systematic and rational study of concepts of God

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine.

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  • All my theology is reduced to this narrow compass — "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."
    • Archibald Alexander, p. 580. Quote in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).


  • When all is said and done, science is about things and theology is about words. Things behave in the same way everywhere, but words do not. ... Theology works in one culture alone. If you have not grown up in Polkinghorne's culture, where words such as "incarnation" and "trinity" have a profound meaning, you cannot share his vision.
  • It is a curious accident of history that the Christian religion became heavily involved with theology. No other religion finds it necessary to formulate elaborately precise statements about the abstract qualities and relationships of gods and humans. ...The idea that God may be approached and understood through intellectual analysis is uniquely Christian. ...It is probably not an accident that modern science grew explosively in Christian Europe and left the rest of the world behind. A thousand years of theological disputes nurtured the habit of analytical thinking that could also be applied to the analysis of natural phenomena. On the other hand, the close historical relations between theology and science have caused conflicts between science and Christianity that does not exist between science and other religions.
  • The common root of modern science and Christian theology was Greek philosophy. The historical accident that caused the Christian religion to become heavily theological was the fact that Jesus was born in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire at the time when the prevailing culture was profoundly Greek.


  • Die Theologie ist die Anthropologie.


  • If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.
    • The Guardian, "One side can be wrong", 1 September 2005.
  • Theology must be man's critical reflection on himself, on his own basic principles. Only with this approach will theology be a serious discourse, aware of itself, in full possession of its conceptual elements.


  • We can no more have exact religious thinking without theology, than exact mensuration and astronomy without mathematics, or exact iron-making without chemistry.
    • John Hall, p. 580. Quote in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • The theological systems of men and schools of men are determined always by the character of their ideal of Christ, the central fact of the Christian system.
    • Josiah Gilbert Holland, p. 580. Quote in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).


  • Theological condemnation of others, which breaks off fellowship in either judgment or contempt, is impermissible.


  • Theology recognizes the contingency of human existence only to derive it from a necessary being, that is, to remove it. Theology makes use of philosophical wonder only for the purpose of motivating an affirmation which ends it. Philosophy, on the other hand, arouses us to what is problematic in our own existence and in that of the world, to such a point that we shall never be cured of searching for a solution.


  • Comparative theology testifies that Jesus Christ, who is not less truly the incarnation of the Christian's theology than of the Christian's God, is indeed the desire of the nations, but not their product, their invention, or their discovery.
    • George D. B. Pepper, p. 580. Quote in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).


  • All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts not only because of their historical development - in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent God became the omnipotent lawgiver-but also because of their systematic structure, the recognition of which is necessary for a sociological consideration of these concepts. The exception in jurisprudence is analogous to the miracle in theology. Only by being aware of this analogy can we appreciate the manner in which the philosophical ideas of the state developed in the last centuries.
    • Carl Schmitt, Political Theology (1922; 1934), Ch. 3. Political Theology; translated by George Schwab.

  • A man must have a stout digestion to feed upon some men's theology; no sap, no sweetness, no life, but all stern accuracy, and fleshless definition. Proclaimed without tenderness, and argued without affection, the gospel from such men rather resembles a missile from a catapult than bread from a Father's hand.
    • Charles Spurgeon, p. 580. Quote in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

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