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Creeds 3: God the Father1

APOSTLES’ CREED

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”2.

NICENE CREED

“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen”3.


Our two central creeds agree that God is Father; almighty; maker of heaven and earth. However, the Nicene Creed does what, earlier4, we said it did – it includes more detailed expression of the beliefs in order to defend the faith against attack from those who were teaching “errors”. The expansions are: God is “one”; God is maker of “all that is, seen and unseen”.


You might think that “one” God is obvious, but from earliest times Christianity had to continue its assertion, from its Jewish roots, that monotheism5 is right and polytheism6 is wrong7. We must also remember that there is a built-in snare for Christians [and our critics] even today. We say we believe in one God, but then we say the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God… leading to the criticism that we actually have three Gods! We shall deal with the Trinity at some other time, because, though the creeds are thoroughly Trinitarian in what they say, there is no mention of “the Trinity” in our two main creeds8!


“Of all that is, seen and unseen” is a firmer statement of “heaven and earth” – an assertion that absolutely everything there is comes from God.


Both creeds agree that God is “Father” – but although there may be a lot of cultural background to the idea of the maleness of God [and it is the way many people talk of God], the “Father” idea, when applied to God, conveys the idea of God as the Father of Jesus Christ and as “Father”, that is “creator”, of all people.


The other key word in this section is “almighty” – but you cannot just say “almighty” means God can do anything God chooses9. Scholars agree that the idea of a God capable of doing things which are in themselves impossible is not what is meant by our creeds. It is better to think of God as the source of all the power there is10.