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What is Theology?

What is Theology? Light of faith, truth and love. t is Theology?

Theology is simply talking about God. The combination of the Greek word for “God” and “word” that could be defined as “God talk” makes up our word “theology,” and everybody has one.

How do we define God?

Like everything, theology starts with God. We all know what God means. Even those who deny His existence understand what the word means. He is the Beginning, the One who is above all, created all, and oversees all. I like the word “transcendent.” (“above the range of normal human experience”)

We can find a fuller description in a GOOD DICTIONARY.

God: the supreme or ultimate reality: such as a: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped (as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) as creator and ruler of the universe.

This is the Being we are dealing with here, the first part of “theo-logy.”

When do we encounter God?

Everyone is aware of God and under His power as creator and ruler of the universe. We are born believing creatures, creatures of faith, trusting we will be taken care of and nurtured.

At first, all of this comes through our parents, but as we grow, we begin to understand that there is a power above them, indeed, above all, and we want to know more about that.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

To ease that restlessness, we seek to know God, not only what He is like, but what He wants us to do and how to worship Him.

We do this through words, the second part of “theo-logy,” the “logos,” the words we use to know God.

How do we use words to know God?

Most of these words come through conversation, through teaching from our parents and others. It is a lifelong process and is sometimes called “practical theology,” akin to common sense and very culturally driven.

Backing up these words of teaching and conversation, there are “scriptures,” texts held to be sacred by believers and to be authoritative as well as handbooks for living.

The Bible serves for this in Christianity, the Veda’s in Hinduism, the Koran in Islam, and the Tripitaka in Buddhism.

Each of these describes God in a unique way and prescribes different ways to worship. Where did all these different viewpoints come from? The Bible explains this in the Book of Genesis, written by Moses* about 1500 BC before any of the world’s major religions was developed.

(An asterisk following a name means that person is included in the 200 biographies of SPIRITUAL LIVES.)

What does the Bible tell us about God?

The Bible tells us God created one man and one woman, and from them, all of us have descended. Obviously, the first couple, Adam* and Eve*, knew God and heard His voice. So did their children, and God spoke to them too, and they heard His voice.

But the first child born, Cain*, killed his brother Abel* because he offered a sacrifice that pleased God, and Cain was jealous. When God confronted Cain for spilling his brother’s blood, Cain walked away from God and his parents.

He deliberately went out from the presence of the Lord, moved to the land of Nod, built a city and a culture without God.

God gave Adam and Eve another son, Seth*, and his descendants knew God and worshipped Him at first. But over the next 1500 years, they forsook God and became corrupt.

God destroyed them all in a great flood, except for one man and his family.

From Noah* and his three sons and daughters-in-law the world was re-populated but soon again fell into sin and rebelled against God. They tried to build a tower to reach heaven, but God confused their speech (gave them different languages) so they could no longer work together. The earth was divided among the people and nations began.

The Bible teaches there is One God, what about other gods?

The first we read about was in Babylon, where new gods were worshipped. Then we find another set of gods in Egypt and in Ur, and soon the whole earth was filled with GODS AND GODDESSES sprung from ancestor worship, the deification of famous warriors, and personification of the elements of nature.

There was no theology because God’s way of worship was abandoned, or corrupted, people were driven by their own ideas and self-interest, and the Creator God was all but forgotten. Without theology, the people were lost.

They did not understand that there was also a POWERFUL ENEMY of God who was trying to hurt Him by destroying His people, but without theology, they could not know this.

How did God make Himself known to us?

But God had not forgotten His creation, and He called a man out of Ur, a city of Idolatry, and this man believed God’s call and left Ur and took a long journey into a land God promised to give him.

That man was Abraham*, the Father of Faith, and from his descendants, the three monotheistic religions were born, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each with One God but each with its own unique theology.

How is God known through the scriptures?

And each theology is described and ordered in its own scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament of the Bible, and the Koran.

The scriptures are the words that inform our theology.

They tell us what God is like, what He wants to do and what our role is in His plans.
Through the scriptures, we learn how to approach Him and how to worship.
These are the basic elements of theology.

But as an old professor of mine liked to say after reading my research papers: “So what?” and that is what most people say about theology.

What Are We to Make of God and All This Theology?

Everyone rests between these two understandings of theology, one a believer, the other not. The believer says:

This is the doctrine that we preach; if a man be saved, all the honor is to be given to Christ; but if a man be lost, all the blame is to be laid upon himself.
You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences, SALVATION IS ALL OF THE GRACE OF GOD, damnation is all of the will of man.- Charles Spurgeon* (“The Prince of Preachers”, 1834 – 1892)

But how sad it is to see the views of today’s unbelievers, intellectually brilliant though they may be:

What has ‘theology’ ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has ‘theology’ ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious? What makes you think that ‘theology’ is a subject at all? Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist and university professor, author of The God Delusion, 1941- )

Everyone Has a Theology about God; What’s Yours?

We all come from God and are born with the belief He created within us when He gave us life. Children in or out of the womb are dependent on God for every need. Their faith is unquestioning and their expectation they will be cared for is endless and innate.

And yet so many turn away from God, the faith, and the theology they have been taught.

What is that all about?

Unbelievers say we just grow up or learn to face reality. Some say we are formed by our environment others that we are the valueless products of chance or evolution

But Christian theology teaches us that GOD CREATED US AS GOOD and sinless so that we could live in fellowship with Him.

Sadly, we have an enemy who long ago appeared as a serpent and deceived Adam and Eve into choosing their own will and breaking their intimacy with God. THAT ENEMY IS AT WORK RIGHT NOW, attacking every person God has created for fellowship with Him with darts of deception and snares to lead us into evil.

The character of God drives our theology

The Bible reveals a God who loves His creation, especially His people. We are not random blogs of protoplasm.

There is more to the story, a wonderful plan of God drawn before there was a world. God chose us to be saved from this enemy by His Son Jesus*, a perfect divine Being who left His place in eternity to come and save us from perdition.

Jesus paid the debt for all our sins on the cross of Calvary and washed them all away with His blood.
He is waiting for us to join Him in the wonderful place He is preparing for us where we will see the beauty and truth of this theology that leads to Him and everlasting life.

Praise God. I trust that is already your theology now. If not, search the scriptures and He will reveal Himself to you. (more on scriptures next time!)

listen/sing along here:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small; In all life Thou livest, the true life of all; We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight; Of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.
All laud we would render; O help us to see ’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee, And so let Thy glory, almighty, impart, Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.

WAL­TER C. SMITH, Hymns of Christ and the Chris­tian Life, 1876.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Tim 1:17

Jesus ascended into heaven almost 2,000 years ago and now sits on the right hand of God. From there He watches over us and prays for us. The Bible tells us He is our Advocate, defending us against the hate and malice the devil aims at us day and night. Through His divine power and His Holy Spirit, He is with us. He stands now at the door of our hearts knocking, bidding us open to Him. When we do, He comes in and lives with us, anointing us to live in His love and grace. Nothing could be better. All the time He is preparing a place for us in heaven so that where He is, we can be too. Forever.

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