I believe in God…
An overused statement to say the least. The Apostles Creed presents its very first statement as the most essential part of the whole creedal recitation, to believe.
Belief is a powerful thing; it is belief in someone or something that empowers us to take a leap of faith in all that we do. From turning on the car and knowing it will not explode into a million pieces with us in it, to choosing the correct spouse for us to spend the rest of our life with. To believe is a powerful thing.
What does it mean to believe?
To believe is to have substance in one’s action, to have deepness in ones thought. Ignorant people do without knowing why they do; wise people do because they know why they do. If our religion lacks substance, lacks deepness, it will be a worthless religion that by no means honor a God who is a God of substance, of deepness, of mystery.
To have a belief is to have faith. Faith is the assurance of the things that we might not have all the answers and details to, but what we do have is sufficient to provoke an action from us. When we talk about having faith, we must always keep in mind that truth faith is multidimensional. Faith is having the head knowledge clear, having the action that follows, and having a deep emotional inclination or response to such truth.
Faith is not just holding to an idea, instead faith is an idea that provokes us to act and provokes us to feel.
Now that we have gotten the philosophical out of the way, let us examine a bit of what this idea of belief or faith meant for the early church.
For the early church who actually had to confess this creedal declaration in the midst of persecution, faithfulness, or better said, loyalty was the action that belief produced.
It is interesting to see that loyalty to a deity was persecuted being that the early Christians were in a context of the greatest amount of paganism and polytheism the western world had known. The problem wasn’t that they affirmed a deity, the problem was that they affirmed an exclusivity or a singleness of deity, or better said, they were monotheist.
The early church saw the necessity to establish this idea within the whole creed, that they not only affirmed a god, but they claimed loyalty to the only one and true God.
As believers today who struggle to affirm the idea of an exclusivity of deity, we must take note that it is not enough to claim allegiance to the unknown god of the universe, but to have faith, to believe in God, that is an intimate thing. We as Christians claim to know, personally and intimately the one who made the heavens and earth (we’ll see that in the next post in this series). God is not in everything and all things aren’t in God, God is separate and distinct, but he is also near to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18).
To believe in God, we must know this God. When we know this God, we will truly love this knowable God.
Let us remember, when asked what we believe in, let us say with all soberness of the weight of this confession, I believe in God, not just a god, but God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.