Consider the following proposition as a key to understanding the Catholic-Christian approach to theology:
The proper Catholic-Christian answer to any theological question is always
"both/and," rather than "either/or."
At first glance, this might seem ridiculous or contradictory. Isn't God absolute? Isn't there just one truth, as opposed to error? Indeed, this proposal does not imply that a statement and its direct negation are both true ("A is B" and "A is not B"). It would obviously be false to claim, for example, that "God is Love" and "God is not Love," or "Jesus is divine" and "Jesus is not divine."
However, just as every coin has both a "heads" and a "tails" side, just as every battery has both a "positive" and a "negative" terminal, and just as the earth has both a North Pole and a South Pole, so also there are always (at least) two "sides" or "poles" to the Catholic-Christian answer to any theological question. These opposite poles often seem far apart and difficult to hold together. It is rarely easy to understand and balance both sides of an issue, just as we can't easily see both sides of a coin at the same time (without a mirror, at least!). Yet the "opposite" sides are seldom really "contradictions," even if there may be some strong "tensions" between them.
For example, Christians believe that Jesus is both God and human. To a non-Christian, this might seem ridiculous. Even for a Christian, it is hard to understand or explain. How can anything or anyone be both divine and human? Or how can God be both transcendent and immanent? Or how can the Bible be both the Word of God and human literature? Can both creation and evolution be true somehow? Can both science and religion be reconciled? The Catholic answer to all these questions is YES, both the one side and its opposite not only can, but must be held together in tension, even if they seem to be contradictory, in order to understand the whole truth, the whole of the complex reality.