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.