Theology refers to science that focuses on studying religious practices and beliefs while attempting to help believers or Christians to understand God better. Theology is seen as faith seeking understanding and is essential for the life of a Christian as it is faith's natural consequence, probes human beings to gain and known the truth more profound, and through own salvation cooperate with God (Migliore 2). Theology is both a science of revelation and salvation whose purpose is to save humanity. Faith is a way of life for Christians and defines as firm belief and trust in God and His will ("Definition of Faith"). Reason refers to participation in divine perfection by knowing participates' likeness and image (Morales and Fidalgo). The paper will discuss the role of reason in theology such as analyzing data, laying the foundation, defends the faith, deepens faith mysteries, and demonstrate public and universal expression.
Reason analyzes and assesses data and their values in theology. Data from experience and scripture creates a framework for a purpose which provides a consistent and coherence to express the truth. Theory moves forward according to universal laws of knowledge and method of intellect, and the data is useful in defining objects such as constitutive elements and properties and discovering relationships (Morales & Fidalgo). It gives critical sense and cogent arguments, and avoid confusion between incoherent and supernatural, legendary and traditional, and bizarre with mysterious through correcting fideistic attitudes.
Reason lays the foundation for the preface of faith in theology. Reason and faith are authority sources upon which beliefs rest. The basis of faith is revelation authority which involves beliefs of the explicit or implicit reference which are either strictly demonstrable or informs good practices and answers from a higher power. Reason and faith work hand in hand as it involves demonstrability to a claim to ensure its truthfulness or authoritativeness (Morales & Fidalgo). Theological reasoning aims at showing that God's word should be believed and accepted and in believing God, the church, and Jesus Christ, with faith growing from a godly grace and not an irrational vacuum (Migliore). Through reasoning, Christianity is no longer viewed as a religion of ignorance but as a guide to the spirit that synthesizes knowledge from scripture and experience.
Reason has a role in the theology of defending the faith. A conflict exists between reason and faith as Isaiah and Peter state that God expects us to reason best and even share our reasoning with other people (King James Version, Isaiah 1.18; 1 Peter 3.15). However, God asks us to live by faith and not by sight, to trust him, and not to lean on own understanding. Faith is a prerequisite of reason whereby to reason; one must have faith and confidence on logic laws which prescribe a reasoning chain (Lisle). It means that a Christian expects a reasoning standard reflecting on God's word and that faith is the logical foundation of reason with which its consistency must be maintained to avoid borrowing a worldview on issues.
Reason has a role in theology by deepening mysteries of faith. Faith according to Paul is "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (English Standard Version, Hebrews 11. 1). Some mysteries of faith include the church, resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ, and the Eucharist. Through reason, theology aims to understand the truth of faith, its fittingness, its importance, depth and sense and finding the connection of the mysteries (Morales and Fidalgo). Through reasoning, faith is seen not as wishful thinking or blind but as a way to impact reality by informing experiences negatively and positively and defining knowledge of what we know or not.
Reason demonstrates public and universal expression in theology. Definition of an object's constitutive and property elements bring the content of faith universally which can be taught and communicated to others. Through the universal expression, the Christian message can transform society without confining itself to the individual perception. Through reasoning, theology, and its teachers can spread values such as righteousness, joy, peace, truth, compassion, justice, and harmony of the Kingdom (Morales & Fidalgo). Therefore, reason enables expression by justifying beliefs and apportioning them to various probability degrees through revelation and evidence, and concluding that it is more rational to believe in God's existence as the belief gain is infinite compared to unbelief.
Additionally, reason clarifies theology through philosophy. Philosophy aims at investigating creatures as they are while theology aims at investigating things through God's view. Philosophy involves human learning, and through reasoning, things not revealed can be extracted from their theological context. Since theology is a revelation science, human learning such as metaphysical knowledge and physical sciences can be investigated solely without losing its philosophical nature (Hasel 174). Philosophy, therefore, helps in understanding better Christian theology such as the holy trinity, Christ Jesus, death, resurrection, and Eucharist.
Conclusively, reason plays important roles in theology in deepening mysteries of faith. Through analyzing data, laying the preface and increasing of faith and its mysteries, demonstrating public and universal expression, theology becomes easy in investigating creatures and things while involving God. Through reason, the scriptures and experience, a foundation of theology are formed by providing consistency and coherence in expressing the truth. Though there is a conflict between reason and faith, consistent faith becomes a logical foundation of reason by maintaining a view on God's word as opposed to world views on issues of life. Reason should, therefore, be applied consistently and repeatedly in theology to form a foundation to understand creatures and their behaviours with God.
"Definition of Faith". Allaboutreligion.Org, 2018, https://www.allaboutreligion.org/definition-of-faith-faq.htm
English Standard Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
Hasel, Frank M. "Theology and the role of reason." Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 4.2 (1993): 9.
Lisle, Jason. "Faith Vs. Reason". Answers In Genesis, 2013, https://answersingenesis.org/apologetics/faith-vs-reason/.
Migliore, Daniel L. Faith seeking understanding: An introduction to Christian theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2014.
Morales, Jose, and Jose Manuel Fidalgo. "Introduction To Theology Topic 4: The Role Of Human Reason In Theology (1) - O Clarim". Oclarim.Com.Mo, 2016, https://www.oclarim.com.mo/en/2016/12/17/introduction-to-theology-topic-4-the-role-of-human-reason-in-theology-1/. Accessed 28 Mar 2019.
The Bible. King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
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