Our Statement of Faith: The Nicene Creed Explained (Part II)

St. Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople

St. Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH: THE NICENE CREED EXPLAINED (Part II)

Concerning God's Essence and the Creation of the World

The Holy Fathers of the Church included in the Creed the most important truths of the faith taught in the Gospels. Here, in the first and second verses of the Creed, they stated the dogmatic truths about God's Essence and the Creation of the world. Through Divine Revelation, the Holy Church teaches us to believe in the One God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Tim. 1:17) in Three Persons, Who in the Holy Scripture are called God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (St. Matthew 28:19). God the Father is ungenerated and does not proceed from another Person. God the Son is pre-eternally generated by the Father. God the Holy Spirit pre-eternally proceeds from the Father. Nonetheless, all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity are equal in Divinity. The Triune God is the One Who IS (Exodus 3:14). He is pre-eternal (Isaiah 41:4; Psalm 89:2). Infinite (St. Luke 1:33; Psalm 102:27). Everywhere-present (Omnipresent) (Jer. 23:24). All-Wise (Rom. 11:33, All-Knowing (Omniscient) (1 John 3:20), All-Good (Psalm 145:9), All-Righteous (Psalm 145:17), All-Holy (1 Samuel 2:2, and Almighty (Psalm 115:3).

By His Omnipresent Logos/Word He brought into being from non-being both the invisible and the visible world (Genesis 1:1). In the first place He created the Kingdom of His eternal glory, giving life to the most pure spirits, the Angels (Job 38:6, 7). At first all the Angels were holy. Some of them, firmly established in holiness, love and striving after goodness, glorify God continuously (Psalm 103:20; Isaiah 6:3) and carry out God's Commandments. Each Christian believer is given a Guardian Angel at baptism. Other Angels, who did not stand firm in goodness sinned before God (Jude 1:6) and, remaining in evil, strive to subjugate men, too, to sin (2 Thessalonians 2:9), in order to drag them down to the same fate which they themselves suffer (St. Matthew 25:41). The leader of the fallen Angels is called Devil or Satan (The Adversary; St. John 8:44).

After He had created the incorporeal beings, the Triune God with His Words "Let there be..." created the whole visible world out of nothing (exnihilo) in six days that is, all the host of heaven, the earth on which we live and all that surrounds the earth and finished His work of creation by creating man (Genesis 1:3-28), from whom proceeded the whole human race (Acts 17:26). The first man, created sinless by God's grace (Eccl. 7:29), was not only like unto the Angels of God, but he was also made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) from the moment of his creation that is to say, he possessed pure wisdom (Genesis 2:20,23), his will was directed towards doing good (Ephesians 4:24) and his heart in the righteousness and holiness of truth burned with pure love for the One God, while his conscience was untroubled and at peace. When our first parents were like this, all the creatures which surrounded them were submissive and served them (Genesis 1:26), and the very place of their habitation was called paradise (Genesis 2:8). The first man kept God's Commandment and lived in constant joy and blessedness.

Concerning the Son of God and the Savior of the World

The teaching of faith in the Son of God the Savior of the World is to be found in the third of the seven articles of the Creed.

For the salvation of mankind was accomplished the great mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16), the mystery of His [God's] will (Ephesians 1:9). The Only-Begotten Son (St. John 1:18) of God, descended from Heaven, was made incarnate, was born of the Virgin Mary in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4), and was made flesh (St. John 1:14). He took a human body without sin, and a human soul, and became true Man without ceasing to be True God (Romans 9:5).

Two Natures the Divine and the Human are united without confusion, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably in the Person of Jesus Christ. Therefore He is called the God-Man (definition of the Fourth Ecumenical Council), and His Most-pure Mother is called the Theotokos (Mother of God) (St. Luke 1:43), who is more honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious, beyond compare, than the Seraphim.

Our Lord Jesus Christ manifested His Divinity in His Gospel teachings and in His many miracles which no other man did (St. John 15:24), in which He revealed Himself as the Lord of the visible world (St. John 2:1-2; St. Luke 8:24; St. Matthew 14:26; St. Matthew 14:15-21); the Lord of human nature (St. Matthew 9:20-22; 14:35-36; St. Luke 4:40; St. Matthew 20:29-34; 12:22; St. Luke 11:14;; St. Matt. 8:1-3); the Lord of the invisible world (St. Matthew 8:28-34; St. Luke 8:26-40); and the Lord of Life and Death (St. Luke 7:11-16; St. Matt. 9:18-19; St. Luke 8:49; St. John 11:1-45). He also manifested His Divinity through other signs and miracles that occurred at various moments of His life (St. Matt. 3:16-17; St. Mark 1:10-11; St. Luke 3:21-22).

Yet, as Man, the Savior was exposed to various dangers (St. Matthew 2:13; St. Luke 4:29), deprivations and tribulations (St. Luke 9:58), to malice, humiliation, and persecution (St. Matthew 12:24; St. John 5:18; St. John 5:18) during His earthly life.

Having illumined men with the light of true knowledge of God (St. John 1:18) and having disclosed the will of the Heavenly Father (St. John 6:40), Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, accomplished the Divine Truth which had condemned sin (1 Timothy 2:6; St. John 1:29), endured mocking, abuse, the Passion of the Cross and death under Pontius Pilate (St. Matthew 26:47-75; 27:1-66). While His Body was in the Sepulchre, Christ descended into Hell, where He freed the souls of the righteous who had awaited His coming ( 1 Peter 3:18-19; Ephesians 4:8-9), and on the third day after His entombment was resurrected by the power of His Divinity. During the forty days (40) after His Resurrection, the Savior appeared many times to His Disciples and continued to instruct them in the mysteries of His Divine Kingdom (Acts 1:3).

Having accomplished our redemption, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of His Disciples, ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9) and sits at the right hand of God the Father (St. Mark 16:19) with honor and glory in the same Body in which He had been Resurrected from the dead. The Lord ascended into Heaven as the God-Man, for as God He was always in Heaven and in every place of God's dominion (Psalm 103:22). After His Ascension the Savior was given all power in Heaven and on earth (St. Matthew 28:18), and through His Divine Providence He preserves His Church, in which He is present through grace (St. Matthew 28:20), instructing and giving wisdom to her shepherds (bishops and priests), through the Holy Spirit (St. John 16:13), to administer rightly the word of Truth. Therefore Christ's Church (one Church) cannot sin Truth, for she is the pillar and bulwark of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and the Kingdom of God on earth (St. Mark 1:15). This grace-bestowing kingdom shall endure (1 Cor. 15:25) until the Lord Jesus Christ comes in His Glory with His Angels (Second Coming) (St. Matthew 25:31) to judge the living and the dead (the Final Judgment) (St. John 5:29), after which the Kingdom of Glory and Blessedness shall come, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end (St. Luke 1:33).

(Next: Concerning the Holy Spirit)

Please note: In the Nicene Creed ("The Symbol of Faith") one discovers the Truth about Orthodox Christianity, and recognizes, how for over 2,000 years, it has kept the Truth and integrity of the Christian Faith authentic and pure. Outside the Orthodox Church we encounter heresy, confusion, distortion, deception, corruption, perversion of the gospel, and alienation from Christ Who is the Truth. What happened to "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever "? (Hebrews 13:8).  Why are there so many versions of the gospel message? Why are there so many so called 'churches" when Jesus Christ founded only one Church: Jesus says, "I will build my Church (one Church!), and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it " (St. Matthew 16:18). Also, "...Christ is head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body...the Church is subject to Christ...just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish…this is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church..." (Ephesians 5:23-32).

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George