February 7


Why Study Theology?

By Tresta Neil

Called to Learn, Principles, Spiritual Growth, Theology Tree Curriculum

Have you ever studied theology? Whenever I thought of theology I thought of a attending Catholic seminary and learning how to teach about God at the pulpit. (This idea may have come from a movie I watched or when I attended Catholic mass with my friends. ) In the Lectures on Faith, a book written by Joseph Smith and other leaders in the church about faith, states, “Faith is truly the first principle in the science of theology.” This statement brought up many questions for me, as I hope it does for you. Faith, we learn from a young age, is the first principle (see the fourth Article of Faith). Faith is “future oriented dependence” on God. Faith is what framed the worlds, the power that organized the planets and created every visible creation. So, then, what is the “Science of Theology?”

I went to “my professors,” CES classes and lectures, for the answer.

Science is an area of knowledge that is the object of study, covering general truth or operations of general laws especially as obtained or tested through the scientific method. Theology is “the study of religious faith experiences and practices; understanding the study of God and God’s relationship to the world.” The Science of Theology is “an exact science” (it must be exact or it is not Godly). The Scientific Method is the rules and methods for the pursuit of knowledge involving the finding and stating of problems. The collection of facts through observation and experiment. And the making and testing ideas that need to be proven right or wrong. (taken from David Christensen’s lessons from the Lectures on Faith and Parley P. Pratt’s book, “The Science of Theology”)

Faith is used throughout the scientific method. Let’s take a look at how Alma used it. First, you plant a seed with faith that it will grow. As it grows and you have faith, it will continue to grow and produce fruit (results) holding to the vision of what the fruit will be like, taste, what you’ll make with it, etc. This is the time (during the waiting) that spiritual gifts are given developed and where faith is increased. Faith is used in each step of the process until the result is received.

You can try this with everything you are learning.

Say you want to learn about crystals and how they grow. Open your scriptures up to Alma 32:26 and insert what you are questioning or testing in the following manner

 Now, we will compare [what you are testing] unto a seed (principle). Now, if ye give place, that a [what you are testing] may be planted in your heart, behold, if [what you are testing] be a true seed, or a good seed (correct principle), if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed (correct principle), or that the [what you are testing] is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. (continue…on your own)

Watch how at each step of learning you are growing the understanding of how the principle of growth is applied to crystals. You are using the scientific method, proving the principle you have chosen is true or false, works or does not.

Why study Theology? Because, Theology, Christ’s relationship with the world, is throughout ALL learning, every subject. Theology is the first science we should study.

Try replacing “what you are testing” with “an attribute of Christ.”

What will you do differently because of this study?

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