We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit; he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
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 worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
(Nicene Creed – 325 AD)
Beliefs I’d Question:
(a) The first paragraph opens with a phrase that there is ‘one God’. However, when the 2nd paragraph begins it is abundantly clear we have co-sharing agreement in the god-hood (ie: Jesus as ‘God from God, not created).
(b) I think there is confusion about what Christ actually means. This version of messianic belief does compare with the original beliefs about the messiah (which is the original term – but no one likes calling him Jesus Messiah); however it is also quite different. They call him ‘Lord’ – and I am not sure how they are using that term (if they mean Adonai – then it’s clearly a step away from the original beliefs in Judaism). They also call him ‘the only (literal) son of God’. Now it’s clear they are not using this term about Jesus being a king of a kingdom – but in a literal sense (as God’s son)…another clear step away from original messianic beliefs.
(c) The virgin birth is beyond questionable. It’s based on a passages from Isaiah 7:14 that is mistranslated in the Greek Septuagint for ‘young woman’. 2 of 4 gospels carry the story and Paul, Acts, James, and John make no mention. It is eerily similar to many god tales of other religions of the day.
(d) How is Jesus both fully God – and a man? In those days they may have not considered the impossibility of that statement – but it’s fairly obvious. Jesus cannot be tempted, for example, since God cannot be tempted…which means he lived a life nothing like ours in some regards.
(e) The Holy Spirit is called the ‘Lord’ (again if this means Adonai then we have a problem). This would mean there was a tri-party sharing of the god-head, 2 spirit entities and one man, who can all be worshipped. There is no proof of this in the NT nor the Tanakh concerning such a claim…nor do we find ‘Lord’ beside Holy Spirit ever. It’s almost as if this group of Christians never stopped to think the Holy Spirit is the emanation of God to humanity – the way God does His business with us (since we cannot see Him). It’s an extension of God – but not a seperate piece of the god-head.
(f) Baptism for the forgiveness of sins isn’t exactly clear. They seem to imply that one’s baptism results in the forgiveness of their sins (and is not a symbolic act concerning that idea). I think it is rather ‘superstitious’ to think a ritual forgives your sins – I see no mention of repentance anywhere?
If one takes a close look at these things (creeds and statements of faith) it becomes crystal clear the whole of the NT texts is not being discussed, just one viewpoint of how the scriptures can be read.