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

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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