Creed: How Do You Picture God?
- Tuesday, September 21, 2004
But God is—quite simply—complex.
When I teach the Word of God at women’s retreats or behind the podium of a church and before it’s congregation somewhere, I am often heard to say the following, “It’s as simple and as complex as that.” God is both simple and complex and the things of God are both simple and complex. We cannot dismiss Him to His room. We must break down the parts in order to truly appreciate the whole.
The Apostle’s Creed begins with I believe in God the Father Almighty while the Nicene Creed changes the “I” to “We” and then adds the word “one.” We believe in one God the Father Almighty. With the changing of the first word, those who believe shift from individuals to part of a community.
Breaking Down the Parts
Oftentimes I hear this: “I believe in God and Jesus.” Well…uh…okay, I want to reply. “But, God is Jesus and Jesus is God.”
The problem, I think, is that the Father has been lumped into the God category by most of us and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are given some sort of separate identity. Or, to make that statement a bit simpler to understand, people will say “God, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.” Almost as if there is God and then two other entities running around up there in that place we call Heaven.
God is a triune being. And don’t expect me to explain that to the fullest, I can only tell you that He is. Somewhat in the same way I am a daughter, a wife, and a mother. These titles are the parts of the whole, which is all of me.
The Creeds establish “God the Father” first. Believing in God the Father is the foundation to the remainder of the Creeds. To understand the Son and the Holy Spirit, one must first understand the Father of which they are a part, again somewhat in the same way that in order to understand me as a wife and mother you must first understand me as a daughter.
Who is the Father?
For many of us, those of us who were sired and brought up by loving men, coming to understand the “Fatherhood” of God is one of the most exciting, comforting, and drawing of moments. Personally, my earthly father was and will always be “Daddy.” He loved me beyond measure, provided well for our family, disciplined me when I misbehaved, and listened to me when I needed someone to talk things over with. Nobody and no one could give a hug like he does—it includes a quick scratching of the back. Around the neighborhood, he (like the other dads) was also known for building things for us kids to play with and on. I fondly recall a swing dangling from a rope that was secured high in a tree on one end and low on another tree at the other. Hours were spent climbing the first tree, slipping into the swing (which someone on the ground had to keep secure by another rope), and then sliding toward the second tree. It was like Six Flags come to Sylvania, Georgia.
But, for some, the term “daddy” doesn’t come with pleasant memories. I have friends—too many of them, to be honest with you—who cuss and spit (as Dr. Steve Brown would say) at the very thought of their earthly fathers. They tell me of beatings and cold approaches. They speak of men who abused and neglected or who just were not there at all. I heard one woman refer to her father as “the sperm donor,” and it made me want to cry. A youth pastor related to me that the majority of the teens in his youth group were “fatherless,” and that these were the ones who had the most difficulty understanding God’s love. They were also the ones who had rebelled to the nth degree, as well.
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