Paul told the Romans "that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin" (Ro 3:9). Then in verses 10-12 he references Psalm 14:1-3 which are not exactly verbatim quotations because they are spiritually applied. Psalm 14:2 says that God "looked down from heaven . . . to see if there are any who understand", but Paul simply cites "there is none who understands" (Ro 3:11). God looks for any "who seek after God" (Ps 14:2), and Paul just says "there is none who seeks for God" (Ro 3:11). The precedent set was "all have turned aside, together they have become useless" (:12). Those references are prefaced with "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Ps 14:1). One could conclude from the context that no one seeks God because they don't believe that God exists in the first place. Abraham observed, "'There is surely no fear of God in this place'" (Ge 20:11). "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God" (:7). Many "are enemies of the cross of Christ" (Php 3:18) and "set their minds on earthly things" (:19). "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1Co 2:14).
Therefore God had to take the initiative. Stephen testified that, "'The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia'" (Ac 7:2). "The Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country . . . to the land which I will show you'" (Ge 12:1). The Lord spoke to Abram as if they were face to face. Stephen explained God's appearing to Abram with the Greek word "optomai" which pertains to personal presence involving sight. Also, "the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre" (18:1) and Abram responded, "'My Lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by'" (:3).
God circumvents man when necessary as when "suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'" (Ac 9:4). Years later on Paul's third missionary journey they entered Europe for the first time where God's assistance was needed. At Philippi "a certain woman named Lydia . . . was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul" (16:14). "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Ro 10:17) which is quickened as in Lydia's case. "But we have the mind of Christ" (1Co 2:16). "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Php 2:5). "The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (Ro 8:6).