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The Nicene Creed

The Athanasian Creed
"God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved." (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 2, pp. 33-34.)
The Creed may be broken up into four key parts: three parts concerning God, and one part concerning the church. The belief in God as Trinity, that is, the belief that God is both THREE and ONE. There are not three Gods, but one God. And yet, the one God is also three. However, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each fully God—but there is only one God who is Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Part 1: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.”
Part 2: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father…of one being with the Father.”
God has a Son, and that this Son exists eternally. There was never a time when the Son of God did not exist. This is what is meant by ‘eternally begotten.’ The Son of God eternally comes forth from the Father. Furthermore, the Son of God is homoousios (translated above as “of one being”) with the Father, meaning that the Father and Son share the one, exact same substance. The Son of God is not of a “different” substance or simply “like” the Father (as the heteroousians and homoians claimed, respectively).
Part 3: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.”
The Holy Spirit—the third person of the Trinity. That the Holy Spirit is “the Lord the giver of life” attests once more to the belief that there is only one God, who is three—God is Trinity. As the Father is the creator of all, it is through the Son that all things are made, and the Holy Spirit that gives life. God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit. God is triune: three and one.
Part 4: "We believe in one holy, Catholic, and apostolic church."
The church is catholic—that is, universal. ‘catholic’ meaning universal. In the context of the creed, ‘catholic’ does not mean Roman Catholic. 


  << President Gordon B. Hinckley 

"When the emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, he became aware of the divisiveness among the clergy concerning the nature of Deity. In an attempt to overcome this he gathered the eminent divines of the day to Nicaea in the year 325. Each participant was given opportunity to state his views. The argument only grew more heated. When a definition could not be reached, a compromise was made. It came to be known as the Nicene Creed, and its basic elements are recited by most of the Christian faithful.
Personally I cannot understand it. To me the creed is confusing.
How deeply grateful I am that we of this Church do not rely on any man-made statement concerning the nature of Deity." 

The Things of Which I Know (President Gorden B. Hinckley, General Conference April 2007) (Video 14:45 min)


  << Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorm of the Twelve Apostles 

"The collision between the speculative world of Greek philosophy and the simple, literal faith and practice of the earliest Christians produced sharp contentions that threatened to widen political divisions in the fragmenting Roman empire. This led Emperor Constantine to convene the first churchwide council in A.D. 325. The action of this council of Nicaea remains the most important single event after the death of the Apostles in formulating the modern Christian concept of deity. The Nicene Creed erased the idea of the separate being of Father and Son by defining God the Son as being of “one substance with the Father.”

Other councils followed, and from their decisions and the writings of churchmen and philosophers there came a synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine in which the orthodox Christians of that day lost the fulness of truth about the nature of God and the Godhead. The consequences persist in the various creeds of Christianity, which declare a Godhead of only one being and which describe that single being or God as “incomprehensible” and “without body, parts, or passions.” One of the distinguishing features of the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is its rejection of all of these postbiblical creeds."  Apostasy and Restoration (Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, April 1995) (Video 17:46 min.)

   << Elder F. Enzio Buschel
"The message of Christ and His gospel became subject, soon after His resurrection, to various, extremely controversial interpretations; and the question, What is truth? has continued to be controversial up to this day.

When we investigate another aspect of the history of Christian churches, it is obvious that modern historians have come to the astonishing observation and conclusion that what we understand today as Christianity reflects the outcome of interpretations of respective powers in charge strong enough to suppress differing opinions.

The struggle that occurred in the first centuries after Christ’s resurrection as to which of the various opinions were right and what were the true ingredients of salvation began to come to a forceful end when the Roman Emperor Constantine called, in the year A.D. 325, selected bishops from various Christian positions to come to the so-called Concilium of Nicaea about which the Catholic historian, Karl Kupisch, writes:

From the 4,000 bishops that existed, only 250 came. From all of western Europe only four bishops were present. The bishop from Rome was not present. Constantine himself did not subject himself to be questioned as to who was the master of the conference. His ideas and his concepts were accepted."

"...the Nicene Creed became the law of the Roman empire, and orthodox Christianity became the essential ingredient of good Roman citizenship. The need for the Roman emperor to have unity among his various appendages made Christianity the tool to establish this unity through the power of force; and the Christians, who had just escaped persecution over the first centuries after the resurrection of Christ, became now themselves the oppressors, paired with the power of the Roman Empire."

Christianity and the Hope of the Future, (F. Enzio Busche, of the Seventy 5/31/1983 BYU Devotional)