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Christian theology

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Christian theology concerns itself with reasoned discourse about God articulated by exegesis of the Bible (revealed theology) and by scientific or philosophical investigations into nature (natural theology). A contrasting element is at play with revealed and natural theology, but contradiction is an element that is non-existent so that a coherent case for Christian theism and accompanying truth claims can be presented.[1] Theology proper is not particular but rather the intellectual discourse upon the nature and characteristics or attributes of the divine, be it one god (monotheism) or many gods (polytheism). The English word theology is derived from the Greek word theologia (θεολογία), theos (θεός) meaning god and logos (λόγος) meaning reasoning or logic.[2]

Contents

History

Ancient

Paul teaches natural theology within Romans 1. Because natural theology being taught by Paul is found within an authoritative text from which revealed theology would gain its understanding, it can be interpreted that both are acceptable in forming Christian theology so that reason may be found within faith.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans 1:18-23 (NASB)

Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 35414 November 354
11 Kislev 4115 He
11 Kislev 4358 AM
August 28, 43029 August 430
23 Elul 4190 He
22 Elul 4433 AM
) was a substantial Christian apologist in ecclesiastical history. He defined the Latin equivalent of theologia within his monumental work titled City of God in this regard;

For I have not in this work undertaken to refute all the vain opinions of the philosophers, but only such as pertain to theology, which Greek word we understand to mean an account or explanation of the divine nature.[3]

Modern

Within the modern history of Christian theology there have been and continue to be numerous challenges, but atheism in public discourse and debate is seemingly the new trend. Atheism essentially maintains a militant antagonist relationship with Christian theology whenever the discussion and ideas are presented. Darwinian evolution and especially theistic evolution is taking on more credibility in the secular academic setting. Whole campaigns of misinformation have also begun by major institutions and names like Richard Dawkins to essentially misrepresent the stances of both Intelligent Design and Creationism. The New Atheists as they are called have set the tone that media and establishment types continue, that denies separating and drawing conclusions properly from different realms of epistemology (either revealed or natural theology). Many fail to ever grasp the distinction and then go about labeling inferences of natural theology like Intelligent Design as merely a dressed up form of revealed theology (creationism).[4][5]

Revealed Theology

Main Article: Revealed theology

Revealed theology can also be called biblical theology and is Christian theology founded in the Bible by presupposing its authority. Under a historical-critical exegesis underpinned by a systematic methodology verses are found throughout the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible that contain similar and consistent teachings about the nature of God and His revelation to humanity. Jesus Christ is the central figure that guides revealed theology within Christianity by presupposing His life, death and resurrection as the fulfillment of prophecy. It is in this light that exegesis proceeds and allows the practice of sound hermeneutics.

Natural Theology

Main Article: Natural theology

Natural theology is a realm of Christian theology that expounds on beliefs about the nature of God by nature through excluding divine revelation in holy scriptures as authoritative for theology.[6] Appeal to the authoritative truth from the Bible is called revealed Christian theology and it forms theological doctrines about the nature of God on completely different sets of criteria. This is achieved by exegesis of verses found in the Old Testament and New Testament and deep investigations into the background of the authors. Alternatively natural theology bases itself within the realm of science and philosophy. The natural world is given epistemological authority as a way to know theology. The assumption is that the human mind is rational and able to know and understand nature, but because nature has been created by a rational creator.[7] Philosophical argumentation and scientific evidences are the means by which natural theology is articulated and systematized. Not to falsify specific theories as such but to probe the nature of nature. To show logically that inference to transcendent cause over matter is the necessary being God.

Liberal Christian Theology

Main Article: Liberal theology

Liberal Christianity, liberal Christian theology or just liberal theology are the terms used to articulate and define assumptions of eisegesis that have been historically inherited by celebrating mans reason alone as the sole authority. Embraced during The Age of Enlightenment or what is also called the Age of Reason, during the 18th and 19th century, a time when the superior view of mans reason encroached into everyday life welcomed with broad adoption of its philosophical principles lifting man up to a point which he was ultimate.[8] Inevitably introduced into all realms of life including religious, enlightenment radically changed cultural, social and political milieus that ran counter to the reason of man. Thus governments adopted a secular mindset that pushed further into religious institutions and faith based organizations, attaching separate political institutions with overarching roles that allow co-mingling of values and ideals.

Liberal theology practices an entirely different set of philosophical axioms to inform its religious movement and attempts to reinterpret established doctrines of Christianity.

Notable theologians

References

  1. "it is to address the issue of the probability that revealed theology can be reconciled with reason."What is Natural Theology? By Gifford Lecture Series
  2. Charles H.H. Scobie, “New Directions in Biblical Theology,” Themelios 17.2 (January/February 1992): 4-8.
  3. City of God Book VIII. Chapter 1.— That the Question of Natural Theology is to Be Discussed with Those Philosophers Who Sought a More Excellent Wisdom. [1]
  4. Reuters Gets It Wrong: Intelligent Design Isn't Creationism By Anika Smith. July 26, 2011 for Evolution News and Views
  5. Revealed Theology, Natural Theology, and the Darwinist Concoction of “ID/Creationism.” By StephenB for Uncommon Descent blog
  6. William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell Publishing 2009), pg. 1
  7. Has Science buried God? The quote is: "I believe the Universe is rationally intelligible precisely because there is a Creator-God behind it. How do you account for the rational intelligibility of the Universe? "
  8. Age of Enlightenment By Wikipedia

See Also

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