“I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.”
“The Creed” is a profession of faith that we say at Mass on most Sundays and solemnities throughout the year. Its name comes from the Latin word Credo which means “I believe”. So when we say this creed, we are saying what it is that we believe as Christians, but how many of us actually know what it is that we are saying when we recite these words? For the next few weeks, I would like to go through the Creed and unpack what it is we are saying. I will be using the words of the Nicene Creed, which is the creed we recite at Sunday Mass. The meaning that we will be discussing will also apply to the Apostle’s Creed, which is a simpler version and is said as part of the Rosary and other Catholic devotions.
This week we start with the opening sentence of the Creed. We begin by acknowledging that there is only one God. When the Creed was written at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, most religions were polytheistic; they believed in multiple gods and goddesses. So it was important to begin with this statement that we believe that there is only one God.
We now move on to talk about how He is one God in three persons. While we never say the words “trinity” or “persons” in the Creed, we talk about each person of the Trinity as we say these words. As is appropriate, we first talk about the Father. How do we know that we can call God our Father? Because, Jesus Himself called God His Father and taught us to say “Our Father” when we pray (Mt 6:9-13). We also call Him “almighty”, acknowledging Him as all-knowing and all powerful.
In the next phrase, we call God our creator. Specifically we often talk about God the Father with creation, but it would be wrong to say that the Father is the only person of the Holy Trinity who is involved with creation. In fact, as we will see later in the Creed, we also believe that the Son and the Holy Spirit had their own parts to play in creation. Here we talk about Him as the creator of “heaven and earth” and “of all things visible and invisible”. In other words, God did not just create the world and its people, plants, and animals. He created heaven and the angles as well. He created EVERYTHING! This is what we believe.