The dead are not dead to him and even the things that are not, are before God. And calling the things that are not - Summoning them to rise into being, and appear before him. The seed of Abraham did not then exist; yet God said, So shall thy seed be. A man can say to his servant actually existing, Do this; and he doeth it: but God saith to the light, while it does not exist, Go forth; and it goeth. #Gen 17:5|.
Ro 4:17 As it is written. See Ge 17:5. A father of many nations. The name of the patriarch was changed from Abram ("a father") to Abraham ("father of a multitude"). Before him whom he believed. This is to be joined with Ro 4:16, "who is the father of us all . . . before . . . God". Who giveth life to the dead. Abraham had to believe that the Divine power, which can give life to the dead, would give new life to his aged body and that of Sarah.