The Symbol of Faith (Nicene Creed) of the Orthodox Church - Part 2 - Article 1

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QUESTION 1

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I believe in one God ...

What is the meaning of "I believe"? What does this affirmation convey?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 1

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The Scripture and entire tradition of the church teaches that believing in God means not only intellectual assent to various truths about Him, but also a desire to live a moral life according to the commandments. To believe in God is to order one's life to moral amendment, and ardent desire to obey Him in all things. It is impossible for a person who does not desire to become perfect, as God commands to honestly say "I believe in one God".


 

QUESTION 2

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Why does the first article state "in one God", rather than "in God"?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 2

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To combat polytheism and pantheism, and to underscore the absolute uniqueness of God.


 

QUESTION 3

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There is scripture that refer to "gods", such as:

[Gen 3:5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

[Psa 82:6] I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

[John 10:34-36] Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? {35} If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; {36} Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

and also:

[Exo 12:12] For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

[Exo 15:11] Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Explain how these may be reconciled with "I believe in one God".


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 3

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The scripture uses many names and figures of speech metaphorically. Scripture mentions God having hands, and feet and eyes, and we know that He does not literally possess these carnal body parts. These names are used to signify attributes of God, as far as limited human language can convey.

In the same way, referring to men as "gods" conveys the exalted moral state that man can obtain through struggle and struggle and submission to God in all things.

The scripture also admits the use of "gods' to refer to the idols and demons that false religions believe in:

[Psa 96:5] For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

[Exo 20:3-5] Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {4} Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: {5} Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

[Lev 17:7] And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

[Deu 32:16-17] They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. {17} They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

[Psa 106:37-38] Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, {38} And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.


 

QUESTION 4

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I believe in one God ...

Cite Bible quotations which state this dogma (of one unique God).


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 4

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I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods besides Me (Ex. 20:2-3)

[Isa 46:9] Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

[John 17:3] And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.


 

QUESTION 5

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What is the term for belief in many Gods?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 5

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Polytheism.


 

QUESTION 6

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What is "pantheism"? What are some examples of ancient or modern day religions that are pantheistic?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 6

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The belief identifying God or gods with the universe, or its phenomena. The ancient Roman and Greek pagan Gods were pantheistic


 

QUESTION 7

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List some common modern polytheistic or pantheistic religions.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 7

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Hinduism Wicca (a type of Paganism) Druidism Asatru (worship of Norse Gods) Witchcraft (aka Demonolatry or in some contexts, Paganism) Ancient Egyptian Religion And many more - most ancient cultures had their own "brand" of polytheistic or pantheistic religion.

See http://www.nwsociety.org/poly.shtml for a more complete listing.


 

QUESTION 8

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Describe some of the things people have worshipped as Gods.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 8

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Nature - The Sun, the Moon, Wind, Rain, Fire, Lightning, Etc.

Animals - Leopards, crocodiles, snakes, etc.

Roman or Greek "Gods" such as Bacchus - Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysios. Cupid - Roman god of love, identified with the Greek Eros. Diana - Roman moon goddess and goddess of woodlands. She was also regarded as a goddess of fertility and childbirth. Equivalent to the Greek Furies - Roman goddesses of vengeance, equivalent to the Greek Erinyes. Hercules - To the Romans, was a god of merchants and traders. Greek Herakles.

( See http://www.mythome.org/roman.html for a listing of Roman Gods with short descriptions )


 

QUESTION 9

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List the three main monotheistic religions.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 9

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Christianity Islam Judaism


 

QUESTION 10

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Name some people that the Jews of the OT encountered which were polytheistic If you can. name the major "God's" of these people which the Jews encountered.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 10

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The Phoenicians (the Philistines were a tribe of the Phoenicians)- Baal (also Baalpeor) The Canaanites - Baal

"The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or "lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a wife, who was a colorless reflection of himself." ( Easton's Bible Dictionary, entry under Baal)

[Numbers 25:3] And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

The Egyptians

[Judg 2:11-12] And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: {12} And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.


 

QUESTION 11

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Why do we know God exists?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 11

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Because He has revealed Himself to us.


 

QUESTION 12

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I believe in one God, the Father Almighty....

What are the *moral* implications of our confession of God as Father? There is much important scripture about this.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 12

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If we "dare to pray to God as Father" (from the Divine Liturgy), we must be good and obedient sons. A son must know his father. We can only know what we share in experiences with. If we do not desire to become pure, we will never know He who is above all purity, God.

[1 Pet 1:17-21] And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: {18} Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: {20} Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, {21} Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

[Gal 4:4-7] But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, {5} To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. {6} And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. {7} Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

[2 Cor 6:15-18] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? {16} And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, {18} And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

[2 Cor 7:1] Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.


 

QUESTION 13

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Describe some attributes of God.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 13

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Eternal

[Gen 21:33] And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

[Deu 33:27] The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

Spirit

[John 4:24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

[2 Cor 3:15-17] But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. {16} Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. {17} Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

All-Good

[Mark 10:18] And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Omniscient

[Job 28:24] For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;

[Mat 6:8] Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

[John 16:30] Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

[Acts 1:24] And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen,

[1 John 3:20] For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

All-righteous

[Psa 10:7] His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.

[Isa 6:3] And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Almighty

[Mat 19:26] But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Omnipresent

[Psa 139:1-12] To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. {2} Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. {3} Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. {4} For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. {5} Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. {6} Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. {7} Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? {8} If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. {9} If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; {10} Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. {11} If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. {12} Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Unchanging

[Mal 3:6] For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

[James 1:17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


 

QUESTION 14

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... maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and visible.

What is the invisible world?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 14

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The angels.


 

QUESTION 15

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What is an angel?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 15

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A spiritual being. An angel has intelligence, and free will.


 

QUESTION 16

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What are the *known* ranks of angels? Why do we know this?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 16

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Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones Principalities, Dominions, Authorities, Powers, Archangels, Angels.

[Gen 3:24] So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

[2 Sam 6:2] And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.

[Isa 6:1-7] In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. {2} Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. {3} And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. {4} And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. {5} Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. {6} Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: {7} And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

[Col 1:16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

[1 Pet 3:22] Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.


 

QUESTION 17

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What does the word "Angel" mean?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 17

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Messenger


 

QUESTION 18

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Name the seven archangels


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 18

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Michael Gabriel Raphael Uriel Salathiel Jegudiel Barachiel


 

QUESTION 19

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From what did the Lord create the world?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 19

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God created the entire visible and invisible world out of nothing.

"Since, then, God, Who is good and more than good, did not find satisfaction in self-contemplation, but in fits exceeding goodness wished certain things to come into existence which would enjoy His benefits and share in His goodness, He brought all things out of nothing into being and created them, both what is invisible and what is visible. Yea, even man, who is a compound of the visible and the invisible. And it is by thought that He creates, and thought is the basis of the work, the Word filling it and the Spirit perfecting it". [ An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, by St John Damascene BOOK II CHAPTER II ]

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. [Psa 33:6]


 

QUESTION 20

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Was God referred to as "Father" in the OT?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 20

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[2 Sam 7:14] I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

[Psa 89:27-28] Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. {28} My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

[Isa 63:16] Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

[Isa 64:8] But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.


 

QUESTION 21

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How is God the Father made known to us?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 21

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By the Holy Spirit , and Jesus Christ:

[Rom 8:15-17] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. {16} The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: {17} And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

[John 1:10-15] He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. {11} He came unto his own, and his own received him not. {12} But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. {14} And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

[John 1:18] No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

[John 16:14-15] He [i.e.. God the Father] shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. {15} All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

[Gal 4:4-7] But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, {5} To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. {6} And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. {7} Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

The only way to appropriate the knowledge of God the Father is to act as a Son, as His Son, Jesus Christ showed us. Then, the Spirit of God enlightens us. So we must see that IF we call God our Father, we are making a solemn pledge to live a moral life according to our Father's commandments. As we struggle to live according to the commandments, our soul is made capable of enlightenment concerning God by degrees.


 

QUESTION 22

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"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"

How should we understand the terms "heaven" and "earth"?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 22

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Scripture uses heaven to denote three things.

The sky and stars, also known as the "firmament":

[Psa 103:11] For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

[Duet 17:3] And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

[Jer 31:37] Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.

Salvation, the state of the soul when it is purified and has spiritual knowledge of God. In this context, Heaven is a condition, not a place per se.

[Mat 3:1-2] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, {2} And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

[2 Cor 12:2-4] I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. {3} And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) {4} How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

[2 Cor 5:1] For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens

[Acts 7:55-56] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, {56} And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

The Spiritual, invisible world, of the Angels.

[Psa 33:6] By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

(The "Host" is another word for the Angels, [Luke 2:13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God ...")

[Dan 4:35] And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Earth can have a spiritual and physical meaning.

It can denote the land:

[Gen 1:6-10] And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. {7} And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. {8} And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. {9} And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. {10} And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

It can denote the entire visible world:

[Gen 1:1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

[Heb 1:10-12] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: {11} They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; {12} And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Knowledge that is available to all (not spiritual knowledge, which is only for the elect, who are pure):

[John 3:12-13] If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? {13} And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

It can also denote the sinful condition of carnality and worldliness:

[John 3:31] He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

[Phil 3:19] Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

[James 3:13-17] Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. {14} But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. {15} This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. {16} For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. {17} But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

It can also denote the flesh, that is, our bodies:

[2 Cor 5:1] For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

In the context of the Symbol of Faith, "Heaven" refers to the invisible world, and "earth" to the visible world.


 

QUESTION 23

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The Symbol of Faith confesses the Holy Trinity. What is the first scriptural reference which begins to reveal the Holy Trinity?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 23

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[ Genesis 1:26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

And God said "Let us make man." Does not the light of theology shine, in these words, as through windows; and does not the second Person show Himself in a mystical way, without yet manifesting Himself until the great day?

Where is the Jew who resisted the truth and pretended that God was speaking to Himself? It is He who spoke, it is said, and it is He who made. "Let there be light and there was light." But then their words contain a manifest absurdity. Where is the smith, the carpenter, the shoemaker, who, without help and alone before the instruments of his trade, would say to himself; let us make the sword, let us put together the plough, let us make the boot? Does he not perform the work of his craft in silence? Strange folly, to say that any one has seated himself to command himself, to watch over himself, to constrain himself, to hurry himself, with the tones of a master! But the unhappy creatures are not afraid to calumniate the Lord Himself. ...

"And God said let us make man." Tell me; is there then only one Person? It is not written "Let man be made," but, "Let us make man."... The perfect man attains the dignity of an angel; but what creature can be like the Creator?

Listen to the continuation. "In our image." What have you to reply? Is there one image of God and the angels? Father and Son have by absolute necessity the same form, but the form is here understood as becomes the divine, not in bodily shape, but in the proper qualities of Godhead. ... To Whom does He say, "in our image," to whom if it is not to Him who is "the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person," "the image of the invisible God"? It is then to His living image, to Him Who has said "I and my Father are one," "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father," that God says "Let us make man in our image." Where is the unlikeness in these Beings who have only one image?

"So God created man," It is not "They made." Here Scripture avoids the plurality of the Persons. After having enlightened the Jew, it dissipates the error of the Gentiles in putting itself under the shelter of unity, to make you understand that the Son is with the Father, and guarding you from the danger of polytheism. He created him in the image of God. God still shows us His co-operator, because He does not say, in His image, but in the image of God. [St Basil the Great, Homily IX.-The Creation of Terrestrial Animals]


 

QUESTION 24

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There are usually three stars painted in icons of the Mother of God. What do they signify.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 24

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The Theotokos was a virgin BEFORE the Birth of Christ, preserved Her virginity DURING the Birth and remained a virgin AFTER.


 

QUESTION 25

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What are the differences between the persons of the Holy Trinity?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 25

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The Father is unbegotten, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.

Each is fully God, and each has the same dignity and honor.


 

QUESTION 26

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The Mystery of the Holy Trinity is more fully revealed in the New Testament. Cite (or paraphrase) incidents from the Gospels.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 26

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[Mat 28:19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

[Luke 3:21-22] Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, {22} And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

[John 15:26] But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

[John 17:5] And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.


 

QUESTION 27

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Do the Epistle writers reveal the Mystery of the Holy Trinity?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 27

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Clear references to the Holy Trinity:

[1 John 5:6-7] This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. {7} For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Greetings of the Apostles:

[2 Cor 13:14] The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

[1 Pet 1:1-2] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, {2} Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

[Rom 1:1-4] Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, {2} (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) {3} Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; {4} And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

Exposition of the Dogma of the Holy Trinity:

[Acts 1:1-5] The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, {2} Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: {3} To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: {4} And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. {5} For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

[Gal 4:4-6] But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, {5} To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. {6} And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

[1 Tim 3:16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

[Heb 9:14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

( Other References: Acts 2:33 ,Acts 10:36-38 ,Acts 20:28 ,Rom 8:9-11 ,1 Cor 2:10-11 ,1 Cor 8:6 ,1 Cor 12:3-6 ,2 Cor 1:21-22 ,2 Cor 3:17 ,2 Cor 5:5 ,Titus 3:4-6 ,1 Pet 3:18 ,1 1 John 5:20 ,Rev 4:8 )


 

QUESTION 28

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Besides the First reference in Genesis, how does the OT speak of the Holy Trinity?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 28

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The Appearance of the Three Angels to Abraham is understood as a "type" of the Holy Trinity:

[Gen 18:2-4] And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, {3} And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: {4} Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

The three angels were not the Holy Trinity itself, but pointed to this dogma, as in a riddle.

A type is an event (such as the passage of the Jews through the Red Sea) or object (such as Joshua, or the ark of Noah) which explains a dogma in a mystical way, and/or prophesies a future event.

The passage of the Jews through the Red Sea describes baptism, and prophesies its necessity for the church.

Joshua, also rendered "Jesus" whose name means "Savior", is a type of Christ.

Two passages in Genesis have God referring to Himself in the plural:

[Gen 1:26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

[Gen 3:22] And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Isaiah's vision, with its repetition of "Holy", darkly refers to the Holy Trinity:

[Isa 6:3] And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Perhaps the following passages are the most clear of all OT references to the Holy Trinity:

[Isa 11:2-3] And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; {3} And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

[Isa 42:1] Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

[Isa 48:16] Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

( See also: Isaiah 61:1-3 ; Isaiah 63:9,10 )


 

QUESTION 29

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What is the most important moral significance of faith in the Holy Trinity?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 29

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Love. (Orthodox life No 2, 2001, Pp 24-25)


 

QUESTION 30

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Why do we call the first person of God "Father"?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 30

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The defining attribute of God the Father is that Jesus Christ is eternally begotten (born) of the Father. We cannot understand this mystery fully.

[John 1:12-14] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. {14} And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.


 

QUESTION 31

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The Church believes that each Christian has a Guardian Angel who protects them, prays on their behalf to God, and helps impart to them spiritual knowledge. Is this belief scriptural?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 31

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Of course!

[Mat 18:10] Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.


 





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