The Father Almighty

The first declaration of the Creed states, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” There are two main ideas here, summed up in the words “almighty” and “maker.” That God is almighty means that he is the ruler of all. God is sovereign. He can and will do all he intends to do.  He can and will accomplish all that he intends to accomplish. When the Creed declares belief in “God the Father Almighty,” it is establishing God as the true, noble and all-powerful Father, with all earthly fathers and rulers subject to him.

In addition to setting God up as the mighty ruler of all, it also explicitly names him as “maker of heaven and earth.” While creation was truly a Trinitarian act (Colossians 1:16 tells us of Jesus’ active role in creation and Genesis 1:2 places the Holy Spirit at creation), the Apostles’ Creed makes a point to highlight the Father’s role in creation.  And the reason here is very important. The Creed is not trying to address all points of doctrine, but it is attempting to clarify points of doctrine that were under attack.

Marcion, who, for these views, was excommunicated, taught that the God, the creator God, is inferior, harsh and evil. He rejected the Old Testament because it presented an evil, wicked God. The New Testament God (Marcion only included in his Bible the books that he liked) was, by contrast, kind, full of love and forgiving. Whereas the Old Testament God was pure justice, the New Testament God is full of grace. He pitted this evil, wicked God against the loving, gracious God. This view, called dualism, is what the Apostles’ Creed is combating by emphasizing that the Father is the maker of heaven and earth. It is the same God who created the earth and who laid out the plan for its redemption in Christ. There are not two gods, only the One.

It may sound like a crazy position to hold to…two separate gods, one in the Old Testament and another in the New Testament, but practically speaking, many people today hold to some form of dualism. We, like Marcion, are much more comfortable with a loving, gracious God than we are with the one who ordered Israel to conquer a piece of land and leave nothing – not a man, woman, child or animal – alive. How could God do something like that? Certainly, we don’t serve the same God today that would issue such harsh orders, do we? I was leading a discussion with some friends about this idea and one of them, a student at the University of Delaware, said that this past fall, he had a professor who said that the Bible teaches two gods – one in the Old Testament and a different god in the New Testament. It was bad theology when Marcion was teaching it and it is bad, though far too prevalent, theology today.

Yes, we serve the same God who in the Old Testament laid out a code of punishment that included the idea of an “eye for an eye.” The danger is when we stop there. The requirements for justice and punishment have not changed since the Old Testament because God has not changed, but, in his love, he sent his Son, Jesus, to take on and bear the punishment for our sins.  As Isaiah 53:6 hopefully proclaims, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Christ has taken our iniquities. In Christ, the wrath and justice of God that everyone dislikes, meets the hope and grace and love of that same God.  There was not a creator-God and then a better, more loving God. The same God who is the maker of heaven and earth is the same one who gave up his Son that we might have life!

Interact: Is God the Father the mighty ruler of your life?


2 thoughts on “The Father Almighty

  1. Orthodox Christianity (unlike Marcionism) has this problem of causing a rift in the Trinity. Orthodoxy must pit the Father against the Son, Son against the Father. “The Father is the Eternal Tyrant who wants to burn us all eteranlly for every little thing. The Son opposes, placates, ‘propitiates’ this bloodthirsty monster and thus saves us from the Father Himself–penal atonement.” Yet somehow while pitting the Father against the Son and saying the Father essentially hates us and wants to torment us for all eternity and the Son opposes him and saves us from him, orthodoxy must maintain that the Father loved us and sent the Son to save us from his own self! Thus the constant ridicule of the atheists “God died to save us from himself.”

    But in Marcionism the Trinity is one united front against the Kosmokrator (i.e. the god of this world, the ruler of this world, the creator of this world, the god of the OT, the god of genocide). The Father sees that the creator of our world intends to burn everyone in hell for all eternity, and he sends the Son to save us by provoking the Kosmokrator to jealously and getting himself crucified. Then, being dead, he descends into hell and cleans it out, taking those who accept his preaching in hell up to the 3rd heaven to be with the Father. Then Jesus descends again to the Kosmokrator’s realm and confronts him, forces him to accept the blood that he shed on the cross as payment for humanity. Then he sends Paul to preach that we are “bought with a price.” Jesus died (according to Marcionism) to purchase us from the creator of this world, not to appease his own Father.

    Marcionism, therefore, is superior to orthodoxy in the consistency of its Trinitarianism.

  2. “There was not a creator-God and then a better, more loving God.”

    In Apelles’ system it isn’t two gods in the strictest sense. The High God creates a world of heavenly beings, one of which goes rogue and creates our world. (Of course that fallen angel of the High God then creates his own angels, from which comes Satan.)

    In any case, the gospels do clearly announce a new God. (At the very least they accuse the OT of being inaccurate and not telling the truth about God.)

    John 1:18 “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (The god of the OT was seen; Exodus 24:10 “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.”)

    John 5:37 “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (The god of the OT was heard. Need I even provide a reference?)

    Matthew 11:27 “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (The OT cannot reveal God to us; only the Son can.)

    These are Marcionite ideas that the Judaizing revisers missed when forging our canon by interpolating the Marcionite texts with claims of prophecy fulfillment and putting quotations of the OT in Jesus’ mouth. (Read Isaiah 7 in context. Its about Mahershalalhashbaz being born of a virgin as a sign [not of who the Messiah is but] of when the two kings that opposed Ahaz, Rezin and Pekkah, would be defeated by the king of Assyria. The prophecy says in Isaiah 7:14-16 that between the time the child is born of a virgin and the time he learns the difference between good and evil, these two specific kings will be defeated. As such, the prophecy is limited to the lifetime of these kings. In chapter 8, Yahweh himself declared Maherhalalhashbaz to be the fuilfillment. So, we find that the prophecy fulfillments in the gospels are taken out of context and twisted. Marcionism came first. Catholicism is a Judaistic invention based on twisting and contorting the OT to force the prophecies to point to Jesus.)

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