The Creeds Explained — Part 3

In this third post, I’m beginning an exposition of the creeds proper. We’ll begin with the first clause. The first clause in the The Apostles’ Creed is short and sweet:

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

The United Methodist Hymnal, 882.

In The Nicene Creed we find a slightly longer version:

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

The United Methodist Hymnal, 880.

The creeds were born partly of controversy as the patristic church tried to draw clear lines between what was true and what was not. At the time there were some (and I would like to get more specific than that, but it would take more of your time than either one of us has) who asserted that the God who created the world was a lesser, or even malevolent god who had made a mistake. The affirmation that God, the Father Almighty was creator of heaven and earth echoes the affirmation of Genesis that the created order was a good creation. The further statement: “of all that is, seen and unseen” in The Nicene Creed defends believers against the false belief that there are other supernatural/spiritual beings in the world who do not owe their existence to the creative power of God Almighty.

The church no longer faces a credible challenge from anyone who would want to argue that the creator of the known universe was a lesser divine being, or from anyone who would argue that there are other uncreated supernatural/spiritual entities independent of God. But the church, and for that matter, the world as a whole, needs the constant reminder that God is the source of all that is. And that all that is belongs ultimately not to we who possess it for a fleeting lifetime, but to the One who made it. Possession is the Lord’s, we are but temporary stewards. And as temporary stewards, we need to get our act together.