Archive for September, 2008

Theology Ditty 2: “Where should a study of God begin?”

September 30, 2008

The study of God should first begin with the realization of the seeming futility of the task. The scope and depth of coverage one might pursue in terms of logic or revelation is stunning and overwhelming. Yet the awe that such an endeavor should engender should not dissuade from its pursuit, but instead shape its expectations. To begin the journey of discovery and understanding is a choice to follow its course, however difficult and winding it may seem, for the rest of one’s days.

The next step in the process of theology, in the purest sense of that word, is to find the dimensions of the problem. Biblical revelation is often most clear in terms of what God is, by nature and character, and what He is not. Excluding these alternatives and possibilities from one’s consideration thins the thicket of confusion and distraction. In fact, knowing this most basic of descriptions of God will illuminate the proper questions and areas of study to next pursue. Two modes of approach should be simultaneously taken: an understanding of the progressive and expansive revelation of God’s nature and character as He interacts with mankind through a sequential and thorough study of the entire Bible, as well as an organized and systematic organization of relevant passages from the various writers and ages of the revelation. By seeing both the stream of thought and comparing its individual components against one another, one can easily find how contradictions seem to fade and coherence arise from the mists of naive assumption.

Though there is no final step, the last one before returning to the process of reconsideration and awe is reflection of the description of mankind in the Bible in contraposition to this definition of God’s nature that has been developed. By seeing what we have retained and lost in terms of God’s image as a result of the corruption of sin, we can then more clearly see how God’s revelation of Himself to us both resonates with who we are and with who we want to be. Also, often depictions of our behavior and our character are antonymic to that we find in God and thus we learn about Him by observing ourselves.

The study of God is, as stated before, a progressive and endless pursuit. As with any relationship, we will never exhaust its fullness, but we must also see that not as a warning to not proceed, but a goal, a challenge which we nevertheless will seek to complete.

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Theology Ditty 1…What is theology?

September 25, 2008

To preface this series, as part of my theology class at Midwestern, each student must write a one-page response to a question about the material. As we have had a few weeks in, I have plenty of non-SBC politics stuff to share with the faithful few of you who still read this blog! Enjoy and feel free to comment!

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“What is theology?”

Theology is the contemplation of the divine. Its aim is not the completion of the journey, but the fulfillment of the growth of the person traveling its road.

Intellectually, we consider God with our logic, our gift from Him as part of our human nature, as reflections of His image. His revelation to us in the Scriptures conveys the basis for our deductions concerning the character of His divinity, as well as many other truths. As we read and study and grow into His image, we somehow come to understand, while knowing that the infinitesimal comprehension we have is nothing compared to the vast fullness of His nature our limited minds cannot even begin to fathom.

Emotionally, we engage God first through the struggle of our will against His, our rebellion bearing testimony both to our inadequacy without Him and our inborn desire to oppose Him nonetheless. At the moment of crisis, when we see our sin and its harm to ourselves and to our Maker, we next feel the emptiness of our past life and the wonder and promise of the eternal one He offers. We learn of God’s love not as a sterile, academic reality, but a vital and thriving force that draws us to Him and sustains and strengthens our weaknesses before Him. In the day-by-day walk that follows salvation, when we hourly surrender ourselves to His wisdom and guidance, we finally and progressively learn of the greatness of His glory and character, to which we respond with the unspoken plea to know yet more of Him.

Finally, there is an aspect of our nature that lies beyond description in our frail English language. For lack of a better term, one might call it the deep place of our soul. Here the truth of God resonates like a deep ocean current, a tide draws to its peak by the proximity of Immanuel. More than head knowledge or heart empathy, we commune here beyond words, maybe even beyond conscious, concrete thought, with the Transcendent Savior and the abiding peace that He brings. it is here that theology truly resides. Beyond the systematization and the flowery language, past content and passion and human ideas, He waits for His own to return to Him, “to be still and know Him”, to find their end at the palce of their beginning: in Him.

School is back in session…

September 15, 2008

…and I have been a blog-slacker! Sorry! Will return to regular (weekly, if not more) writing soon.

Will finish my discussion of SBC life and then start into a broader view of theology (i.e. you get to see some past assignments of mine!)