Reconstructing Faith: What Is God Like?

Systematic theology and its practical impacts

Eric Sentell
Backyard Church
Published in
4 min readJun 13, 2024


Photo by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash

Trying to figure out God is like trying to nail jello to a wall. It’s surprisingly difficult, predictably messy, and intensely frustrating for anyone who expects to do it.

Still, it’s important to try. We’ll never succeed in fully grasping the nature of God, but our answer to the question “What’s God like?” can shape our relationship to whatever we think God might be, to fellow believers, and to non-believers.

Coming up with a satisfactory answer to “What’s God like?” is essential for reconstructing one’s faith and spirituality. Discarding ideas that no longer work and embracing new ideas can enable faith deconstructors to keep believing — with or without the structures of organized religion.

Defining Systematic Theology

Ask ten theologians, “What is theology?” and you will get ten different answers. All of the answers will riff on “the study of God,” but each answer will include the person’s unique lens and perspective about how to best study and understand God.

The same seems to be true for “systematic theology.” Here are a few different definitions:

  • a form of theology in which the aim is to arrange religious truths in a…