We’ve been to the moon and we’ve sliced bread—the fact is we are pretty smart. How they get the caramel centre in a caramel bar seems obvious now that we have TV shows like, How’s It Made. Yet, there are a few things that elude our comprehension.
The suffix “ology” means, the study of. And the word “theo” means, God. Theology is the study of God and it is something we humans have been doing for an awfully long time. So long, in fact, that you’d think we have God all figured out by now.
Yet, a full comprehension remains beyond our scope. This was not a problem for peoples long ago. They didn’t expect to fully comprehend God—learning about God was a worthwhile exercise and full comprehension was not even the goal.
We construct images and metaphors to help us understand God more fully, such as the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a way of compressing the idea of God into a comprehensible formula: that we experience God in three main ways—as Creator, as Saviour and as present with us now, in Spirit. The idea of the Trinity was never intended to be the only way to think about God. Jesus uses other images: a woman looking for a lost coin, a mother hen.
None of these images are meant to be the final word on God—they simply can’t be. As clever as we are we will not fully comprehend God in all God’s majesty.
Trying to know God is a worthwhile goal because it is not just about seeing God’s action in history, or being amazed at the words of love and justice spoken by Jesus, it is also about discerning what God would have us do today—here and now. In the end, that’s really what theology is all about—discerning God's will for us today. With the help of a loving and discerning community, my simple mind can find great satisfaction with just the knowledge of what God might want from me now.