When people want to harp on the impractical nature of theology, there’s one “go to” analogy that shows up more than any other: the medieval debate about how many angels can dance on the point of a needle.
After all, could there be a better example of theological time wasting? Who really cares? Even if we knew the answer, would it help us feed starving children? Would we be better prepared to share the gospel? Would it accomplish anything useful?
I won’t debate that theologians are sometimes be guilty of wasting time on unimportant matters. But this question may not illustrate what we think. Rather than showing how impractical theology can be, it may be a better illustration of something I talked about in a related post. Theology seeks to help us understand a complex universe created by an infinitely mysterious God. That means it sometimes pursues odd questions, but those often come with unanticipated benefits.
This is the beginning of my latest post over at Christianity.com. Check it out and let me know what you think.