Theology literally means talking about God. Theo is from the Greek word for God, and Logos from the Greek for Word. In one sense all people have a theology- our theology is what we think about Ultimate Things, and their meaning. To talk about "The Divine" or "God", seems to me to be to talk about the Ultimate.
A person could decide there is no "God" or "Ultimate" that can be talked about. Christians understand there is "something more" than the physical bits and pieces of every day life. We see the life of Jesus of Nazareth as a key to understanding that something more we call God. The Christian path is by no means the only way to talk about the Ultimate. The path of Islam, for example, is seeking to find the Ultimate also. Christianity can learn from Islam, and vice versa. Both can learn from other paths. The most important thing is to be seeking what is Ultimate. We may well decide we find one particular path is more revealing, (could we even say, more truthful?) of the Ultimate Things.
How we talk about God is profoundly affected by our own experience. A outback station owner will hear imagery of deserts and isolation very differently from a city dweller who rarely enters the countryside. Someone who has grown up where Christianity has been dominant, will more probably find the stories and symbolism of Christianity speak to them more than those of Buddhism, for example.
Of course, our experience grows with age. Children will understand something of the beneficence of life and the goodness of God in the story of Father Christmas. Later, Father Christmas will join the Easter Bunny as an inadequate symbol for them. They must find new ways of understanding life and its "something more." Theology is about growing. It is not static. If theology is to be more than abstract theory it must spring from relating to the "something more" of life. It must speak to, and from, our life experience.
(This article was ammended for use on the Scots Church Adelaide website.)Share