In order to understand and fully define what theology is, a few key terms must be understood and defined first - namely, Faith and Divine Revelation.
- Faith: St. Anselm says that Faith is a kind of knowledge, an enlargement of understanding in first order. Faith is an ascent, caused by a gift of divine grace, to a type of knowledge, which is revealed, supernaturally, by God.
- Divine Revelation: Divine Revelation contains things that are revealed by God, and most importantly in a person: Jesus Christ. St. John’s Gospel puts the matter into its classical formulation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Theology as a science.
Theology is a science, the “divine science”, that requires intellectual effort to understand the presuppositions, content, and consequences of divine revelation. So, is that opposed to simple faith and humble piety? Not in the least, if the saints are to be trusted. According to some of them—St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine, for example—to avoid theological discipline, provided one is capable of undertaking it, would be an abdication of the faith and a falsification of the piety that one practices.
Is the study of historical, linguistic, and cultural knowledge of theology artificial?
If one defines faith simply by feeling or emotion, then, yes, it would seem artificial. But the Christian faith is saving belief and saving knowledge. Not simply synonymous with the will, and still less with feeling, faith is preeminently God’s work in us, not our own work in us. “God is greater than our hearts” (John 3:20) St. John says, and a good thing too! Our hearts can be very warped indeed. God’s supernatural revelation, on the other hand, brings us what we cannot otherwise have or know, and this revelation is the subject matter of the science known as theology.
Join Professor Ronald Thomas, then, as he introduces you to the most important study a person can undertake - the study of “the queen of all sciences.”
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