Theology and Her Children

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One thing for certain: theology does not save anybody, nor does it make people better or better people, and perfect theology does not make perfect people. Even having the correct theology is no assurance of better people. Theology is to life as physics is to flight: it may define the principles of flight, but it is not the actual flying of the aircraft. Keeping the Sabbath or lighting candles at the designated time, or the avoidance of eating pork or the taking of the communion will not make people better, or better people. It may distinguish the practitioners from other people, and provide order to life for a family and community, but it is no guaranteed recipe for making better people. Even “believing in God” or “believing in Jesus” is not always an assurance of better people, as has been proven in many historical persecutions performed in that name.

Of course theology has its place. But on the other hand, “theology” is used by some to gather the Creator of All that is in this vast universe where we mere specks on a speck of a planet floating around in just one huge galaxy of innumerable flaming stars larger than our sun among innumerable other galaxies, and would feign to place Him into a small box triangular, round, or square, with a number ‘3‘ engraved on top. And by golly they are certain of things that are simply not certain and known only by the Creator Himself, be it raptures before or after, life in Heaven or Hell, life before Adam, etc. This has caused no small balagan among us historically including Inquisitions and heretic burnings which, after forty-three years of observation, I have come into a beautiful theology that is as simple as breathing, an existential walk with the living G-d, rather independent of human speculations, quarrels, and folly about what will maybe be and when.

Yeshua said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

It would seem then that ‘the proof is in the pudding’ rather than in the Recipe or, as Yeshua put it so clearly, “Thus by their fruit you will know them” and, “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit,” or vice versa. Good fruit is produced by good folks. It is something you can taste. Let us hope and pray that our theology makes us better people.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published five illustrated books of poetry, painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, and most recently produced THE JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED BIBLE, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.