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Lewis, B., et. al. (2013, Jan 16). Nicene Creed. Faithology. Retrieved from http://faithology.com/beliefs/nicene-creed

Lewis, Bonnie, et. al"Nicene Creed" Faithology, LLC. Last modified January 16, 2013. http://faithology.com/beliefs/nicene-creed

Lewis, Bonnie, et. alNicene Creed. Faithology, LLC, 2012. http://faithology.com/beliefs/nicene-creed (Accessed Sep 2, 2014).

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  • Last Updated: January 16, 2013
  • Originally Published: July 18, 2012
  • Nicene Creed

Introduction

The Nicene Creed was designed to be the definitive statement of the Christian belief known as Trinitarianism. The Council of Nicaea, a convention of Christian leaders, wrote it in 325 CE. A new English translation was prepared in 1988 by the English Language Liturgical Consultation. The Creed asserts belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as three separate aspects of one being, known as the Trinity. It also discusses the belief in salvation that comes from believing in Jesus’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, the body of believers known as the church, the necessity for baptism, and the belief in an afterlife for the people of God to be spent with him.

Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Catholic and Orthodox traditions, as well as many churches in the Protestant and Independent traditions, use variations of the Creed. The "Non-Trinitarian" churches do not accept the Creed as a statement of their faith.

The Nicene Creed was the principal product of the Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council of Christian history. Roman Emperor Constantine I called the assembly of 250 bishops together in 325 CE to meet in Nicaea (modern-day Iznik, Turkey). He hoped this general council of church leaders would halt increasing heresies—the preaching of false doctrines that caused serious disagreements among Christians—and bring greater unity to their faith. The biggest controversy the Council wanted to settle was the Arian controversy that threatened to divide Christianity. A presbytery from Alexandria, Arius, argued that Jesus (God the Son) and God the Father were of different substances (before incarnation), one as a creature and the other as an eternal deity. The council ultimately rejected this thought and instead adopted the creed put forth by Athanasius of Alexandria who declared that God the Son and God the Father were Homoousian, or of the same substance. In addition to this decision, the Council also affirmed twenty different doctrinal statements that set the basis for cannon law.

In 381 CE, a creed was affirmed and many issues were resolved by the Council of Constantinople, the second ecumenical council that housed 150 church bishops. However no Western or Latin churches were represented at this council. It was led by the Cappadocian fathers, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa. In addition to confirming the work of the Council of Nicea, it also condemned a theology known as Apollinarianism, sprouted as a reaction to the statements of the Nicene Creed. This belief emphasized the divinity of Christ and ignored his humanity. The Constantinopolitan Creed was formally adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE. Because of their similarity, the Constantinopolitan Creed was long thought to have been a revision of the Nicene Creed. Theologians now understand that these statements had been devised independently. They refer to them collectively and formally as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Most Christians continue to use the term "Nicene Creed."

Almost all churches and members of the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions accept the Nicene Creed as dogma, while some Protestant and Independent churches do not. The creed establishes the doctrine of Trinitarianism, which refers to the belief that God is simultaneously one singular being, yet also three separate persons or aspects that differ in role and functionality. The three members of the Trinity are God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit.