Who was Jesus? Did he have a beginning and was created, the first of all creation? Or did he exist from all eternity without a beginning and uncreated?
The church debated this issue, and the Nicene Creed was published in 325 by the Council of Nicaea, a town in northern Turkey today. The statement about the Holy Spirit, in italics, was added at the Second Ecumenical Council held Constantinople in 381. So it is fair to call it the Constantinopolitan-Nicene Creed.
|We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down, and became incarnate and became man, and suffered, and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the heavens, and will come to judge the living and dead, And in the Holy Spirit. But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and, Before being born He was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing, or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or created, or is subject to alteration or change – the Catholic [universal] and apostolic Church anathematizes.
|Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα
πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν·
καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν
τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ,
γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς μονογενῆ
τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρος
Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ,
Φῶς ἐκ Φωτός,
Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ,
γεννηθέντα, οὐ ποιηθέντα,
ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί,
δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο
τά τε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ,
τὸν δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, καὶ
διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν,κατελθόντα,
καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ,
ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς,
ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.
καὶ εἰς τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα.
Τοὺς δὲ λέγοντας Ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν,
καὶ Πρὶν γεννηθῆναι οὐκ ἦν,
καὶ ὅτι Ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων εγένετο,
ἢ Ἐξ ἑτέρας ὑποστάσεως ἢ οὐσιάς φάσκοντας εἶναι
ἢ ἀλλοιωτὸν τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ,
τούτους ἀναθεματίζει ἡ ἁγία καθολικὴ καὶ ἀποστολικὴ ἐκκλησία.
|Credimus in unum Deum
omnium visibilium et invisibilium factorem.
Et in unum Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum
natum ex Patre unigenitum,
hoc est, de substantia Patris,
Deum ex Deo,
lumen ex lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
natum non factum,
unius substantiae cum Patre, quod graece dicunt homousion,
per quem omnia facta sunt quae in coelo et in terra,
qui propter nostram salutem descendit,
et homo factus est,
et passus est,
et resurrexit tertia die,
et adscendit in coelos,
venturus judicare vivos et mortuos.
Et in Spiritum sanctum.
Eos autem, qui dicunt, Erat quando non erat,
et ante quam nasceretur non erat,
et quod de non exstantibus factus est,
vel ex alia substantia aut essentia, dicentes convertibilem et demutabilem Deum:
hos anathematizat catholica Ecclesia.
The Creed affirms the Trinitarian doctrine.
The Creed affirms that Jesus Christ was begotten by an eternal generation, which just means a Father-Son relationship, because the Scriptures call God Father and Jesus his Son. So we shouldn’t make too much of the term “generation.”
The two persons, Father and Son, and their roles must not be confused.
Further, in their nature or essence they share divine attributes: “from the substance of the Father, God from God,” … “true God from true God.” Those phrases affirm the full deity of Christ, not a created being superior over us, but inferior and different in his being to his Father. They are equal in being or essence.
The last paragraph is an answer to an old heresy called Arianism, after an elder or presbyter named Arius (d. 336).
It is easy for Renewalists (Pentecostals, Charismatics and Neo-Charismatics) of all denominations and independent churches to affirm the Nicene Creed because it exalts Jesus, the Son of God, to his rightful place.