Sunday, June 14, 2015

God, the Father

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. - from the Nicene Creed
The creed begins with the single most important statement, a belief without which no faith is possible. "I believe in ... God."

This is not unique to Christian or even Judeo-Christian theology. Belief in deities is a cultural universal. All cultures have at their core a belief in something greater than they are. And anyone who rejects this basic belief is by definition an atheist. Catholic and Evangelicals alike confirm their unshakable belief in God.

But more importantly, we all believe in God as one God. We are both entirely monotheistic and this finds expression in a number of places in Scripture:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: - Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV) 
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
    and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.  - Isaiah 44:6 (KJV)

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: - Mark 12:29 (KJV)

We also share the trinitarian concept of God (for which the creed was its perfect affirmation), and this first part of the creed is devoted to God, the Father and affirms His role as omnipotent Creator.

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him..." Colossians 1:13
It's important to note that the phrase "all things visible and invisible" was in direct opposition to the teachings of the Gnostics who believed that there were a number of divine powers in the world. This affirmation in the creed makes it clear that there is no God above the God of Israel. In Christian theology, this means that however many invisible things there are (thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers) they are all created, but God and God alone is uncreated Being. On this point Catholics and Evangelicals agree 100%.

So even in this one short sentence we see a very full elaboration of the Person of God, the Father. I take great joy in knowing that Catholics and Evangelicals are in complete agreement thus far. If anyone feels this is not the case, please comment so we explore the possibility that we understand things differently.

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