The Athanasian Creed is also known as the “Quicumque vult” because that is how it begins in Latin. It means, “if you wish” or “should anyone want”. Like the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, it is another short formula for understanding our faith. The Athanasian Creed is especially good if you want to memorize an explanation for the Holy Trinity.
It is named Athanasian for St. Athanasius (4th century). It is believed that St. Ambrose, his contemporary, also added some elements. Here it is:
Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith.
For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever.
If you want to be saved, you must KEEP, that is, LIVE according to the precepts of the Catholic Church. Its not enough to claim to believe them. Its not enough to go to church on Sunday. You must transform your life to live in accordance with the Teachings of the Catholic Church.
This is what the Catholic faith teaches: we worship one God
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity.
In three Divine Persons, yet one God.
Neither confounding the Persons,
Each of the Divine Persons is recognizable.
nor dividing the substance.
But there remains only one Divinity and therefore, only one God.
For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.
The three Persons are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty.
But the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share one Divine nature and they are equal in glory and infinite power.
What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.
The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless.
The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God and therefore: were not made but have existed from all eternity.
Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being.
So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being.
But the Three Persons are not three eternal beings. They are one eternal Being.
Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.
Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being.
The Three Persons are not three omnipotent beings. They are one omnipotent Being.
Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
However, there are not three gods, but one God.
The Three Persons are not three gods, but One God.
The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord.
However, there as not three lords, but one Lord.
The Three Persons are not three lords, but One Lord.
For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord,
As Catholics, we believe that each Divine Person is God.
so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
and we are not allowed to say that there are three Gods
The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone.
The Father existed from all eternity. He is not anyone’s creature.
The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone.
The Son also existed from all eternity. But He is “begotten” by the Father.
How to explain, “begotten” by the Father, in eternity?
In eternity, there is no such thing as “time”. In order for us to understand, though, we must speak in terms of time. In a manner of speaking, there was a “time”, in eternity, when only God existed. God is an intelligent Being. And He thought to Himself and this thought, is metaphorically called, the Son.
In eternity, God and His Thought, have always existed.
The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit also existed from all eternity. But the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
How to explain “procession from the Father and the Son”, in eternity? When the Father saw His Thought, His Wisdom, His Son, He loved Him. And when the Son saw the Father, He loved Him. The Holy Spirit is the love which the Father has for the Son and which the Son has for the Father.
Although “begetting” and “proceeding” connote time in our world. In eternity, there was no passing of time when these occurred. They always existed. From all eternity.
There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
There is only one Divine Father, one Divine Son and one Divine Holy Spirit.
In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another.
The Holy Trinity is God and therefore is without beginning and without end. Nothing came before, nothing will exist after. The Three Persons are One God.
So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshipped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.
Therefore, we believe and confess that the Holy Trinity is One God.
He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity.
That is what we believe about the Holy Trinity, if we want to be saved.
It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Another vital Doctrine is the belief that God became man and that man is our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man.
Therefore, we believe that Jesus Christ is both human and Divine.
As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time;
As Divine Being, He is the reflection of the Father in all eternity.
as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother.
as a human, He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.
He is perfect God; and He is perfect man,
He is God and therefore perfect in His Divinity and His humanity.
with a rational soul and human flesh.
He possesses a human soul which animates His human body.
He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity.
As God, He is equal to the Father. But He became lower than the angels, in His humanity, when He became incarnate.
Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ.
He is one Person. Not two. He is not God sometimes and man sometimes.
And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed unto God.
His Godliness was not changed nor diminished. His humanity was received and possessed by God, the Son.
He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person.
There is no mingling of substances because there can be no mingling of substances. Spirit and flesh can not mingle.
As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ.
Every man has a spiritual soul. The Spiritual Soul does not mingle with the flesh but takes possession of the flesh and animates it. In a human, there is not one spiritual person and another person of flesh, but the combination of Spiritual Soul and flesh make one person. In the same way, God the Son took possession of the man, Jesus Christ and became one person, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is one person with God, the Son.
He died for our salvation,
He died upon the Cross in order that God’s promises to the faithful Jews would be fulfilled:
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
descended into hell,
He descended into hell in order to set the faithful Jews free of their sins and lead them into heaven:
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. 19 In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison….
and rose from the dead on the third day.
And He rose from in order that those of us who believe might also, turn to Him and live:
2 Corinthians 5:15 He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
After His Resurrection, Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father.
Hebrews 1:3 who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
But He will be back, in the end, to Judge all of mankind:
2 Timothy 4: 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:
At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds.
And there will be an accounting of all which was done in the body:
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.
And those who have done good by their fellow men. Those who have fed the hungry, clothed the naked and visited those in prison, will go into eternal life. While those who do not do any good, but continue in doing evil, will be cast into everlasting punishment:
Matthew 25:46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved.
This is what the Catholic Church Teaches. All who want to be saved must believe this with all their heart and put it into practice, persevering in well doing, to the end.
So be it! I believe and will put into practice, all which I have just recited!