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New City Catechism – Week #2

We’re going through the New City Catechism. Check it out:

3. How many persons are there in God?

My thoughts during our discussion quickly turned to the Athanasian creed. The section on the Trinity goes like this:

…[W]e worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.

8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.

12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.

14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.

21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.

22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

That may seem really belabored. It’s not belabored though, it’s an attempt at being comprehensive. The trinitarian nature of God is an incredible mystery. Yet, God still desires for us to know Him and reveals Himself in His trinitarian nature. Though it’s a mystery, we are called to live in faith of it and to understand it in as much as He has revealed it to us. Our minds can’t fully comprehend everything that the Trinity means, but through the Scriptures we can do what the Athanasian creed does – repeat over and over again what the Trinity is and repeat over and over again what it is not.

The repetition and re-search of the Trinity is not a trivial activity. Many teachers will remind us how important it is to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday. Since we are finite and still prone to sin, we forget so easily the wondrous work that God has done, is doing and will do. The Trinity is inherent to the Gospel. God together wanted a people for the Father, a bride for the Son, a temple for the Holy Spirit. Preaching the Gospel to ourselves necessitates preaching the doctrine of the Trinity to ourselves. Over and over again. God is like this, God is not like that. We will never come to the end of knowing Him, but let us draw as close as we can.

4. How and why did God create us?

Imago Dei. The image of God. We are told in the Law not to form idols in the image of any created thing. It is impossible for us to create an image of anything except created things. Only God can create something in His own image. And He has.

“And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.” Why is it right? Because it is our purpose. The image of a thing brings the thing glory. The statue of a person commemorates or glorifies the person represented. In the same way, as His image we are made to glorify Him – He who is “eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth.”