I recently wrote a post entitled “Hinge Points: Solving Big Problems with Small Steps.” Here, I shared how my journey into the study of Bible and Theology was slow and confusing. I spent many years struggling to wrap my mind around the big concepts, and constantly felt myself pulled from one school of thought to the next. Even when I started taking courses in seminary, I struggled to find firm footing and feel confident in my views. That was until I found a “hinge point”: one concept that brought it all together.
I don’t know about you, but when I try to learn a new skill or improve in a certain area, I’m very impatient with my progress. I have the idea that I should be an expert, even though I’m just getting started. Truth be told, there are many factors that cause me to feel that way, but I venture to believe that I’m not alone. No one wants to be the rookie, but every master started somewhere.
Three words have never been more misunderstood: brand, identity, and logo. In this age of digital marketing, everyone is a “graphic designer”. You’ll hear these self-proclaimed experts offer to, “design your brand for you.” Let me be clear: You, nor any designer, can CREATE your brand.
This past week I had the pleasure of enjoying the beauty that is Jamaica. As my family and I landed in Montego Bay and jumped on a bus headed to Ocho Rios, we could not help but admire the magnificent landscape. Passing my breathtaking tree kissed mountain tops, my eyes quickly caught an eerie sight: houses abandoned in a state of partial construction. Being from the bustling suburbs of rapidly growing housing developments, I was utterly shocked to see the absence of driven construction workers bringing the structures to living conditions. Instead, roofless concrete buildings stood like ghost towns. On our full hour and a half ride through the Island, dozens of houses shared this commonality.
The problem of evil has been called the Achilles heel of Theism – it is the argument that requires the greatest amount of defense and explanation. This is the enigmatic question of, “how can an all-powerful, all-good, God coexist in a world where evil exists?” Anyone who has been faced with a tragic loss or unprovoked misfortune has asked this question in some form or another. Many skeptics have rejected theism for this very reason, and many Christians have turned from the Faith due to inability to rectify this paradox. While this seems to be an unanswerable question, many have attempted to justify God and offer an explanation.
Theism simply means, “belief in God.” The Theist is an individual who bases his life on the presupposition that there is a God and lives according to the implications that such a belief contributes to the world in which he lives. Conversely, an atheist is one who does not believe in God and lives his life with the implications of this worldview. Another opponent to theism is agnosticism, which derived from the Greek word “γνωστός” (gnostos) meaning known – agnosticism objects that knowledge of a deity cannot be confirmed or denied. While atheism and agnosticism have become prominent teachings in society today, they base their foundations on rather weak arguments that do not stand the test of logical consideration. Theism is a “first truth” meaning that it is universal (applicable to all cultures and periods of time), necessary (it must exist), independent (does not depend on being taught). This reality serves as an unshakable foundation for the theistic argument.
The following is an excerpt from, The Basics of Our Belief: A Primer on Christian Theology, by Devin Peterson. Follow the link for further insight.
Definition of Theology
The most basic definition of Theology is, “The study or Science of God.” However, this casts a rather cold and impersonal shadow on a discipline that is intended to draw us nearer to God. As was stated prior, theology is unlike other sciences in that the ultimate goal is not to toil over facts and figures – meaningless rhetoric – but rather to find a real and living God who loves the seeker and has provided a plan for his redemption. Other studies are intended to enable the student to understand the subject better; theology is meant to enable to student to better know the Subject. Of course, theology can be minimized to a tiresome practice that deadens the passion of the individual, but this is the fault of the theologian, not theology. The life of the discipline is found in the subject matter - once extracted it brings one face to face with its implications. All that is left at that point is rejection of the truth or acceptance of a full life.