Theology: Two Paradoxical, Yet Compatible Understandings Expressed In Colloquial Manner

The following two statements best sum up how I have come to understand theology and the formation of doctrine.

1. Dude, it’s theology.

This is the foundation on which our faith in Jesus Christ rests, and it is crucial to consider each doctrine, be it inerrancy, trinitarianism, incarnation, or eschatology with great care and examination.  We must be ever studious in our reading of the Scriptures, poring over them as students sitting at the feet of the Rabbi, taking in each word and bringing it straight to our hearts. Without such careful study, we are bound to repeat the grave errors of past heretics who effectively pared the claws of the lion of Judah with unorthodox understandings.  We may not be able to ever fully understand God, but we are charged with the responsibility of coming as close to God as we are able, basking in His glory and learning from it.

2. Dude, it’s theology.

Chill out! While getting our theology right is hugely important, the fact is that our understanding is finite in its human capacity and we will always hit the wall and be able to go no further! One of the finest examples here is St. Thomas Aquinas, who spent his entire life writing a massive treatise (something like 30 volumes) called Summa Theologica which detailed every aspect of God imaginable. At one point in his life, during a mass, he experienced God in a way no amount of scholasticism or study could amount to, and quit his work, calling everything he ever wrote “straw” in comparison.  It may have taken him his whole life to get there, but it’s still amazing to know that, though we should study, though we should pore carefully over God’s word and find the Truth about God where it is present, there will come a day where God reveals himself in such a powerful way to us that everything we’ve ever learned isn’t going to matter a bit!

Now, by no means should we just jump right to that conclusion; we actually ought to question anyone who so rashly dispenses with theology, but what we need to keep in mind while we study is that we won’t know everything.  In fact, as we study the Bible and come to understand God, our knowledge is further rendered useless as God brings new things to light.  To force ourselves down this path is damaging, but to not move at all is hollow. Walk as God leads, as he beckons and whispers for you to come closer step by step, and learn from Him and those who have come before you.

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