We learn from Eusebius, the Church historian, that the Church conferred the title of ‘Theologian’ on St. John the Evangelist and on St. Gregory of Naziansus. St. John proclaimed the ‘Theosness of Logos’ and St. Gregory advocated the faith in the Holy Trinity. It was under certain special circumstances that they proclaimed that Logos is God. On the one hand, while the Greek thinkers accepted Logos only as a representative force proceeding from God, on the other, the Arian heretics denied the Theosness’ of Jesus Christ , the second person in the Trinity. These incorrect views urged the early Fathers of the Church to a proper study of the true relationship of the persons of the Holy Trinity. Thus they were led to develop theology as a branch of learning that defines the true nature of the Trinity.
The word theology was widely used by the Classical Greek thinkers to describe their Gods. Great poets like Homer and Hasius have often used this term while describing the gods and their deeds. In ‘The Republic’, Plato uses ‘theology’ to refer to the Supreme Reality or the Ultimate Ground of all things (The Republic 379A)
Aristotle uses the term, ‘theology’, to mean the branch of philosophy that connects the universe to the Ultimate Reality that is the Unmoved Mover (‘Metaphysics’102). He speaks of the three fields of knowledge, namely physics, Mathematics and Theology, In his opinion, theology is the most important of the three branches.
The Stoics of the pre-Christian times divided theology into three branches: mystical, natural and civil, and described theology as the science explaining the knowledge obtained by spiritual exercises. St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen are two of the early Christian writers who have attempted a definition of theology. According to them, theology deals with the Incarnation of our Lord. Origen in his book interpreting the Gospel according to St. John asserts that the true theologian is the one who witnesses the Lord. Later in the 4th centaury A. D with the rise of the Arian heresy the term ‘theology’ is seen to have been used in the Church to refer to the relationship of the persons in the Holy Trinity.
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