What is theology? A living toward God, a working toward God, a speaking and thinking about God

24 02 2012

William Ames writes in his famous Marrow of Theology:

This life is the spiritual work of the whole man, in which he is brought to enjoy God and act according to his will, and since it certainly has to do with man’s will, it follows that the first and proper subject of theology is the will…

Now since this life so wiled is truly and properly our most important practice, it is self-evident that theology is not a speculative discipline but a practical one- not only in common respect that all disciplines have good practice as their end, but in a special and peculiar manner compared to all others.

Nor is there anything in theology which does not refer to the final end or to the means related to that end – all of which refer directly to practice.

This practice of life is so perfectly reflected in theology that there is no precept of universal truth relevant to living well in domestic economy, morality, political life, or lawmaking which does not rightly pertain to theology.

Theology, therefore, is to us the ultimate and noblest of all exact teaching arts.  It is a guide and a master plan for our higest end, sent in a special manner from God, treating of divine things, tending towards God, and leading man to God.  It may therefore not incorrectly be called a theozoia, a living to God, or a theourgia, a working towards God, as well as a theology. (1.9-13)