I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, The holy Christian Church, The communion of saints, The forgiveness of sins, The resurrection of the body, And the life everlasting. – The Apostles’ Creed
The First Article of the creeds and the first part of the Second Article of the creeds has been discussed in A Religion Of Miracles – Part One. The remainder of the Second Article of the creeds and the Third Article of the creeds will be discussed here.
The analysis of the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds as statements of basic Christian faith and the definition of the word “miracle” shows that Christianity is a religion of miracles.
The Second Article of the creeds also mentions Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. Jesus is not the only individual resurrected in the Bible. For example: (#1) “the Widow of Zarephath’s Son” is raised by the Prophet Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:17-24); (#2) “the Shunammite Woman’s Son” is raised by the prophet Elisha (see 2 Kings 4:18-37); (#3) “the Man Thrown into Elisha’s Grave” is raised by the dead body of the Prophet Elisha (see 2 Kings 13:20-21); (#4) “The Widow of Nain’s Son” (see Luke 7:11-17), (#5) “Jairus’ Daughter” (see Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25, Mark 5:22-24 and Luke 8:41-42, 48-56) and (#6) “Lazarus” (see John 11:1-44) are all raised by Jesus; (#7) “Tabitha” is raised by the Apostle Peter (see Acts 9:36-43); and (#8) “Eutychus” is raised by the Apostle Paul (see Acts 20:7-12). Also, “Many Saints from the Grave” are raised to life at “the Death of Jesus” on the cross (see Matthew 27:50-53). What sets Jesus’ resurrection apart from the others just mentioned, is that Jesus foretells His resurrection in order to prove that He is who He says He is (for example, see John 2:19 and 8:28). Regarding Jesus’ ascension into heaven, two other individuals go to heaven without dying: (#1) Enoch, “because God took him away” (see Genesis 5:21-24); and (#2) the Prophet Elijah, who “went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (see 2 Kings 2:11-12). What sets Jesus’ ascension apart from the others just mentioned, is that Jesus ascends bodily into heaven in order to prepare a place for His followers (see John 14:2-3) and to fully exercise His divine power over the whole world (see Ephesians 1:20-23).
The Third Article of the creeds mentions the “Church” and the “resurrection”. The Apostles’ Creed says “the holy Christian Church” and “the Communion of saints”, while the Nicene Creed says “one holy Christian and Apostolic Church”. What both of these creeds are referring to is a community of believers, both living and dead. Is the state of being a believer a miraculous event? Or, in other words, is faith a miracle? Based on Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in the third chapter of John’s Gospel and on the definition of the word “miracle,” the answer is “yes.” Jesus says to Nicodemus concerning being “born again” or “coming to faith”: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Modern theologians may interpret Jesus’ words to Nicodemus as saying that “the work of the Holy Spirit is beyond human comprehension.” And, if a miracle is defined as “a supernatural act which cannot be explained by the scientific examination of natural events,” then faith is a miraculous event.
Finally, the Apostles’ Creed says “the resurrection of the body”. The Nicene Creed says “the resurrection of the dead”. While other belief systems can speak of the dead being raised, the dead remain just that: dead. For example, the Yoruba religions found in the western hemisphere (Santeria in the Spanish-speaking world and Voodoo in the French-speaking world) believe that the dead can be raised by certain individuals in order to be used by them. But, the dead remain dead. What sets the Christian belief in the resurrection apart from the previous example is the Christian belief in eternal life. The Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed doesn’t just say “the resurrection of the body”, it adds “and the life everlasting”. The Nicene Creed doesn’t just say “the resurrection of the dead”, it adds “and the life of the world to come” (emphases added). The Christian belief in the resurrection appears to be connected to the Christian belief in eternal life. And, just as God gives life under miraculous circumstances in the creation narrative (see the second paragraph), this giving of life should also be seen as a miraculous event. The above analysis of the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds as statements of basic Christian faith and the definition of the word “miracle” shows that Christianity is a religion of miracles.
I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, and Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, The only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation Came down from heaven And was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary And was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and dead, whose kingdom will have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and Apostolic Church, I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. – The Nicene Creed