6. The Nicene Creed
In all of the What-We-Believes, God Himself in Person, His Heart and intentions, is simply not there. Words containing ideas about God do not bring God in Person into the immediate picture. The second thing missing is absent because of the absence of God's Heart and intentions, and that is MAN. What is Man? is never mentioned, let alone addressed.
6. The Nicene Creed
In this letter I want to take a close look at the Nicene Creed and its expansions into all Christian thinking, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Charismatic, Deeper-truth, and yes, even “union with Christ” and present grace. So much of what I read by present grace and union with Christ teachers is rooted in the Nicene definitions of God and salvation.
Yet I have referred to Nicene and Augustinian thinking so much, people wonder what's the big deal. People don't understand that their minds, their definitions and thinking of God and salvation and what they “read in the Bible” are ruled absolutely by the declarations of a particular group of men 1600-1700 years ago.
And so it is necessary for me to go through Nicene thinking and show how the revelation of Jesus Christ as Savior and Salvation, coming out from what God actually says in the New Testament is something entirely different.
There are many versions of the Nicene Creed, slight variations. I will present a present-day version used by the Catholic Bishops of America.
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, 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. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
It is Augustine who wrote out the strict definition of “the Trinity” from these original ideas, as I shared in “Must We Repent of Augustine.” This version adds Augustine's words to the original Creed.
The first words we must break are “I believe,” or, in many versions, “we believe.” First, no you don't, and second, so what! Idolatry, that is the image people construct in their minds which they call, “God,” is formed by the human mind by using the words, “I believe.”
Faith connects directly with a Spirit Word. Ideas constructed by “believing” have nothing whatsoever to do with faith. “I believe” is a poor substitute for faith; in fact, taking the place of faith, “I believe” is idolatry and rebellion. When I hear someone say, “Well, I believe,” I know two things. I know that they really don't. And I know that they are building a citadel of pretending with their ideas behind which to hide. People who say, “I believe,” also keep God far away from themselves. “I believe” is an effective shield against God.
Let's bring in the words spoken out from the lie.
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
These words are not the lie; these words come out from the lie. The lie is the unstated assumptions behind these words. The Nicene Creed is the same. The lie is the unstated assumptions behind the Nicene declarations.
Deceit ALWAYS works by sleight-of-hand; what is said is never as important as what is not said.
There is a difference between the Nicene Creed and the serpent's words, however, a difference that makes the lie hiding behind the Nicene Creed more powerful. The serpent's words are all baloney and hot air. Each idea presented in the serpent's words is a lie, complete nonsense, with no true ideas. In contrast, the Nicene Creed contains many true ideas intermingled with ideas God never says, forcing God into a box apart from the speaking of Christ. The field of Christianity is filled with serpent seed growing alongside the truth.
No one will ever know God by believing in ideas, in the same way that no one will ever obtain life by keeping the law, even keeping it to perfection.
Here is the direct connection between the serpent's words and the Nicene Creed, however.
“You, Adam and Eve, will be like God by knowing ideas.”
Let me explain something. As I read over all the versions of “What We Believe” available from every Christian group on the Internet, I become sadder and sadder. What breaks my heart is the thought of refuting ideas with ideas, a wearisome, pointless task.
You see, most people, in reading my claim that I intend to break the Nicene Creed's hold over God's people would imagine that I will argue why the ideas in it are “wrong” by using my own “correct” ideas. Therefore, they would read such a letter as this expecting to find point-by-point “disagreement.”
In other words, everyone expects tree of knowledge versus tree of knowledge, tree of ideas versus tree of ideas. Anyone who says “I believe” and then presents an idea is living in the tree of ideas, the tree of knowledge.
Life is something so entirely different. The tree of knowledge, the Nicene Creed, can be broken only out from the tree of Life.
When I read those What-We-Believe's, whether from a Spirit-filled church or from a progressive church or even the earliest rendition of the Creed, I am struck first and foremost by the absence of two fairly important entities.
Now, in spite of the dis-similarity in wording between the Nicene Creed and the serpent's words, the two big entities missing are the same.
In all of the What-We-Believes, God Himself in Person, His Heart and intentions, is simply not there. Words containing ideas about God do not bring God in Person into the immediate picture.
The second thing missing is absent because of the absence of God's Heart and intentions, and that is MAN. What is Man? is never mentioned, let alone addressed.
The serpent's second lie is the biggest: “God knows.”
Now here is the fascinating thing. The word, “to know” has two completely different meanings. “To know” has one meaning inside the tree of knowledge, but it also exists inside the tree of life with a very, very different meaning. In actuality, they are two completely different words, yet they take on the same appearance as they present themselves to man.
In the tree of knowledge, “to know” means to “believe in” a set of “correct” ideas.
In the tree of life, “to know” means sexual intimacy whereby we receive into ourselves Seed from God that we might carry that Seed, Christ, inside our womb as it develops and forms until that Seed is birthed out from us that God might be seen and known by all. My next letter addresses God's definition of Life.
Ideas in the mind versus marriage union, two opposing definitions of the word, “to know.”
Now, I wrote a “What I Believe” when I first started my website and this Christ Our Life letter. I was not trying to be succinct; rather, I wanted to spell out a reasonably complete version for the sake of honesty. When I wrote that list, and even when I modified it later on, I did not have as clear of a picture as I have now, or will have tomorrow. But here are the first four points on my list.
1. That God is sovereign and that all things are subject to His pleasure.
2. That God is invisible and unknowable, yet desires to be seen, heard, and touched.
3. That God created man in His own image and likeness uniquely for this purpose, to be God’s “body,” God’s dwelling place, that God could be seen, heard, and touched through man.
4. That man was created with the capacity to contain God, to fit God, and to release God in a river of life to the entire universe.
First, I am not attempting to “define” God, but to place Him as God first, and then proceed directly to God's heart: DESIRES. No Creed I have found considers God's desire from the beginning. No Creed considers motive. But here's the deal: leave out motive, leave out heart, and God Himself in Person is also left out in the cold.
Two things happen immediately, however, with the word, desire. God becomes a present Person on the one hand, and man must appear as he is on the other hand.
Man is the fulfillment of God's desire.
Jesus said, “He who has seen Me, has seen the Father.” You cannot eliminate man from the picture without in full measure banishing God. You cannot bring God in Person into the picture without immediately seeing Him revealed through man. Jesus said in John 17, “I desire – man.”
To separate God from man is to know neither one. You cannot know God except through man; you cannot know man except by God.
The moment the serpent said, “You shall be like God,” those words created instantaneous overwhelming Static Friction as in the largest screeching-of-brakes, finger-nails-on-chalk-board one could imagine. Grating, horrendous disconnect.
Those were the words that severed man from God.
Man was already like God; but he was not yet complete. Adam must eat of the tree of life to be filled with all the fullness of God, to enter into full marriage union with God, that God Himself might flow out through Adam to transform the proto-universe into the real deal God has always intended.
As those words entered into Adam's consciousness, he did a full double-take; they spun him completely around. In the split-second before, he had been contemplating the full meaning of the tree of life, of being filled with all of God. Now he saw the other.
Adam could be godly or he could be God-ly, one or the other. Every Christian that chooses to push“filled with all the fullness of God” into the future has already chosen to be godly instead of being God-ly. They prefer their own achievement over being a vessel containing God.
They say, “Grace”; they really mean, “It's okay to live with 'no-God-now.'”
Now, look back at the words of the Nicene Creed. Does that Creed maintain the separation established by Adam, or does it restore the union won by Jesus? Since the Nicene Creed savagely maintains that separation, it cannot be God speaking. If it is not God speaking, then what is it?
Let me give a God-speaking, that is, making what God actually says personal and real in us – faith.
I am filled with all the fullness of the Father. – Christ is my only life. – Rivers of Spirit flow out from me.
That you (man) might be filled with all the fullness of God. – I (man) am crucified with Christ . . . Christ who is my (man) life. – Out of his (man) belly will flow rivers of living water . . . the Holy Spirit.
To separate God from man and man from God is to depart from the gospel. (“Man” means male and female.)
God cannot be known except through man; man cannot be man except to be filled with God.
The largest problem with the Nicene Creed is centered around Christ. Who is Christ? What is Christ? Here is what this present version argues.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, 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. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. . . He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again. . .
Let's start with the second half. This is the gospel as understood by the Apostles before Paul received his gospel, the revelation of Jesus Christ. Thus Paul's gospel is totally absent; this is “another” gospel. These words establish Jesus entirely as back then, up there, some day. Notice that “became man” is an incidental part of a momentary transition. By these words, Jesus Christ is ABSENT from the earth right now. It is this second half that RULES all comprehension of the first half.
Notice the assumption of purpose; a purpose that, because it stands alone, eliminates all possibility of any other purpose. “For us men and for our salvation he came down.” That's what everyone says. Define “salvation.” It's not stated here, just assumed. Yet we cannot know God except first by MOTIVE, that is, by heart. This salvation means to all one thing alone – after death, we go to heaven and not to hell.
Separation continues on, right on. No consideration of – What is Man? Well, yes, actually, there is. By these words, man is defined entirely by the serpent's hatred. Man is despicable and low. Look at how ridiculous and weak man is. God hates weak; yet He has disdained to save a few of us miserable creatures.
At the end of my next letter, I show how God-Precious my weakness is to me and to God.
Now, let me repeat that. The stated purpose of the Nicene Creed is to define Jesus as fully God, co-equal with the Father, and fully man, sort-of, for a short period of time. That is a false assumption about the Creed. What is really happening in the Nicene Creed is the hidden definition of SALVATION. Everything pivots on this un-Biblical definition. The Nicene Creed assumes that Salvation means one thing ALONE: that all humans face a split in the road after death. Death normally drops people into all the misery of hell; but after death, there is also a gate through which one arises into all the bliss of heaven. Salvation is to have the right ticket for that gate in the road. Some say the ticket is works; others say the ticket is grace; others say the ticket is the correct church and the right rituals; others say the ticket is asking Jesus into your heart. It matters not how you get the ticket; the idea is all the same. Get the ticket now so that after death you can enter the gate and “go to” heaven.
Actually, this salvation has two parts. The first part is the ticket; the second is the deification of heaven. That all that God speaks, all that salvation is and means, finds its reality only in that place called heaven which we know after we lose our physical bodies. God is as absent in people's knowledge of heaven as He is right now.
When I read grace teachers laboring over the meaning of grace and faith, I see so clearly that they are NOT speaking of Salvation but of having the right ticket.
And everyone is convinced that physical death is the door to salvation.
All those who have died in Christ remain entirely inside the present life. They are NOT found in “the next life.” They continue in this present life of in-part-ness; they continue in the chrysalis that must be cast off. Heaven saves no one. Heaven is passing away. Heaven is under the curse. Heaven is old, and it is finished.
The Salvation of the Gospel is something entirely, entirely, entirely different. The Salvation of the Gospel is living inside of John 14:20 now and forever. Death takes no one into John 14:20. If Christians who have lost their physical bodies and exist only in their spirits, their heaven-bodies right now had the faith to take them into Salvation, then they would be back here on earth in their glorified physical bodies, incorruptible and manifesting all the revelation of Jesus Christ out from heaven/earth. Faith and Salvation begin only in the earth; that is, in the full, God-filled union of spirit and flesh.
Salvation is God in us now. Grace is God in us now. Faith is God in us now in ALL that God in us now could possibly mean.
Then, the rigid, outwardly true ideas of the second half of the definition of Jesus in the Nicene Creed, absent any consideration of Paul's gospel, then rule all thought of the first half of this definition of Jesus. The first sentence is an interesting mix of things God says with things God does not say, void of other things God says.
Here is what God says: . . . Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son. . .; through him all things were made.
The in-between stuff God never speaks inside the gospel. To those who live in knowledge knowledge, those ideas mean something. But to those who live in life knowledge, no word not spoken by God could ever bring forth God-life. The more I speak what God speaks concerning Christ personal in me, the more I hear phrases God does not speak as abrasive and without life.
We will never know Him in that way.
But even the words here that God does speak contain a lie. That lie is not found in what is said, but in what is NOT said. Deceit is always sleight of hand. The lie is never stated, just implied.
“Only Begotten Son,” monogenes, is a phrase used to refer to Jesus only by John, and only five times. The fifth time John used it, in 1 John 4:9, he turns this Nicene declaration entirely on its head. But there is far more than that left out. The interplay, the positioning of monogenes, mono,and prototokos (also used five times to refer to Jesus) in the gospel is enough to blow everything right out of the water. Alas, that explanation must wait for the article: “Christ Jesus.”
By saying monogenes, only begotten, but leaving out prototokos, firstborn, is to lie. It leaves MOTIVE entirely out in the cold, and with Motive, God.
Those who will not have God's heart, will not have God.
In a recent letter, I quickly whipped out what I then titled “The Anti-Nicene Creed.” I wrote it as a momentary bounce-off while looking at the original Nicene Creed. But as I look at it, I find nothing much to change except the title. Here it is again.
My Creed of Christ
I know God the Father who fills me with all of His fullness. He creates and fills all things, but He is known in both heaven and earth only as a Man laying down His life for His friends.
I know Jesus-Sent who is my very and only life. I live only in Him who carried me inside Himself all the way through death into life. His Gethsemane is my Gethsemane, His death is my death, His resurrection is my resurrection; His blood always cleanses me. This same Jesus is now seated upon my heart, the throne of heaven. Inside of Him, seeing out from His eyes alone, I know God.
I live always in the Holy Spirit of God who reveals God in the heavens and who reveals Christ in me and who flows out from me as rivers of living water bringing life to all.
I am a member of the one body of Christ in which Jesus walks the earth today. Our flesh is His flesh. Together, He in us and we in Him, we defeat death and all the curse, casting them off human experience in heaven/earth, spirit and flesh. God judges all things by our revealed union with Christ. This same Jesus, as our very and only life, will subdue all things by love, by our lives laid down, and will restore all creation back to the Father.
Only life can defeat ideas.
You see, we can never be like the Nicene Jesus Christ, thus that Creed breaks the Covenant and turns the most important verse in the Bible, Romans 8:29, into a discussion of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.
The gospel is that I am filled full with another Person, and that Person is God. Every particle of me is found ONLY inside of God Himself in Person, and God Himself in Person fills every particle of me with ALL that He is, and God Himself in Person flows out from me at all times and in every direction. I share heart with this God who fills me full and that shared heart is the very throne of heaven, the Mercy Seat of God. I am seated always upon that throne inside of God and God inside of me. Together, He and I draw all into love upon that throne by a life laid down, by love poured out.
Salvation is not anything else.
Salvation has no connection to time or place. Salvation is always Here and Today. Salvation is Christ Jesus.
Notice that the definition of the Holy Spirit in the Nicene Creed is that He “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” Those are Roman Catholic words and are the largest split in church history, when the Roman and Greek churches pulled apart completely, one thousand years ago. The Greek Orthodox Creed says, “proceeds from the Father through the Son,” not “and the Son.” Of course, splits are never about ideas, but about power-over.
But where is the third most important verse in the Bible? “Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.”
You see, we know the Holy Spirit as the One who abounds in our hearts as the love of God first, and we know Him as the One who proceeds out from our bellies, second. If the Holy Ghost ain't proceeding out of your belly, it ain't the Holy Ghost, no matter how precise and high falutin' one's words might be.
The Holy Spirit is found only in the words that say, “The Holy Spirit, who proceeds out of me.”
Then this: “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Of course, this is a modern Roman Catholic rendition, but all other versions are similar. May I suggest that “I am a member of the one body of Christ” is a far better way to say it. More than that, only the Spirit immersing us into that one body of Christ is that unity; no outward form, no sect, no group is that unity.
Finally, all versions of the Nicene Creed end with someday, someday.
To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow. – Shakespeare knows how to say it.
The life of the age to come is to know God in us now. It has nothing to do with “someday” except as it flows out of us setting all creation free.
Many versions of “what we believe” also contain a section on the Bible. Here is an example.
We believe that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16). We understand this to mean that the whole Bible is inspired, in that holy men of God "were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21) to write the very words of Scripture. We believe that this divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of Scripture as it appeared in the original manuscripts. We believe that the whole Bible in those original manuscripts is, therefore, without error. We believe that all Scripture centers around the Lord Jesus Christ in His person, work, and in His first and second coming. Therefore, no portion of the Old Testament is properly read or understood until it leads to Christ. We also believe that all Scripture was designed for our practical instruction.
Hogwash. I simply do not think those who proclaim this are being in any way honest.
“I believe” is the defense of unbelief. The person who wrote this always takes Augustine's ideas inOn Christian Doctrine above anything God says in the Bible. The person who wrote this will reject many, many things God says, pushing those things off for “heaven someday,” but not God in us now.
There is a verse in the Bible that says the verses in the Bible will kill us unless they come into us entirely through the Holy Spirit and not as ideas in the mind. Most Christians who “believe in the Bible” do not believe that verse. In fact, this “I believe” positions the Bible as a set of correct ideas.
Notice this statement centers the Scripture around Jesus back then and Jesus someday. Thus none of the Bible is Jesus in us now as our very and only life. The Bible is not the Word of God; though it certainly can be. Ideas on the page cannot be God. The Bible becomes the Word of God as it comes into us by the Holy Spirit becoming Christ our only life.
I have a high regard for the Bible; God speaks to me through the Bible all the time. But I neither deify the Bible nor turn it into a fact-book. Yes, I believe that the Bible is true facts, but that doesn't make it anyone's life.
More than that, God in me can speak Bible out through me just as easily as He could through Moses or Paul. Christ is in my mouth, as Paul said. Peter said we should all speak as the oracle of God, as divine Scripture.
I am more and more grieved as I read or hear ministers of the gospel, faith and grace ministries, speaking ideas and not Christ their only life.
The spirit of anti-Christ is the spirit that says that God could speak back then, but He sure does not speak through you now. The spirit of anti-Christ severs God from present flesh. God in past-flesh is only a deified idea; God in present-flesh is not allowed. God Himself is banished from the earth.
Yet if a person is speaking only ideas, no matter how good and true those ideas might be, if they are not speaking Christ, God filling them full and flowing out here and now, God Personal and real. God now and here. Christ as me. If they are not speaking Christ, then they are not speaking life or salvation. Their words draw people close, yes, but then bar them from actually entering in.
But I will speak more in the next letter on the actual nature and meaning of “the Bible.”
I want to consider one more thing in light of the Nicene Creed. I read this comment on Facebook.
Question: Pertaining to the Return of Christ, are we waiting for Him or is He waiting for us? Most of Christianity would rather wait for Him, but then consider the parable of the 10 virgins awaiting the Bridegroom. While we wait, we rest to be ready.
The brother's response to his own question is excellent; I want to refer to the question itself.
– Pertaining to the Return of Christ, are we waiting for Him or is He waiting for us? –
In actuality, both sides of this question come out of the Nicene Creed. What if the reality of God has nothing to do with either option? What if neither option is referring to the most important thing happening upon this earth right now today?
What if, contrary to the Nicene Creed, Jesus walks the earth today.
What if we are His body?
What if He is living as us, filling us right now with all of His glory?
What if everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be, the travail of God?
What if God is birthing Himself into visible manifestation through His elect, men and women scattered across the earth who are, as a corporate body, the Return of Christ?
What if their task is to show to the Bride of Christ the Lord Jesus Christ as He is?
You see, the largest underlying assumption upon which the Nicene Creed is written is that Jesus is, in fact, absent from the earth. Defining Jesus in the way they do serves to create a “Superman Christ” in the minds of those who mouth those words.
Look around. Is there any SuperChrist visible?
So, it is an evidential fact that Jesus is not here!
But what if the only image of God, the only seeing of God, the only picture of God ever given to either heaven or earth apart from symbolic images or figurative language IS a man stumbling from Gethsemane to the cross?
What if that man IS God revealed?
What if His strength is revealed only in weakness?
What if Almighty God in the heavens appears as a meek and mild man or woman in the earth, looking just like you and me? What if God Almighty in the heavens appears in the earth right now as you and me?
What if “waiting for the return of the Lord” is open unbelief and a refusal to allow God to fill us full against the sight of our eyes and the judgment of our self?
What if “waiting for the return of the Lord” is living according to the flesh? What if it is idolatry?
What if John 14:20 is the only reality in the Bible; what if everything else in the Bible viewed from outside of John 14:20 is death?
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This command is “Abide in Me and I in you” in a slightly different form. It is the one thing we do. It is John 14:20. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
We do so only by faith; that is, by our confidence in God that He is telling us the truth, and thus seeing Christ as our only outward appearance contrary to any sight of the eyes or judgment of the self.
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ IS Salvation. Salvation is nothing, nothing, nothing else. Almost everyone who says, “Salvation” is NOT talking about salvation, but about fantasy. The moment someone knows Salvation, the Nicene Creed is abhorrent and must become “My Creed of Christ.”
When we clothe ourselves with another Person for real, that is the Person is real, we clothe ourselves with Him by faith, then outwardly we are that other Person. We have a totally new identity. We, ourselves, are tucked away inside. We don't have to “get out of the way”; we are entirely in the Way.
Do you see how stupid “Get out of the way, brother; let Christ be seen and not you” really is?
I am entirely IN the Way. When others see me, they are seeing Jesus.
I am clothed entirely with Christ Jesus, Himself in Person, here and now.
That is the only Creed I know.
Jesus walks the earth. All you need to do is look in the mirror or at me to know that it is true.
Ideas about God versus Jesus as you. Creed versus Christ.
I refute the Nicene Creed utterly and more than defeat it by this reality.
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.