The Christian gospel satisfies the total man. Of course it does. We were made for it. The gospel is what all of history is about. Would a good God create us a certain way, love us, and then plan and accomplish anything but what he knew would totally satisfy us?
Christ in the gospel is the superior joy we were made for. He is the hope of our souls. And in Christian teaching, this is often rightly emphasized. He is the greatest treasure (Matthew 13:44).
But the gospel of Christ also satisfies the mind of man. When one sees the love of Christ in the gospel, we might say it satisfies the soul—like satisfying a deep hunger, like quenching a dire thirst (John 6:36). But when one sees the wonders of the gospel, that satisfaction also includes the satisfying of the intellect, the mind. God-created man doesn’t just see the gospel as lovely, he considers it interesting.
As total persons, we were made to not only experience things like a peace that surpasses understanding, or a love that is incomprehensible, but a curiosity that captivates the mind. This we find fully in the Christian gospel, in the Christian Bible even. Treasure troves of glory exist therein—glory weighty enough to fill our souls with love and captivate our minds with interest.
This means that theology—broadly defined as the intellectual study of the things of God—cannot be seen as something only pastors, teachers, or Christian leaders do. ‘Intellectual’ sounds lofty, but everyone uses their intellects; we were made to use our intellects. ‘Study’ sounds laborious or possibly boring, but we all ‘study’ topics continually—whether it be the news, sports, or whatever we’re interested in; we were made to ‘study’ as well.
Theology—or using the mind to think about Christ—is therefore not just a thing some of us Christians can do. ‘Theology’ rather is the word we use to describe what God has designed to ultimately satisfy the mind. He made us to not just feel loved, but to learn. We are designed to dig and probe, search and find. He created us with hearts and minds, both to be satisfied in him. Theology—again, broadly defined as the thoughts about God—is properly the satisfaction of the mind.
The simplicity yet complexity of the gospel shows God’s intention in this. It is simple enough for the ‘unlearned’ (a poor word, but it gets the meaning across) to be able to grasp it. And yet, complex enough for humanity to study its implications forever. Biblical books with their ability to be read by all and yet studied for hours upon end, prove the same. God created a graspable gospel, and an infinitely, intellectually glorious gospel (see Ephesians 3:18-19).
The continual yet ultimately unsatisfied learning of scholars in various subjects proves this as well. People may study and learn amazing truths about various areas of God's world, but without the mind set on God, there's something lacking. Brains were made by him, and to be pointed to him.
God created us to have satisfied souls, yes, but also mesmerized minds. We hunger for such intellectual satisfaction. We may think theology isn’t for us, but it is. We were designed for such gleanings. And God has provided the fulfillment of this longing—as with all our other longings—in his Word, in Christ, in the gospel.
And no matter how deep or detailed you get in this life in thinking about God and his gospel, its infiniteness proves that it’ll still be as if you’ve only just begun. The satisfied search for more satisfaction continues. That’s part of the majesty of it. He’s a quench for our thirst and an endless ocean for our hearts and our minds.
We get to joyfully (with out hearts) ‘study theology’ (with our minds) like this forever.