καρδίᾳ γὰρ πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην, στόματι δὲ ὁμολογεῖται εἰς σωτηρίαν. –Rom.
The christian Church will soon enter on the twentieth century of her existence.
No other institution of equal importance can claim so long a history. The society
which was founded by Jesus Christ and His Apostles in the first century is
with us to-day, not as a moribund or decadent body which has spent its strength
and is a mere survival of a past age, but in the full vigour of a life mellowed
by the experience of age but free from its infirmities. At the present moment
the Church is everywhere lengthening her cords and strengthening her stakes.
As fast as new regions are opened up to Western enterprise, the Church of the
West presses in to capture them for Christ; when old countries are stirred
by a craving for Western knowledge, the Church is at hand to offer them the
Gospel. At home she /4/ is busy with the study of new social and intellectual
problems, which she brings into the light of the Christian revelation; new
discoveries are pressed into the service of Christian thought, new movements
supply fresh fields for Christian work. The oldest of living organizations
is among the most enterprising; the Church seems to be ever starting anew upon
her original mission of converting and saving the world. In modern life she
meets us everywhere. Many modern men, it is true, neglect her ministrations,
and ignore or refuse her teaching; but her most resolute adversary cannot shut
his eyes to her existence, or to the abundant vitality by which she challenges
attention in every land.
The Church, then, is a factor in modern life which cannot be overlooked; as
she has, of all great modern institutions, the longest history, so, there is
reason to think, she is the most permanent spiritual force which is amongst
us to-day. She is rapidly adapting herself to the changed and changing conditions
in which she now has to work. But in adapting herself to modern ways of thinking
and acting, she is far from abandoning the old. She possesses doctrines, sacraments,
orders, creeds, which have come down from those /5/ far-off days when the faith
of Christ had scarcely made its way beyond the shores of the Mediterranean;
and she holds tenaciously by these heirlooms, and carries them with her to-day
to the far East, and wherever she goes. The question is often asked whether
there can be any place in our modern world for these relics of ancient Christianity;
what functions they can fulfil in our own age, or in times to come? Would it
not be expedient for modern Christians to shake themselves free from these
survivals of the early centuries?
In this lecture I shall try, so far as time permits, to answer these questions
in regard to the ancient Creeds, or rather in regard to the two Creeds which
are familiar to us all, the Apostles’ and the Nicene.
1. We must, first of all, endeavour to realize the circumstances in which
these two Creeds had their origin, and the purpose they were meant to fulfil.
The Apostles’ Creed (so called) is, in fact, a very venerable form of
baptismal confession. Even in the Apostolic age some brief confession of faith
was required from new converts before they were admitted to the Church by Baptism.
/6/ Timothy, who was baptized, as it appears, during St. Paul’s first
mission, before the middle of the first century, had “confessed the good
confession in the sight of many witnesses”. <note
1> The earliest form of words was doubtless simple in the extreme, such
as that which the “Western” text of Acts places in the mouth of
the Ethiopian eunuch, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God”, <note
2> or the still more succinct creed cited more than once by St. Paul, “Jesus
is Lord”. <note 3> But as soon as it became
usual to administer Baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Ghost, the baptismal confession naturally took the threefold form
to which we are accustomed. Such, it is known, was the Creed of the Roman Church
about the middle of the second century. Those were the days of the Antonines,
when, though the savage brutality of Nero and the “sudden and repeated” <note
4> assaults of Domitian were memories of the past, the Roman Church
was still liable at any moment to a fresh outbreak of persecution, if popular
clamour or the whim of the Emperor demanded it. Yet new converts were continually
/7/ offering themselves for baptism. They were brought by the congregation
to “a place where was water”, <note 5> a
bath perhaps within the catacomb where the Church assembled for worship, and
there, as we are told by Justin, who had doubtless witnessed the scene, they “were
regenerated”, born into the new life of Christ, bathing in the water
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And either
at the font or before they came to be baptized, each of these new Christians
confessed his faith in the words of the Roman Creed. The words can be restored
with a fair degree of certainty. “I believe”, he said, “in
God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord, who was
born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate
and buried, rose the third day from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth
at the right hand of the Father; whence he shall come to judge the quick and
the dead. And [I believe] in the Holy Ghost, the holy Church, the forgiveness
of sins, the resurrection of the flesh”. /8/
You will recognize in these words a shorter form of our present baptismal
creed. The additions which were made at a later time by other Western Churches
are not very material; the bulk of the Creed as we say it to-day was, there
is reason to believe, what was said by Roman Christians and thaught to the
candidates for baptism in the middle of the second century, when to confess
the faith of Christ was to run the risk of being behaeded, or thrown to the
wild beasts to make a Roman holiday.
The so-called Nicene Creed differs widely from the Apostles’ Creed both
in origin and purpose. It belongs not to the second century, bu to the fourth;
it comes to us not from the age of persecution, but from that which witnessed
the triumph of Christianity over paganism, the peace of the Church, and the
conversion of the Roman world. It is not a brief summary of the Christian faith,
as opposed to Judaism and to heathen religions, but a full statement of the credenda of the religion of Christ as illuminated by a longer Christian experience,
and distinguished from heretical perversions of Apostolic teaching. The Apostles’ Creed
was an exclusively Western form; the “Nicene” Creed is /9/ Eastern
in type and Catholic in use, accepted and recited by East and West alike.
The Creed we call Nicene is in fact the Creed of Constantinople, the New Rome
of Constantine, as the Creed we call Apostles’ is the Creed of Old Rome
in days before the new capital was founded. The Creed of Constantinople, now
known als Nicene, is an enlargement of the ancient baptismal Creed of Jerusalem,
embodying the most important clauses of the true Creed of Nicea, and certain
other doctrinal clauses relating to the Holy Ghost. Thus it sums up the results
of the two great victories which the Catholic Church in the fourth century
won over Arianism, affirming the Godhead of the son, which was maintained by
the Council of Nicea in 325, and the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, which was
maintained by the Council of Constantinople in 381. On those two points, therefore,
the Creed of Constantinople goes far beyond the statements of the Roman Creed.
The simple confession of faith in Christ Jesus as “the only Son of God” is
expanded in the Constantinopolitan Creed into the magnificent sentence: “begotten
of the Father before all worlds, light of light, very God of very God, begotten
not made, of one /10/ substance with the Father; by whom all things were made”. <note
6> Similarly it adds to the simple confession of faith in the Holy Ghost: “the
Lord, the Giver of life, that proceedeth from the Father, that together with
the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified”. <note
7> There is, indeed, nothing which is really new in either of these
additions, for the man who says, “I believe in God the Father... and
in His only Son... and in the Holy Ghost”, practically confess the Godhead
of the Son and the Holy Ghost, since he recognizes that the Three Persons have
an equal claim on his faith and service. But what the second century creed
had taught implicitly, the creeds of the fourth century made so explicit as
to leave no room for doubt.
Like the Apostles’ Creed in the West, the Creed of Constantinople is
in the East the creed of Baptism. Each catechumen is required to repeat it
before he is baptized. Even in the West it appears for a time to have superseded
at baptisms the use of the Western form. But its /11/more appropriate place
is in the service of the Eucharist, where it is now used both in East and West.
For use at the font, as we Westerns think, the short and simple Creed of the
second century is the more appropriate; at the altar, where baptized Christians
celebrate the deepest mysteries of their religion, there is singular fitness
in reciting the fuller confession which is the product of a more mature theology.
The elementary Creed is suited to the needs of the new convert, or the little
child receiving its first lesson in the faith. The more advanced Creed known
to us as Nicene, the Creed of Constantinople, calls for the matured faith,
the riper Christian understanding, which may be expected in communicant members
of the Church.
2. Such is the history of the two great Creeds of Christendom, and such their
present use in the historical Churches – the Orthodox, the Roman, and
the Anglican. We come now to the question raised by this use. Is it right,
is it expedient, that the modern Church should still require from its members
these ancient confessions of faith? Might they not with advantage be dropped
altogether, or at least be revised and brought into /12/ greater conformity
with modern ideas and beliefs? No student of history or of institutions can
fail to recognize the interest and importance of Christian documents which
have come down to us, the one from the second century, the other from the fourth;
the one from the age of persecution and the worship of the catacombs, the other
from the age which witnessed the Church’s conquest, first of paganism,
and then of heresy. No Christian student can handle without veneration confessions
of the Christian faith, which have been recited by long generations of believers
at Baptism or at the Eucharist. They have been consecrated for him by their
use at the most solemn moments of life by millions of his fellow Christians
who are gone to God. No form of words that the wisdom of the modern Church
could devise, would strike the imagination or lift the heart as these can do.
We find these ancient, time-honoured forms in possession, and the reasons must
be strong indeed which would justify their abandonment.
But this is sentiment, and although the force of sentiment is not to be ignored
in religion or in any human interest, it cannot be suffered to /13/determine
altogether the policy of a great society such as the Christian Church. Our
age is eminently practical, and it asks, what purpose, besides the gratifying
of sentiment, is served by perpetuating the use of ancient forms which were
made for another and wholly different order of things?
(1) I answer in the first place that these venerable confessions of Christian
faith make for union among Christians who are separated from one another by
the present divisions of Christendom. There are few assemblies of English Christians
in which it would not be possible for members of various denominations to recite
together the Apostles’ Creed. Some might refuse to be bound by it, or
to adopt it into their own order of worship, but few would refuse to recite
it in common with the rest of their fellow Christians. It has the prestige
of great age, and it brings together in the fewest and simplest words the great
fundamental verities of Christianity which all acknowledge. The same cannot
be said of the “Nicene” Creed, chiefly, perhaps, because, to those
who are not acquainted with its history and exact meaning, it suggests the
dogmatism of a dead theology. Yet the importance of the /14/ “Nicene” Creed
as a unifying force in Christendom is incalculable. This Creed is still the
common property of the great historical communions, the Greek, the Roman, and
the Anglican; widely as they are divided, they have herein a meeting-ground;
and whenever the reunion of Christendom becomes a matter of practical politics,
as some day, please God, it will, it is round this great and truly Catholic
Creed that East and West will gather and join hands again. <note
8> The ancient Creeds, but especially the “Nicene” Creed,
will offer the best basis for the restoration of our broken unity; and no Christian
whose heart echoes out Lord’s prayer “that they may all be one...
that the world may believe,” <note 9> should
consent to the silencing of their voice; it is one of the few voices that in
the Babel of our modern life call for peace and fellowship on the basis of
a common faith. /15/
(2) The ancient Creeds, then, may well be in the future one of the chief instruments
for bringing about the reunion of Christendom. Meanwhile they are of great
value to our modern life as presenting definite statements as to the contents
of the Christian faith-statements sanctioned by the consent of the great majority
of Christians from the early days of the Church to the present time. The modern
mind, while it demands definiteness in science and history, resents it in religion,
which, it seems to think, should content itself with the vaguest aspirations
after the Unknown. But the genius of Christianity, as it was preached by our
Lord and the Apostles, is opposed to indefiniteness; the religion of Christ
rests on definite facts, and proclaims definite doctrines. And the Creeds accordingly
state quite plainly what every Christian or every communicant must believe.
In the second century, when the Apostles’ Creed had its birth, there
was no middle course between belief and unbelief; a man was either a believer
or he was not, and if he believed, he accepted and confessed the Faith with
a complete disregard of consequences. The old Roman Creed, so far as it goes,
is therefore a very straight-forward, uncompromising summary of the things
/16/which the Chruch believed and the world refused to believe; and its explicitness
has a real value at the present time. Equally valuable are its brevity and
simplicity; it demands from the baptized layman no more than is essential to
a healthy Christian life. It states quite distinctly the indispensable minimum.
No man can live on less; no man who holds the Apostles’ Creed can be
far from the original Gospel and the faith of the Apostles who preached it.
The “Nicene” Creed, the Creed of Communion, is more complex, embodying,
as we have seen, the results of two great controversies which raged throughout
the Church in the fourth century, and reflecting in its language to some extent
the philosophy of the age to which it belonged. To many moderns who accept
the Apostles’ Creed, the Creed of Constantinople will appear too explicit,
too dogmatic; defining where definition is not possible or not legitimate,
speaking where Holy Scripture is silent, and early tradition is uncertain;
pursuing lines of thought which our present knowledge does not enable us to
follow. Why, it may be asked, should our age be bound by the decisions of Councils
held more than fifteen centuries ago? Why force upon the Church of the twentieth
/17/ century the philosophy and terminology of the fourth? The objection is
plausible, but it shows an impatience which is one of the defects of an age
of rapid movement. It overlooks the fact that the Church has a continuous life,
the life of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and that we cannot cut ourselves
loose and drift away from the great results of the past without serious loss
and possible disaster. We are heirs of the past, and our present thought and
knowledge are the product of all the ages. It is hardly possible to speak or
think on any religious subject without being influenced, both in thought and
language, by the results reached or the terms adopted by former generations.
The man in the street, when he delivers his judgements on theological matters,
little knows how much he owes to the makers of theology in the past. Among
these the theologians of the century which produced the Nicene and Constantinopolitan
Creeds hold a foremost place; it was given to these men, under the stress and
strain of an age when vital issues were being determined, to put into the language
of their time the interpretation which the experience of the Church had led
her to place upon the New Testament doctrines of the Son /18/ and the Spirit
of God. From that interpretation the Church as a whole has never swerved, and
it is the office of the “Nicene” Creed to keep it alive in the
modern world. It is not the terminology of Nicæa and Constantinople for
which we contend; let the modern Church find, if she can, more suitable terms
to express the same great spiritual facts. But let the ancient Creed be left
intact; it possesses a sublimity, which, with all deference to the progress
of human thought, neither this nor any later generation is likely to excel.
3. The Church, then, rightly clings to the ancient Creeds, not only because
they are venerable documents which she finds in possession of the field of
Christian thought, but because they make for unity, and may one day form the
basis of reunion; and further, because meanwhile they guard the definite faith
of the original Gospel, and express it in language which is at once precise
an sublime. But at this point we are met by a claim, while retaining both the
Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds, to re-interpret them in such a manner
as to bring them into consonance with modern thought. There are those who say,
By all means keep the Creeds, and recite the time-/19/honoured words in the
Divine Service, at the font, and at the Eucharist; but do not impose on us
the necessity of interpreting them as they have been interpreted in the past,
and are now interpreted by the majority of those who use them. If we retain
the forms, we do so on the understanding that we are permitted to place upon
certain words, without the imputation of insincerity, a meaning which is not
their literal sense, and which was not contemplated by the men who composed
the Creeds. This claim is now being made by scholars of repute, and it deserves
the most respectful consideration. And it is relevant to my subject, for such
a re-interpretation must, of course, deeply affect the place and office of
the Creeds in modern life.
Let me first say that this claim, if allowed without reserve, reaches further
than its supporters seem to recognize. It is easy to see what serious consequences
might ensue if the “Nicene” Creed were thus re-interpreted. It
will be within the memory of every student of Church History that no terms
could be found to express the true Godhead of our Lord from which the Arians
did not contrive to escape, until the introduction of the words “of one
substance with the Father” /20/ brought them to a standstill. <note
10> Is it not conceivable that modern ingenuity may discover a re-interpretation
even of those crucial phrases which baffled earlier doubters? It is not suggested
that the eminent scholars who have claimed liberty to re-interpret the Creeds
will take this course; they are all convinced adherents of the Nicene doctrine
of the Person of the Son; but it is well to bear in mind the use which others
may make of this liberty if it is conceded. For the present, however, the claim
is made only in reference to the Apostles’ Creed, and to certain of its
articles; and to these, therefore, I shall confine my remarks.
According to the plain meaning and undoubted intention of the words, the Apostles’ Creed
affirms that the human life of the Son of God began and ended with miracle.
At His entrance into the world He “was conceived of the Holy Ghost and
born of the Virgin Mary.” “The third day” after His death
and burial “He rose again from the dead.” It is now claimed that
both these articles may be interpreted in a non-miraculous sense. In this way,
we are assured, “the greatest of all stumbling-blocks to the modern /21/
mind is removed”; <note 11> the miraculous,
against which modern thought revolts, disappears from the Church’s Creed.
Let me point out that these two articles belong to the earliest form of the
Creed. It cannot be pleaded that either of them is, like the words “He
descended into Hell”, the growth of a later age. Moreover, there is evidence
that in asserting the miraculous Conception and Resurrection of our Lord they
voice the convinced belief of Christians of the second century. Ignatius, the
martyr Bishop from Syria, who, about 116, ended his life at Rome, writes: “Jesus
Christ was the Son of Mary... was truly born... truly raised from the dead”; <note
12> again, “Our Lord... was truly born of a virgin”<note
13> “Jesus the Christ was conceived in the womb by Mary... of
the seed of David, but also of the Holy Ghost.” <note
14> Justin Martyr, who taught at Rome at a time when the Roman Creed
was perhaps already in use, is yet more explicit: “The power of God came
upon the Virgin and overshadowed her, and, virgin as she was, made her to conceive.” <note
15> /22/An early tract on the Resurrection, attributed to Justin, and
certainly not much later than his time, says: “He raised His body, therein
conforming the promise of life... He rose in the flesh that suffered.” <note
16> The Creed, then, faithfully reflects the belief of the Early Church
when it asserts that our Lord was miraculously born and miraculously raised
from the dead. That it insists on these two miracles is the more remarkable,
because it makes no mention of the other miracles of the Gospels. Neither the
Apostles’ Creed nor the Nicene expressly requires belief in the Feeding
of the Five Thousand or the Raising of Lazarus as an essential article of faith.
If you are brought by your own examination of the records, or by the arguments
of others, to doubt the story of the Walking on the Sea, the Creeds, so far
as regards their explicit demands upon faith, leave you free to do so. I am
not defending such doubts, or saying that they can be cherished without grave
loss and injury; but they do not bring the doubter into direct conflict with
either the Creed of Baptism or the Creed of Communion. The Creeds, as we have
seen, exact a minimum; but to that minimum the two great miracles of the /23/
Incarnate Life, the Conception, and the Resurrection, have belonged from the
beginning. But miracles, even those two which from the first have been closely
associated with the faith of the Incarnation, cannot, it is said, be maintained
in the light of modern knowledge. It followes that those articles of the Creed
which assert the Miraculous Conception and the Miraculous Resurrection must
be re-interpreted, in such a sense that the miracles shall disappear. The “central
reality” of these events is to be retained, but the facts are, if I rightly
understand, to be resolved into happenings in the spiritual, not in the physical,
order. Nothing must be allowed to disturb our sense of “the beautiful
regularity that we see around us,” <note 17> or
the conviction that it “has been, and will be, the law of the Divine
action from the beginning to the end of time.” The Creeds must be re-interpreted
in such a manner as to exclude any departure from the normal order of Nature.
The alternative is to abandon the ancient Creeds, or the articles which conflict
with the modern rejection of miracle, and this our modernist leaders happily
are not prepared to do. /24/
Dr. Sanday, in his recent reply to the Bishop of Oxford, draws a sharp distinction
between the Supernatural and (if the word may be allowed) the Contranatural, <note
18> and, if I understand him rightly, he places the Miraculous Conception
and the Physical Resurrection under the latter category. <note
19> But no believer in the historical character of these two events
will for a moment admit that they are in part or in whole contra naturam, or
that any true miracle is such. There is, he will say, in this case, a supersession
of the normal mode of the Divine working, and a consequent suspension of the
normal mode, but not a contradiction. And he will ask himself whether if such
a departure from the normal mode can occur (and to deny this is to deny the
freedom of the Divine Will), there was not an occasion for it when the Eternal
Word was made man; <note 20> and again, when, being
man, He became subject to death. The entrance of a divine /25/ Person such
as the Church believes our Lord to be, of God’s only Son, into permanent
union with human nature, and into contact in that nature with the visible order
of the world, was an absolutely unique event, calling for a unique manifestation
of the Divine working in Nature. The wonder would have been if such a Person
had been born after the manner of all men; if His Incarnation had been attended
by no sign of His superhuman origin. And the Resurrection, as a physical fact,
is entirely in harmony with His Supernatural Conception. Granting the truth
of the Incarnation and the Conception by the Holy Spirit, it is unthinkable
that the Body so formed, and united from the first with the Person of the Logos,
could have seen corruption, and lain in the tomb until it was mingled with
the dust of Palestine. He who in order to preserve a mechanical uniformity
of Nature believes this, believes a wonder greater than that which the Creed
confesses when it plainly says, “The third day He rose again.”
But it is urged that some re-interpretation of the Creed is clearly necessary,
and if so, why not here? A later age must be held free, if it retains an ancient
formula, to read into its words a /26/ meaning which the second century compilers
did not and could not contemplate. This is done, in fact, by almost all educated
Christians in the case of certain other articles in the Apostles’ Creed.
No one in these days thinks of heaven als a locality above the skies into which
the Body of the Lord was carried up, or interprets literally His session at
the right hand of God. Few are now found to regard the Resurrection as a simple
re-animation of the lifeless body, or the Second Coming as a coming in the
clouds, visible to the natural eye. A similar liberty is demanded for those
who go a step further and interpret the Conception and the Resurrection in
such a manner as to set them free from the necessity of believing in the miraculous.
Let it be granted at once that some re-interpretation of the Creeds, and of
the New Testament itself, is from time to time not only permissible, but necessary.
In an age of movement and discovery such as our own, it is the duty of the
Church to bring the unchangeable faith of the Gospel into relation with the
revelations of science and research. It is a mark of vitality in the Church
that she is able, without sacrificing truth, to adapt her expression of it
to the needs of /27/ each age as it succeeds to those that have gone before.
The task is a delicate one, but not impracticable, nor ought it to be distasteful
to believers in Christ. Those who realize that all Truth is one, and that it
is the One Spirit of Christ who reveals it, will welcome new light from whatever
source it comes, even though it may compel us to abandon interpretations of
the letter of Scripture and the Creeds which have long prevailed. With this
conviction the Church can afford to await with perfect calmness the results
of attempts made by Christian students to adjust the ancient Creeds to modern
thought; such attempts may not be immediately successful, but they are not
illegitimate if they are made in the spirit of reverence and humility, and
with due regard to the foundation truths of the Christian faith, such as the
Incarnation and the Resurrection of our Lord. But it is not a mere re-interpretation
of the Creed which is now proposed; it is a denial of the literal truth of
the historical facts which the Creed confesses. The Creed – let me say
the Creeds – for the Creed of Constantinople is here in substantial agreement
with the earlier Creed of Rome – the Creeds say plainly that our Lord
was the /28/ Son of a virgin mother, and that His Conception or His Incarnation
was of the Holy Ghost. This is to assert that His entrance into the world was
not according to the ordinary course of nature. The words will bear no other
sense, and to interpret them otherwise is simply te deny that they are historically
true. Similarly the Resurrection article is practically denied when the words “the
third day He rose again from the dead” are tortured into some such sense
as this: On the third day He began to proclaim His victory over death by manifestations
due to telepathy or some similar cause. <note 21>
If the Creeds are to hold their place in modern life, they must find a better
apology than this. Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus
istis Tempus eget. The
modern mind is averse from miracle, but it is still more resentful of that
which it conceives to be a tampering with the plain meaning of words. It is
not the miracles of the Conception and the Resurrection that constitute the
ultimate difficulty in the way of this age when it is asked /29/ to accept
the Christian faith. The difficulty lies further back, in the Incarnation itself.
And the Incarnation is the very centre of the Faith. If you abandon it, you
cut the heart out of the Creeds and of the Church herself.
The Creeds, let it be plainly said, stand for a miraculous Christianity, because
they stand for the truth of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word. They do not
stop to speak of the miracles of the incarnate life on earth; they pass over
in silence the whole story of that life, going direct from Bethlehem to Calvary,
from the Birth of Jesus Christ to His Death. Their purpose is to concentrate
attention on His Person and redeeming work. The Person of Christ is itself
the miracle of miracles. Believe in Him as the Word made Flesh, they seem to
say, and the subsidiary miracles will fall into their place, as guards of honour
and salutes of artillery announce the progress of a King.
No genuine re-interpretation of the Creeds can exclude miracle. They are here,
in our modern life, to bear witness to it. Human life, in modern as in ancient
times, demands a Redeemer who is not the mere product of His own age, or of
all the ages, but One who has come down from /30/ heaven and returned to heaven,
a Person of supernatural origin and supernatural destiny, whose entrance into
the world and exit from it were fitly accompanied by supernatural events, and
indeed could not, so far as we can judge, have been effected by the ordinary
processes of nature. The Creeds, following herein the New Testament, “stand
for” miracle; they express the conviction that the world is not an automaton,
governed by inflexible laws which allow no intervention by a Sovereign Will;
that there is no inconsistency between the orderly evolution of Nature and
the immanence of the Logos in the cosmos, or His supernatural union with our
human flesh. Their witness to these things is beyond value in an age which
is rapidly losing its sense of a Living God; and the Church can render no greater
service than by holding fast the form of sound words which she has inherited,
and inspiring modern life with the simple faith and buoyant hope which animated
the generation that gave us the first draft of the Apostles’ Creed.
Note 1: I Tim. vi.12.
Note 2: Acts viii.36.
Note 3: Rom. x.9; I Cor. xii.3; Phil.ii.II.
Note 4: Clement of Rome, I Cor.I
Note 5: Apol.i. 6I. ἄγονται ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν ἔνθα ὕδωρ ἐστί, καὶ .
. . ἀναγεννῶνται· ᾿επ᾿ ὀνόματος γὰρ τοῦ πατρὸς .
. . καὶ τοῦ σωτῆμος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου τὸ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι τότε λουτρὸν ποιοῦνται.
Note 6: τὸv ἐκ τoῦ πατρὸς γεvvηθέvτα πρὸ πάvτωv τῶv αἰώvωv, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸv ἀληθιvὸv ἐκ θεoῦ ἀληθιvoῦ, γεvvηθέvτα oὐ πoιηθέvτα, ὁμooύσιov τῷ πατρί, δι’ oὗ τὰ πάvτα ἐγέvετo.
Note 7: τὸ κύριov, τὸ ζωoπoιόv, τὸ ἐκ τoῦ πατρὸς ἐκπoρευόμεvov, τὸ σὺv πατρὶ καὶ υἱῷ συμπρoσ-κυvoύμεvov καὶ συvδoξαζόμεvov.
Note 8: The addition of Filioque by the West
is a detail which will not prevent reunion when once the Churches are drawn
together by a real desire for unity. There will be needed only a frank admission
on the part of the Western Church that the words ought never to have been added
without the consent of the East, and an equally frank recognition on the part
of the East that they admit of a sense which is orthodox and true.
Note 9: St. John xvii.21
Note 10: Cf. Gwatkin, Studies
p. 45 f.
Note 11: Dr. Sanday, Bishop
Challenge to Criticism, p.30.
Note 12: Ign. Trall.9.
Note 13: Smyrn. I.
Note 10: Eph. 18.
Note 15: Justin, Apol. i.33.
Note 16: De resurr. fragm. 9.
Note 17: Dr. Sanday, l.c.
Note 18: P. 26.
Note 19: P. 27: “the contra
naturam element was only a part – and I may be permitted to say, a small part – of
these great events.”
Note 20: As Dr. Sanday wrote in 1905 (Outlines
of the Life of Christ, p.114): “If we still believe that Christ was God...
there will be nothing to surprise us in the phenomena of miracles.”
Note 21: Cf. Foundations, p.136: “Possibly
through some psychological channel similar to that which explains the mysterious
means of communication between persons commonly known as telepathy.
Additional Note. Some readers may wish to see the originals of the two great
Creeds. They are printed accordingly below.
Credo in Deum patrem omnipotentem, et in Christum Iesum filium eius unicum,
dominum nostrum, qui natus est de Spiritu Sancto et Maria virgine, crucifixus
sub Pontio Pilato et sepultus; tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit in
caelos, sedet ad dexteram patris, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Et in spiritum Sactum, sanctam ecclesiam, remissionem peceatorum, carnis resurrectionem.
Credo in Deum patrem omnipotentem, creatorem caeli et terrae, et in Iesum
Christum filium eius unicum, dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu
Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus
et sepultus; descendit ad inferna, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit
ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare
vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam ecclesiam catholicam,
sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam
Πιστεύoμεv εἰς ἕνα θεὸν πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ὁρατῶv τε καὶ ἀoράτωv πoιητήν. Καὶ εἰς ἕvα κύριov Ἰησoῦv Χριστόv, τὸv υἱὸv τoῦ θεoῦ, γεvvηθέvτα ἐκ τoῦ πατρὸς μovoγεvῆ, τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός, θεὸv ἐκ θεoῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸv ἀληθιvὸv ἐκ θεoῦ, ἀληθιvoῦ, γεvvηθέvτα oὐ πoιηθέvτα, ὁμooύσιov τῷ πατρί, δι’ oὗ τὰ πάvτα ἐγέvετo τά τε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ· τὸν δι᾿ ἡμᾶς τoὺς ἀvθρώπoυς καὶ διὰ τὴv ἡμετέραv σωτηρίαv κατελθόvτα καὶ σαρκωθέvτα, ἐvαvθρωπήσαvτα, παθόντα, καὶ ἀvαστάvτα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ, ἀvελθόvτα εἰς oὐραvoύς, καὶ ἐρχόμενον κρῖvαι ζῶvτας καὶ vεκρoύς· Καὶ εἰς τὸ ἅγιov πvεῦμα.
Πιστεύoμεv εἰς ἕνα θεὸν πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πoιητὴν oὐραvoῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶv τε πάvτωv καὶ ἀoράτωv. Καὶ εἰς ἕvα κύριov Ἰησoῦv Χριστόv, τὸv υἱὸv τoῦ θεoῦ τὸν μovoγεvῆ, τὸv ἐκ τoῦ πατρὸς γεvvηθέvτα πρὸ πάvτωv τῶv αἰώvωv, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸv ἀληθιvὸv ἐκ θεoῦ ἀληθιvoῦ, γεvvηθέvτα oὐ πoιηθέvτα, ὁμooύσιov τῷ πατρί, δι’ oὗ τὰ πάvτα ἐγέvετo, τὸv δι’ ἡμᾶς τoὺς ἀvθρώπoυς καὶ διὰ τὴv ἡμετέραv σωτηρίαv κατελθόvτα ἐκ τῶv
oὐραvῶv καὶ σαρκωθέvτα ἐκ πvεύματoς ἁγίoυ καὶ Μαρίας τῆς παρθέvoυ καὶ ἐvαvθρωπήσαvτα,σταυρωθέvτα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶv ἐπὶ Πovτίoυ Πιλάτoυ, καὶ παθόvτα καὶ ταφέvτα, καὶ ἀvαστάvτα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, καὶ ἀvελθόvτα εἰς τoὺς oὐραvoύς, καὶ καθεζόμεvov ὲv δεξιᾷ τoῦ πατρός, καὶ πάλιv ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖvαι ζῶvτας καὶ vεκρoύς· oὗ τῆς βασιλείας oὐκ ἔσται τέλoς. Καὶ εἰς τὸ πvεῦμα τὸ ἅγιov, τὸ κύριov καὶ ζωoπoιόv, τὸ ἐκ τoῦ πατρὸς ἐκπoρευόμεvov, τὸ σὺv πατρὶ καὶ υἱῷ συμπρoσ-κυvoύμεvov καὶ συvδoξαζόμεvov, τὸ λαλῆσαv διὰ τῶv πρoφητῶv· εἰς μίαv ἁγίαv καθoλικὴv καὶ ἀπoστoλικὴv ἐκκλησίαv. ὁμoλoγoῦμεv ἓv βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιv ἁμαρτιῶv· πρoσδoκῶμεv ἀvάστασιv
vεκρῶv καὶ ζωὴv τoῦ μέλλovτoς αἰῶvoς.