OK I made the heading to catch the eye of the interested. I am suspecting that like me, many are finding it difficult to visit all of the many new threads being started up. I am unashamedly employing a little "eye-catching" because I think this topic is something from which many might gain greater insight. BUT the heading is true nonetheless. The point is "Theology" is actually a science (just like Archaeo-LOGY, Bio-LOGY, Psycho-LOGY, Paleonto-LOGY, etc.). It is the "scientific" study of God and religious beliefs. Even an atheist can be a theologist. And just like any other field of science it is a few facts strung together by a lot of THEORY. I would imagine a conservative estimate might be something like 1 part fact, 5 parts theory. And just like any other science the fact is true but the theory is just opinion. In the case of theology what is actually written in the Bible is fact, but the theories as to what it means are merely opinions, not facts. Wisdom comes in the discernment of which is which. The trouble is when people are asked to produce Biblical support for their declarations all too frequently what they do is quote a passage or two of scripture which may or may not support (or indeed have relevance to) their assertions and then a whole lot of theoretical opinion that comes not from the Bible but from the theories and opinions of whatever theological school of thought they choose to believe. Theories and opinions that may or may not be true. Theories and opinions that most often go far BEYOND what is written without any grounds for doing so, simply being somebodies' opinion of what MIGHT be the truth even though the Bible itself does not declare it to be so. Faith is not theology. Theology is usually extremely convoluted and complex as people try to extrapolate a whole raft of theories and predictions from a few simple passages or even just a few words. Faith, on the other hand, is confoundingly simple (for those who wish to appear wise and learned in the eyes of others). It is merely accepting that if the Lord actually SAYS it (ie. it is written in the Bible) then it is true and a fact of reality (which actually means the same thing. Truth is reality and reality is truth). I am sure many here have probably noted already that I tend to attract disagreements like a dog attracts fleas. This is because while I am endeavouring to point out what the written words of the Bible actually say some people want to argue what the theories and opinions of their particular theology say. It is like trying to compare apples and oranges. The truth as declared by the Lord versus the truth according to the various and varied philosophies, theories and opinions of men. Many try (unsuccessfully) to put me into this or that theological box but, while I am sure some may argue otherwise, the truth is I have no theology, I just believe in the truth of what the Lord has actually written. I claim no authority for truth beyond that which the Lord has written. When I do touch upon something that is beyond what is written I try to be very careful to make it clear that it is beyond what is written and is merely MY opinion or theory, or that of others, or that it is a verifiable fact of the reality about us. The only authorities for truth we have are the word of the Lord and VERIFIABLE FACTS of the reality about us. Pretty much everything else is merely opinion and conjecture which may or may not be true. I am certain discussions would be much more fruitful and edifying if everybody were able to keep a clear and aknowledged, and proper, separation between that which is actually written by the Lord, or is a verifiable FACT of the reality about us, and that which is merely the theories and opinions of a particular theology of man. One thing is for certain - Satan will always be trying very hard to blur and obscure the distinction. The very bright and revealing light of factual reality (and what the Lord has actually written is also a factual reality) will always be an anathema to those whose intent is to deceive and hide the reality of things. Open for discussion, questions, explanations, etc. if any one wishes. Or simply as information for people to ponder in their own minds if that is what they prefer or feel led to do. Regards, Misty.