The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, November 19, 2021

Faith and Knowledge

 Most people are of the opinion that the truths that we accept by faith are less certain than those that we consider to be knowledge.   This is reflected in the way they use the verbs “believe” and “know” and their equivalents in other languages.   When someone says “I believe X” and “I know Y” it is usually safe to infer from this that he is more sure of Y than he is of X.   Most people, although perhaps not quite as many, infer from this that faith is inferior to knowledge.



Those of us who are Christians ought not to think this way.  



Consider how Bishop Pearson explained the distinction between belief and knowledge in his Exposition of the Creed. (1)   He began by defining belief (in general) as “an Assent to that which is credible, as credible” and by defining assent as “that act or habit of the understanding, by which it receiveth, acknowledgeth, and embraceth any thing as a truth”.  He then went on to explain that assent was more general than belief or faith, and to distinguish the latter from other forms of assent in terms of their objects.   The difference was in what makes “that which is credible” credible:



For he which sees an action done, knows it to be done, and therefore assents unto the truth of the performance of it because he sees it: but another person to whom he relates it, may assent unto the performance of the same action, not because himself sees it, but because the other relates it; in which case that which is credible is the object of Faith in one, of evident knowledge in the other.



Bishop Pearson expanded on this by providing several different ways in which the truth of something is apparent to us and thus our assent to it is properly knowledge rather than faith.   Something might be apparent to our senses (the examples he gives are the whiteness of snow and the heat of fire) or to our understanding (“the whole of anything is greater than any one part of the whole”).   Things which are apparent in these ways are more properly described as being evident than as being credible.   Then there are things which are not evident in these ways, but the truth of which we can establish through their “immediate and necessary connection with something formerly known”.   These things, he described as “scientifical”.   Note that this term as he uses it is not only an archaic form but also more comprehensive than our “scientific”.   He used mathematics as an example of a science, demonstrating thereby that his “scientifical” embraced the products of both methodologies in the Rationalism v. Empiricism debate which, at least in its Modern phase, was in its infancy at the time he preached these sermons.



He then said:


But when anything propounded to us is neither apparent to our sense, nor evident to our understanding, in and of itself, neither certainly to be collected from any clear and necessary connection with the cause from which it proceedeth, or the effects which it naturally produceth, nor is taken up upon any real arguments, or reference to other acknowledged truths, and yet not withstanding appeareth to us true, not by a manifestation but attestation of the truth, and so moveth us to assent not of itself, but by virtue of the testimony given to it: this is said properly to be credible; and an Assent unto this, upon such credibility, is in the proper notion Faith or Belief.



After distinguishing between faith and knowledge, Bishop Pearson then went on to distinguish between different kinds of faith based upon the different kinds of authority of those whose testimony makes that which is believed credible.   The authority of those offering testimony, he said, rests upon both their ability and integrity.   Someone lacking the former might be deceived himself and so deceive others with his testimony unintentionally.   Someone lacking the latter might deliberately deceive others.   The authority of human testifiers greatly varies and may be deficient in one or both of these foundations, but God, Whose testimony may be immediate, as it was to Noah, Moses, the Prophets, and the Apostles, or mediate, as passed on through these human messengers, is perfect in both ability and integrity and so can neither be deceived Himself nor deliberately deceive others.   Faith based upon Divine Testimony, therefore, is the truest of faiths, and so, with regards to the “I believe” that begins the Creed, Bishop Pearson said that it is:



[T]o assent to the whole and every part of it, as to a certain and infallible truth revealed by God (who by reason of his infinite knowledge cannot be deceived, and by reason of his transcendent holiness cannot deceive) and delivered unto us in the writings of the blessed Apostles and Prophets, immediately inspired, moved, and acted by God, out of whose writings this brief sum of necessary points of Faith was first collected.



Now, for the very same reasons why faith in God’s Word is more certain than faith in human testimony, that is to say, that God Himself is by contrast with human authorities a sure and infallible testifier, faith in God’s Word is more certain than human knowledge.   Just as human authorities can fail us through ignorance or the intent to deceive, so the senses and understanding by which we perceive what is apparent and evident and comprehend what must necessarily follow fall short of the infallibility of the witness of God.



Dr. Edward F. Hills wrote:



He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  (Heb. 11:6b)   If I truly believe in God, then God is more real to man than anything else I know, more real even than my faith in Him.   For if anything else is more real to me than God Himself, then I am not believing but doubting.   I am real, my experiences are real, my faith is real, but God is more real.   Otherwise I am not believing but doubting.   I cast myself on that which is most real, namely, God Himself.    I take God and Jesus Christ His Son as the starting point of all my thinking. (2)



If by God, we mean the God that orthodox Christianity has always proclaimed, taught, and confessed belief in, then that which Dr. Hills has affirmed must necessarily follow.   The God of orthodox Christianity is the God of the Old Testament as well as the New.  The very first verse of the Bible declares that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.   When Moses asked Him for His name He declared “I AM”.   This God is the Creator of everything else that exists, Whose Being is eternal and in Himself in a way that cannot be said of anything created.   Whereas the classical philosophers distinguished between things which exist in themselves, and things which exist only in other things, apple as an example of the former, redness as an example of the latter, even things which exist in themselves in this sense, are in other senses dependent upon other things for their existence.   The apple you eat today, would not have existed had the tree on which it grew not existed first.   That tree would not have existed, had it not been planted from a previous example – and so on, all the way back to the first apple tree, which was created directly by God, the uncreated Source of all being.   If everything else depends upon God for its existence, and God as the Source of all being exists eternally in Himself independent of anything else, then God must necessarily be more real than anything else.   Faith in God, therefore, must be the starting point of our thinking, for such faith is more certain, not only than faith in the testimony of human authorities, but that which we presume to call our “knowledge”.



In connection with all of this, an important observation can be made about the Scriptural account of the Fall of man.   Man, the book of Genesis tells us, was created in the image of God and placed in a Garden, which God had prepared for him in the land of Eden, in which “out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food” (Gen. 2:9).   Two specific trees are identified, “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” and God, after putting man into the Garden, gave him the following commandment:   “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).     While the exact nature of the “knowledge of good and evil” is something that Jewish and Christian theologians have debated for millennia, (3) the account makes it clear that in the prohibition on eating the fruit of the tree, it was this specific kind of knowledge that was forbidden to man.



In the third chapter of Genesis the serpent, whom the Book of Revelation in the New Testament identifies with Satan, deceives Eve into eating the forbidden fruit.   She in turn gives the fruit to Adam, who also eats.   Their sin is discovered and they incur a number of curses in judgement, the most important of which was that they were driven out of the Garden, barred from the tree of life, and thus assigned to the hard life of human mortality.   In the midst of the judgement, the first promise of the Redemption that God would eventually give to mankind in His Incarnate Son Jesus Christ is made (Gen. 3:15).   The observation that is important for our purposes here pertains to the deception that brought about the Fall.   When the serpent deceived Eve, he began with a question “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1) which, after Eve had answered, he followed up by directly contradicting God “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4) and tempting Eve with the forbidden knowledge by making it appear desirable in a way that stoked pride and vanity “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” (Gen 3:5).    Note how each part of this deception was designed to progressively undermine faith in God’s word.   The initial question subtly introduced an element of doubt, the contradiction invited outright disbelief, and implicit in the temptation was the suggestion that by withholding the forbidden knowledge from man God was acting against man’s interests out of selfishness, an aspersion on God’s character that led to mistrust.   Therefore, in this temptation the serpent was presenting the kind of knowledge that had been forbidden to man as being preferable to faith.   This then is the source of that common notion that we have been rebutting in this essay that knowledge is superior to faith.   



It would be a mistake to conclude from this that all knowledge of every type is treated as being opposed to God and faith in Scripture.   The majority of Scriptural references to knowing and knowledge are positive.   God’s own knowledge, obviously, is always good.   Indeed, whatever the “knowledge of good and evil” was, it was appropriate and good in God (Gen. 3:22).   God’s knowledge, as discussed above, is foundational to faith in God.   God is all-knowing (1 Kings 8:39, Job 37:16, Psalm 139:4, Matthew 6:8, 1 John 3:20 to give but a handful of the references which speak of God’s omniscience using forms of the word “know”, themselves but a fraction of the Scriptural testimony to God’s omniscience as there are even more references which express the concept using other terms, such as speaking of God as “seeing” and “understanding” all things).    This is why the element of His credibility that Bishop Pearson called “ability” is absolute.   He cannot be deceived.      Most Scriptural references to human knowledge are also positive, however.   Knowledge is spoken of as a gift of God, as, for example, in the cases of the workmen appointed to make the Tabernacle and its furnishings in the book of Exodus.   King Solomon is commended by God for asking for “wisdom and knowledge” in the first chapter of II Chronicles.   Job and his counsellors are rebuked for speaking “without knowledge”, when God speaks at the end of the book of Job.    The Psalmist describes God as He who “teacheth man knowledge” (Psalm 94:10).    The book of Proverbs says that knowledge is to be desired above material wealth (Prov. 8:10).   These are but a few examples.   The Scriptures also repeatedly speak of the “knowledge of God”, in the sense of man’s knowing God, as something to be desired and sought after.   In His prayer, at the end of His discourse en route to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ said “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”. (Jn. 17:3).  Since the Gospel in which this is recorded repeatedly stresses that eternal life is a gift from God that we receive by believing in Jesus Christ – the Fourth Evangelist states this or quotes somebody else saying it in one way or another about one hundred times – the Lord was either equating faith with knowledge in this verse, or speaking of a knowledge that is received by faith.



Most often when the Scriptures speak of knowing and knowledge negatively, it is either a false knowledge, that is to say, someone thinks he has knowledge but does not, or knowledge that has been overvalued.   To place too high of a value on something that is good in itself, by, for example, valuing the good over the better, or the better over the best, is to commit an error that is comparable to literal idolatry (placing the creature in the place of the Creator) and which can have similar consequences.    When the devil tempted Eve to choose forbidden knowledge over faith this was an example of overvaluing true knowledge.  Very early in Christian history, heretical sects arose which challenged the teachings of the orthodox leaders of the Church and the Christian faith, in the name of a special kind of “knowledge”.    When this happened, the “knowledge” so valued over orthodox faith in God, was false knowledge.



History knows the heretics in question by the name “Gnostics.”   The way historians use this term it is not the designation of any one specific sect, but is rather a categorical label applying to a broad class of heretical groups.     The early Church Fathers who contended for the orthodox faith against the Gnostics usually referred to them as heretics, or by the name of their specific heresy which was typically the name of its first or chief proponent.   St. John the Apostle writing in canonical Scripture called them by a stronger name - "antichrists".   St. John's account of them was that they were schismatics who had broken away from the Apostolic Church and apostates who had departed from the orthodox faith by denying the Incarnation.   According to such early Church Fathers as St. Justin Martyr, (4) St. Irenaeus of Lyons, (5) and St. Hippolytus of Rome, (6) the first of these sects was the Simonians, founded by Simon Magus - the Samaritan magician who heard St. Philip preach the Gospel in the eighth chapter of Acts and was baptized but who came under St. Peter's curse when he offered money in exchange for the power of the Apostolic ministry of conveying the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.    Nevertheless, the label Gnostic suits our purposes here because it points to the very element of their thinking that is relevant.  When the members of these sects referred to themselves as γνωστικοί (gnostikoi) it was with the literal sense of “those with γνῶσῐς”.    The Greek word γνῶσῐς (gnosis), like its Latin equivalent scientia and its English equivalent, was a noun formed from the verb meaning “I know” - γιγνώσκω (gignosko) in Greek, scio in Latin (7) – and it was the basic Greek word for “knowledge”.   The way the Gnostics used it, however it did not mean knowledge in general, but a special kind of “knowledge” that they regarded as their unique and elite possession.   It is likely this to which St. Paul referred when he warned St. Timothy to “keep that which is committed to thy trust”, i.e., the Christian faith, against “the oppositions of science falsely so-called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20-21).    The Greek words rendered “science falsely so called” in the Authorized Bible, using the older, more general meaning of “science” are ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως, the first of which is recognizably the source of our “pseudonym”, the second of which is the genitive singular form of γνῶσῐς.



The so-called “knowledge” of Gnosticism stands in sharp contrast to orthodox Christian faith.    In the orthodox Christian faith, the God Whom Jesus Christ called Father is identical to the God Who created the heavens and the earth in the Old Testament.   This is clearly stated in the first Article of both Creeds (8) and is also obviously the plain teaching of Jesus Christ and the New Testament.  This God is Creator of everything other than God Himself that exists, spiritual and physical, or, in the words of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed “all things visible and invisible”.   The corruption of sin and evil, in the orthodox Christian faith, has infected all of Creation, and began in the unseen or spiritual part of Creation, before the Fall of man, with the rebellion of Satan and the angels who followed him.    The salvation that God sent His Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ to accomplish, extends to all parts of Creation affected by the corruption of sin and so will ultimately include the corporeal resurrection of the redeemed (1 Cor. 15:12-58) and the redemption of all of physical Creation (Rom. 8:19-23).   Although the redeemed are sometimes spoken of as God’s “elect” (chosen), salvation is freely offered to all through a message, the Gospel, that is to be preached to “every creature” (Mk. 16:15).   Everyone is invited to believe that Gospel and by believing receive the saving grace of God.  



Gnosticism taught the exact opposite with regards to each of these points.   The Gnostics taught that spirit was pure and incorruptible and matter was irredeemably corrupt therefore both could not have come from the same God.   They taught a supreme deity they called “The One”, from whom lesser divinities they called aeons emanated.   These divinities, they taught, dwelt in a realm of light called the pleroma.   The aeons were grouped in male-female pairs, which in turn would emanate other lower aeons.  One of the lowest pair of aeons, in their teaching, was Sophia (this is the Greek word for “wisdom), which left the pleroma and gave birth to the Demiurge.   This name, the Gnostics borrowed from Plato’s Timaeus.  Like the title character of Plato’s dialogue, they taught that the Demiurge created the material or physical world.    Unlike Plato’s Timaeus they taught that he was evil and so was his creation.   Gnostics who made reference to the Old Testament identified the God of the Old Testament with the Demiurge.   Assisting the Demiurge in creating the physical world and ruling it, in Gnostic theology, were lesser evil divinities called archons, whose total number varied from Gnostic sect to Gnostic sect, although usually there were seven chief ones whom the Gnostics identified with various heavenly bodies. The Demiurge and his archons, according to Gnosticism, imprisoned sparks of divinity from the pleroma within physical bodies, creating human beings.   Salvation, in Gnostic theology, was a release of these divine sparks from the imprisonment of the physical back into the pure spiritual world of the pleroma.   Salvation was attained, the Gnostics claimed, through enlightenment, the achieving of “knowledge” (gnosis).   This “knowledge” did not come in a message that was to be generally preached to all, but was something revealed to individuals through personal experience with the divine of which only an elite few had the capacity.



Clearly, the core teachings of orthodox Christianity and those of heretical Gnosticism were antithetical to each other.    Just as clear is the fact that this total antithesis grew out of the fact that whereas orthodox Christianity identified itself as a faith - a set of truths  which when proclaimed to the world as a kerygma are called the Gospel ("Good News") and when spoken as a personal and communal confession are called the Creed, both of which terms point to the fact that these truths are accepted by faith,  that is to say, believed on the authority of God's Word, Gnosticism  embraced what it regarded as a special, elite, esoteric "knowledge" rather than the orthodox faith.



Unlike the knowledge that Satan tempted Eve to abandon faith for, the gnosis of the Gnostics was a false knowledge, and quite likely, as stated previously, explicitly called such by the Apostle Paul in Scripture.   In the Modern Age, what was formerly Christendom or Christian civilization, was transformed into what is now called by the secular name of Western Civilization through its permeation by a philosophical spirit that can for lack of a better term be called “liberalism” although it needs to be understood that by this a more general, underlying, attitude is meant rather than the specific philosophical and political formulations that have borne name.    This liberalism places no value whatsoever in the testimony of God, reduces faith in God to personal experience and opinion, and places its own supreme confidence in the rational faculties of mankind.   One of the fruits of this liberalism, has been the exaltation of something that bears the name of “knowledge” – this time the Latin term, Anglicized into “science” – to the level of the highest truth.   What is this thing that Modern name calls by the name of knowledge and prizes so highly?



At its most basic level it is merely man’s attempts to explain the phenomena of the physical world strictly by means of other phenomena within the same.   As such it is ancient, going back at least as far as Thales of Miletus in the seventh to sixth centuries BC.   At a somewhat higher level it is the methodology devised for these attempts involving observation, hypothesizing, and experimentation.   Depending upon how you look at it there have been either several such methodologies or several major revisions of the same methodology.    Aristotle’s method was the most influential in the pre-Modern world.   Sir Francis Bacon’s was one of the earliest of the Modern versions.   His most important treatise setting forth that method was a direct attack on Aristotle as is evident in the title: Novum Organum - Ὄργανον (Organon) was the title given by Aristotle’s students to the published collection of his books on logic.   Aristotle’s methodology had stressed deductive reasoning, Bacon’s emphasized inductive reasoning.   It was in his unfinished novella New Atlantis, however, that Bacon provided us with the key to understanding why Modern man has come to so value “science”.   The end or goal of “science” or “natural philosophy” as he called it – a much better and more accurate name – he placed in the words of the mission statement of his fictional Salomon’s House foundation: “the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things: and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”   Modern “science” has been exponentially more efficient at achieving this end than any prior “science” which translates into its having more effectively produced results.    This establishes its utilitarian value which Modern man, increasingly incapable of distinguishing between utility and truth, confuses with its epistemic value.   To any sane mind, however, it must be regarded as a mixed blessing at best.   The same “science” that gave us life-saving penicillin, also gave us life-threatening nuclear weapons.   Even before the invention of the atomic bomb, wise minds as disparate as Queen Victoria’s Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson and German historian and prophet of doom Oswald Spengler perceived Modern “science” as a Faustian bargain after Faust who exchanged his soul for knowledge.   Spengler described Modern Western “scientific” culture as Faustian.   Tennyson allowed his readers to infer the same from his poem Ulysses, in which he places the spirit of Modern Western “scientific” adventurism in the words of his title character’s determination to “follow knowledge like a falling star/Beyond the utmost bound of human thought” and against all forces arrayed against him to “strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, spoken as that character sets out on that final voyage that landed him in the eighth circle of Hell where he is depicted recounting it to Dante in Inferno, Canto XXVI.



So is this “science” a true knowledge like the “knowledge of good and evil” with which Eve was tempted, or a false “knowledge” like the gnosis of the Simonians, Valentians, Sethians, et al.?



“Science” obviously contains much true knowledge.   This is to be found in the raw materials of “science”, the facts or data drawn from observation, which are knowledge in the sense that Bishop Pearson used the term when distinguishing it from “belief” or “faith”.   The hypotheses, theories, and laws by which these facts are interpreted and explained are another story.   While the liberal spirit of the Modern world ascribes truth to every proclamation of “science”, “science” makes no such claim for itself.   If it did, it would never have accomplished anything.   To give but one example, if Max Planck and Albert Einstein had taken the same attitude towards the physics of Sir Isaac Newton, that those who tell us to “follow the science’ with regards to climate change or the bat flu take, they never would have developed quantum mechanics and the theories of relativity.   In the twentieth century, Sir Karl Popper made a compelling case for falsifiability as the litmus test of whether a theory is genuinely “scientific”, rather than the “verifiability” of logical positivism.   To be falsifiable and therefore “scientific”, a theory had to be susceptible to being disproven under examination.   A theory that cannot be so falsified, whatever else it might be, is not “scientific”.   Something that is susceptible to falsification, however, cannot be said to be true, or at the very least, it cannot be said to be known to be true.   At the explanatory level, therefore, “science” is neither truth nor true knowledge, heresy though this undoubtedly be to the ears of the liberal “follow the science” crowd.



The “knowledge” that Modern man values highly over faith is, therefore, a mixture of true knowledge and false knowledge.   Moreover the true knowledge within it, is clearly of a lesser order of knowledge.   Consider the example of nuclear weapons from the previous paragraph.   While the observable facts that are the true knowledge in science were the raw material from which the physicists devised the theories that enabled them to build the atomic bomb these same facts clearly did not provide them with the knowledge that they ought not to have done anything of the sort.   Whether they had that knowledge from other sources and chose willingly to ignore it or whether they did not have it at all is beside the point.   Such knowledge could not have come from the facts of the science of physics themselves.  The knowledge that one ought not to create weapons that can wipe out entire cities with a single blow and threaten all life on earth is a higher and more important kind of knowledge than the lesser and lower knowledge that gives scientists the ability to invent such things.    The knowledge within Modern medical science has enabled doctors to perform organ transplants, blood transfusions, and other life-saving surgeries.   It has not, however, provided them with the knowledge that civil liberties should not be put on hold, police states established, social isolation imposed upon everybody, businesses, livelihoods and savings destroyed to stop a respiratory disease from spreading too fast and overwhelming their hospitals.    Nor has it provided them with the knowledge that first-of-their-kind vaccines that have not completed their clinical trials should not be imposed upon people by threatening them with exclusion from society, loss of employment, and the like until they “consent” to taking the vaccines.   Since, until quite recently, this knowledge was widespread, informing international agreements and laws, it would seem that Modern medical science has had the effect of driving this higher, more important, knowledge out.    


Modern man, therefore, has clearly placed far too high a value on scientific knowledge.    In doing so, he has embraced the same kind of error that produced Gnosticism and the same kind of error that brought about the Fall of man.   The testimony of God is the highest possible Truth, and faith in that testimony is the highest path to Truth available to man, superior to all forms of genuine knowledge attainable by human effort, and especially to spurious types of knowledge, or lower kinds of genuine knowledge such as those found in science.



(1)   John Pearson (1613-1686) was consecrated Bishop of Chester in 1672.   The work referred to was first published in 1659 and was compiled from sermons he had given at St. Clement’s, Eastscheap in London after he had been appointed preacher there five years previously.   It is an explanatory commentary on the Apostles’ Creed that is very thorough, going through the Creed Article by Article, and indeed, clause by clause – sometimes word by word – within the Articles.   Quotations here are taken from the first volume of the 1843 Oxford University Press edition, edited by the Reverend Doctor E. Burton, Regius Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church.   They all come from the exposition of the words “I believe” which begin the first Article, which exposition starts on page 2 and continues to page 22.

(2)   Edward Freer Hills, Believing Bible Study, 3rd edition, Christian Research Press Ltd., Des Moines, Iowa, 1967, 1991.    Several sections of this book are near identical to ones found in the same author’s The King James Version Defended.   The paragraph quoted is one such paragraph.   Whereas it is the fourth paragraph of the first chapter of Believing Bible Study it is also the second last paragraph of the second chapter of The King James Version Defended.

(3)  One interpretation is that the “knowledge of good and evil” meant to experience both good and evil in man’s own existence, a problem with which interpretation is that God, within Whom there is no evil, affirms that He possesses this knowledge.   Another interpretation is that by expressing the opposite poles of “good” and “evil” this was meant to comprehend everything in between and thus “knowledge of everything” or omniscience was meant.   While this is consistent with God’s describing the knowledge as being like His Own, mankind obviously did not become omniscient in the Fall.

(4)   Apologia Prima, xxvi.

(5)   Adversus Haereses, I.xxiii, IV, VI.xxxiii.

(6)  Refutatio Omnium Haeresium, and especially VI.ii, iv-xv.

(7)  There is another Latin verb for “know” which is obviously cognate with the Greek word.   This is gnosco, gnoscere, which was frequently used in compounds with many, ahem, recognizable English derivatives, including the one just highlighted, and the one used in the first sentence of this note.  Nevertheless, the functional equivalent of γιγνώσκω was scio.   Both were the primary verbs for knowing in their respective languages.

(8)“Creed” comes from the Latin credo – “I believe”.  The Latin texts of both the Apostles’ and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creeds begin with this word, although the plural credimus (“we believe”) is sometimes used.   There is another ancient statement of faith that is commonly called a Creed, the Athanasian.   It does not begin with this word but with “Quicumque vult” (“Whosoever will”).   Its form, therefore, is more properly that of a kerygma – the faith proclaimed as a message for others – than a Creed – the faith expressed as a confession of personal/communal belief.   It is obviously, however, a more precise – in the case of the doctrine of Trinity extremely precise – expansion of the Apostles’ Creed, which is where its common title presumably comes from. 

No comments:

Post a Comment