Sometimes people will ask, “what are the essentials that we must believe to be Christian?” Luckily, this question was answered by the Catholic Church, centuries ago. We know it as a prayer, known as the Creed. This prayer is the very essence of the saying, “We pray as we believe.” Because it literally declares all which we believe in a simple prayer.
The Nicene Creed
“Creed” means “belief”. And “Nicene” is a reference to the first Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in the year AD 325. Nicea is the ancient name of the the city of Iznik, which is in Turkey. The Council was convened to address the error of Arianism. Which taught that Jesus was not divine, but human.
They drew up this short, easy formula, to express that which we should believe, if we are Christians.
I believe in one God,
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
The Catholic Church teaches that God is eternal. Therefore, there is only room for one God. Because God is all that is. His name that He revealed to Moses is “I AM” (i.e. Yahweh).
Exodus 3:13 “But,” said Moses to God, “if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses: I am who I am.[a] Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you. 15 God spoke further to Moses: This is what you will say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.
Don’t get this confused with pantheism. The idea that the universe is God. God created the universe and is greater than the universe. The universe is grand, but it is finite. Only God is eternal.
the Father almighty,
God is Father in two ways. First, He is Father of the eternal Son. Next, He is the Father because He created the angels and us, His children.
maker of heaven and earth,
There are three heavens, so to speak. The first is the dome of the sky. It is a visible heaven which we see in the daytime, where the clouds dwell. The second is also a visible heaven. We see part of it in the daytime, the sun dwells in it. We see it more clearly in the night time, when the moon and stars come out. The third is the spiritual heaven. The home where the spirits dwell. It is usually invisible to our eyes of flesh.
of all things visible and invisible.
God made the visible and invisible heavens and all the angels and saints which dwell there. And He also made the earth and all the creatures which dwell here.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
In this context, Lord, means “God”. Lord can mean master, ruler or king. But in the context of Jesus Christ, it means, God.
To contradict the Arian heresy, the Nicene Creed emphasizes that Jesus Christ is God.
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
There is only One God. But God has revealed that He is a Trinity of Persons. God the Father is the First Person of the Holy Trinity.
Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and existed from eternity. He is the reflection of the Father. When we see Jesus, we see the Father.
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity and also existed from eternity. He proceeds from the Father and the Son because He is the love which binds the Father and the Son.
through him all things were made.
God made all things, but He made all things through the Son (John 1:3).
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
Philippians 2:6 Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
7 Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
8 he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
The Holy Spirit is God. He entered the womb of the Virgin Mary and prepared a human body for God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. This is, one of the reasons, why Mary is known as the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 10:5 For this reason, when he came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
This is the human body of the man, Jesus. Then God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity entered the Body and made Jesus the only begotten Son of God. This is why Mary is known as the Mother of God.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
In the fullness of time, God came down from heaven and became man, in order to die upon the Cross and bring to fulfillment the promises of the Old Testament:
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. 16 Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive.
“How does God die?” you ask. God doesn’t die. But men do. Therefore, God became man, in order to die, so that those who love Him, might live.
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
Besides the sign of Jonah, who was in the whale for 3 days,
Jonah 2:1 Jonah’s Prayer. But the Lord sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
This is also in fulfillment of this verse in the Old Testament.
Hosea Chapter 6
1 “Come, let us return to the Lord,
For it is he who has torn, but he will heal us;
he has struck down, but he will bind our wounds.
2 He will revive us after two days;
on the third day he will raise us up,
to live in his presence.
3 Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord;
as certain as the dawn is his coming.
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.”
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
Revelation 22:11 Let the wicked still act wickedly, and the filthy still be filthy. The righteous must still do right, and the holy still be holy.” 12 “Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
The Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. It is by Him that creation is animated and has life.
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
This is known as the “filioque” clause. It is the biggest difference between the Catholic and Orthodox Church. The Orthodox do not include this in their version of the Nicene Creed. They do not believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. However, it is easy to prove that this is true, directly from Scripture:
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he (Jesus) breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit.
Therefore, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father.
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
Although the Old Testament Jews did not recognize Him, the Holy Spirit was communicating with them:
Psalm 51:13 Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
Jesus Christ only established one Church. This Church is holy because He is Holy. And it is Catholic because He commanded her to teach the entire world. And it is Apostolic because He established it upon the Rock of Peter (Matthew 16:18) and the Foundation of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20).
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
There is one Sacramental Baptism on earth and one Spiritual Baptism in heaven.
Our Sacramental Baptism brings into effect the Spiritual Baptism. When the Minister says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and pours out the water, the Holy Spirit washes our souls of sins.
The washing of the water on our skin signifies and brings about the washing of the Holy Spirit in our soul.
But, it is not two baptisms that happen at once. You know how Jesus is human and Divine. It is one Baptism with natural and supernatural elements.
Sacramental Baptism is also the doorway to heaven. When we receive Sacramental Baptism, we become children of God and begin to live in God’s household. We live amongst the Saints and can communicate with them. We also have access to Spiritual Baptism by means of the rest of the Sacraments, in order to remain in a state of Grace.
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
1 Corinthians 15:12 But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. 15 Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.
and the life of the world to come.
Revelation 21 The New Heaven and the New Earth. 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”
So be it! I confirm that I believe all which I have just recited!