Everyone has a theology.
Theology is essentially an understanding or concept about God. Our theology drives absolutely everything we do.
The atheist has a theology. There are significant ramifications to believing that there is no God. It means that we are left merely to random natural processes and creatures. There is no higher standard than what flawed man could come up with. Even that is subject to change, sometimes violent.
Those Islamic terrorists who transformed passenger jets into killer missiles during the September 11, 2001 attacks in America had a theology. Reportedly, they worshiped their “god” as they slammed those jets into buildings, obliterating thousands and launching war. You can be sure that their theology had massive life implications.
A Christian has a theology. But if that theology is based on the words of man and not the Word of God, the Bible, then almost anything goes. Recent surveys have shown that people who call themselves “Christian” believe that there is more than one way to God other than Jesus. Others say that Bible is not the inspired, inerrant Word of God. A more subtle problem is that some don’t understand the perfect goodness of God. There are crippling consequences if we don’t understand and grasp the great goodness of God.
Everyone has a theology. Your theology, your concept of God, your understanding of God drives your life. Even if we don’t intentionally think of theology or study “theology”, our concept of God looms huge –God-sized, actually — over our life.
That’s why the most important thing to take up first is God Himself, who He is, what He does and how He works. Thousands of years ago, the Apostle Paul, while in Greece, visited the Areopagus, where he found the people worshiping many gods. They even had an altar “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD”. What he told the Greeks that day really underscores the importance of knowing the true God:
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; “for in Him we live and move and have our being . . . (Acts 17:23-28)
There is so much true theology here:
- God is the one who creates the creation and not the other way around — meaning He is pre-existent (verse 24)
- God does not need anything. He is depends on no one (non-dependent, verse 25a).
- He is the source of all life (verse 25b)
- He is man’s creator (verse 26a)
- He is sovereign over the affairs of men (verse 26b)
- He is near (verse 27c)
And now, the statement about why God Himself and a true understanding of Him is so very important to us, personally:
“for in Him we live and move and have our being . . .” (verse 28a)
If our theology is wrong, then it has catastrophic effects on our life, how we live, even our very essence.
Which is why we must begin begin with a sharp focus on Him. If you are new in Christ or if the idea of “theology” intimidates you, there is nothing to fear. Our life is truly wrapped up in God Himself. Looking into these things will have a powerful effect on your life. Remember: your theology drives your life, whether you are conscious of it or not. Even if you are seasoned in your life in Christ, exposure to these truths will encourage you afresh.
Frankly, what I have to say about theology is useless. True theology is found in the Holy Bible alone. That text is the only inspired, inerrant Word of God. We can have confidence in The Bible as being the completely authoritative and complete revelation that it is. We can have confidence in the ability of the Holy Spirit who inspired The Bible to guide us into all truth (John 16:13-14), as well as reveal Christ and enlighten the Bible’s truth to our hearts and minds (Eph 1:17-23).
The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth. At a staggering 277 miles long, nearly 18 miles wide and a mile deep, there is much to explore in this great wonder. One could spend a lifetime journeying the canyon on foot and by water, carefully studying all the aspects of this natural treasure. An easy and great way to enjoy the canyon is to hop on a helicopter and take an aerial tour of the canyon.
The subject of God Himself is great, far greater than the Grand Canyon. In the next installment titled, “God Ground Zero”, we’ll take a brief flyover the character and nature of God. I’m thrilled to take the trip with you!