The Nicene Creed, an ancient test of orthodoxy that many congregations still recite to confess the Christian faith, teaches the doctrines of the incarnation and of the Trinity.
That is to say, it teaches both that Jesus Christ is truly and fully human and truly and fully divine and also that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Nicene Creed, at the beginning of the second paragraph, says not once but eight times how Jesus Christ is related to God the Father:
We believe . . . in one Lord Jesus Christ,
(1) the only-begotten Son of God [not created],
(2) begotten of the Father before all worlds ["before" time and creation, so not created],
(3) God of God [one with God],
(4) Light of Light [one with God],
(5) Very God of Very God [one with God],
(6) begotten, not made [again, not created],
(7) being of one substance with the Father [one with God, not merely a "like" substance];
(8) by whom all things were made [i.e., he was the agent of creation, not part of it].
Why eight times? To be sure that we get the point that Jesus Christ is truly divine! He is not merely a creature. He is not merely a teacher or a prophet. He is not merely a healer or an example. He is not merely the very best the world has to offer. Jesus does not pretend to be God. He is not derivative of God. Jesus Christ is, instead, the creator of the world and the Lord of the universe. That is to say, he is God.
This creed was written at a time when some people believed that Jesus was wonderfully human but could not possibly be divine. In response to that, the church affirmed the truth and reality of his divinity. Jesus Christ came and lived among us and for us as the very presence of God. Thanks be to God!
If and when we are tempted to focus upon the humanity of Jesus Christ to the exclusion of his divinity, or to doubt that his gospel is for us is God's gospel, let us remember, recite, and affirm the Christian faith in the words of the Nicene Creed.
To learn more about the Nicene Creed, see the readings suggested at this link:The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds
Thank you for your ongoing interest in the mission and work of the Foundation. To learn more about how to help us promote the recovery and application of Reformed theology, please click on this link:
Grace and Peace,
Dr. James C. Goodloe IV, Executive
Foundation for Reformed Theology
4103 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23230
Better Preaching, Teaching, and Pastoral Care