Topics: Trinity, Christianity, Jesus Pages: 16 (3527 words) Published: September 1, 2013
I believe …
I believe …

Teaching Resources
For The Nicene Creed
& The Apostles’ Creed
Teaching Resources
For The Nicene Creed
& The Apostles’ Creed

Teacher Background

What is a Creed?

A creed is a set of words. It says what a person or group believes in, and helps express the identity of the group. It is a faith put into words. Throughout its long history, the Catholic Church has pursued a deeper understanding of Jesus and his message. Driven by the human need to name the God who is at the heart of the life experience of believers, the church has many times attempted to sum up the core beliefs of Christianity. The fruit of such attempts is a formal statement of faith called a creed, from the Latin word credo, meaning “I believe”. Two creeds have taken on particular significance in the Catholic Church: the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Apostles Creed derives its name from the tradition that it originated from Jesus’ apostles themselves. The Nicene Creed is named from the ancient city of Nicaea, in which the creed was first originally accepted by a council of the church’s bishops in the year 325CE. It is the creed that is proclaimed by Catholics during every Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. Also, this same creed has been recognised as official teaching not only by Roman Catholics but also by Eastern Orthodox Catholics, Anglicans and all major Protestant churches. For over sixteen hundred years, tens of millions of Christian believers have been solemnly repeating this creed as a summary of their faith in Jesus Christ and the God he revealed to us.

Jesus – Truly God or Just a Good Preacher?

During 2011, a revision of the words we use at Mass was introduced in parishes across Australia and the English speaking world. These changes reflect a closer translation of the original Latin in which the prayers prayed during Eucharist were written. Many of these prayers, including the responses we pray as the people gathered, will sound different and this will be no more evident than when we pray the Creed during the Liturgy of the Word. The Creed reflects the basic beliefs we share as Catholic Christians and takes two forms – The Nicene Creed and The Apostles’ Creed with the Nicene being more regularly used at Mass. One word that has raised eyebrows in the new translation of the Nicene Creed is consubstantial replacing the more familiar phrase: of one being. Consubstantial is not a word commonly used and an understanding of its meaning requires a journey back in time to the origins of the Nicene Creed. This creed was borne out of the Council of Nicaea, a gathering of Church fathers held in 325CE. With the notable exception of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), Church councils are called to respond to heresies or major controversies confronting the Church. Nicaea was convoked in response to a heresy being promulgated by an Alexandrian priest Arius. Arius stated that if Jesus was God’s son then he was created by God. His existence must have had a starting point and therefore he could not be ‘ever present’ as is the understanding of the nature of God. If this be the case, Jesus could not enjoy the same divinity as God. While being a very special creation of God he was nevertheless still a creation. This had huge implications for the Church’s understanding of Christ’s role in our salvation. If he was not God then he could not be our Saviour. In condemning Arius, Nicaea promoted the full divinity of Christ using the Greek word homoousios “of one substance” describing the nature of Jesus and the Father. Consubstantial, the Latin form of this Greek word, contains the prefix ‘con’ meaning together or with, thus describing the essence that Jesus and God share. So at the end of the day does it make any difference to say of one being or consubstantial? Not really, but it may provide an opportunity for us to stop as we pronounce this unfamiliar word and think about the importance of this...
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