Theology or God’s Word?

When looking at religious arguments, it always strikes me how often theologians and religious people try to describe who God is and what He can and can’t do.

re·li·gion, rəˈlijən/, noun

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

 

the·ol·o·gy, THēˈäləjē/, noun

the study of the nature of God and religious belief.

religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed.

When Jesus was faced with theological arguments, he always sidestepped them.

John 4:19-20
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

The woman saw someone who had religious standing and wanted to engage in a theological discussion. But Jesus would not go down that path, but changed the subject –

John 4:21-23
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.

Here’s another example from the book of John:

John 9:1-3:
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.

The disciples had brought their religious training into this situation – who sinned? But Jesus negated this theology and turned it to how God saw it.

Just how productive are theological ideas? Christ seemed to avoid them.

Man thinks that he can determine the mind of God, His motivations and what He intends. All man needs to do is think really carefully about God and he can figure out what His thoughts, His limitations, and His motivations are. What does God say to this?

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Micah 4:12
But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.

God’s Word will tell us what His thoughts are to us.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

But God knows the thoughts of man.

Psalms 94:11
the LORD, knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

 

I Corinthians 3:20
and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

 

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Let’s take a look at the first theological discussion in the bible in Genesis 3.

Genesis 3:4, 5
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The adversary made a declaration about God, what He knows and what He does. What the devil said was, of course, wrong and absolutely opposed to what God said in Genesis 2:17.

Can man determine who and what God is? Can man know His thoughts outside of His Word?

Isaiah 29:16
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay; that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

So how do we know about God: is it from man’s theology or philosophy? Or is it from His Word?

Psalms 147:5
Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

 

Jeremiah 9:23,24
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches;
but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practice steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the LORD.”

 

John 4:24
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

 

Deuteronomy 32:4
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

 

Numbers 23:19
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

 

Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Also on this website, we will post a list of all the verses where God tells us Who He is and What He can do. You will be able to add to this list as described in the article—it is a work in progress.

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