The Nicene Creed
“I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.”
The change from “we believe” to “I believe” is to return to the exact translation of the Latin word credo. We are baptized and confirmed individually, into a body of believers, but still as individuals. This statement of belief is an individual proclamation of our belief.
The words “seen and unseen” are being replaced with the words, “visible and invisible” to remind us of all the beautiful things we can see; the sky, a rainbow, mountains, flowers, babies, as well as those we cannot see; the angels, whom we can’t see unless ordered by God to reveal themselves as the angel Gabriel to our Blessed Mother and also, the Holy Spirit, present with us at all times. This helps us to realize God’s creation is far greater than that in which we can see.
“For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.”
Again, we express our belief as an individual. Also, we again see Christ identified as the natural Son of God, begotten, not created. Here we also are given the teaching of Christ’s being the Son of God for all time. There was never a time without the Son and the Holy Spirit and there never will be.
“He is before all things…,” (Colossians 1:18).
“I am the first and the last,” (Revelation 1:17).
“God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;”
This is a theological concept that may be new to some. It is quite marveling when understood. We are saying in these new words that we believe that Jesus is of the same inward nature as God the Father. The Holy Spirit is also of this same inward nature. They are three in one. They are not three people existing together but of the same essence. We cannot separate one from the others.
When the Apostle Philip asked Christ to show them the Father, Christ answered with these words, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9).
“…through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”
At Mary’s fiat, God became man. This was not a regular conception but a divine life given to the womb of a young Jewish woman who agreed to participate in God’s great plan of salvation. God sent His Son to become like man, knowing the pain and suffering in the flesh of men so that He could save man from the curse of original sin, eternal death.
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word,” (Luke 1:38).
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death..,” (Hebrews 5:7).
“For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Not only did Christ suffer, he suffered the ultimate consequence of sin, that being death itself. The rest of the changed wording here is more in line with the literal Latin translation.
“He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
Once again, these words take us back to a closer translation of the Latin.
“I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
To confess is to do more than to just admit. It is a proclamation.
Recognizing our one baptism into the one body of Christ binds us to the one God.
Like Simeon, we look forward to our final rest in Heaven at the end of time.
“…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all,” (Ephesians 4:5-6).