Sunday, March 15, 2015

Theology as a Well with No Bottom

In a conversation on another forum with a convert who was having issues with his conversation and was thinking about going back to the simplisticty of his former Protestant denomination, he made the following comment:

"I struggle with a lot of things in the Church. Maybe I will list some of those later. Right now I'm off to work.  Once I started to study theology, I had this feeling that I have to figure everything out... and be certain. But that seems to be impossible for me. Theology has become a burden! 
"I miss the days of simply knowing who Christ is and what he has done for us... and just having that simple faith and following Him. I feel like this whole journey has tainted that childlike faith."

Theology is a deep well that seems like it has no bottom-and if it is a study of God, then that is true as God is infinite. Perhaps a page from the theology of our Eastern Brothers and Sisters might be helpful. They theorize that we can't know God in His essence, because God is unknowable and our finite minds can't fathom it. We can know God by his energies (his physical manifestations.) One of those energies is called the Divine Light. There is a whole chain of writings in Eastern theology about the Divine Light. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Divine Light illuminates the intellect of man through ‘theoria’ or contemplation. In the Gospel of John, the first few verses describe God as Light. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Christ also professes to bring the Divine Light to mankind. “I am the light of the world” This is why the story of the Transfiguration is so central in Eastern theology.

I go into this aside (sorry if I blew your mind here) because theology should not be a burden. It is primarily bringing that Divine Light to the darkness of misunderstanding and doubt. If theology is becoming a burden, step back and realize that you are never going to understand all of it because you can't fit God into a box or a systematic theology. This is a trap that I think Protestants and the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages in Catholicism got wrong, and it is something our Eastern brothers I think actually get right. God is the Great "I AM WHO I AM" and you are never going to fully comprehend that infinite reality, so focus on the understandable energies of God. Focus on simply knowing Christ and what He has done for us.

There is nothing wrong with being in that contemplative place.

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