The Central Question for Theology

What is the foundational theological question? Some would say the question is “Who is God?” Others, “Who am I?” (Or, one could split the difference and say, “Who am I in relation to God?”

In Face of Mystery: Constructive Theology, Gordon D. Kaufman gives his view, writing:

The central question for theology is not merely, or even preeminently, who or what God is, or how God is to be distinguished from the idols; nor is it what humanity is, and what the central problems of human existence are. It is not primarily a speculative question, a problem of knowledge at all. Most fundamentally it is a practical question: How are we to live? To what should we devote ourselves? To what cause give ourselves? Put in religious terms: How can we truly serve God? What is proper worship?

I was reminded when I read this of some lines of Pedro Arrupe that I am fond of giving people to reflect on:

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
That is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
What you will do with your evenings,
How you spend your weekends,
What you read,
Who you know,
What breaks your heart,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

How are we to live? Don’t spend your time thinking about God or studying about God or talking about God. Instead, fall in love with God. Fall in love with God and the question of how we are to live will answer itself.


One thought on “The Central Question for Theology

  1. Devotion has been making its way into my life lately as apart from typical worship. While mass might be considered a part of it I think more important is our devotion to ourselves and to others will equal devotion to God. Or not to make God the object God equals devotion to self and others. A simple equation. I think a particular community of faith in terms of parish or congregation even denomination might be part of it but its not limited to that. Community extends outside of like-minded people. It includes the other. The enemy. If you don’t live your enemy you don’t live God. True devotion to the enemy consists to me in treating them like an estranged sibling who you want back.

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