The Catechuminates of the early church were given the Apostles Creed , otherwise known as the Symbol of the Apostles as the statement of their new Faith in God.
This confession is far older than the Nicene creed that has caused division and uncertainty in the Church.
The earliest known example of the “Apostles’ Creed” appears in a letter of AD 390 from a synod in Milan and might have been connected with a widely accepted belief in the 4th century, that, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, each of the Twelve Apostles contributed an article to the twelve articles of the creed. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostles%27_Creed
The Apostles’ Creed was based on the Theology Christians understood of the canonical gospels, the letters of the New Testament and to a lesser extent the Old Testament. Its basis appears to be the old Roman Creed also known as the Old Roman Symbol.
source The Apostles Creed Wikipedia
Because of the early origin of its original form, it does not address some Christological issues defined in the Nicene and other Christian creeds.
It thus says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Nor does it address many other theological questions which became objects of dispute centuries later.the Apostles creed Wikipedia
The Apostles Creed as used by the Uniting Church of Australia
Why the creed?
Just before the Uniting Church made the decision to close our doors, our particular Parish was studying the Apostles Creed. Our Pastor would preach on it, one line at a time.
- I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
- And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
- Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
- Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
- The third day he rose again from the dead:
- He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
- From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
- I believe in the Holy Ghost:
- I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
- The forgiveness of sins:
- The resurrection of the body:
- And the life everlasting. Amen.
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
New Believers came from varied backgrounds, some of Polytheistic origins, some of no particular leanings and the first declaration they had to make was the belief in one God, who was their almighty Father who had made both heaven and earth.
This primary confession brought to bear the concept that all of us are created beings fashioned by God whom we call Father. Jewish converts would not have been surprised by this since there are recorded references to God as being the Father of Israel. God had been many things to Israel, now he was Father to both Jews and Gentiles.
(This primary confession was the beginning of a baptism of fire for those whose beliefs had become widdershins to the norm.)
God as Father to Israel.
Jer 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isa 63:16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Deu 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
1Ch 29:10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
Jer 3:19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
Mal 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Mal 2:10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
Pro 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Psa 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
Not only is God Almighty known as the “Father”, He calls His people as “Children”
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
Isa 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me….[…]
So, what of today, how is God a Father to us, what are our concepts of him?
This Creed is our confession of Faith, 12 Articles enumerating standard Christian Beliefs which can be understood in numerous ways depending upon our Religious Persuasion or Denomination.
Next post : How do I understand them, since I cannot speak for you?