The Nicene Creed Redux

Creeds like this one seem like they drop a pile of boxes filled with human ideas on top of God, who is so BIG that no human description could ever suffice. I hadn’t had an occasion to read a creed in awhile, so when we read it out of the Episcopal prayer book during my mom’s funeral, i realized “woah i don’t even believe half of this!” It may be more true that i just don’t like the way it sounds, like, oppressive. Plus it was written 2000 years ago, by the beginnings of the Catholic church. Haven’t we learned anything since then?

God is unfathomable to humans the same way we are to ants or mollusks, and Jesus says many things about his (and our) relationship with God the Parent that have to be sorted through (most of the time he talks about his Parent as if he’s separate). We can know some things about God, but no two humans will probably ever believe the exact same things about every possible thing about God. The creeds were written specifically to standardize understanding by blocking out other viewpoints, which were labeled “heresies.” In that sense it was “doctrine by committee” under the control of the Roman Emperor Constantine I, who, even if he had become a Christian, still had important earthly considerations at stake. And how were the members of the Council of Nicaea chosen, or how did they become leaders? Weren’t the Pharisees the same type of leaders within their community?

Is “popular” music always the “best” music? Isn’t the popular consensus a somewhat watered down version of whatever complex thing it is, designed for mass consumption; whereas the cutting edge minds, the deep thinkers or creative souls will be hanging out on the fringe? It takes all of them to understand God as far as i’m concerned! Songs often have to be edited for radio airplay, and sometimes the parts than make them unique works of art are what gets cut, like the fast part of Slow Ride by Foghat, or the amazing dueling guitar solo at the end of Free Bird, or the spacey part in the middle of Come Sail Away. Yeah i’m dating myself. How many unique and amazing Prince songs never made it to the radio because they weren’t “normal enough”? God is the most fabulous and unique whatever ever; i don’t think “He” can be described by committee!

Or, the members of the Council could have been too intellectual and caught up in theology, whereas Jesus talked so often about regular things, which is one of my issues now: the “Christianese” lingo that has been left in the Bible from Greek or has been concocted instead of using “Koine English.” There is also a tendency to keep elaborating and defining God down to the last…what? How specific could it get; where is the line?

The main problem with creeds is that Jesus was focused on how we should act and treat people – he was focused on Love, not doctrine. Creeds try to tell us how to think, but we should be focused on how to be.

This website (http://www.inplainsite.org/html/problem_with_creeds.html) summarizes well some of the problems with creeds alluded to above. Creeds:

  • are superimposed on Scripture.
  • assume a position of authority that is unwarranted
  • are an instrument of division, not unity
  • are the result of over-reacting
  • by nature stifle Bible study
  • encourage people to place too much trust in men.

I went through the Nicene Creed line by line, wrote comments, and in the right column, put what i think is a better way to express it. Below the table is the right column written straight up as “My-scene Creed,” and below that i made an attempt at a basic creed just for me from scratch, for modern times. God doesn’t change, but he knows that we grow.
Good News for Now!

 

The Nicene Creed Redux

Nicene

Thoughts

Myscene

I believe in one God,

“God” is not a name of course, it is a thing. The God Christians believe in is named YHWH (See Genesis 1, or Exodus 3:14), which in English likely means something like “I Am (That I Am),” but because Hebrew has different tenses than English it can also mean “I Will Be.” A better overall translation might be “I Be” or perhaps “BEing.” God is also called Elohiym, which is a plural word based on the root El, which means “strength” or “power” and is the same root “Al” of God (Allah) in Arabic. “Elohiym YHWH” literally means “The powers that be.”

I believe in one God,

the Father almighty

God is not male, as noted in Genesis1:27:
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
So a more accurate word is “Parent,” although that is also an approximation, as we give God human characteristics to make IT relatable, but they aren’t literal. So God is not “He,” He is “IT.” The general assumption is that God is almighty, all-powerful, without limitation. In addition to “parent,” “source” and “force” are also good expressions. Just because they “sound” impersonal doesn’t mean they are.

the eternal, omnipresent and all-powerful BEing, which is pure Love and can be felt and known,

creator of heaven and earth,

In all other languages but English, “heaven” is the exact same word as “sky,” in other word, “heavens.” We now know that there are other planets, and Earth is not the center of the universe. So we can now understand this as God made matter and space.
If “heaven” exists now, WHERE IS IT?

and which created or expresses space and matter –

of all things visible and invisible.

Or maybe IT IS everything, and more. Nobody knows.

everything we can and can’t see

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

Lots of problems here. Jesus is not his name; that is the Greek translation of his original Hebrew or Aramaic name, Yeshua, which in English is Joshua or Josh. “Christ” is not English, it is made directly from Christos, which is a Greek word meaning “anointed” and by extension Messiah, or Savior; or in modern English, a “chosen one.”

“Lord” is also a very old word that we don’t use often except for British royalty, landlords or in the expression “lord it over someone.” Elsewhere in the Bible this word is used to describe the “Lord of the manor,” in other words the Boss. Because boss implies other earthly things, “Master” could be a better or more generic translation, but I think “authority” expresses the idea that Josh is the one who really grasps (the) Being and expressed IT. If they didn’t use a word that was considered obscure for them, we shouldn’t use a word that is obscure for us.

I believe in one foremost authority on God, Josh the Chosen,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

This is complicated because the meaning of the word “begotten” is not certain, and is used for born. “Son” also can’t be literal, but is taken so largely because of the story of the virgin birth, which only appears in two of the Gospels (WHAT?). Words of family relationship, such as son and father were used metaphorically quite often, by Jesus included. See the footnote at the end.(1) Females were not even allowed to read the scriptures; neither were they thought to have a soul except through the male, who basically owned them as property. We can also call Jesus “the” child of God because if he is just one of a bunch, then what’s the point?

the original “Child” of BEing,

born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

The language about Jesus existing at the beginning with God is from John 1:1, which talks about the Logos, which means the “word or wisdom” of God – it is the context and meaning with which God created everything. The immediate conclusion generally made is: “the Word is Jesus.” NO!!! A few sentences later, the “Word becomes flesh.” NOW it’s Jesus. Jesus contains or embodies the truth/wisdom/expression of God. Jesus says other things like “I and the Father are one.” But he constantly talks about his Father as if they are separate.
“Consubstantial” and this whole bit is the Nicene Council commissioned by Emperor Constantine trying to combine all the ways Jesus tries to describe it, into a simplistic statement, while addressing specific “heresies” they didn’t agree with; but they made assumptions and drew conclusions that aren’t necessarily true, and blocked all the other ideas out.

because he embodies the truths of IT, with which all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

 

To save us humans,

he came down from heaven,

As discussed previously, “heaven” is really “heavens.” They used to think that the Earth was covered by a “firmament” or space between waters above and waters below, or “heavens” where God lived, and the earth. Clearly they had no grasp of outer space and we now know that “heaven” couldn’t be “up,” because up is down 12 hours later.

that truth came from wherever God is

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

Whether he was physically impregnated, whether God “poof” created a sperm cell that then went into Mary or whether half the chromosomes appeared suddenly, or whether Joseph had sex with her, either way i can believe it was spirit-inspired in some sense. Or we all are…

and through the eternal Spirit entered the physical realm in the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

 

and became a person.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

If he did it for any other reason than what’s the point? A lot of people martyred themselves.

He was crucified under Pontius Pilate for us,

he suffered death and was buried,

There’s no “proof” but a bunch of people wrote about it, and it’s not weird, so why not?

He suffered, died, and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

Sunday is only two days after Friday, but whatever. It works if you consider Friday the 1st day, even though he got crucified in the evening.

He appeared again on the 3rd day (or by the end of that weekend)

in accordance with the Scriptures.

“Scriptures” is just a fancy, exclusive-sounding word for “writings.”

as the Jewish writings may have predicted.

He ascended into heaven

“Ascended” is nonsense as we now know “heaven” couldn’t be “up” because from our perspective on Earth everything that was “up” is “down” 12 hours later.

He went wherever we go when we die

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

 

and is now the eternal Parent’s proverbial “right hand man.”

He will come again in glory

 

He will reappear, or has re-appeared, or is here now in our hearts

to judge the living and the dead

His life, words and death assess what we do; he doesn’t have to stand there with robes on, it’s in our hearts.

and is the measure by which we are assessed.

and his kingdom will have no end.

“Kingdom” implies a place (where?) and that it is male (nonsense). Better translations are “domain” or “realm” because they transcend place and time. Wherever love is, God is, and Jesus is because He represents that love excellently. That realm will never end, because it’s a forever kind of realm to start with, not based on physical things that rot.

His realm will never end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

We can say that God “is” the eternal Spirit, but the Spirit is really the part of IT we can feel. We believe God “breathes” life into us, as the word used for spirit is wind or breath. This could mean we are all extensions of the universal Spirit.

We need to address “holy.” I think it’s a good word as most people get what it means, but its real meaning is “set apart for God,” which is somewhat less “doctrinal” or “mysterious.” I’ve just kind of omitted it here, or substituted “eternal,” or just capitalized Spirit to distinguish it from “regular” spirit. But if God breathed life into all of us (adam = mankind), don’t we all have ITs breath in us?

The problem with the Spirit being the “giver of life” is that supposedly God created everything, and He gave life to mankind by breathing the Spirit into us. So God gave us life, with or via the Spirit. Could it be the “essence” of life? Seems like parsing linguistics.

I believe in the eternal Spirit of BEing, through which IT gave us life.

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

“Comes from” is better “Koine English.”

who comes from the Parent in the Spirit of the Child,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

Worship, adore, give mad props, same thing, God is acknowledged to have the highest value possible and Jesus shows us what IT is.

who is given all props and glory along with them,

who has spoken through the prophets.

If they were real prophets, then they channeled the Universal Spirit.

and has spoken through prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Holy? Kind of a stretch if we’re all sinners. But we believers are supposed to be set apart for God, so the real meaning of it makes more sense.

“Church” is a word that is WRONGLY used by Bible translators 112 times to translate the word “ecclesia.”
“Church” comes from the Old English and German word pronounced “kirche” which originates from the earlier Greek “ku-ri-a-kos” which means “pertaining to the lord” via its root: “Ku-ri-os” (=“lord”). It is only used in the Bible in I Corinthians 11:20 where it refers to “the Lord’s supper” and once more in Revelation 1:10 where it refers to “the Lord’s day.”
The Greek word “ecclesia” is correctly defined as: “The called-out (ones)” [ecc = out; kaleo = call] “Ecclesia” in Acts 19 is a town council: a civil body in Ephesus. This word was used to indicate a body of select (called, elected) people, and we are called out by God. Here is a passionate link addressing this issue:
http://www.aggressivechristianity.net/articles/ecclesia.htm

“catholic church” = “all the called out”

I believe in one body of called out believers, who all believe some different things.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

“Baptize” is literally “immerse” or “dunk.” Doing it in water is a symbolic way to signify we are rethinking our lives (this is the meaning of the word “repent” = “re-think”) and making a decision to switch from living for ourselves, to living for God, the eternal Spirit of Love. Implying that getting baptized forgives our sins as a standalone action is not true, even the concept that Jesus dying pays for our sins is only one theory of how it works, and there are various version of the “atonement” (at-one-ment) theory.

Immersing oneself in water is a good way to signify that we are rethinking our lives, washing off our old self and deciding to live for the eternal Spirit of Love instead of ourselves.

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

 

I look forward to whatever happens after we die, if anything, and to living as long as possible in the meantime.

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

So be it.

MYSCENE CREED (from right column of table)

I believe in one God, the eternal, omnipresent and all-powerful BEing,
which is pure Love and can be felt and known,
and which created or expresses space and matter –
everything we can and can’t see (or maybe it IS everything, and more. Nobody knows.).

I believe in one foremost authority on God, Josh the Chosen, the original “Child” of BEing,
because he embodies the truths of IT, with which all things were made.
To save us humans, that Truth came from wherever God is
(and through the eternal Spirit entered the physical realm in the Virgin Mary)
and became a person.
He was crucified under Pontius Pilate for us,
He suffered, died, and was buried, and
He appeared again on the 3rd day (or by the end of that weekend)
as the Jewish writings may have predicted.
He went wherever we go when we die
and is the eternal Parent’s proverbial “right hand man.”
He will reappear, or has re-appeared, or is here now in our hearts
and is the measure by which we are assessed.
His realm will never end.

–I believe in the eternal Spirit of BEing, through which IT gave us life..
who comes from the Parent in the Spirit of the Child,
who is given all props and glory along with them,
and who has spoken through (others in the past and will in the future, who by definition are) prophets.

–I believe in one body of called-out believers, who all believe some different things.
Immersing oneself in water is a good symbolic way to signify we are rethinking our lives, washing off our old self and deciding to live for the eternal Spirit of Love instead of ourselves.
I look forward to whatever happens after we die, if anything,
and to living as long as possible in the meantime.
Let it be.


MY CREED
independent of Nicaea or anyone:

(It’s very hard to express this clearly, simply and completely, so it is subject to change!)

I believe in One eternal, omnipresent, all-powerful and genderless BEing, 
which is the Spirit of pure Love and can be felt and known, mainly outside of individual ego.
IT likely created or expresses everything we can and can’t sense,
but IT could also BE all that and more; nobody knows.
I believe the library of writings known as the “Bible” is the best record of humans’ evolving understanding of BEing, 
but no one thing contains all truth or is “flawless,” except as part of the Whole.
I believe that the man “Josh the Chosen,” whose story is told in the Good News of the Bible,
is the foremost human expression and embodiment of BEing, although all things emanate from IT.
Josh taught, loved, and was voluntarily tortured and crucified, all to represent the depth of love that BEing is.
That Love lives here now in our hearts, if we ask IT and yield our lives to IT..
And IT is the measure by which everything is assessed.
Surpassing self and becoming one with BEing is known as the “highest state,” and IT will help us achieve that.
This is the Eternal nature.
Let it be.


NOTE:

(1) The word “Son” is often not used literally in the Bible. Jesus is called “Son of God” but also “Lamb of God”; why is only one literal? God is Jesus’s Father, but also “Our Father”; why is only one literal?

A few other examples (apologies to the fairer sex, because they also mean “child”):
Matt
1:20: Joseph, you
son of David (= “descendant”)
5:9:  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
5:45: Love your enemies…so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
13:38: the good seed are sons of the kingdom, the weeds are the sons of the evil one
Luke
7:35, & Matt 11:19: Yet wisdom is justified by all her
children.  NOTE: “Wisdom” is female!
16:8: …for the sons of this age (world) are more shrewd…with their own generation than the sons of light.
Mark
3:17: Jesus called them “Boanerges,” that is, “
Sons of Thunder”
3:28: …will be forgiven the sons of men.
John
1:12: But to all who receive him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become
children of God… 
12:36: While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.]
1 Thessalonians
5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all
sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;”
Matthew 3:7, 12:34, 23:33, Luke 3:7:
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! (sons of snakes) Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Or “How can you who are evil say anything good?”

 

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