So, the bottom line is, that —first of all—no amount of theology can substitute for faith; second, no amount of theology is prerequisite to faith. How then does hearing come by the word of God? Simple: the word of God is the word that God speaks, which is personal and immediate, rather than the words spoken about God, which are general and to some degree impersonal. What value is there then in theology? That is like asking what value there is in breathing. The man of faith can no more avoid doing theology than he can avoid breathing. This is no more than to say that man is a rational creature and by nature applies thought to all his experiences. But one cannot gain an experience by thinking about it; nor can he think about an experience in a full and meaningful way until he has had it. Certainly he can talk of it, based upon the testimony and experience of others who have had it (or claiim to have had it), but he can in no way speak, as we say, with any kind of authority concerning it. In other words, if we may be as blunt as possible: Faith happens when one encounters God, and such an encounter can be described (in some measure), meditated on, discussed, used as a basis for all kinds of logical conclusions; but none of those descriptions or discussion or conclusions can produce faith. Only God meeting man can do that.