Operationalization is what happens to a concept so that it can be measured and/or manipulated as a variable in a research design, in a meaningful way.
The psychology of religion is a science, that operationalizes variables for study. What a work colleague doesn’t get, and I am so grateful to him for pointing out, is how God can be operationalized for scientific research. One might begin to understand how a person’s conception of God might be reduced for this purpose – but people’s conceptions of God are not what is at work in this world.
What is at work, is God. He, His love for is bigger than we can imagine, let alone study scientifically, or begin to comprehend:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things, to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (anything else in creation) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus ourLord.
Romans 8 v. 39
God is un-boxable, incomprehensible, un-studiable. We cannot test him scientifically. He doesn’t want to be studied in a scientific way (so far as I understand). He just wants to be loved.