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Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Exegesis of the Nicene Creed"

This was done by T. Allen over at A Catechumens Tale blogspot.

"In a previous post I had mentioned the ill-conceived
accusation that the Nicene Creed was hard to understand, and offered to explain
it to any one who needed help. Recently I went to a special class where my
priest explained the creed in greater detail, and after taking my notes and
doing some additional research in scripture, I thought I would present an
amateur exegesis of the creed myself.

Some who attempt to denounce
Christianity mistakenly believe that after the creed was formed at Nicea (325
AD) those who did not follow it were immediately persecuted. In fact, various
versions of the creed existed across the Roman Empire before the council, hence
the need to formalize it, and the version of the creed we know today was
actually written later at the First Council of Constantinople (381 AD). The
version written at Nicea was much shorter, simpler, and had a lengthy attack
against heresy at the end. Arianism, which had led to the Nicene council in the
first place, still continued afterward and found revival in scattered parts of
the empire, leading to further councils and further efforts by the Church
Fathers. Historically speaking, Nicea was hardly an instance of case closed.

It should be noted this shouldn't be considered the ultimate explanation
of the creed, nor should it be considered "scholarly". It was just done for fun,
and to help those who might be curious about the background of the words.

I believe in one God, Father

It is fitting that the Church Fathers
opened the creed in this manner, because they affirm right at the start that
there is one God. Christianity is neither tritheistic nor polytheistic, for it
believes very firmly that there is one and only one God.

From here we
move into the Trinity, beginning with the Father. The Father is almighty, which
in the original Greek is defined with the word pantocrator. The Father is the
source of all things, and nothing exists without Him. It was only by God's will
that something, visible or invisible, exists (Rev 4:11).

...maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and

When God began creation, He made the
heavens (the invisible) first and then the earth (the visible) second, hence why
the heavens are often listed before the earth (Gen 1:1; Isa 42:5). The mention
of "heaven" in Genesis 1:8 is considered by most theologians to mean "the
visible heaven," or rather the sky.

The rebellion of Satan and his
angels, who all became the demons, is believed to have happened between the
creation of the heavens and the creation of the earth. The Church Fathers taught
that the main motive behind Satan's tempting of Adam was, above all things,

To read the rest please go to the website.



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