Creed: Understanding the Visible and Invisible
- Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Editor's Note: "Creed" is an ongoing article series that discusses the core beliefs of Christianity as expressed in the Apostle's and Nicene creeds. Links to the other installments are listed at the end of this article.
Have you ever met a pair of identical twins and then tried to find some tiny little something that separated the two? Something that made one distinguishable from the other? Not necessarily better or worse, but different?
I have friends who have twin daughters. Personally, I can see absolutely no difference in them. But their mother says to me, "When I look at Rachel, I see Rachel. When I look at Rebekah, I see Rebekah."
"How?" I asked, staring at the two young girls who stood before me grinning.
"See this little freckle on Rachel's face?" she asked. "Rebekah doesn't have one."
I cocked a brow. True. Still, they were identical.
The Nicene's Freckle
Just after "We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth," in the Nicene Creed, is a line not found in the Apostle's Creed.
...and of all things visible and invisible.
Colossians 1:16 reads: For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Did you know that there is so much we don't know? For example (and this is fairly simple), there are other planets out there that with modern technology we are able to see. In the days of Paul, however, it was a different story. Perhaps Paul laid on his back a time or two and stared up at the evening sky, filled with thousands upon thousands of bright stars. Perhaps he watched the spectacular shows of meteors dashing across the sky, playing their own version of "Tag, You're It." And he knew...he just knew...there were things out there beyond what his eyes could see...or even outside the scope of his imagination.
Who made all those things? For Paul (and for me) there was only one answer: God. The Creator.
But stars and planets are not the only things invisible. One of my favorite Bible stories comes from the book of 2 Kings. The king of Aram is at war with Israel. He conferred with his officers about the best place to set up attack against Israel and they came to a decision. But God warned the prophet Elisha about the place, he told the king of Israel, and that left the king of Aram with no one to "play war" with.
This happened time and again. Finally the king of Aram went to his men and asked (in my own words), "Which one of you is the traitor? Every time we set up a place to attack, the king of Israel knows about it already."
Of course the men denied it. None of them had betrayed their king. Finally one speaks up, ""No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom."
Well, that must have been distressing.
"Go get him," the king of Aram said, and the men set off to capture Elisha.
Now, when I say "the men" went off to capture Elisha, I don't just mean a couple of wise guys. According to the Bible, this was a "strong force" of men, chariots, and horses. For one guy!
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