Theology is a branch of the philosophical school of metaphysics that concerns itself with the questions pertaining to deity. Most people are familiar with the idea of theological inquiry with in the context of Judeao-Christian thought. It is, however, a subject of serious consideration within the pagan world as well. Many authors have contributed an impressive amount to the body of literature focused upon this topic from various pagan perspectives.
A small list of classical questions considered in any theological discussion are:
- What is the nature of God/ess(s) (aka the Divine)?
- What is the relationship between the Divine and the Universe?
- What is the relationship between the Divine and humanity?
- What is the meaning of Suffering? Why does Suffering happen?
- What is the nature of Good?
- What is the nature of Evil?
Elements of these questions have been presaged by our earlier discussion of Cosmology*. As such, we focus strictly upon the questions above with respect to the Divine. If additional questions are of interest to any of you, my Dear Readers, please post them in the comments. I shall do my best to answer them or provide guidance in determining the answer for yourselves**.
What is the nature of the Divine?
The Divine is the spiritual consciousness of the Universe. It can be experienced as a singular entity or as an entire pantheon of entities. Either experience is valid, as this is revealed via personal gnosis. Those who do not experience the spiritual consciousness of the universe as an entity have their own unique personal gnosis of the Divine. This should not be discredited or scorned, for all personal gnosis is accurate for the facet of the Divine that the individual is aware of.
What is the relationship between the Divine and the Universe?
The Divine permeates the Universe, thus being panentheistic. It also has the capacity to be transcendent of the physical Universe, thus allowing for the transpersonal deity that is so recognizable in the major forms of monotheism around the world. The Divine can also be understood to be an integral element of the Universe, inseparable and thus allowing for pantheism. All apparent contradiction between the different aspects of the Divine are resolved by the mystery of the Divine’s nature, as revealed by personal gnosis.
What is the relationship between the Divine and humanity?
Humans are both dependent upon the Divine for their existence and separate from the Divine, existing upon their own merits*** . The nature of the relationship between the Divine and humanity is paradoxical. It is one that can not be described directly but only by way of figurative language. Much of the language used is logically absurd, this, however, is because of the inherent weaknesses in language to describe sensory information with great exactness.
The Divine, with its capacity for presenting as individual deities, additionally can have a personal relationship with a given human. This relationship is defined by the individual deity and the person involved with them, much like any other personal relationship.
What is the meaning of Suffering? Why does Suffering happen?
Suffering has no intrinsic meaning. Humans have the capacity to give meaning to suffering within the context of their lives and experiences. The same is true for deities which have suffered****. Suffering is a natural part of the process of being alive. It is a morally neutral event in itself.
What is the nature of Good?
The concept of good can be particularly thorny. The common use of the term describes that which is morally correct. The precept of proper relationship between humanity, itself, the Universe, and the Divine can be approximated by the code of Virtue. Thus, good can be considered a synonym for honorable or virtuous.
What is the nature of Evil?
Evil is understood as the opposite of good. One who is evil, disrespects life and is cavalier in their approach to bringing death to other life forms. They sow intentional and willful suffering amongst other life forms, suffering that is in excess of necessity. Those who are evil spread strife needlessly. They fail to act honorably and violate the natural rights of others*****.
** A vast amount of the theology is build upon the unique relationship between the practitioner and the Divine. As such, there will be variations that come into play because of the differences in these individual relationships. What is presented here is to be considered a general guide and a reflection of my personal relationship with the Divine.
*** This can also hold true for all forms of life and spiritual beings.
**** It is possible to argue this can be the case with other lifeforms as well.
***** The natural rights of a person are:
- Self-determination and freedom of thought
- Freedom of expression
- To live without the will of another imposed upon them with out their consent
- To live without the actions of another imposing suffering upon them without their consent
- To interact with society at their own discretion and decision
- To defend themselves from others who intend them harm