Friday, September 4, 2015

Apostles’ Creed: God, Three and One

When we recite the Apostles Creed we declare that we believe in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. We believe in God who is three and yet who is, at the same time, one. This belief is unique among the religions of the world. There are those religions that believe in one god, like Judaism and Islam. Then, there are those religions that believe in many gods, like Hinduism. According to the Creed, the Christian faith is different.

Understanding this aspect of who our God is can be quite helpful. So, for example, John wrote, ‘God is love.’ That’s usually understood as, ‘God loves - a lot!’ But while that’s true, there’s more to what John is saying. For an eternity the Father and the Son and the Spirit were loving each other. In that sense, God really is love. He defines what love is. It’s what He’s been doing since forever. Love is an eternal reality. God is love.

When you think about that a bit you can see something that I think is really helpful. We are completely unnecessary. God didn’t create us because He was lonely. And that’s because He wasn’t lonely. He was enjoying love relationships and was quite satisfied in those relationships. He didn’t - and doesn’t - need us. Nevertheless, He created us so that He could love us. And that says something about what He thinks of us. We are important to Him. And so, we are quite unnecessary but oh so important. That’s both humbling and exhilarating - and worth spending some time thinking about.

Here’s a different thought. Each of the three persons of God relates to the other persons differently. So, for example, when it comes to the mission of God for the world, the Father sends the Son. The Son submits Himself to the will of the Father to fulfill His part of the mission. The Spirit is sent by both the Father and the Son to bear witness to the Son which is His role in the mission. And they all do these things as complete equals. There are lessons there about how we are to relate to each other, especially in the context of the mission God has given us. Same mission. Different roles. All equal.

In all of this, I think that it’s helpful to see that we relate to the different persons who are God, differently. We relate to the Father as, well, a father. We relate to the Son as our Lord and Savior. We relate to the Spirit as the one who guides and empowers us to live as disciples of Jesus. We enjoy each one differently.

We are assenting to all of this and more each time we recite the Apostles’ Creed.

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