The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Second Article – God the Son

 The first Article of the Creed, as we have seen, is an affirmation of faith in God the Father, the Creator of all things.   The second Article is an affirmation of faith in God the Son.   It is the first of six Articles that pertain to the Son before the affirmation of faith in God the Holy Spirit in the eight Article.   Since the Creed consists of twelve Articles in total, this means that half of them concern God the Son.


In the Apostles’ Creed the second Article is “et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominus nostrum” which in the English of the Book of Common Prayer is “And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord”.   In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed the second Article is “Καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων.”    In this series we shall treat what is ordinarily considered the third Article of the conciliar Creed to be part of the second.   This is “φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί· δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο.”    Taken together, these are rendered in the Book of Common Prayer as  “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made.”   Note that in the Greek of the Creed the words “Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ” do not precede “φῶς ἐκ φωτός”.   Here the Book of Common Prayer follows the Latin which has “Deum de Deo” before “lumen de lumine”.   This is one of two places where the Latin text of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed inserts something that is not present in the original Greek, the other being the famously controversial Filoque in the Article about the Holy Spirit.  This is less controversial than the Filoque which played a key role in the dispute which led to the Greek and Latin Churches breaking Communion with each other because here the Latin interpolation does not express anything about which the Latin and Greek Churches are in theological disagreement.   Indeed, “Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ” appeared in the original Nicene Creed of 325 AD but was dropped when the Creed was revised at the First Council of Constantinople of 381 AD.   Redundancy seems to have been the reason for its having been removed.   In the original Nicene Creed the words “μονογενῆ, τοὐτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρός, Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ” followed “begotten of the Father” and preceded “Light of Light”.   The First Council of Constantinople (381 AD) in revising the Creed moved the μονογενῆ and placed it in attributive position to “the Son of God”.   The remainder of these words which assert nothing that was not stated more precisely later in the same Article (1) were replaced with “before all worlds”.   Nobody really knows how “Deum de Deo” made its way back into the Latin version of the Creed.   It is also present in the Armenian version of the Creed but so are all the other words that were removed from the original Nicene Creed in the Constantinopolitan revision and this version also expands the “through whom all things were made” so as to repeat the “heaven and earth” and “visible and invisible” clauses of the first Article.


The first Article of the Creed, as we saw in our discussion of the same, established continuity between the faith we confess as Christians and the faith of Old Testament Israel by asserting our belief that the One God, the Father, is Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.   In this second Article, the faith we confess diverges from that of others who claim continuity with the Old Testament religion.   We believe in Jesus Christ.


Who is Jesus Christ?


Jesus is the Name of this Second Person Whom we confess alongside God the Father.   St. Luke in his Gospel tells of the Annunciation, the visit the angel Gabriel paid to the Virgin Mary to tell her that she was favoured by God in that she would bear a child Who would be God’s Son.  Gabriel told her that her Son was to be given the name Jesus.     St. Matthew in his Gospel records that at some point after this Joseph of Nazareth to whom Mary was espoused was visited by an angel in a dream who told him to marry Mary and raise her child Who was the Son of God.   Joseph is also told to give the child the name Jesus and is given a reason for the name “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).   This is what the name Jesus means.   It was a common name among the Jews because it was the name of an important figure in the Old Testament.    יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ which when put directly into English from Hebrew is traditionally rendered Joshua was the name of one of Moses’ lieutenants, who led the Israelites into battle against various enemies when they were en route from Egypt to the Promised Land, who was one of the spies Moses sent into the Promised Land and the only one other than Caleb who proved to be faithful, and who was chosen to lead the people into the Promised Land after Moses death.   The book narrating the conquest of Canaan bears his name.    The book of Numbers tells us that his name was originally Oshea but that Moses changed it to Jehoshua or Joshua.   Oshea means “salvation”.   J(eh)oshua means “Jehovah is salvation”.    Jesus is this Name after it has been transliterated from Hebrew into Aramaic, then from Aramaic into Greek, then from Greek into Latin, and finally Anglicized by the removal of inflection and rendering Latin’s consonantal I as J.   It is in the divine Person Who bears this name in the New Testament that its meaning is truly fulfilled.   The Old Testament Joshua prefigured Him.  Through Joshua, God brought His people out of the wilderness in which they had been wandering due to their disobedience and into the Promised Land.   Indeed, in the fact that Moses, through whom the Law was given and whose name often signifies that Law, led the people in the wilderness but could not lead them across the Jordan into the Promised Land, which was reserved for Joshua, we see illustrated in the Old Testament that key theme of the New, that the Law cannot take a person from the wildness of sin and bring him into the Promised Land of peace with God, only Jesus can do that.   Jesus is Jehovah come into the world to save His people and the world from sin by taking that sin away on the Cross.


Christ is said or written together with Jesus so often that many assume it to be His surname.   It is more accurately thought of as a title.   As with the name Jesus it is the Anglicization of the Latin spelling of a Greek word that represents a Hebrew original.   In this case, however, the Greek word is a translation rather than a transliteration of the Hebrew.   The Hebrew word is מָשִׁיחַ which is rendered directly into English as Messiah.   This word means “Anointed One”.   In the Old Testament the kings of Israel were anointed with oil.    So were the high priests and, on at least one occasion, prophets.  Samuel was instructed by God to anoint first Saul, then David, as king with oil.   David would not harm Saul because he was “the LORD’s anointed”.   While every king of Israel and every high priest was a small-m “messiah” or small-c “christ”, the big-M Messiah or big-C Christ was the promised King who would arise out of the House of David to restore and redeem Israel.   Promises of this Redeemer-King can be found throughout the Old Testament but especially in the writings of the prophets who arose to warn Israel and Judah and call them to repentance in the period just before and during the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions that took the northern and southern kingdoms captive respectively.   In the prophetic writings it is promised that the future King will not merely restore Israel to what she was under David and Solomon but will usher in a Golden Age in which all nations will acknowledge His kingdom which will last forever, a New Covenant will be written in the hearts of man rather than on tablets of stone, and the curse on Creation due to man’s sin will finally be lifted.  


The Gospel Jesus preached to Israel from the beginning of His earthly ministry was “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”.    “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” can be paraphrased as “the promises are fulfilled, the Kingdom is present among you now”.   Jesus could proclaim such a Gospel because the Kingdom was present in the Person of Himself, the King.    He explained to them, however, in His teachings, that His Kingdom was spiritual rather than political and that it was bondage to sin that He came to deliver them and the world from rather than from the Roman Empire.   That He, Jesus, is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” was the sole article in the very first Christian confession or creed.  This was the confession made by St. Peter in response to a query from the Lord first about Whom His disciples said that He was.   Jesus praised the confession as revelation from His Father in Heaven and declared that He would build His Church upon this rock, then began to explain to His disciples that He would be crucified and rise again the third day.   Later, just before He raised her brother Lazarus, Martha made the same confession as St. Peter in response to Jesus’ asking her whether she believed His assertion that “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-27).   These interactions show that the Christ, the promised King of the House of David, the High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek, the Prophet greater than Moses, was the One Who gives everlasting life to all who believe in Him and that to do so He had to die Himself then rise again. 


In the confession of St. Peter and Martha, “the Christ” and “the Son of God” are placed in apposition which is a way of saying that the two expressions refer to the same Person without needing an extra word to link or equate them.   In the Psalms of David there are a number of verses in which the LORD speaks to or about the Messiah as His Son.    The Old and New Testaments use the expression “son of God” with several different meaning.   In the book of Job, the “sons of God” who assemble in His court are usually understood to be the angels.  In St. Paul’s sermon at Mars Hill he spoke of all people as being God’s children.   In the Old Testament the nation Israel is sometimes spoken of as God’s son and in the Johannine literature of the New Testament believers in Jesus are said to be children of God.   When either Testament speaks of Jesus, the Christ, as the Son of God, however, He is not spoken of as being One Son among many, but as God’s Only Son.   Similarly, when Jesus speaks of God the Father, He sometimes speaks of Him as His Father and He sometimes speaks of Him to His disciples as “your Father”, but He never speaks of God as “Our Father” so as to make His Sonship identical with that of His disciples.   While the Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our Father” this is not Jesus including Himself with His disciples in “Our” and joining them in a common prayer but prescribing this form of prayer to them.    The way in which Jesus is God’s Son, therefore, is unique to Himself and not shared with any other.


Everything in the portion of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that we are considering alongside the second Article of the Apostles’ Creed that is not also found in the second Article is there for the purpose of clarifying precisely what it means that Jesus is the Son of God.   This was at the heart of the controversy over which the two first Ecumenical Councils, the ones which gave us the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, were convened.   A priest in Alexandria named Arius taught that Jesus was the first creation of God, Who had a beginning before which He was not, that God had created Him out of nothing with a similar but not identical nature to His Own, and then through Him had created all other things.    When his heresy began to spill out and infect other dioceses and provinces outside of Alexandria, the First Council of Nicaea was convened to deal with the controversy.   The orthodox side, led nominally by Arius’ own bishop, the Patriarch Alexander I of Alexandria, but in actuality by his archdeacon Athanasius, prevailed, the Arian positions were anathematized, and the Council published the original Nicene Creed, but the controversy continued long after with the Arians at times having the upper hand (Athanasius, who succeeded Alexander as Patriarch of Alexandra, was temporarily deposed of his See for seven years and was sent into exile on five separate occasions), making necessary the First Council of Constantinople which revised the Creed into the form we know today and condemned Arianism as heresy.


Before the second Ecumenical Council produced the final version of the Creed there were numerous attempts by Arian groups and other similar heresies to revise the Nicene Creed to their liking.   An account of these can be found in the Historia Ecclesiastica of Socrates Scholasticus, the fifth century Christian historian who picked up where Eusebius of Caesarea, the “Christian Herodotus” left off. (2)  The word in the Nicene Creed to which the most objections were made was ὁμοούσιον which means “of the same essence”.   The heretical revisions replaced this word with such alternatives as ὁμοιούσιον which means “of a similar essence” and ὅμοιον which means “similar” in a more general sense.   There are many today who consider such disputes to be hairsplitting but the orthodox side was right to stand its ground and insist upon ὁμοούσιον because that one iota that separates ὁμοούσιον from ὁμοιούσιον is the difference between the Son being God and the Son being a creature, the closest to God of all creatures, but a creature nonetheless.   The word ὁμοούσιον captures what it is that makes Jesus’ Sonship distinct from that of all lesser beings who are in some lesser sense children of God.   Human beings in general and angels are “sons of God” in the sense that they are His creatures but this does not make them God.   Christians are children of God through regeneration (John 1:12-13) and adoption (Rom. 8:15) but this does not make them God.   In creation, living things reproduce after their own kind.   A cat gives birth to a cat, a dog sires another dog, a bird lays an egg and when it hatches it is another bird that comes out, etc.   A man has a son and that son is a man like his father.   This is the sense in which Jesus is God’s Son and in this sense of the word God has only the One Son, the Son Who is God as His Father is God.    ὁμοούσιον was the best word for this because it guarded against the Arian heresy that Jesus is of a similar but different and lesser nature to God the Father without lending any support to the Sabellian heresy which stresses the unity in nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to the point that it denies the distinction between the Persons.


There is another way in which the Creed expresses the truth that Jesus’ Sonship to the Father is the kind of Sonship that means that He like His Father is God and this is the word “begotten”.   In the English text of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed this word appears three times.   The first of these is when it says that Jesus Christ is “the only-begotten Son of God”.   Here “only-begotten” is the translation of τὸν μονογενῆ, the same word that is translated this way in the Authorized Bible in John 3:16.   In the last century or so a consensus has arisen among New Testament Greek scholars this is a mistranslation based upon a mistaken etymology and that this word is better understood as meaning “unique” or “one of a kind”.   This consensus is wrong, but even if it were correct it would not apply to the other two instances of “begotten” for in these the word γεννηθέντα is used which is the aorist passive participle of the verb which means “beget”.   While this verb when used of the relationship between two created beings signifies that the begetter existed before the begotten when used of the Eternal Uncreated Father and His Eternal Uncreated Son it indicates the priority of the Father in the sense that He is the Source of the Son and the Son comes from Him but not priority in any temporal sense.   That there never was a time before the Father had His Son is, indeed, what the two uses of “begotten” signify, the first by saying that the Son was begotten of the Father “before all worlds”, that is to say, before Creation, of which time is a dimension, the second by saying that “begotten” does not mean “created”.   Theologically, this truth is usually referred to as the “eternal generation” of the Son, although the term filiation is also used.


These truths, that Jesus as the Son comes from the Father in such a way that What the Father is, God, He, the Son, is also are simply stated in each of the expressions “God of God”, “Light of Light” and “Very God of Very God”.


In this Article of the Creed we also affirm the Son’s Lordship.   Saying that Jesus Christ is Lord can be another way of affirming His deity.   To avoid profaning the divine Name, the custom had developed in the Hebrew tradition of saying the word that means “Lord” instead when reading the Old Testament text.    When the Old Testament was translated into the Greek Septuagint this custom influenced the translators to put κύριος in the place of the divine Name and this practice persists into our English translation where the divine Name is transliterated as Jehovah or Jah in only a small handful of instances but otherwise rendered LORD spelled in all capitals to distinguish where the Name of God is what is indicated from places where אֲדֹנָי appears in the Hebrew text in which cases only the L is capitalized.  When the New Testament calls Jesus κύριος, sometimes this word has the weight that it has in the LXX when it stands in for the Name of God, at other times it is used in a more literal sense of “Ruler” or “Master”.   These meanings overlap, of course – Jesus as God is the Ultimate Sovereign Ruler of all – but there is a real distinction.  Generally, when Jesus is declared to be Lord in a confessional sort of way (Rom. 10:9) the emphasis is upon His deity, when is spoken of as Lord in a more personal sort of way, the emphasis is upon His authority in His relationship with His disciples.    In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed the word “Lord” is qualified by the number “One”.  This is directly parallel to how the Creed declares God to be One in the first Article about the Father.    In the Nicene Creed, therefore, the emphasis in affirming Jesus’ Lordship is upon His deity.   The Apostles’ Creed, however, which qualifies the word “Lord” with the possessive “our”, places the emphasis in His Lordship upon His relationship of authority to we who confess Him as such.   The two versions of the Creed, therefore, complement each other, and present both aspects of Jesus’ Lordship as it is found in the New Testament.


The final affirmation in this portion of the Creed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan version is “through whom all things were made”.   This wording identifies the Son’s role in Creation in terms of instrumentality or means.  The Son is the instrument through Whom the Father created all things.   This is what we find asserted by St. John in the third verse of His Gospel “all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made”.   This follows shortly after St. John’s introduction of Jesus as “the Word” Who was “in the beginning” with God and Who “was God”.  This alludes to the first chapter of Genesis which also starts with the words “in the beginning” and in which God creates all things through the means of His Word.


The second Article is all about the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.   We shall, Lord willing, next look at the third Article, in which the focus shifts to His humanity, God the Son become Man.




 (1)   “τοὐτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρός” is asserted with more precision as “ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί” and  “Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ” as “Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ”.

(2)   Eusebius was present at the Council of Nicaea as Bishop of Caesarea but finished writing his History just prior to the Council and concluded his narrative with the triumph of Constantine over his rivals.



Friday, February 10, 2023

Thanks for the Laugh Tucker, But No, His Majesty’s Free Canadian Subjects Do Not Need Your Type of “Liberation”

 As a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbor, and saith, Am not I in sport? (Proverbs 26:18-19)


There was a dinner once, one of those formal affairs that people pay to attend and where they are forced to listen to a seemingly endless program of speeches.  At this one, the audience was about evenly divided between Canadians and Americans and they were intermixed among the various tables.   At the table where the speakers were sitting a debate broke out over concepts and styles of humour.   One speaker took the position that Canadians and Americans were indistinguishable in their senses of humour.   Another argued that Canadian humour was distinct from American humour. 


The debate continued through a couple of the formal speeches until the second debater, the one who contended for a distinction between Canadian and American humour, was on dock to speak next.   At this point he said that he would settle the matter.   “I’m up next”, he said.  “I bet you that I can separate the Canadians from the Americans in the room with a single joke.”


His interlocutor agreed to the bet and the speaker ahead of him concluded his speech.   “The ones who laugh are the Canadians” he said before going to the podium.


“Ladies and gentlemen” he said “I’m afraid I have some bad news.   The world will end at 7:30 tonight.   8:00 in Newfoundland”.


The preceding joke has, of course, been made largely obsolete by the demise of broadcast television and the explosion of new communications technology as well as by the waning number of Canadians who listen to or watch the CBC in any media format.   Today, the “8:00 in Newfoundland” joke would be more effective at distinguishing between older and younger generations of Canadians than distinguishing between Canadians and Americans.


Fox News host Tucker Carlson maintains that we Canadians have no sense of humour and cannot take a joke.    Is he right?


The backstory to this begins with a remark he made towards the end of last month on “Tucker Carlson Today.”   This is the show he does on Fox Nation, the station’s streaming platform.  It has different content and a different format from “Tucker Carlson Tonight”,his weekday evening show on the station’s main cable/satellite platform.   He was joking with a guest about our Prime Minister, Captain Airhead.    In this context, he brought up all the money the United States is wasting on the Ukraine and asked “Why are we not sending an armed force north to liberate Canada from Trudeau?   And I mean it”.


This came to the attention of Matthew Green, the Member representing Hamilton Centre in the House of Commons, who raised a motion on Tuesday, 26 January, calling upon the House to unanimously condemn Carlson’s remark.   Green and the party he represents, the socialist NDP, apparently took the Fox host’s remark as a serious proposal.   The motion did not receive the unanimous consent that was sought and was defeated.  


This prompted a response from Carlson on his show the following Wednesday.   We don’t want to be too picayune or anything, but we did not suggest the armed forces liberate Canada” he said, either having forgotten his exact words or attempting to get the maximum mileage out of the distinction between a suggestion and a question.   Then, after a few remarks about everyone who cares about rights having fled Canada, Canada having become a dictatorship, the United States not liking dictatorships, and the like, he said that there is “so little going on in Canada, like civil liberties, that if you tell a joke about Canada, they go bonkers”.  


Green and his party, who have not let the matter drop but taken it from the floor of the House of Commons to their webpage where they are asking people to sign an online petition telling Tucker Carlson that his “hate” isn’t welcome in Canada, have responded very foolishly.   Even though he said “And I mean it” the overall laughing, flippant, tone of the conversation rather contradicted these words which he seems to have used much in the same manner in which teenagers, college students, progressive activists and other empty-headed twits use the word “literally”, i.e., as a sort of emphatic punctuation rather than with its actual meaning.   Carlson was joking.   It was an extremely tasteless joke.   Jokes about invading someone else’s country belong in the same category as jokes about murdering someone else’s children or raping his wife.   It is best not to bestow dignity upon such by acknowledging them, much less making an issue out of them in the halls of Parliament.  


Everything I just said applies to the joke that Tucker Carlson told intentionally.   There is another joke in his words, one which I rather suspect he told unwittingly.   It is a much better joke.


It is a joke to think of the United States “liberating” another country.    From the moment they staged their Revolution in the Eighteenth Century the Americans have been talking incessantly about “freedom” and “liberating” people.  All this is and all it has ever been is enough hot air to float a fleet of Chinese spy balloons.  The Americans fought their Revolution to “free” themselves from the most liberal government in the world at the time.   That’s liberal in the older and better sense of the word which referred to the belief that government power needed to be restrained and limited to protect the personal rights and freedoms of the governed.  The American revolutionaries falsely accused the British government of tyrannizing them despite that government’s having taken a largely laissez-faire approach to them, because it would not let them forcibly convert the French Roman Catholics of Quebec to English-speaking Protestantism and would not let them go into Indian territory and take it by force.   When, about thirty years after their Revolution the Americans did indeed try to “liberate” Canada they found that the Canadians correctly understood their “liberation” to mean “conquest” and preferred to remain in the British Empire.   The Canadians fought alongside the British army and successfully repelled the American invaders.    In this period, between the Americans having attained independence from the British Empire in the eighteenth century and British North America’s Confederation into the Dominion of Canada in the late nineteenth century, we who remained in the British Empire generally enjoyed greater freedom, less regulation, and more decentralized governance than the Americans did under their new federal republic.


Before proceeding to comment on the United States’ next big “liberation” project I would like to expand upon the last sentence of the last paragraph by saying with regards to the relative freedom of Canada and the United States that the nineteenth century was not the last time in which the case could be made for Canada being the freer of the two countries.   It made news last month when the Frazer Institute in Canada and the Cato Institute in the United States released the 2022 edition of the Human Freedom Index and Canada was in thirteenth place – a drop from her previous spot of sixth, and the first time since 2012 that Canada has fallen below the top ten.   In the 2022 edition of the Index of Economic Freedom  Canada ranks lower yet, at fifteenth place.   Undoubtedly the present Liberal government has contributed significantly to the decline in Canadian freedom – the compilers of the Human Freedom Index say that a large part of this was due to Canada’s harsh pandemic measures and while provincial governments, mostly Conservative, contributed to this, the main push for lockdowns, forced masking, and vaccine mandates came from the Dominion government.   Note, however, where the United States stands on both of these Indexes.   She is twenty-third on the Human Freedom Index and twenty-fifth on the Index of Economic Freedom.   In other words on both she is ten spots below Canada.   If we switch from discussing freedom in general terms to specific freedoms examples of freedoms that seem to have stronger constitutional protection in the United States than in Canada can be found.   Among fundamental freedoms, freedom of speech is the example that stands out and among auxiliary freedoms, the freedom to own and carry arms.   This, however, merely makes the rankings in these indexes that deal with freedom in more general terms all the more striking. These relative rankings are not an anomaly of the 2022 editions.  Nor can they be explained by pro-Trudeau bias.   The Cato Institute and Frazer Institute are libertarian think tanks and the Index of Economic Freedom is published by the Heritage Foundation – the foremost American conservative think tank. If there is any bias it would be in the opposite direction.   Undoubtedly such facts will cause some sort of mental breakdown among those incapable of distinguishing between talking the most and the loudest about freedom on the one hand and actually possessing and practicing it on the other.    


After failing to conquer Canada in the War of 1812, the next big “liberation” project undertaken by the United States followed upon the organization of the Republican Party in 1854 and the first election of a nominee of that party to the office of President of the United States in 1860.   Thirteen states found Abraham Lincoln to be such an insufferable ass that upon his election they decided to exercise the right of secession which the founders of their republic had written into their constitution after the original thirteen colonies had illegally seceded from the British Empire.   The breakaway states formed their own federal republic, the Confederate States of America, which the United States promptly invaded and conquered, employing brutal scorched earth tactics in what remains the bloodiest war in their history.    The states that wanted to secede were subjugated and those that had remained in the Union found themselves, alongside the conquered South, now saddled with a federal government that was exponentially more centralized, more powerful, and more intrusive than it had been before.   Naturally, the American government spun this as a war of “liberation” or, to use the synonym that was in vogue at the time, “emancipation”, i.e., of the slaves, and to be sure, after the war they passed the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing most types of slavery.   It is interesting, however, how that in his first Inaugural Address Lincoln had promised to do the exact opposite of that if the seceding states returned to the Union, whereas the Confederates had offered to abolish slavery if the United States would let them leave.   One might be tempted to think that the abolition of slavery, the accomplishment of which, oddly enough, required a deadly internecine war nowhere other than in the United States, was merely a pretext and that the true purpose of the war was to concentrate the political power that had previously been diffused through the American states in the American federal government in Washington D. C.


When the United States decided to enter World War I on the side of Great Britain, France and the other Allies their president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, sold it to Congress as a war to “make the world safe for democracy”.   Since such idealistic romantic drivel had nothing to do with the war as it had been fought  up to that point Wilson had to give the war a makeover and inserted into the conditions for peace at the end of the war that the German and Austrian emperors abdicate their thrones and these countries become republics.   This boneheaded blunder created the vacuum that two decades later was exploited by a man who consolidated both republics into one, made himself dictator, and set out to conquer Europe.   Once again Britain and the Commonwealth and France went to war with Germany and once again the United States joined us after her morally handicapped president figured out a way of maneuvering Japan into bombing his own country.   The Allies invaded Nazi-occupied Europe on D-Day and for once the United States took part in an invasion that actually was a liberation as the Allies drove the Nazi occupiers out of Western Europe.   Eastern Europe did not fare so well.   There it was the Soviet Union that drove the Wehrmacht back to Germany but rather than liberate these countries it enslaved them to Communism.   This was an outcome that the other Allies did not want but was forced upon them by American president Franklin Roosevelt, the bitch to Joseph Stalin’s butch.  


At the end of the Second World War, therefore, the Soviet Union occupied Eastern Europe up to and including East Germany.    Soon thereafter the Chinese Civil War would start up again and the Chinese Communists, whom the Americans had insisted must be part of any Chinese government that wished to have good relations with the United States, drove their main rivals the Chinese Nationalists off the mainland which they then turned into the People’s Republic of China.       The Americans had brought the Second World War to an end with the unconscionable act of actually using the new weapon of mass destruction they had invented in the Manhattan Project to kill thousands of civilians in a country that had been trying to negotiate peace terms for a year.   By the end of the decade the Soviets had obtained this technology and the nuclear arms race was on.   In the Cold War, the United States, now the leading power in the West, maintained military bases in Western Europe and a nuclear arsenal to deter invasion from the Communist bloc.   The nuclear arms race, however, meant that if the USA and the USSR were to directly attack each other both would end up destroyed and the whole world along with them.   Therefore, while the Soviets and Americans both sponsored revolutionary groups that sought to take over the governments of third party countries – and each described the goal of the groups they sponsored as “liberation” – neither was willing to risk the direct confrontation that would bring about Mutually Assured Destruction.  Accordingly, military ventures in which the United States came to the assistance of someone fighting against actual Communist forces, such as the Vietnam War tended to end in failure or at best stalemate as in Korea.   At the same time they used the Cold War as a pretext to overthrow the governments of several countries – Guatemala in 1954 for example – for reasons of their own that had nothing to do with Communism.  The countries they so “liberated” were hardly better off for it  


This last item, that the United States used the Cold War as a pretext to “liberate”, i.e., overthrow the governments of several countries for reasons that had nothing to do with containing or rolling back the spread of Soviet Communism, is the germ of truth in the interpretation of the Cold War popular with leftists of the Noam Chomsky variety.   Otherwise, this interpretation which treats the Soviet threat itself as having been non-existent, a fiction devised to cloak American capitalist imperialism, is wrong and laughably so.     Just as laughable, however, was the idea of the United States as the great protector of the free world against Soviet tyranny.  In many ways this is comparable to a mob protection racket.   You know how these work.   The mob boss sends some of the boys over to a local business where they say “real nice place you’ve got here, it would be a shame if something happened to it” and collect a payoff from the business owner for protection from themselves.  The Communist threat was real alright, but it came with a “Made in the USA” stamp on it.    I pointed out earlier how the United States’ having demanded the abolition of the German and Austrian monarchies created the vacuum that enabled Adolf Hitler to rise to power.  While the American government did not have the opportunity of overthrowing the Russian Tsar in the way she drove the Hohenzollern and Hapsburg dynasties from their thrones since Tsarist Russia was on the side of the Allies, her Wall Street bankers financed the Bolshevik Revolution that transformed Orthodox Tsarist Russia and her Empire into the Communist, atheist, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with the knowledge and approval of Woodrow Wilson.   As hard as it is for those raised in the Cold War with its dualistic mythos of the capitalist United States as the champion of light and freedom against the Communist Soviet Union the avatar of darkness and bondage to wrap their heads around the fact in the first half of the Twentieth Century right up to the start of the Cold War the attitude of the American government and indeed the American establishment in general towards the Bolsheviks and their regime was adulatory and supportive.   The Americans of that era saw the Bolsheviks as being brothers-in-arms in the common cause of Modern progress.   The difference between the Communist economic system and their own was less important to such Americans than their similarities.   Both the American and the Bolshevik regimes had been born out of revolution.   The Americans had rebelled against their king and established a federal republic, the Bolsheviks had murdered the Tsar and his family and established a federation of republics.   The Americans in their Bill of Rights had prohibited church establishment in their First Amendment, the Bolsheviks declared Soviet Russia to be officially atheist and sought to eradicate the church.   The Bolshevik approach was more murderous than the American, but both saw monarchy and the established church as that from which people needed to be liberated.   Both saw revolution as the means of liberation.   Both had a linear progressive or Whig view of history as moving from a dark past to a bright, shining, future and both had a materialistic faith in man’s ability to solve his problems through science and technology.   The United States was one of the first, if not the first, Western country to enact most of the planks of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto.   For example, the second and fifth planks (“a heavy progressive or graduated income tax” and “centralization of credit in the hands of the state”) were implemented in the United States in 1913, the year before World War I broke out (1).   FDR’s fawning and obsequious behavour towards the worst of the Soviet dictators was not just some sick idiosyncrasy of his own, it was this earlier, positive, American attitude towards Bolshevism taken to its extreme.   While Americans quickly learned the true nature of the Soviet regime with the onset of the Cold War elements of the earlier attitude persisted until 1959 when the Americans helped put Fidel Castro into power in Cuba.   This too they thought of as an act of “liberation”.


When it comes to freedom or liberty, Americanism is largely zeal without knowledge.   The idea of revolution as the means of liberation is nonsense to anyone familiar with the history of revolutions the outcome of which is generally tyranny.  A stable and secure civil order is the prerequisite of freedom.  Revolutions are by their very nature inimical to stability and security which furthermore are the properties of long established institutions not of newly minted ones.  The new regime that emerges from a revolution has seized power, but has not attained authority and so must rely upon naked power to govern.   The very word tyranny itself originally spoke of usurpation, an ancient testimony to the fact that power that is seized is power that is abused.   The equation of freedom with democracy or the republican form of government is also nonsense.   Every dictator in the history of the world has come to power by claiming to speak for the people as their voice and champion and the most brutal dictators have been those with the masses behind them.   Every Communist state has been republican in form as was Nazi Germany.  With only a couple of exceptions the freest countries of the last century and indeed all of history have had parliamentary governments under reigning monarchs.   This is hardly surprising given what we just stated about a stable and secure civil order being the prerequisite of freedom and stability and security being traits that come with long establishment.   Monarchy is the most ancient and stable of government institutions.   Our American friends and neighbours are quite ass-backwards on all this.


Tucker Carlson appears to think that Canada has become a dictatorship under the premiership of Captain Airhead.   Is he right?


Captain Airhead certainly has a dictatorial mindset.   This was evident in the way he led his own party before he became Prime Minister and it has been evident in the way he has governed Canada since.   It was most on display in his response to the Freedom Convoy last year.   Rather than meet with and speak to those who were loudly but peacefully protesting his vaccine mandates he became the first Prime Minister in the Dominion’s history to invoke the Emergencies Act.   His father had been widely thought to have acted dictatorially in 1970 when he invoked the War Measures Act to deal with terrorists who were kidnapping and murdering people.    Captain Airhead invoked the successor legislation to the War Measures Act to crush a peaceful protest and moreover did so when the only aspect of the protest that was anything more than a nuisance to other Canadians, the partial blocking of traffic on important trade routes, had already been dealt with by local law enforcement without the use of emergency powers.   This was clearly the act of a Prime Minister who had lost whatever respect he may ever have had for the limits that tradition, constitutional law, or even common decency place on the powers of his office.   He froze the bank accounts of ordinary Canadians who were fed up with draconian pandemic measures and had donated a few dollars to the protest against such, he sent armed and mounted policemen in to thuggishly brutalize the protestors, and threw the protest’s organizers in prison.   Then, nine days after it was invoked he rescinded it.  However much he might think and act like a dictator, Canada’s constitution still works sufficiently to prevent him from actually being one.  After the Prime Minister declares a public order emergency both chambers of Parliament have to confirm the invoking of the Emergencies Act.   Captain Airhead was able to obtain such confirmation from the House of Commons when he and the leader of the socialist party shut down debate and whipped their caucuses into voting for it.   The Senate, however, was not about to rubber stamp the Emergencies Act.  They debated it vigorously and it would seem that it was because he did not have enough votes in the Senate to obtain confirmation that the Prime Minister revoked the Act and voluntarily gave up his emergency powers rather than face the humiliation of being stripped of them by the chamber of sober second thought.   Another aspect of our constitution that likely contributed to the revoking of the Act is the fact that Canada is a federation.   The Prime Minister had consulted with the provincial premiers before invoking the Emergencies Act, had received the general response that it was a bad idea, and a few days before he revoked it a couple of provincial governments announced that they would be filing legal challenges to it.


Could this sort of thing ever happen in the United States?


The year before the Freedom Convoy was the year in which the United States swore in a new president, Mr. Magoo.   To secure his inauguration, they sent in thousands of National Guardsmen and other armed forces and turned Washington DC into a military occupied zone.   Rather poor imagery for a country that boasts of its peaceful transfers of power but this was deemed necessary because of an incident that had taken place two weeks prior on the Feast of Epiphany.  That was the day that the American Congress was scheduled to meet to confirm the results of the previous year’s presidential election.   These were highly irregular results to say the least.  The incumbent, even though he increased his vote count from the previous election and carried almost all the bellwether states and countries, ordinarily near infallible predictors of an incumbent victory, apparently lost to Mr. Magoo, who’s having been nominated by his own party was somewhat difficult to explain given how poorly he had done in the primaries.   At any rate, the incumbent, Donald the Orange, believed he had good cause to suspect foul play.   As Congress convened on Epiphany, he held a massive rally of his supporters and aired his grievances.  The rally concluded with a protest march, and a portion of the protestors broke away from the main group and entered the Capitol.   This was declared to be an “insurrection”, “storming of the Capitol”, “coup”, “occupation” and “attack” and the powers that be in America continue to insist upon the use of this language although the facts don’t seem to warrant it.   It is a strange sort of insurrection whose participants feel no need to arm themselves to the teeth and mostly just walk around in weird costumes and take selfies.   In the fighting that broke out as the police went in to clear and secure the Capitol there were several injuries on both sides but the protestors clearly got the worst of it.   One of them was shot by the police.


Captain Airhead and his cabinet in framing their response to the Freedom Convoy were obviously seeking to evoke the image of what had occurred in Washington DC on the previous year’s Epiphany.   In both countries these events were followed up by public inquiries.   Note the difference, however.   In the Dominion of Canada, the focus of the public inquiry was the government’s response to the Freedom Convoy protest, her use of the Emergencies Act, and the question of whether or not it was justified under the terms of the Act itself.   The cabinet, including the Prime Minister himself, were essentially put on trial, held account for their actions, and subjected to grilling cross-examination.   In the American republic, the focus of the ongoing inquiry by the US House Select Committee has been on Mr. Magoo’s predecessor whom they are desperately trying to blame and prosecute for the “insurrection”.


So thank you for the laugh, Tucker, but no, we are far better off and far more free as subjects of His Majesty Charles III here in the Dominion of Canada, even with that dimwitted moron Captain Airhead as Prime Minister, than we would be “liberated” by your republic.   Let us worry about Captain Airhead.   You have enough problems of your own with Mr. Magoo.



(1)  Canada, by contrast, introduced the income tax at the end of the War as a measure to pay for it.   The income tax here never got as heavy and progressive as it got in the United States from the 1940s to the early 1960s.   From 1944 to 1963 the top American income tax rate never dropped below 90%.   It never made it that high here in Canada.   The Bank of Canada was chartered in 1934, twenty one years after the United States passed the Federal Reserve Act.

Friday, February 3, 2023

The First Article – God the Father


The first observation that needs to be made in commenting on the first Article of the Creed is that a book could be written on the first word alone. (1)   Whether we are speaking of the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the first word is the verb for “believe” in the present tense, active voice, indicative mood, and first person.   In the Nicene Creed in the Greek in which it was originally written this verb is “Πιστεύομεν” which is the plural form meaning “We believe”.   By ancient tradition this is the Creed recited or chanted in the liturgy of the Sacrament of the Eucharist or Holy Communion.   When employed liturgically it becomes “Πιστεύω”, the singular form of the verb meaning “I believe”.   The Latin version follows the liturgical text and uses the singular form of the verb, “Credo”, which is also the form that appears at the beginning of the equivalent Article in the Apostles’ Creed of which the Latin is the standard text.    The word “creed” is itself a derivative of this word which later came to be the term for this type of expression of the Christian faith.   Before “creed” caught on these were generally called “symbols” which is still the main term for them in the Eastern Church.  Symbol is a word in both Greek and Latin that means “sign” or “token” and was applied by the Churches to their basic statements of faith because these were used to distinguish between members of the Church and unbelievers as well as between the orthodox on the one hand and heretics and schismatics on the other.   Orthodox Churchmen could confess the faith, heretics and unbelievers could not.  


This is why creed is so appropriate as a substitute or synonym for symbol.   Every religion’s teachings contain elements of both faith – what is to be believed – and practice – what is to be done, but Christianity stands out in that whereas other religions, including the other Abrahamic religions, emphasize practice over belief, Christianity emphasizes belief over practice.   This is true of all Christian Churches, regardless of where they stand on the question of whether St. James interprets St. Paul or St. Paul interprets St. James on the matter of faith and works.  Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples to go into the world with a message to proclaim.   That message, called the Gospel or Good News, is about how He, God’s Son, was sent into the world by God to restore sinners to God’s favour (grace) freely offered through the New Covenant of redemption from sin that He established through His death and resurrection.   With the inauguration of the New Covenant came the institution of a new community or society of faith, the Church, participation in which is open to all, both those who had been part of the national community of the Old Covenant (Jews) and those who had been outside the Old Covenant (Gentiles).    The New Testament prescribes both an external and an internal sign or symbol of membership in this community.   The external symbol is baptism.   The internal sign is the instrument by which the grace proclaimed in the Gospel is received, faith.   Since only God can look on the heart and see faith directly, faith must be confessed.   This is why the Church was right to early recognize the importance of communal confessions of faith and why it is so appropriate that these are called creeds as well as symbols.  


The first Article of the Apostles’ Creed is:  Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae.     In the Book of Common Prayer this is translated as “I believe in God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”.   The corresponding first Article of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων.   The liturgical version differs from this, the conciliar version, only in that it places the first word in the singular.   The Book of Common Prayer renders this “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible”.    The Article is basically identical in both versions of the Creed with the Nicene being the more precise specifying that God is ἕνα (one), and that He is the Maker of ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων (all things visible and invisible) as well as of caeli et terrae or οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς (heaven and earth).   Interestingly, the original Nicene Creed published by the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD), spoke of God as “Maker of all things visible and invisible” but did not mention “heaven and earth”.   The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, as revised by the First Council of Constantinople (381 AD), therefore, includes both phrases, the one included in the Apostles’ Creed and the one included in the original Nicene.


The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was not the first time these expressions “heaven and earth” and “visible and invisible” were joined together in reference to God’s act of Creation.   St. Paul used both in the sixteenth verse of the first chapter of his epistle to the Colossian Church.   In the inspired text it was the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son, which the Apostle was stressing.  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible”.   Although the Councils that produced this Creed were convened primarily to address a heresy that attacked the deity of Jesus Christ, Arianism, which maintained that Jesus was a lesser divinity, the first created being, rather than the Eternal Son of God, it was in response to a different heresy – or class of heresies – that they borrowed this language from St. Paul and applied it to the Father as Creator.


Among the many heresies that plagued the early Church were those that taught that the visible and physical was corrupt and irredeemably so whereas the spiritual and invisible was pure and incorruptible and that therefore only the spiritual was created by the God preached by Jesus Christ while the physical was created by a lesser, evil, divinity they called the Demiurge and equated with the God of the Old Testament.   The heresies that St. Irenaeus of Lyon discussed in his Adversus Haereses (180 AD) are mostly of this nature.   St. Irenaeus, following Justin Martyr, traced their origin to Simon Magus, the converted Samaritan sorcerer whose attempt to purchase the Apostolic power from St. Peter and the ensuing rebuke are recorded in the eighth chapter of the book of Acts.   That the earliest forms of this kind of heresy date back to the first century before the close of the Apostolic era and the canon of the New Testament is attested by the epistles of St. John which speak of sects which had broken away from the Churches and which denied that Christ is come in the flesh.   Today this class of heresies is usually called Gnosticism, although the term is of relatively recent coinage.   St. John called them antichrists.


By declaring her faith in God the Father as Maker of “heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible” the orthodox Church affirmed that the God of the New Testament is the same God as the God of the Old Testament and so definitively rejected these heresies which postulated that the two Testaments spoke of two different Gods.


The identification of the God of the New Testament with the God of the Old Testament is absolutely essential to the Christian truth concerning God.   The fullest revelation of Himself that God has given to mankind is in the Incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who in the verse preceding the one cited previously from Colossians, St. Paul declared to be the “image of the invisible God”.   In Jesus Christ, We have a more complete knowledge of Who and What God is than that which can be discerned from the natural revelation of Creation or that which God gave to His Old Testament people in the Law.   It is God’s revelation of Himself in the Incarnation, however, that requires our acceptance of His revelation of Himself in the Old Testament.   When Jesus asked His disciples Whom they said He was and St. Peter answered “the Christ, the Son of the Living God”, Jesus praised His answer, said that it had been revealed to St. Peter not by man but by His Father in Heaven, and declared it to be the rock upon which He would build His Church, Who was the God of Whom St. Peter said Jesus was the Son?   Zeus?  Apollo?  Odin?   Of course not.   It was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament.


The Gospels record Jesus as beginning His public ministry in Galilee by going from town to town, teaching in the synagogues, and preaching that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, a reference to the Kingdom promised and prophesied in the Old Testament.   At the beginning of His most famous Sermon He warned His hearers against thinking that His purpose was to abolish the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament).  When He healed the lepers He instructed them to see the priests and bring the offering commanded in the Law.   When asked about divorce, Jesus referred to the Genesis Creation account which Marcion and other heretics maintained spoke of a God different from the God Jesus preached.   In a confrontation recorded in the eight chapter of St. John’s Gospel the Jewish leaders asked Jesus if He was greater than Abraham and Who He made Himself out to be.   In His response He said that “it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God”.   Having thus unambiguously identified His Father with the God of the Old Testament, He went on to provoke the Jewish leaders into asking Him “hast thou seen Abraham”, to which He replied by saying “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am”, identifying Himself with Jehovah (2).


That Jesus could speak of both Himself and His Father as Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, attests to the essential unity of God, which is affirmed in this Article of the Nicene Creed in the word ἕνα.   The Father is the One God, in Whose One eternal Being the Son and the Holy Ghost share through their eternal Generation and eternal Procession from the Father respectively.   The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are co-equal and co-eternal, but as the One Who eternally begets the Son and from Whom the Holy Ghost eternally proceeds, the Father is begotten of none and proceeds from none.  (3)  


There are several different senses in which God is Father.   Sometimes God is spoken of as Father in a sense that is virtually synonymous with His being Creator.   In recent centuries this sense of God’s Fatherhood has been emphasized to the exclusion of all other senses, especially by liberals who speak of the “universal Fatherhood of God”.   This sense of God’s Fatherhood does appear in the Scriptures – St. Paul uses it in his reasoning with the philosophers at Mars Hill in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts – but it is by no means the primary sense of the Fatherhood of God in the Bible.  When Jesus speaks of God as Father, sometimes He qualifies the term with the second person possessive when speaking to His followers, as for example when He instructs us to pray “Our Father…”   That those who are not His followers cannot claim God as Father in this sense is made quite clear in the Johannine writings where Jesus speaks of His enemies as the children of the devil and where the children of God are identified as those who have received Jesus by believing in His name.   Sometimes Jesus speaks of God as “the Father” without a possessive, in which instances the meaning is basically the same as that of “God” and this is the closest that can be found in Jesus’ own words to the universal Fatherhood concept.   Most often, however, Jesus speaks of the Father with the first person possessive pronoun.   As Jesus’ Father, God is Father in a way that He is Father of no other, the way that means that because Jesus is God’s Son, Jesus is God too.   This is the primary meaning of the Fatherhood of God the Father.   Indeed, it is in this sense of Fatherhood that the Father has always been the Father, because He has always been the Father to the Son.   The heretical evangelical teachers who teach Incarnational Sonship and claim to be orthodox Trinitarians because they acknowledge that Jesus was eternally the Word of God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Ghost, even if they claim He became the Son in the Incarnation, should be asked Who they think the Father was before the Incarnation.  


When, therefore, the first Article of the Creed begins by affirming belief in God the Father, and concludes by affirming Him as Creator, this ought not to be understood as equating God’s Fatherhood with the fact that He is Creator in a reductionist sort of way.   Each Person of the Trinity was involved in Creation.   The Holy Ghost is specifically referenced in the second verse of Genesis.   When the New Testament speaks of the Son’s involvement in Creation it uses the language of instrumentality.   “All things were made by him”, St. John writes in his Gospel, “and without him was not anything made that was made”.   The word “by” here renders the Greek διά which conveys the idea of intermediacy in place, time and means.  We have already mentioned St. Paul’s similar language in Colossians.   Note that in the passage of the Gospel where St. John writes the above Jesus is spoken of as the Word.   He too is specifically mentioned in Genesis 1 where each act of Creation begins with “And God said”.    Jesus is the Word spoken through which God creates everything.   The Father is identifiable in the Genesis Creation account as the God Who speaks the Word through Whom all things are made and in the second chapter of Genesis Who breathes the breathe of life – the words for “breathe” and “spirit” are identical in the Biblical languages – into man.   Thus, while the entire Holy Trinity participates in Creation, the Father is the principle Agent of Creation, the One Who speaks the Word and breathes the Spirit, and so the act of Creation is particularly ascribed – the theological term for this is “appropriated” – to Him in our Creedal confessions.   It is not this that makes the Father, the Father, however, but His eternal relationship to His Son, about which we shall have more to say, Lord willing, when we look at the Second Article.


 (1)   From a strictly grammatical point of view this first word is the most important word in the Creed.   Grammatically, the subject of the Creeds is the believer (or believers if the plural is used).   The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all placed in the accusative (direct object) case in the Creed, and in the Nicene Creed whatever actions are ascribed to them, with the exception of the verb for “made” when it says that “through Him [Christ] all things were made” are expressed as participles (verbal adjectives) rather than finite verbs.   This form of speaking or writing, in which statements that would in direct discourse contain subjects in the nominative case and ordinary finite verbs are made the predicate of a verb of thinking or speaking, with the verbs converted into infinitives or participles, and what would otherwise be put in the case of the subject is put in the case of the object, is called indirect discourse.   In the Apostles’ Creed this first verb is the only verb connecting the subject, the believer, to the predicate, that which it is asserted the believer believes about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, although it is repeated at the beginning of the  eighth Article about the Holy Spirit.   In the Nicene Creed two other verbs, “we confess” and “we look for” are included after the Articles about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the Church to introduce the Articles about baptism and Last Things.

(2)   This is the significance of the present tense.   When Moses asked God for His name He answered “I Am”.   The Hebrew word traditionally transliterated into English as Jehovah when it is not rendered THE LORD in all caps is a variation of this.

(3)  The Quicumque Vult or Athanasian Creed puts it this way: Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens.   In English this is “The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding”.