Theology is the study of God. Despite millennia of scholarly effort, our knowledge of the Divine is limited and imperfect, and it always will be. God is a Mystery. Human minds are simply not equipped to grasp the essence of the Being we know as God.
Each writer’s list on this topic may vary, according to the traditions and teachings of the faith community to which he or she belongs. As a Catholic Christian, my list is as follows:
1.) God exists. From the order and harmony of the universe, to the complexity and wonder of a new-born baby, I am convinced that there is a God. Humanity instinctively senses the existence of a Higher Power. Early peoples who knew nothing of the true God, invented false gods, because they had an innate need to worship something beyond the scope of the human senses.
2,) God is the Creator. The story of creation in the Book of Genesis in the Bible may be partly mythical, but it contains many important nuggets of truth: God is the Creator of everything; all God created was good; our first parents introduced sin and evil into the world.
3.) God is a Triune God. In God there are three divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is another mystery, beyond our understanding while we remain on earth. St. Patrick tried to explain it using a shamrock leaf: one leaf with three separate parts. Alternately, when three separate notes are played together on a piano, they can make one harmonious chord. These are only weak human attempts to explain a supernatural mystery.
4.) God wants us to know Him. By ourselves we could never know God. So, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, Jesus, came to earth in human form so we could know what God is like. Jesus became like us. He lived among us for thirty-three years. He taught, healed the sick, and performed miracles. Jesus said, “The Father and I are one.” John 10:30
5.) God is love. Jesus had another purpose in coming to earth. Every human offends God by deliberately sinning. These offences deserve punishment. Mere humans could not atone sufficiently to a Supreme Being. Jesus, because he was God was able to atone effectively for all the sins ever committed on earth. Because he was also man, he could stand in our place and offer himself in sacrifice for humanity’s transgressions. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15: 13.
6.) God is all-knowing. God dwells in Eternity where there is no time, no past, present nor future. He is aware of everything at once. As the First Cause, he knows all secrets of creation. Nothing can be hidden from God. “…for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20.
7.) God is all-powerful. We have many evidences of God’s power, from the vastness and complexity of the universe, to the fragile, velvety softness of a rose petal, everything originated with him. “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible’.” Matthew 19: 26
8.) God is all-just. Although God is love, he also embodies the perfection of every virtue, including justice. Unrepentant sinners will be punished. “…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgement.” 2 Peter 2: 9
9.) God has prepared a place for us after death. Jesus promised the night before he died, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14: 2-3.
10.) God is in charge. We humans often fret and worry about day-to-day problems and difficulties, when we should relax and remember that the God who made us and loves us is still in charge of everything. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10: 29-31
It has now been about 200o years since Jesus walked the earth. Theologians continue to discuss the finer points of his teaching, and will probably continue to do so until the Second Coming. Ultimately God is Mystery and can never be completely known and understood by human beings.
For the rest of us, the non-theologians, the fact that God exists, that he encompasses the perfection of every virtue and all power, that he loves us, that he has prepared an eternal home for us, and that he is in charge of all earthly matters, including those over which we fret and worry, is enough. We can relax and enjoy the many good gifts with which the Triune God has generously blessed us.