THE NICENE CREED- SCRIPTURALLY DEFENDED
The following will be the text of the Nicene Creed in its original Greek text. Then there will be an English translation following.
ORIGINAL GREEK TEXT
Πιστεύω εἰς ἕνα Θεόν, Πατέρα, Παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων.
Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων· φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο.
Τὸν δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα.
Σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα.
Καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρα κατὰ τὰς Γραφάς.
Καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ καθεζόμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ Πατρός.
Καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.
Καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ κύριον, τὸ ζωοποιόν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.
Εἰς μίαν, Ἁγίαν, Καθολικὴν καὶ Ἀποστολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν.
Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.
Προσδοκῶ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν.
Καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος. Ἀμήν
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made.
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
In one Holy Katholic and Apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
SCRIPTURAL DEFENSE- PHRASE BY PHRASE
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.”
This bit does not really need much discussion, since it is a virtually accepted fact. However 2 Scriptures will suffice.
Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Isaiah 45:24: “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.”
“And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the only begotten Son in this verse.
John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
He is also called Firstborn as well in regards to His co-eternality with the Father. This also conforms to the clear teaching that He was begotten before all worlds and was “begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made.” Begotten has to do with His co-eternal relationship rather than actually being created. Arians and their modern day followers have problems with this!
Colossians 1:15-18: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have preeminence.”
Note: If Christ is the Firstborn of all creation that created all things, visible and invisible, and the Father declares Himself as Creator in Isaiah 45:24, what else can be rightly concluded but that Jesus Christ is God as well as the Father, co eternal and always existing.
Revelation 3:14 declares Christ as “the Beginning of the creation of God.” This indicates not that he was created but rather that He was the very cause of its existence as Creator. This is in line with the Scriptures above.
Our Lord Jesus Christ declared Himself as co-eternal with the Father, as well as of the same substance as the Father. The unbelieving Jews understood this and wanted to kill him for this.
John 5:17, 18: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
In fact, the Son Himself makes it clear that the Son is of the same substance as the Father, since He receives the same honour and worship, not to mention being the same source as the Father for the salvation of mankind.
John 5:23, 24: “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
God is called “Light, and in whom is no darkness at all”. (I John 1:5). Christ is also called Light as well by His own declaration and virtue. Hence, the statement “Light of Light”.
John 1:4, 5: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
John 8:12: “Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
John 12:46: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”
In addition to this, our Lord Jesus Christ is referred to directly as God as well as the Father, therefore, the phrase: “very God of very God”. Consider the following Scriptures.
John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” [Note: The Greek text states even more literally that: “God was the Word”].
John 8:58, 59: “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” [Note: Our Lord Jesus Christ is clearly using the name of God: “I Am” which is based on Exodus 3:14, whereby God identifies Himself to Moses as: “I Am Who I Am”. In fact, the Hebrew name of God in the Tetragrammaton (YHWH or IHVH), which the names Yahweh and Jehovah come from, is based on the Hebrew: “I Am” (‘Ehyeh’). In fact, John 8:24 has Christ calling Himself: “I am He” as the basis of the salvation of man.
We also have the Apostle Paul, in his benediction, regarding the past, present and future of Israel in regards to her Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, stating this:
Romans 9:5: “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
In fact, we even have God the Father declaring our Lord Jesus Christ the Son, as both worthy of worship by all of God’s angels as well as even declaring Him both ‘God’ and even ‘Lord’.
Hebrews 1:6, 8, 10: “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him…But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom…And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thine hands.”
We even have the Apostle Thomas declaring his faith in Christ as God in the following Scripture, which Christ Himself accepts.
John 20:28, 29: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet believed.” [Note: The Greek is even more explicit in that Thomas literally declares: “The Lord of me, and the God of me.”].
Indeed, we clearly have the testimony of the Scriptures that prove that Christ indeed is “very God of very God” and thus also the same substance as the Father.
In fact, since people are asking for even one Scripture proving that the Son of the one and same substance as the Father, as stated in the Creed as: “being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made”, then if the above Scriptures are not clear about this, let us consider the following Scriptures, whereby it is clear that the Father and Son share the same nature.
John 10:30-39: “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand.” [Note: Both Greek and Slavonic literally has Christ saying: “I-Father, are one.”].
In fact, we also have the Apostle John stating to the Church that the Father and the Son are both true and the True God and eternal life.
I John 5:20: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
In fact, as a clear declaration that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One God and of the same substance, it is clearly stated in this Scripture.
I John 5:7: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
By definition, this is exactly what being of One Substance or the same Substance (as it states even more literally in the Greek: “Homousion tou Patri”, that is “of the same Substance as the Father”) means.
Before we move to the next part of the Creed, the following Scripture must be considered which will highlight both the clear teaching of Christ as being God in the flesh, as well as the clear teaching of Incarnation for the salvation of man.
I Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Here, we have not only the clear declaration of Christ as being God manifest in the flesh, but also that He undertook Incarnation for the world to believe and be saved.
“Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
Besides the above mentioned Scripture, let us consider the following Scriptures from Hebrews 2:9, 10, 14-18.
Hebrews 2:9, 10: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Here we have clear proof that Christ was incarnate for the salvation of man, even for the purpose of dying for mankind. The reason being for their salvation and to conquer death.
In fact, both death and the Devil are spoken of as being the enemies to be spoiled by the death of Christ on the cross. Hence the purpose of the Incarnation was for men and for their salvation.
Hebrews 2:14-18: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
The means by which He was to do this was to choose the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Blessed Theotokos, since she was purely virgin. We discover this in the Gospel of Matthew 1:20-25, as well as discovering why our Lord was given the name: “JESUS” or Yeshua or Yesous (in Greek).
Matthew 1:20-25: “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
Consider also Luke 1:26-38 which declares that Christ had to be virgin born as well as the Messiah who will rule the throne of David ultimately.
Luke 1:26-38: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
It is also because of this that we can also declare that Christ is the perfect Man as well as God in the flesh.
“He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.”
Without going into great lengths of the details on both the facts that Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and suffered as well as buried, I shall give the Gospel references whereby the serious reader can go away and study the details. These are: Matthew Chapter 27; Mark Chapter 15; Luke Chapter 23 and John 18:28-19:42.
This was indeed for mankind as declared in Isaiah 53:5, 6 which states:
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
We must also understand that the Resurrection of Christ along with His Ascension and Return is equally as important for the salvation of mankind, or else there is no Christian Faith, let alone the Church of Christ. Besides reading the obvious Gospels of Matthew Chapter 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John Chapters 20-21, let us consider this declaration by Christ Himself regarding the importance of the Resurrection.
Luke 24:25-27: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
What Scriptures in the Old Testament would be worth considering for this purpose?
Psalm 16:10: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
We also find that Isaiah Chapter 53 tell of His suffering and death and Daniel 9:26 stating that the Messiah shall be “cut off but not for himself”. Elsewhere we find our Lord Himself predicting that His resurrection would be indeed 3 days after His death. He even draws from the real case of Jonah as a highlight of this.
Matthew 12:40: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Our Lord even states that He is able to resurrect Himself.
John 2:29-21: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”
John 10:17, 18: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
The Apostles became courageous men because of it, as opposed to their fear before when Christ died, and they refused to show their face. Now they were bold and would go before their own people to testify of this. In fact, this is how the Apostle Peter put it:
Acts 2:27-33: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
Acts 3:14, 15: “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
Acts 4:10-12: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
The Apostle Paul, who was not of the 12, but who was soundly converted due to Christ appearing to him in Acts 9, states this as strong evidence for faith in Christ.
I Corinthians 15:3-9, 13, 14, 17: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. …But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. ….And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Since the Resurrection is established, let us consider the phrase that states: “and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.” The Ascension is stated in no uncertain terms in the following Scriptures:
Mark 16:19: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
Luke 24: 50-53: “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”
In addition to Ascension, His Return is affirmed by 2 angels before the presence of the 12 Apostles.
Acts 1:9-11: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Christ is returning physically to both judge the quick (the living) and the dead, as well as establish His eternal kingdom with all the believers in Him united in it. This is affirmed in the words of both the above Scripture and others. Consider these Scriptures.
John 5:25-29: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Refer also to Matthew 25:31-46. He also promises the 12 Apostles a part to play in his actual eternal Kingdom.
Luke 22:29, 30: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Our Lord when testifying before the Sanhedrin, stated this:
Luke 22:69: “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
In addition to this, the Apostles state clearly that Christ is exalted at the right hand of God to give Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31). The Apostle Peter also testifies that Christ is the Returning Judge and Only Saviour.
Acts 10: 42, 43: “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
The Apostle Paul states clearly this:
Acts 17:31: “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man who he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ states this in the Apocalypse (Revelation) of the Apostle John.
Apocalypse (Revelation) 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Apocalypse (Revelation) 1:17, 18: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not, I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.”
Apocalypse (Revelation) 22:12, 13: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according to his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
It is understood that the Kingdom of Christ thereafter will be eternal and shall thus have no end, but for the sake of reference, we shall refer to a clear statement of a prophecy relating to Christ our God.
Luke 1:32, 33: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
“And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.”
In the Holy Trinity, each member has an equal nature as God but just as equally a unique office. The Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost, is of equal importance in this world, since He is not only God, but also the continual presence of Christ and His Father in this world. It is important to understand that the Holy Ghost/Spirit is a Personality, not a impersonal force as modern-day Arians would have you believe. A force does not have a mind, emotions, voice or even a memory to pass on to someone. Furthermore, a force is not a source of comfort or support in times of grief and trouble, and is not an intercessor. Nor can a force be sinned against or lied to. The fact that the Holy Spirit has a mind, emotions, voice, memory and a source of comfort or support as well as being able to be sinned against and lied to is important to note.
Let us consider what our Lord Jesus Christ stated about the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
John 15:26: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
What can be learnt from what our Lord said about the nature of the Holy Spirit? We learn that He is the Comforter (in Greek, Parakletos, The One Who stands beside a person as their support) and also the One Whom will bring the disciples to remember everything that Christ had taught them as well as teach them. We also learn that even though He is sent from the Father and the Son, He is only proceeded from the Father. The Filioque clause[adding of “and the Son” to the Creed when it comes to who the Holy Spirit proceeds from] that is in the Latin/Roman Catholic variation of the Nicene Creed, whilst well intentioned, nevertheless is not entirely accurate and actually detracts from the uniqueness of the Personality and function of the Holy Ghost in the Trinity. Our Lord Jesus Christ, even emphasized that the Spirit proceeds from the Father, despite admitting to sending the Spirit. Procession and sending are 2 different matters. This does not make the Holy Spirit any less of God or even a Person, but rather identifies His unique office in the Triune Godhead. Just to give an example to highlight the difference between procession and sending, I may send a parcel to someone, but the parcel is not actually from me as the source, but from a friend or relative. Thus the friend or relative is the one(s) from whom the gift is proceeding from but I am only a sender. Likewise it is with the Holy Ghost. He is still as equally God as the Father and Son, just as I am still equally a friend or relative of the person I am sending the gift unto, but He will only proceed from the Father, just as the gift will only proceed from the friend or relative who is actually the source of the gift.
The Holy Ghost is also the Co-Intercessor of believers to Christ and the Father. He is also there to ensure the personal family relationship with God as Father of those who truly believe in Him. Consider these Scriptures:
Romans 8:15, 16, 26, 27: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:…Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Galatians 4:6: “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
The Holy Spirit is also identified as both “Lord” and “Giver of life”, clearly indicating Deity. In fact, we find that the Scriptures clearly identify the Holy Spirit with God by nature and even Lord by title in the following Scriptures:
Acts 5:3, 4: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”
II Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Hebrews 9:14: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
Let us note that Ananias lied unto the Holy Ghost and also lied unto God, thus proving that the Holy Spirit is God. Let us also note that the Holy Spirit is also called “Lord” by the Apostle Paul as the source of liberty. The Holy Spirit is also called “eternal” in Hebrews 9:14, a quality which only belongs to God. The Creed refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Giver of Life”, since it was the Spirit who was at the beginning of Creation to create life along with the Father and the Son. This is clearly taught in Genesis 1:2. The Righteous Patriarch Job, also stated the following in the Scriptures regarding the nature of the Spirit of God as Creator and Giver of Life.
Job 26:13 “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.”
Job 27:3 “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;”
Job 33:4 “ The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”
Naturally, the Spirit of God, as God is worshipped and even identified with glorification in both the Baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19 and also the Benediction in II Corinthians 13:14.
Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” [Note: The word “name” is used, not “names”, thus indicating the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost].
II Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
In fact, the Holy Ghost is so important in the Godhead, that those who actually blaspheme the Holy Ghost are never forgiven (Matthew 12:32) and can also be grieved and quenched due to sins committed by God’s people. (Ephesians 4:30 and I Thessalonians 5:19). It should also be pointed out, that the office of the Holy Spirit is Truth and to lead people to accept Jesus Christ as the Truth. As pointed out earlier, the Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that the Holy Spirit will testify of Himself and His teachings. It also should be pointed out that the Holy Spirit will is also the One Who inspired the Prophets and Apostles to speak and write as Truth.
I Peter 1:10-12: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
II Peter 1:20, 21: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
This is evidence once again of the truthfulness of the Spirit of God. Hence also, the deity of the Holy Ghost along with His personality are integral to Christian doctrine and cannot be divorced from the reality of Christ.
“In one Holy Katholic and Apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen”
This is often overlooked by most Protestants since they have decided to give in to private, humanist elitist interpretation of Scripture over the whole of Apostolic Teaching unbroken. The Latin/Roman Catholic understanding is only partially accurate since they only see one form of successorship only in Rome. Holy Orthodoxy understands that the term “Katholic” not Catholic as the Latins would have it, is something that is beyond the mere meaning of the term being “universal”. Katholic in the Greek means that not only is the Church universal, that is all across the world, irregardless of race and ethnicity, but also that the Church is entire, complete, without change or schism. In fact, by “Katholic” we also include not only Rome as the Elder Brother succeeding from the Apostle St. Peter, but also include Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople, all of whom have direct successive links to St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles (Jerusalem and Antioch), St. James/Iakovos (Jerusalem and Antioch), St. Mark (Alexandria, and by extension, the Coptic Orthodox Church) and St. Andrew (Constantinople). These and others like them that have held the same fundamental Apostolic doctrines and practices (Holy Tradition of the Apostles), indeed constitute the Katholic Church. The unity of all these Apostolic Churches is inevitable but in the meantime, it is time to clean house and not engage in foolish and meaningless ecumenism with false and antichrist religions. Shame on modern day hierarchs in the Orthodox Church, that have engaged in meaningless and foolish ecumenism with false antichrist religions!
Let us understand that as Orthodox, we believe that the Church is one Holy Katholic and Apostolic Church since it has not changed either in doctrine, practice or substance since Apostolic times, despite what a number of schismatic groups, whether Protestant or some cults, have stated. After all, since the Church of God has been purchased by the blood of God Himself (Acts 20:28: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”), we are not only the Body of Christ, but also have a huge responsibility of being purified from the world and also to maintain the unbrokenness of Apostolic teaching.
Ephesians 3:10: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,”
Ephesians 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Ephesians 5:27: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The Church of God is commanded the following via Timothy, the direct disciple of the Apostle Paul the following:
I Timothy 4:16: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
I Timothy 6:20: “O Timothy, keep that which committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” [The Greek for that which was committed to his trust literally states: “Deposit of faith”].
In fact the Church of God, as the guardian of Truth is called: “The pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Timothy 3:15) It is also the duty of the Church to maintain this unity of Truth and to guard against heretics and heresies that have crept into the Church unawares. (See I Corinthians 11:19 onwards, II Peter 2:1 onwards, the whole of Jude and also I John 4:1-3). This is the duty of Holy Orthodoxy as the one Holy Katholic and Apostolic Church. This is also what the Lord warned by stating that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. (Matthew 16:18, 19).
As Orthodox, we believe in one baptism by immersion (since that is exactly what baptize means in the Greek) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost for the remission of sins. This is commanded by the Lord Himself before returning to heaven.
Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
In addition to this, we have a clear statement from the Apostles Peter and Paul as to the nature of baptism.
Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
And even more explicitly:
Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
As for the last lines of the creed that we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life to come, it does not need extensive coverage, but for the sake of space, I urge the reader to study I Corinthians Chapter 15 and the last 2 chapters of the Apocalypse to understand the beauties of life with Christ for eternity as opposed to the woes of the wicked and godless that reject Christ. Also for the sake of helpful reference, let us consider these concluding Scriptures:
Matthew 25:46: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
I Peter 1:3, 4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”
I Thessalonians 4:16, 17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Apocalypse (Revelation) 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Apocalypse (Revelation) 22:3-5: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
May God bless you all in this study of the Nicene Creed.
Δόξα Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ καὶ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι,
καὶ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and unto the ages upon ages, world without end. Amen.