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Understanding the Nicene Creed

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding the Nicene Creed"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding the Nicene Creed
by Søren Filipski

2 Outline What is a Creed? Biblical and historical foundations Faith
Profession Biblical and historical foundations Proclamation of Christ’s Lordship Liturgical Declaration

3 Outline (Cont’d) Creed as Trinitarian Narrative
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Controversies Modalism Arianism Divinity of the Holy Spirit

4 What is a Creed? The Creed is a rule of faith briefly compiled so as to instruct the mind without burdening the memory. It is expressed in few words, from which, however, much instruction may be drawn. (St. Augustine, Sermon 213)

5 What is a Creed? The Creed builds up in you what you ought to believe and confess in order to be saved. (St. Augustine, Sermon 213)

6 What is a Creed? You are under an obligation not only to believe these truths which you have heard summarized, but also to commit them to memory in just so many words as to give oral expression to them. (St. Augustine, Sermon 213)

7 Two aspects of the Creed
Faith – Credo Profession – Symbolum

8 Faith Before expounding the Church’s faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy and lived in observance of God’s commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what “to believe” means. (CCC 26)

9 Faith (cont’d) Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. (CCC 26)

10 Faith (cont’d) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

11 Faith (Cont’d) In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us in a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Heb 1:1-2)

12 Fiduciary/Propositional Faith
Fiduciary: Trust in a person Propositional: Faith in a statement about that person. Fiduciary: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) Propositional: Jesus is Lord and God.

13 Profession (cont’d) We do not believe in formulas, but in those realities they express, which faith allows us to touch. “The believer’s act [of faith] does not terminate in the propositions, but in the realities [which they express].” (CCC 170)

14 Profession (cont’d) All the same, we do approach these realities with the help of formulations of the faith which permit us to express the faith and to hand it on, to celebrate it in community, to assimilate and live on it more and more. (CCC 170)

15 Profession We call it Creed or symbolum, transferring the term by a kind of simile, because merchants draw up for themselves a symbolum by which their alliance is held bound as by a pact of fidelity. (St. Augustine, Sermon 212)

16 Faith and Profession 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. (Rom 10:9)

17 The Creed of Israel Shema Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deut. 6:4)

18 Christian Shema …for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ… (1 Cor 8:5-6)

19 Apostolic Origins Euangelion (Gospel) = Proclamation of Kinship
Kērussō (To preach) = To proclaim kingship No one can say ‘Lord Jesus’ except by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 10:9)

20 An Early “Creed” Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son,

21 An Early “Creed” who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord… (Rom 1:1-4)

22 Carmen Christi (Song of Christ)
Have this mind among yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider a thing to be grasped that being, equal to God,

23 Carmen Christi (Cont’d)
But emptied himself taking the form of a servant becoming in the likeness of men And being found in human form became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

24 Carmen Christi (Cont’d)
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:8-11)

25 Irenaeus . . . this faith: in one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven and the earth and the seas and all the things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who made known through the prophets the plan of salvation,

26 Irenaeus …and the coming, and the birth from a virgin,
and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and his future appearing from heaven in the glory of the Father to sum up all things and to raise anew all flesh of the whole human race.

27 Baptismal Profession And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:36-37)

28 Trinitarian Structure
I believe in one God, the Father almighty… I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ… I believe in the Holy Spirit…

29 Narrative Structure …maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation         he came down from heaven… I believe in one, holy, catholic,      and apostolic Church.

30 Imminent/Economic Trinity
Imminent: The inner life of God as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Economic: Providential ordering in terms of the imminent Trinity, Father creating, Son redeeming, Holy Spirit sustaining the Church.

31 Imminent/Economic “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation, but one principle.” However each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. (CCC 258)

32 The Father I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

33 Translation of “Credo”
Old Translation: “We believe.” New Translation: “I believe.” Nicene Council: “Pisteuomen” (“We believe.”) Latin Novus Ordo: “Credo” (“I believe.”)

34 The Father I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

35 The Son I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
        the Only Begotten Son of God,          born of the Father before all ages.


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