Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Musings on the Creed (1)

"I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds, for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead, and that it is only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated." - G.K. Chesterton "Autobiography" 1936

I decided to write some basic thoughts about each article of the Creed - the oldest comprehensive confession of Christian faith, in an effort to briefly explain the tenants of my religion. The ancient tradition is that each of the twelve lines of the apostles creed was held by the twelve apostles who used the creed to evangelize the world and sum up their faith.

The first line is thus in English:

"I believe in God the Father Almighty creator of Heaven and Earth"

This is the basic point of theism. It is only reasonable that when we look around us, we question -as St. Augustine did in his confessions- "who made me?"

It is a point of natural reason that everything has a cause. Something caused the world as we know it, both physical (in our bodies) and ideal (in our minds). This something would have to possess certain traits in order for the whole thing to fit together logically. This God would have to be outside time and space, as otherwise he himself would require a cause (as the foolish question goes: 'who created God'? makes no sense if God exists outside time and space).

Lets just think about this for a minute however. If we say that something outside of time and space created everything (as nothing comes from nothing), we are at a loss. How can you say something that you can't identify with any of your five senses, and which possesses no physical traits be said to exist. For modern man, the closest comparison might be that I would say an idea exists, even though I can't see it or touch it. Or perhaps one might say God exists like the meaning of a word exists. We can see letters, but to attribute meaning to them in certain combinations is not really measurable, and yet the meaning exists.

So as Christians we confess that as confusing as the idea of God may be, it makes more sense to say "something caused everything that exists for some reason" rather than the opposite atheistic claim that "nothing exploded into everything for no reason".

The last part of the creed expresses not so much the "what" which was answered earlier, so much as the why. "The Father" is the first title of God. Christians use this title for God not because he has a penis, but to express his reason for creation. What possible reason could this infinite spiritual being, freed from all constrictions of time and space, have for creating? Why create in the first place? It doesn't make sense except for one reason. Love. The sheer overflowing life and love of God poured out into the creation of the universe. It's a theory, but it's the only one I've ever heard which works.

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