The Nicene Creed

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Botolph, Oct 6, 2018.

Tags:
  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    761
    Likes Received:
    953
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    We believe in
    But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
    Romans 10:8-10

    God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.
    1 John 4:15
    The Nicene Creed is a statement of Faith. It is intended to be the best statement of ‘the word of faith we proclaim’. At the outset it sets on place that we are a community of faith.

    In some of the earlier expressions the Creed was expressed as ‘I believe’, making it a personal statement of faith. In general now we express it as ‘We believe’ recognising it is something that we all believe together.

    The Alpha Point of any community has to do with what we have in common. In the sailing club (we sail), in a political party (we share common objectives or not), and in the Church we believe. The core essence of the content of that belief is what follows here in the Nicene Creed. This is not the only Creed ever written, however it is the only creed that has had the ascent of any, and in this case three, of the great ecumenical councils of the Church.

    One God,

    Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone (or the Lord is one).
    Deuteronomy 6:4,

    one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
    Ephesians 4:6

    The clear statement here is that God is One. We of course share this view with Judaism and Islam and a number of other religions. In terms of philosophy and theology that makes us monotheistic.

    The distinguishes us from those who believe in many Gods (Polytheists) those who believe in no God (Atheists).

    Those who would accuse us of some form of tritheism corrupt our understanding of the Trinity, because we do not believe in three Gods, but in plain language we believe in one God.

    the Father,

    Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
    Matthew 6:9

    The notion of God as Father is not a matter of gender, but needs to be understood in terms of the patristic tradition in which it was expressed, where the Father was understood as the founder and protector of the family (tribe). As a member of the family your history was bound in the Father and your future was assured in the Father.

    In the communities that gave birth to the Creed the Father was the Alpha Point of family life. In the same we we understand God to be the Alpha point of all life.

    the almighty,

    I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name “The Lord” I did not make myself known to them.
    Exodus 6:3

    There were lots of names given to God in the Old Testament, however the Almighty was one of the most important.

    The great attributes of God, Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnipresent (present in all that is) are in a very real way summed up in the one word, Almighty.

    maker of heaven and earth,

    In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.
    Genesis 1:1-3

    There are subtle translational issues with Hebrew, as this could also read ‘In the beginning when God was already creating’. The point really being that God predates the universe. In the contemporary age where there are big bang theories, and theories of evolution, the Creed is not taking a position on these issues. It is not concerned about however the world came to be, but whoever determined that the word should be at all.

    God the Father is the alpha point of all existence.

    of all that is, seen and unseen.

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers - all things have been created through him and for him.
    Colossians 1:15-16

    Nothing has existence except from God the Father as the alpha point of all existence. The ancients were very much aware that there was more to life than meets the eye. Sometimes in our altogether too clever post scientific world we seem to think that everything comes down to atoms, neutrons and proteins, yet when we ponder deeply on things we see and experience, this is not enough of an explanation.

    There is in everything the life beyond the life. There is skill, natural ability, knowledge, passion, compassion, creativity, love, art, music, to name but a few things that cannot find meaning simply in terms of protons and neutrons. We do but scratch the surface.
     
    anglican74 likes this.
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    761
    Likes Received:
    953
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?’
    Acts 11:17

    In our fractured immensity there is one Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a Catholic Jesus, and a Baptist Jesus. There is not Jesus for the Jews and Jesus for the Gentiles. Just as there is one God, so there is one Son, one Saviour, One Gospel.

    There is in Jesus the absolute commonality with all of us, born of a women, and yet in Jesus there is uniquely the eternal relationship with the Father, and in the uniqueness is the offer of God to all of us for salvation.


    Note: In the Anglican Church of Australia translation of the creed the word And has been replaced with a repetition of ‘we believe’. This has the advantage of making clear the belief statement and reflecting contemporary literary structures where we keep sentences shorter.


    the only Son of God,
    And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
    Matthew 14:33

    Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’
    Matthew 16:16

    Through the course of the New Testament there are many titles that are ascribed to Jesus. The title Son of God is for us one of the most important. There is of course in a general sense the understanding that we are all children of God, as part of his creation. However in the person of Jesus this is unique in his relationship with the Father.


    eternally begotten of the Father,
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
    John 1:1-2

    No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
    John 1:18

    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
    John 3:16


    The force of the statement here is built solidly of the foundation of John’s Gospel and directly confronts the claims of Arius and the Arian Heresy who discounted the divinity of Jesus, in part by discounting the pre-existence of the Son of God.


    In essence what is affirmed in the opening of John’s Gospel is the eternal existence of the ‘logos’ (translated generally as word though the such a translation misses the force intended to tie this to the creative word God speaks in creation). The Son does not come into being in time, but before time, the son is begotten (born), and shares creatively in the bringing of all things into being.


    God from God
    No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
    John 1:18

    The power of the statement here is that Jesus is God, not as in the Father out of nowhere, but Jesus is God from God. Jesus is God, not part of creation, but part of the creator. There is no doubt that part of the purpose of the Nicene Creed as it was constructed was to ensure that the Arian position, which argued that Jesus was the Son of God, and nearly divine, was not the right belief.

    Light from Light,
    The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
    Psalm 27:1

    Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’
    John 8:12;

    And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’
    Matthew 17:2,5

    The notion of God as light, and closely associated with the first creative word ‘let there be light’. Jesus is described as the true light that enlightens all people coming into the world. The Hebrew concept of Shekinah, the glory of God shining in the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, clearly point in the direction of understanding God and Light.


    One of the great I AM statements in John’s Gospel is I am the Light of the World. Those of us who follow Jesus do not walk in darkness, for we have the light of life.

    true God from true God;
    After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
    John 17:1-5

    This statement is a critical part of our Christology. Jesus is not simply a good man, or a great prophet. Jesus is not simply the Son of God, he is God. Jesus is not a sub-God, the second order God, Jesus is God.


    We have declared that we believe that the Father is God and that God is One. The statement that Jesus is God from God, underlines our understanding that the Father and the Son are absolutely one in essence, neither dividing the substance nor confounding the persons.


    It may seem at that the creed is labouring the matter of the divinity of Jesus, and in a way it is doing so quite deliberately. One of the core issues that had been the trigger for the Council in Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381), was the heresy of Arius which denied the divinity of Jesus.


    begotten, not made;
    No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
    John 1:18

    Jesus is begotten of the Father, he is not part of creation, for he exists before creation, and he is part of the creative process. Jesus is the heart and soul of God. He is distinct from that which is created, in that he has an absolute unity with the Father. In a sense divinity is in his DNA.

    of one being with the Father.
    Jesus answered The Father and I are one.
    John 10:30

    This unity of the Son and the Father is told plainly in Scripture. Part of what is being declared in the Nicene Creed is a belief in the Holy Trinity. The statement here is that the Son is of one essence with the Father.


    through him all things were made.
    Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.
    Hebrews 1:1-3


    There is no doubt in the mind of Scripture that the primary cause of creation is the Father, the Creator, however it is also clear that the Son, the logos expressed in Genesis is integrally involved in bringing creation into existence. Whilst we most readily associate the Son with God’s plan of redemption, there is no doubt scriptural evidence that argues for the Son’s participation in the creative acts of God the Father.


    For us all and for our salvation
    This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,
    1 Timothy 2:4-5

    God the Father’s purpose in Jesus among us as one of us is clear, it is for our salvation, and although that message is expressed in several ways in Scripture, redemption, ransom, justification, liberation, that simple term used here in the Creed in Salvation, which in itself is more of an umbrella term, speaking of God Rescuing humanity and giving us a future.


    he came down from heaven,
    For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
    John 6:33-35

    Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.​

    Philippians 2:5-7

    One of the consistent New Testament themes is the pre-existence of Jesus, the Son, who existed before the world began. His birth into the world is not the beginning of the existence of the Son. In this sense Jesus is different to us. In that sense he came down from heaven, he did not begin life here on earth.

    and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
    The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
    Luke 1:35

    Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’
    Luke 1:38

    The word incarnate quite literally means to become flesh. Some people careless speak of the incarnation as if it was the begetting of Jesus. The case is clear in Scripture and in the Creed that the begotten nature of the Son is eternal, before time and before creation. Both the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary participate in this act incarnation.


    Mary’s response the the Angel is critical, as God’s mission in the world requires our participation. Mary’s yes here is the biggest yes in history.

    and became truly human.
    And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
    John 1:14

    The incarnation is central to understanding the Christian Faith. It is the strength of this that enables to crucifixion and resurrection to make sense. In a sense it is here that we understand that it is not about us, it is not about how much we love God, it is about how much God loves us. It is as if God says whatever, I’m in, I’m on your side, I want to play on team, and coming from a position where it seems he has been completely misunderstood. Jesus stands, God from all eternity, our brother in humanity.


    Note: In the Anglican Church of Australia translation the word man has been rendered ‘truly human’. The reflects a proper understanding how English usage has changed and the word man has become more gender specific, so this rendering better reflects the true meaning of the original. There is however now suggestion that Jesus was not a man in the sense of gender.

    For our sake he was crucified
    It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
    Mark 15:25;

    For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,
    1 Corinthians 15:3

    But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
    Isaiah 53:5

    The death of Jesus of Nazareth was by the usual roman method of execution, namely crucifixion. This was the grisly gruesome method of torture to death in public humiliation intended to extract retribution and stir fear into the populace and so maintain the power and force of the empire. The issue in this case is that Jesus had done no wrong, he indeed was without sin, so the weight of this worlds sin is done away with.


    under Pontius Pilate;
    When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’
    John 19:6

    The big point here is that this is an historic event, and it happened under the jurisdiction of Pontius Pilate who was the Roman Governor of Judea.in the period 26-36 AD. The ultimate order for Jesus crucifixion was given by Pilate.


    he suffered death,

    Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
    Mark 8:31

    Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.
    John 19:31-34

    Crucifixion is a slow and painful death where ultimately the life is squeezed out of you by the weight of your own body. There is nothing nice about this, it is a slow and painful death, but also publicly humiliating, and as is testified to in the accounts in the Gospels and occasion to mock and jeer. The reference in the Gospel of John to the pouring out of blood and water is a reference to the separation that happens in the blood following death.


    and was buried.
    Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.
    Luke 23:52-53

    For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried,
    1 Corinthians 15:3-4


    The death of Jesus is not illusory, a great sleep, or a metaphorical death. Jesus death is real, not living, not breathing, and laid out for burial, wrapped in a linen cloth, and laid in a rock hewn tomb. The death that Jesus experienced is the same death or forebears experienced and which in all likelihood in due time we will all experience as well.

    On the third day He rose again,
    But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
    Luke 24:1-5

    The consistent witness of the scriptures and the Church as a whole has been that though Jesus was dead (really dead) three days later he was alive. At the time of its happening the witness of the record is that this was not what the disciples were expecting. Later reflection gave them to believe that they might have expected it, however at the time it was clearly an abrupt change in their understanding of reality. This conviction is not based on the discovery of the empty tomb but on the encounter with the living Jesus.

    in accordance with the Scriptures;
    For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,
    1 Corinthians 15:3-4

    The clear claim here is that the suffering of Jesus was indeed part of the received tradition in the holy texts of the Jewish People, given at that stage the hebrew canon was not finalised, however the Septuagint text was widely is use. No doubt passages such as the suffering servant from Isaiah 53 will spring to mind.

    he ascended into Heaven,
    Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.
    Luke 24:50-51

    When Jesus had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.
    Acts 1:9-10

    Some forty days after the resurrection, the encounter with the Risen Christ changed in character. This change was marked significantly by the ascension of Jesus into heaven. We can not help but draw the parallel between these accounts and the accounts of the Transfiguration. As he has brought divinity to life in our flesh, so he carries our flesh into eternity. Whilst in many senses we seem to absorb the Ascension into the account of the Resurrection, we clearly miss the point when we don;t give it it’s own space in our thinking.

    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
    Mark 16:19

    But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
    Acts 7:55

    The Ascended Son, Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father. This conveys not simply command and authority. The image seated in Mark suggests authority and the image standing suggests command. Even though Jesus is with the Father, he remains in absolute solidarity with humankind.

    He will come again in glory
    For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
    Matthew 24:27

    The return of Jesus at the end of the age is attested to in scripture and accepted as part of the tradition of faith in which we stand. A theology of realised eschatology has merit, however scripture does seem clear that the universe as we know it is not for ever. We live as an eschatological people knowing that he who came at Bethlehem will return in Glory.

    to judge the living and the dead
    He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.
    Acts 10:42

    In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you:
    2 Timothy 4:1

    The role of Jesus Christ as judge of the living and the dead reminds of of the universal sovereignty of the Risen Christ. In the realm beyond time, where death has been defeated it makes no sense to differentiate between the living and the dead. Christ rules, in Justice, Peace and Love over all.

    and his kingdom will have no end.
    For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
    2 Peter 1:11

    While earth’s proud empires rise and fade away his new kingdom will have no ending. The theology of the Kingdom of God is profound in the New Testament, and it is as much about a new rule as it is about a new ruler. It represents a whole new set of values,​
     
    anglican74 likes this.
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    761
    Likes Received:
    953
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    We believe in the Holy Spirit,
    But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
    John 14:26

    The belief in the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity is simply stated in the opening phrase of these section of the Nicene Creed. This was present in the earlier Creed however has been amplified in the Creed as it is now received by the Church.


    Note: As with the section on the Son, the word ‘and’ has been replaced with a we believe in the Australian Anglican translation which affirms the notion of belief and reflects contemporary English usage.

    the Lord,
    ‘Ananias,’ Peter asked, ‘why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!’
    Acts 5:3-4

    When we ascribe the title The Lord to the Holy Spirit we are being clear that we are affirming the divinity of the Holy Spirit or absolute parity with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is a person of the Holy Trinity with equal ranking with the other two persons.


    the giver of life,
    the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
    Genesis 1:2

    As the Nicene Creed is clear about the involvement of The Son in the creation of all things, so to the Holy Spirit is understood to be involved in Creation. This separates the Son and the Holy Spirit from being part of creation, but sees them as uncreate, and partners in creation with the Father.

    who proceeds from the Father;
    ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.
    John 15:26

    In our understanding of the Holy Trinity the procession of the Holy Spirit is from the Father as the alpha point of all that is. Whilst that procession is eternal, the Father is the lynch nut binding the Holy Trinity, providing what the Eastern Orthodox describe as the monarchical integrity of the Godhead in the Father.


    and the Son
    After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
    John 20:20-23

    This passage is one of a very few in scripture where it might be said that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. In so saying, and in the context John 14:26, where the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, in the sense of the ultimate point of origin it is always the Father. The Holy Spirit does not only proceed from the Son, and where this is suggested there is damage done to the doctrine creating a hierarchy in the Trinity which is strongly resisted in the early Church Fathers, and especially by the Eastern Orthodox today.


    Note: There is a supplementary section on this clause in the Creed which is known as the Filioque Clause for those who want to read more about it you will find it towards the end of the document.

    who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified;
    And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’
    Matthew 3:16-17

    This clause reflects the egalitarian nature of the Holy Trinity, laying emphasis to the divinity of the Holy Spirit to be worshipped and glorified together with the Father and the Son.

    who has spoken through the prophets.
    Then Saul sent messengers to take David. When they saw the company of the prophets in a frenzy, with Samuel standing in charge of them, the spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also fell into a prophetic frenzy.
    1 Samuel 19:20

    Then the spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, ‘Say, Thus says the Lord: This is what you think, O house of Israel; I know the things that come into your mind.
    Ezekiel 11:5,13

    Now, while I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell down on my face, cried with a loud voice, and said, ‘Ah Lord God! will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?’

    The Holy Spirit affirms to continuum of God’s action in the world, for the Holy Spirit is not a New Testament phenomenon, but one and the same Spirit who moved on the waters at creation and spoke by the mouth of the prophets in the history of Israel.


    We believe

    Having dealt with our faith in God, which in the original is declared under a single ‘we believe’ and a couple of ands, we now move to the other matters covered in the creed, still as a matter of faith. The first few are the attributes of the Church.


    In one,
    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
    Matthew 16:18

    And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
    John 17:11

    The Church is Christ’s Church and it is Christ’s intention that we be one. Whilst in the current realities this unity is somewhat shaken by our fragmentation, it is important that we recognise and uphold the unity we have with our believing brothers and sisters in faith across the many denominations.

    holy,
    like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
    1 Peter 2:5,9

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

    The Church is called to be holy. The first sense of that word is that we understand that it is not our Church, it is Christ’s Church, and it is set apart for him to do his work on earth. Secondly of course we know that we are called to be better than we are in so many ways.

    catholic,
    And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
    Mark 16:15

    The universality of the Church is expressed in the Greek word Catholic (kata holos - according to the whole). The Church is for all people, in all places and in all ages, and it speaks of the unity of the Church and its mission to all people.


    and apostolic Church.
    They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
    Acts 2:42

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.
    Ephesians 2:19-22

    And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
    Mark 16:15

    There are two sense in which we understand the Church to be apostolic. Firstly in that we are the Church stretching back in continuity to the Apostles, in one community of faith through the ages. We understand that Bishops represent something of that holy continuum for us. The other sense in which the Church is apostolic is that we are the body who has been sent, commission to go into all the world and proclaim the good news.


    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of of sins.
    There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
    Ephesians 4:4-5

    Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Acts 2:38


    The theology of baptism is that there is one baptism. We are baptised into Christ. We may be Anglican, Catholic, Uniting, Orthodox, or whatever, however we are baptised into Christ. If someone moves from one denomination to another, we do not re-baptise them, because there is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’
    John 11:24

    Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished.If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection’, it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him.When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

    Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

    And why are we putting ourselves in danger every hour? I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters, as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. If with merely human hopes I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what would I have gained by it? If the dead are not raised,

    ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’

    Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

    But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

    So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
    1 Corinthians 15:12-49

    Therefore let us go on towards perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith towards God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement.
    Hebrews 6:1-2

    (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
    Revelation 20:5

    A longer passage from 1 Corinthians is included in this section as it seems appropriate. The resurrection, in the first place of Jesus Christ in history and of all believers in the future are central and pivotal to the faith and hope of all Christian people.

    and the life of the world to come.
    Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
    Mark 10:29-30

    We can often be depicted as people who look back to the good old days, yet as Christians we are called to be the people looking forward to the new day, the day of promise. It also underlines for us that we do not understand that promise as based in some theory of a material prosperity gospel, but of the commitment of Jesus to draw us to himself.

    Amen.
    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
    And let all the people say, ‘Amen.’ Praise the Lord!
    Psalm 106:48

    Amen is a Hebrew word meaning ‘Truly - so be it’. It is kind of like verbally signing it to make it your own. It signifies truth in the statement we are making.
     
    anglican74 likes this.
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    761
    Likes Received:
    953
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Short History of the Nicene Creed

    The Nicene Creed is a document that came about as the Church grew and needed to have an understanding of what we did believe, and indeed what we did not believe. Much of the reason why the Nicene Creed came into being was specifically to address heresy. In the face of heresy the Church formed a statement that basically says ‘this is what we believe’.

    In 308 Constantine’s Father who was Caesar died in York, and Constantine was declared Caesar in York by the Roman Legions. On his return to Rome he was challenged by Maxentius and defeated him at the battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. There is a strong tradition that says following a vision of a Chi Rho (the PX symbol understood as a Christogram) that Constantine had his soldiers add this to the armament and attributed this victory to Christ. In 314, with Licinius who was Caesar in the East, the Edict of Milan was issued, which made it legal to profess any given religion including Christianity, and required property stolen or destroyed from the Christians be restored. At this stage Christians may have accounted for 7- 8 % of the population of the Empire. Although Constantine looked very favourably on Christianity he held the position of Pontifex Maximus (The great bridge builder of the Roman Pagan Gods) and was only baptised Christian in the last year of his life.

    Considerable controversy arose in the Church following a priest Arius, in Alexandria who proposed that Jesus was the Son of God, but not actually God. Constantine oversaw a Council of the whole Church at Nicaea in 325 which formed the first version of the Nicene Creed which affirmed the divinity of Jesus and was intended to bring an end to Arianism. Interestingly Constantine was baptised by Eusebius, an Arian Bishop in 337, shortly before his death.

    A new heresy arose round this time called pneumatomachi and the essence of this was that the Holy Spirit was not Divine, but a creation of the Son. A great deal of work was done on the Creed by three important Theologians, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil the Great, and together they are known as the Cappadocian Fathers. They worked collaboratively and independently, and their work is very much reflected in the second edition of the Nicene Creed.

    In 381 a Council was called in Constantinople, and has become the 2nd Ecumenical Council. The major work of this council was to address the heresy of Arianism, again, and the heresy of the Pneumatomachi. The Creed that come from the Council is what we generally refer to as the Nicene Creed, and is the Creed accepted throughout the whole Church. With the exception of one clause we will deal with later, this is the Creed of our Prayer Books.

    Importantly it affirms the divinity of the Father, of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit.

    In 391 Ambrose of Milan write to the Pope arguing for the sufficiency of the Apostles Creed, and indeed this is the earliest evidence we have of that Creed. It is based somewhat on the earlier Roman Symbol, and unlike the Nicene Creed it does not affirm the divinity of Jesus, nor the Holy Spirit, and clearly does not deny it either. The Church in Milan had been an Arian stronghold, and whilst Ambrose was clearly not Arian, he was kind too and well accepted by the Arians. This may account for his proposal. In the way of things, the Apostles Creed ultimately became the Baptismal Creed for the Church in the West, whilst in the East there was always only one creed from the Council, the Nicene Creed.

    The Nestorian heresy arose and challenged the incarnation, and the Nestorians modified the Nicene Creed to suit their purposes. Another Council was called at Ephesus in 431 which condemned the Nestorian Heresy and declared anathemas and anyone who would change the creed by adding to or taking away from the Creed. This is the 3rd Ecumenical Council.

    Further heresy arose about the nature of Christ, which ultimately led to the 4th Ecumenical Council in 451 at Chalcedon. This Council set forth what we receive today as Chalcedonian Christology, the understanding that Jesus Christ was entirely divine and at the same time entirely human in one undivided person. The Fourth Ecumenical Council affirmed the Creed as it stood, and the anathemas of Ephesus.

    The Filioque Clause

    That being the history and on the strength of three ecumenical councils one might think that the Creed was established. For the Church in the East, that is the Creed exactly as they say it to this day.

    In 579 at a regional Council in Toledo - an important city on Spain, Reccared the King, (and there is a backstory for those who want to go and read it) renounced the Arianism of his Father and embraced Chalcedonian Christology and the Nicene Creed. This Council required that the Nicene Creed be said or sung on Sundays and Holy Days. This meant there were a lot more copies required, and the copy monks went into overdrive.

    At some stage over the years it seems that corrupt versions of the Creed appeared including an additional latin phrase ‘et filio’ (meaning and the Son) following ‘who proceeds from the Father’. By the middle of the 700’s this had become ‘filioque’ in France, and it is most likely that Pepin the Short and his son Charlemagne believed that this was the correct version initially. They were also aware that the Byzantine Church did not insert it, and in the early stages they may well have believed that the Byzantines had dropped it. It was a clear marker of distinction between Iberian and Gallican Christianity and Byzantine Christianity, and it is likely that Charlemagne saw a political advantage in that.

    In 794 at the Synod of Frankfurt, under Charlemagne, the decision was taken to insert the Filioque Clause. The stated reason was to control the heresy of Spanish Adoptionism on the Iberian Peninsula. This did not have the blessing of the Pope. In 796, again under Charlemagne the Synod of Friuli moved the position of the Creed to it’s new position in the liturgy, after the Gospel. It seems no consideration was given to the anathemas of Ephesus.

    In 809 following a meeting at Aix La Chapelle Charlemagne sent emissaries to the Pope to enquire if they might use the Filioque. It was clear that the Pope did not want to, and the French basically carried on. The Pope had two silver shields with the Creed in Latin and Greek without the Filioque hung at the tomb of St Peter.

    The matter was again raised in 849 due to a conflict between Eastern and Western Christians in Jerusalem, and the Pope ruled that the Filioque should not be used.

    Following this the was a less than spectacular time for the Papacy - not their best years - and from this emerged the Tusculan Popes. The maintenance of the Papal States was a priority - remember this was 900 years before there was an Italy.

    When Benedict VIII was challenged by an Antipope, Gregory VI, and the Papal States were under pressure from the Saracen in the South and the Normans in the North, he sought the assistance of Henry II of Germany, who restored him to the Papal Throne and dealt with the incursions. On the 14th of February 1014 in St Peter’s Rome Henry II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. This was the first time that the Filioque Clause was used in Rome.

    The shock was felt in Constantinople, for whom the treasured Creed of the Council was a guarantee of Orthodox belief. They challenged the Pope, who argued as the one who sat on the throne of Peter, he was the guarantee of the Catholic Faith. The argument largely centred on the two issues, how can you change the Creed without a Council of the whole Church, and how much authority does the Pope have. This escalated until in 1054 they excommunicated each other, and the Great Schism began. In the 1960’s the excommunications were lifted and much work continues to restore the breach, and the two issues of a thousand years ago remain at the centre.

    Anglicans and the Filioque

    At the time of the split from Rome, the filioque was retained in the Anglican rite, and remained there in the 1549, 1552, 1628, 1662 and many other prayer books. 19th Century Anglican Scholarship in the wake of the Oxford Movement revived an interest in the subject and improved relationships with Orthodox Christians.

    Recently various times the matter has been looked at including The Moscow Agreement 1976, The Lambeth Conference 1978, The Lambeth Conference 1988, The Cyprus Statement 2006, The Lambeth Conference 2008. All these suggest that we should either drop it or at least make it optional.

    A number of national Churches have dropped it, including The Episcopal Church of Scotland, TEC, Anglican Church of Canada, and others, and a number have provided options for it to be omitted including Common Worship the online liturgical resource of the Church of England. The Anglican Church of Australia has not dropped it. The Filioque Clause has been omitted from the enthronement of Archbishops of Canterbury since 1961.

    Procession of the Holy Spirit

    It seemed right having raised the Filioque, honestly to discuss Procession of the Holy Spirit as well as that is the subject matter of the Filioque.

    Whilst we readily see God as the Alpha point of all creation, we recognise that it discussing the relationship of persons within the Holy Trinity we are discussing the most incomprehensible mystery.

    In the first instance the Father is clearly understood to be the source of all being within the Holy Trinity. The Orthodox describe this as the monarchical integrity of the Father.

    The Son is seen to be begotten, and indeed eternally begotten of the Father. There is not a time when the Son was not, however the relation to the Father is begotten, of equal standing in every respect. In the same way the Holy Spirit was understood to have proceeded, and indeed eternally proceeding from the Father. There is not a time when the Spirit was not, however the relation to the Father is proceeding, and of equal standing in every respect. This effectively is the position that was endorsed by the Council of Constantinople.

    Some time later, Augustine of Hippo drew our attention to those occasions when we might rightly speak of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Son.

    Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
    John 20:21-23

    Augustine goes on to make it plain that the Holy Spirit does not have two origins, so where the Holy Spirit has proceeded from the Son, the Holy Spirit has ultimately always proceeded from the Father in the first instance. It is quite possibly a lack of clarity on this matter that causes Eastern Christians the greatest stress on this issue.

    The insertion of the Filioque into the Nicene Creed does not change the truth as expressed by Augustine and others, however it is open to some misinterpretation, and it is well to be clear how we should understand this.

    Australian Churches
    As a matter of interest in Australia the Uniting Church of Australia does not include the Filioque in the Nicene Creed, though they formally endorse a theology of double procession.

    Clearly the Orthodox Eastern Churches in Australia also do not include the Filioque.

    Australian Anglican Version of the Nicene Creed

    In the 1978 An Australian Prayer Book adopted the English text of ICET (International Commision on English Texts), and this is still the normal option in most of the English Speaking Anglican World. In 1995 A Prayer Book for Australia moved to include the text of the English Language Liturgical Consultation and their 1988 text Prayer Together.

    Linguistically there are two issues which may have raised some concerns.

    Firstly the omission of the ‘and’ preceding the belief statements for Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Clearly there is no intent to change the meaning of the original text, yet we need to be sure that we understand that the Nicene Creed is a single belief statement, and not a series of belief statements.

    Secondly, the replacement of ‘and became man’ with ‘and became truly human’. Some conservatives have expressed concern about androgenizing Jesus, who clearly according to all sound theology was born a male human being. The point being made by the change here is that we use ‘man’ in a more gender specific way than in past generations, and this change in the use of language runs the risk that our rendering of the Creed may be delivering a message that was not intended in the original.

    Notes

    Bible quotations included in this document are from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. This resource can be accessed online at www.bible.oremus.org.

    The idea for the document came from a growing awareness that some people expressed the idea that the Creed was in some sense not Biblical.

    The English Language Liturgical Consultation can be found online at www.englishtexts.org.
     
  5. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

    Posts:
    346
    Likes Received:
    123
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Thank you so much for expounding on this. Reading the BCP and understanding the fathers has helped enrich my faith. I have the 1662 BCP which has the Creed of St. Athanasius which includes the filioque clause.

    When Jesus says, "The Father is Greater than I". To be submissive to the father and limited in his human incarnation, and yet to fulfill the service asked of him with complete perfect holiness that could only be the work of the divine, shows the unique but still truly God-like roles of each member of the Trinity. Very misunderstood subject.
     
    Tiffy and anglican74 like this.
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    62
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    One cannot sufficiently stress the fact that Jesus made this statement at a time during which He was 'limited in his human incarnation'. In His 'humbled state', still subject to the law. Phil.2:8, Jesus simply would have been 'above himself' to claim 'equality with the Father', at the time He actually said it. Phil.2:6.

    Yet, now that He has risen and ascended He is restored to equality in all respects with the Father. Phil.2:9-11. John.1:1-5.

    "Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead : and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood."

    But only while he was on earth and not yet ascended to his Father. John.20:17. We might assume that Jesus ascended to his Father before the event recorded in scripture and then 'returned' to complete the final part of his 'mission', which would have been to demonstrate the fact of his resurrection to his followers. Jesus raised no objections to being handled and touched in subsequent appearances to his disciples.
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  7. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    564
    Likes Received:
    509
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian, APA
    The concept of the Trinity is difficult for our human minds to grasp. What makes it somewhat easier for me is to use the term "Godhead." We believe in three distinct and divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Collectively, these three persons make up the Godhead. They are not one being who happens to be called "God," as if God were wearing different masks at different times. And the Son is subordinate to the Father (who begot him) and the Spirit is also subordinate, as the Spirit proceeds from the Father. This is my understanding, at least.
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    62
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    There are no 'subordinate Persons' in The Godhead.

    "And In this Trinity, none is afore, or after other : none is greater or less than another : But the whole Three Persons are co-eternal together : and co-equal."

    I think it may be necessary to define accurately what is meant by 'Persons' when we speak of the nature of God.

    The word is not intended to identify separate 'identities' as if these 'identities' are 'persons' in the way human beings are 'persons'. God is One essentially in being, but in God's being there are three Persons, (with a capital 'P'), yet so as not to form separate and distinct individuals. They are three modes or forms in which the divine essence exists. 'Person' is, however an imperfect expression of the truth inasmuch as the term denotes to us a separate rational and moral individual. But in the being of God there are not three individuals, but three personal self-distictions within the One Divine essence. Then again, personality in man implies independence of will, actions and feelings leading to behaviour peculiar to the person. This cannot be thought of in connection with the Trinity. Each Person is self conscious and self directing, yet never acting independently or in opposition. When we say that God is a Unity we mean that , though God is in essence a threefold centre of life, that life is not split into three. God is one in essence, personality and will. When we say that God is a Trinity in Unity, we mean that there is a unity in diversity, and that the diversity manifests itself in Persons, in characteristics and in operations.

    There is therefore perfect equality in nature, honour and dignity between the Persons. Fatherhood belongs to the very essence of the first Person and it was so from all eternity. It is a personal property of God 'from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named' Eph.3:15

    The Son is called the 'only begotten' perhaps to suggest uniqueness rather than derivation. Christ always claimed for himself a unique relationship to God as Father, and the Jews who listened to him apparently had no illusions about his claims. Indeed they sought to kill him because he 'called God his own Father, making himself equal with God' John.5:18. Furthermore Christ is begotten eternally, not deriving from, but co-existing eternally with God.

    The Spirit is revealed as the One who alone knows the depths of God's nature: 'For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God . . . .
    No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God'
    . (1 Cor.2:10f.) This is saying that the Spirit of God is 'just God, in the innermost essence of God's being'.
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  9. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    564
    Likes Received:
    509
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian, APA
    Hello, Tiffy.

    I understand what the Athanasian Creed states, and I was not arguing that the Father is greater or the Son and Spirit lesser in their divinity, yet I do believe that there is an orthodox (small "O") way to understand the economy of the Holy Trinity and each member of the Trinity's roles.

    I come from an Eastern Orthodox theological background, and this Wikipedia entry is useful to understanding my position:

    "According to the Eastern Orthodox view, the Son is derived from the Father who alone is without cause or origin. This is not a subordination in time, since the Son is co-eternal with the Father or even in terms of the co-equal uncreated nature shared by the Father and Son. However, this view is sometimes considered a form of subordinationism by Western Christians, and the Western view is often viewed by the Eastern Church as being close to Modalism. Regarding this point, the Revised Catechism of the Orthodox Faith notes that "This (the Orthodox view) is sometimes misunderstood (by Christians influenced by Western teachings on the Trinity) as "subordinationism," but this term cannot rightly be applied to the Orthodox teaching because it can be said that God the Father depends on the Son to be called "Father." (italicized emphasis mine)

    This other citation, from the same article on subordinationism is useful as well:


    "Well then, is the exalted Christ in any way subordinate to the Father right now? The answer is both "yes" and "no". It all depends on whether we are speaking about Him in His nature as God, or about Him in his office as the exalted Son of God. On the one hand, He is not subordinate to the Father in His divine essence, status, and majesty. On the other hand, He is, I hold, subordinate to the Father in His vice-regal office and His work as prophet, priest, and king. He is operationally subordinate to the Father. In the present operation of the triune God in the church and the world, He is the mediator between God the Father and humankind. The exalted Christ receives everything from His Father to deliver to us, so that in turn, He can bring us back to the Father." (John Kleinig, Australian Lutheran College, my italics)


    You stated that, "The Son is called the 'only begotten' perhaps to suggest uniqueness rather than derivation." I would have italicized the word "perhaps" as well in that statement, since it demonstrates an element of theological speculation. Where Christ tells us that he is not doing his will, but the will of the Father who sent him, I don't see that having any relationship to his being in the flesh at that time. Christ claimed that he was sent by the Father, and that he was doing the will of the Father. I don't see his human incarnation as having anything to do with it.

    "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." John 6:38

    "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." John 14:10

    I don't reject (obviously) the Athanasian Creed, however I do accept a subordination in function/role between the persons of the Trinity. When I pray each day to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I am not praying to one person operating under different titles. I am praying to the three persons who collectively make-up the single Godhead.
     
  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    62
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    While he was on earth, under the law, Christ was still 'unique' among men. He had two 'natures'. A 'Divine Nature' and a 'human nature'. These two 'natures' were combined inextricably in one person. In this case the one human person was Jesus of Nazareth. His human incarnation actually had quite a lot to do with it, (in my opinion, and I may be wrong, because we are both teetering on the very edge of human understanding here). Christ's human nature was in every way as our human nature is. He was tempted to sin, hungry, cold, miserable, depressed, joyful in the company of others, human in every way. Christ's Divine nature was in all respects the divine nature of The Father. That is why Christ could say the things he said, as you have quoted above. Christ did not merely 'derive' from the Father, either as a human being or as the Second Person of the Trinity. Jesus the Christ, the Anointed of God actually is the Father and the Father is actually Christ. John.14:10. It was God in Christ that was reconciling the world to Himself.

    When we pray to God, we are praying to all three 'Persons', the Godhead, none of whom are an individual person. Because the Trinity is 'indivisible'.

    Indivisible because there is only one God, without body, parts and passions.

    I told you we are teetering on the edge of understanding, and already probably 'out of our depth'. :placeholder8 :hmm: :laugh:
    .
     
  11. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    564
    Likes Received:
    509
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian, APA
    "Jesus the Christ, the Anointed of God actually is the Father and the Father is actually Christ." Sorry, Tiffy. I don't agree.

    John 14:10 doesn't say that at all. Jesus is saying that the Father is in him, not that he is the Father. And the idea that the Father is Christ leads to Patripassianism (Sabellianism), and the idea that God the Father actually died on the cross.
     
    Botolph likes this.
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    761
    Likes Received:
    953
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    The Chalcedonian Definition is instructive here, with due respect to the members of the Oriental Orthodox World who I believe have been misunderstood in this area.

    Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.​
     
    Peteprint likes this.
  13. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    564
    Likes Received:
    509
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian, APA
    This sums up the mystery of the Trinity quite well, even though it specifically addresses the relationship between the Father and the Son.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    62
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    In what way then was "God in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself". 'Himself' must be referring to God, not Jesus. Unless you try to divide Christ's Divinity from his Humanity and declare them separate. That poses problems does it not? Christ and the Father are One. John.10:30.
    .
     
  15. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    564
    Likes Received:
    509
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian, APA
    "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This does not mean that I am Tiffy, or that I am am a female, or that I am Jesus Christ. Words often have symbolic meanings.

    The saying that "I and the Father are one" doesn't mean that Christ is the Father.

    The earlier verse we looked at from John: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? (He doesn't say, "Don't you believe that I am the Father) The words "I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." would be unintelligible if Jesus were the Father.

    God reconciled the world to himself through Christ, not as Christ.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    62
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Christ was referring to his Divinity, not his humanity when he declared God was in him and he was in God. There is nothing unintelligible about 'God being in Christ reconciling the world to God'. Scripture states the fact quite boldly. Christ in his Divinity is God. The Father in his divinity is God. The Holy Spirit in (his, her or both), divinity, (no one can even guess the gender of The Holy Spirit), is God.

    There is only one God. The Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit are all, One God.
    .
     
  17. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    564
    Likes Received:
    509
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian, APA
    I feel that we are either not in agreement, or we are misunderstanding each other.

    You seem to be separating Christ from God more than I am when you keep referencing Christ in his divinity and Christ in his humanity. Christ himself never makes that distinction when referring to himself.

    There is God the Father, there is God the Son, and there is God the Holy Spirit. "

    As the hymn says, "God in three persons, blessed Trinity."

    You mention "the Father in his divinity is God" What is their other than his divinity? The Father never took on flesh and became human, neither did the Holy Spirit.
     
  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    761
    Likes Received:
    953
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Christology is of course a hotbed of contention and 500 years of Church History may not have resolved it. Most of the heterodox opinions in this area stem from over stressing one part of the truth revealed in the Canon of Scripture (and given that we are talking doctrine we will confine that to the proto-canon (meaning first canon not protestant canon as I heard someone suggest the other day)).
    • The was a time before the Son existed - Arianism
    • The Son was born as a normal human being and acquired divinity - Adoptionism
    • The Son is just one of the ways that God appears - Sabellianism
    • The Son gave up his divinity to be born human and took it up again - Spanish Adoptionism
    • Jesus only seem to have a body, but was really a Spirit - Docetism
    • Jesus had a human body and a Divine Mind - Apollinarianism
    • Jesus was a union of flesh and word but not identical to the divine Son - Nestorianism
    • Jesus had two natures but only one will - Monothelitism
    • Jesus was a single physical entity with one nature which was a divine synthesis - Monophysitism
    The standing of the Council of Chalcedon is generally held good in the West and the East, with the exception of the Oriental Orthodox who were accused of being Monophysite whereas it would seem that in truth with Cyril of Alexandria they were Miaphysite which whilst perhaps not the Chalcedonian position, is certainly close enough for us to be happy, and the agreed statement made clear.

    A solid orthodox Christology is at the heart of understanding the Holy Trinity. Some of the predominant changes to the Creed between Nicaea 325 and Constantinople 381 was a solid ramping up of the Christology, due in part to the great work done by the Cappadocian Fathers. The clarification in the statement on Christology by the Council of Chalcedon 451 should be a given.

    I know of no Anglican divine of any note who would want to tear up the Chalcedonian Definition.
     
    Tiffy and Peteprint like this.
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    62
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    You are making the fundamental error of most 'persons' who read the word 'Persons' when it is applied to the One and only God, without body, parts, passions.

    You have also misquoted Reginald Heber (1783-1826) who wrote the words to the hymn you mentioned.

    Reginald Heber correctly wrote: "God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!"

    The capital 'P' is there for a purpose. It denotes the fact that the Persons of God are not separate identities like human persons. God is ONE God in three Persons. There is nothing whatever separate about them. God is ONE God, without body, parts or passions, and cannot be separated into parts of any sort.

    Once again you are thinking that the Trinity is made up of a distinct group of persons, each of whom are God. You are placing The Father up in heaven, the Son down here on earth, and the Holy Spirit everywhere including heaven and earth. All in different places at the same time, as if they are separate individuals. God is One. God is in heaven and on earth at all times, (omnipresent), God was on earth in Jesus and omnipresent at all times as the Holy Spirit. God is also in heaven as Jesus, as The Father and as The Holy Spirit. And there has always been and will always be One God, without body, parts, or passions.

    God is One, without body, parts or passions. (Article 1). Being article 1 it needs to be considered first of all, before we move on to any other observations concerning God in a Trinitarian context.
    .
     
  20. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    931
    Likes Received:
    750
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    This is a decent account of the Nicene Creed, but it suffers from a flaw: insufficient engagement with the primary sources. Interpreting the Nicene Creed literally, in a flat way, is insufficient, because it is a part of a tradition, in the context of the life of the Church, which cannot be omitted without omitting material aspects of the explanation. I like how William Beveridge exegetes the second clause very much. What did the Reformers say of the filioque? These questions are more important than what any of us may personally 'feel' about the filioque.
     

Share This Page