First Council of Nicea (325)
First Council of Constantinople (381)
Because the main Creeds are such a mouthful anyway, I guess when I first parroted the words in Church I was totally oblivious to their most serious defect. They were first written to satisfy the Roman Emperor so that the most serious points of dispute, particularly those about the status of Jesus, eg Virgin Birth, relationship to God etc were now set to one side and the representatives of a significant section of the Church were agreeing on basics. Nice idea, but not if you look too closely.
Look at the following. Focus on what is said about Jesus and tell me what is missing.
One version says:
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;
By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; by whom all things were made;
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead. ;
whose kingdom shall have no end. ”
Did you spot it??
All that stuff about why Jesus came, how he was born, how he came to die, what his death meant – and what the resurrection meant and where to from there.
But what was left out? Only the bit that matters most. Most of the gospels actually focus on what Jesus said and did. Paul in his letters and Luke in his Acts of the Apostles also provided a commentary on what Jesus teaching meant. What Jesus taught and what we are supposed to do with the teaching has always mattered but don’t make it into the creed. Any thoughts about why? And if it came to that what should a creed about agreed main teachings of Jesus say?