Critical Look at Creeds: I
blog, I wrote a mini-analysis of the Nicean Creed. I would like to correct some of the spelling and post the important parts of my argument.
There is MUCH in the Nicean creed that Mormons can agree with. These agreements occured because someone pointed out the biblical verses they believe the creed was based on, we have been able to compare, and agree. Therefore, I will only point to the parts that I disagree with.
God of God, Light of Light
John 1:1 can be interpreted that Jesus was with God and was God. It doesn’t say “God of God.” I wonder what the reason they added it in the Greek was, but it’s not biblical. None of the scriptures quoted use the phrase or the concept “God of God”. So Mormons can be confused by the phrase, and disagree with the phrase because it is not biblical, even while agreeing with John 1:1,19, Titius 2:10,13; and 2 Peter 1:1-2. In fact, to be certain the only similar statement is “God of gods”, a statement which references the divine council that non-Mormon Old Testmaent scholars are finally converging on, and was mentioned earlier by Seth R. See for example Deut 10:17; Josh 22:22; Psalm 136:2; Daniel 2:47; 11:36. Something similar is true for “Light of Light”. It’s not a biblical phrase, I’m not sure what they mean be it, but I can agree with John 1:4-5, and Heb 1:3 even if I don’t use the term light of light.
true God of true God.
Colosians 2:9 doesn’t say the phrase ‘true God of true God’ so I don’t know why it would be included as proof of this phrase. While all Mormons would agree that both the Father and Son are truly God, many (myself included) are confused by the relation implied by “of”. None of the scriptures quoted imply this relationship, and we are still left asking why was it included like it was?
begotten, not made
When I read John 1:14 and 18. I couldn’t find the phrase “begotten, not made.” While it is true that verse 18 describes Jesus as “the only begotten Son”, the distinction between begotten and made is not made in these verses. Why should a non-authoritative council, like Nicea, be able to make a distinction that the New Testament authors did not?
being of one substance with the Father
Not one of the verses includes the word substance, so how can one include these verses as a justification for Nicea with a straight face? Substance is simply not a concept that the New Testament authors cared to spend any time on, so why does a non-authoritative council expound on something New Testament authors were silent on? We’ll certainly agree that Jesus has the glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and that Jesus is the brightness of the Father’s glory, being the express image of his person, but we don’t have to accept the creedal words like “substance”
Deut 6:4 says God is one, not one substance. In Mark 2, Jesus proclaims himself the Son of Man, and the text implies Jesus was God, but it certainly doesn’t say substance. John 1 doesn’t use substance. Etc. Etc. Etc. Books, thesis, theologies all hang on the Greek philosphy of substance, homoousian, and we just feel it wrong to disqualify us from Christianity because of a term included solely in the creeds, the false philosphies of man, instead of the word of God. You ask me if I believe John 1:1, I say, “yes”. If you ask me if I believe in the same substance, and I say, why’s the Bible silent on your interpretation. I can accept Romans 8:9, and Heb 3, but I don’t have to accept the creeds describing how these scriptures fit together. Their interpretation, by any Protestant denominations de facto beliefs, are not authoritative, unless it suits the specialized purpose of excluding members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I don’t disagree with the statement of needing an apostolic church. We certainly believe that any Church that is lead by Jesus will have apostles, and wonder on what leg Protestants stand on, who certianly lack any apostolic authority. Mormons totally accept everything described in Eph 2:18-22, 3:5, and 4:4.
Where does that lead us? I’ve listed out 22 words in the Nicean creed I disagree with. There are 221 words in the Nicean creeed as quoted in your post. I reject 10% of it. The other 90% was very scripturally sound.
How about you Evangelical readers. Do you accept every word of the Nicean creed as true? If they were in grade school, and I was the teacher, I would give the authors an A-. (If grad school they’d get a C, a failing grade). The problem, is that their words have been exalted above the Bible and have been used to interpret them, as evidenced by all of the scriptures that were quoted being viewed through the lens of the Nicean creed instead of vice-versa.