The Early Church and the Creeds Module ES 4302   Essay 3/3

Task: Write your own Creed, seeking to make a comprehensive modern statement of faith (approximately 250 words)  and  Write about 750 words, giving reasons for what you have written in your Creed


I believe in one God, the infinite, eternal being, who is complete love. I believe in God, the Creator, source of all matter and all beings. I believe that God is the uncaused cause, separate from His creation yet involved in it; transcendent, beyond us, yet immanent, with us. Through God, all things are possible[1]. God was, and is, and is to come.[2]

I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who is God incarnate, both human and divine, Emmanuel[3]. He existed before all things and is truly human and truly divine at the same time.[4] Jesus reveals God’s self-giving love. He is the reconciliation between God and humans.[5] He was born fully human from his mother, Mary and fully divine.[6] In his life on earth, teaching and ministering Jesus revealed the invisible God.[7]   He was crucified by the Romans to appease those who thought him dangerous. Jesus died as an atonement for our sins[8]. He was buried in a tomb. Three days later He appeared to his followers as the risen Christ. He appeared on other occasions and finally returned to be with God where he had pre-existed.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the power of creative force which is at work in our lives today[9]. The Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life, who makes Christ known in the world and whose power strengthens us.[10] I believe in eternal life and the resurrection of the dead. (247 words)


God is infinite because He is beyond any limits of definition and is the unifying force behind everything. At the same time, He is a personal God, a goodness behind everything and involved in His creation. This can be seen in His involvement in the escape of the Jews from Egypt and how He led them through the wilderness.

God is “I am” the Hebrew way of explaining God’s mystery[11]. He is one God not many as in the polytheism of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians[12]. God is not the god of the Hindus, Krishna, which is seen everywhere but where there is no sense of divine forgiveness. Neither is He a distant god, who after creation, has played no part in the world.

God is the creator and the re-creator. Our universe is not a complete universe but keeps evolving. Even chaos theory and quantum physics[13] show that particles move, cease to exist and are created all the time. We do not live in a clockwork universe. God is love, not a controlling force. God allows the loved one to be free. The book of Genesis shows the results of human freedom. [14]

God’s creation continues with chemical biological and physical changes showing a slow, complex adaptation to the environment.

At the same time God is a personal God who listens to our prayers. [15] He is always present with us. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."[16]

Details of Jesus’ birth are found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in the other Gospels or in the writings of Paul. Even in the two Gospels where His birth is mentioned, the details about the stable, shepherds and kings do not completely correspond. There has been much discussion about the “virgin birth” but at the Council of Chalcedon in 451AD the early fathers agreed on the issue that Jesus is one nature both human and divine at the same time. This follows what was written by St Paul[17] and in other epistles.

Augustine suggested that Jesus had to be pure i.e. a result of a virginal birth as this was the only way He could free people from the original sin of Adam and his descendants.[18] The Old Testament seems to back this up.[19]

Jesus is given several titles in the New Testament: Christ, Emmanuel, Messiah, Son of God and Son of Man. Matthew refers to the birth of Jesus Christ as Emmanuel or God with us[20]. In John, Andrew tells his brother Simon Peter “We have found the Messiah”[21]. The Samaritan woman at the well states that she knows the Messiah is coming[22]. At the last supper Jesus calls himself the Son of Man[23] and this and the title Messiah are linked to the Suffering Servant Songs of the prophet Isaiah[24].  During his trial Jesus is accused of claiming he was the son of God and even at the foot of the cross, the Roman soldier called Him the son of God.[25]

Jerome relates that God was hurt by the gross betrayal of Israel in their worship of other gods and so Jesus was the reconciliation between God and His people [26] and this is linked to the concept of atonement. Jesus died as a “propitiation for our sins” This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.[27] This is very different from the Jewish understanding of Messiah, whom they thought would be a freedom fighter to lead the war against Roman occupation.

Jesus would not just be the Messiah for the Jews but for all people. In the 6th Affirmation of Faith[28] it says, “for with his blood, he purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, from every people and nation”.[29]

When the women returned to the tomb, they found it empty and Jesus appeared first to Mary in the garden and then both in and around Jerusalem, then in Galilee. Paul does not give a location but says Jesus appeared to over 500 “of our brothers”[30] He was not immediately recognised.[31] As Paul wrote[32], “the perishable cannot possess the imperishable” but neither was Jesus a mere spirit because he ate fish[33], cooked breakfast for his disciples. Jesus had risen from the dead and his ascension means he is everywhere on earth, unlimited by time and place.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, as in effect his alter ego, “advocate” and “comforter”. “The spirit of the truth will bear witness to me”[34]. Paul write in Romans, “It is through the Holy Spirit God’s love has flooded our hearts”[35]. In the Old Testament there are references to the Spirit of God but the experience of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost changed the defeated, bewildered disciples into fearless preachers and willing martyrs. They proclaimed that everyone may have eternal life and went throughout the known world to preach.


Appignanesi Richard: Introducing Post Modernism (2006)

Morris James: Contemporary Creed (Kindle Version)

Welch Don: Nicene Creed (New)

Times and Seasons: Church of England


[1] Mark 19:17-26

[2] 5th Affirmation of Faith in Times and Seasons

[3] Matthew1:23 and also Isa7:14

[4] 1 Tim 3:16

[5] Jer 1:4

[6] 2nd Affirmation of Faith in Times and Seasons

[7] Heb 1:3

[8] 1 John 2:2

[9] New Nicene Creed by Don Welch

[10] Various affirmations of faith from Times and Seasons

[11] Ex 3:14, 15:11


[13] Introducing Post Modernism

[14] Gen 1-12

[15] Ps 107:28-30, Matt21:22

[16] Rev 1:8

[17] Rom 8:3

[18] Quoted in John Morris Contemporary Creed

[19] Isa 7:14 and Matt 1:23

[20] Matt 1:8

[21] John 1:41

[22] John 4:25

[23] Mark 14:21

[24] Isa 42:1-4, 49:1-6 50:4-9

[25] Matt 3:35

[26] Quoted in John Morris Contemporary Creed

[27] 1 John 4:10

[28] Times and Seasons

[29] Also see the Quaker affirmation of faith “God is in every person” (I once taught in a Quaker school)

[30] 1 Cor 15:3-7

[31] John 20:14 and Luke 24:31,37.

[32] 1 Cor 15:50

[33] Luke 24:39

[34] John 14:15-26

[35] Rom 5:5