Most of the older Christian churches reference the Athanasian Creed as the foundation of their faith, and this creed is used as a means to interpret scripture. For many centuries it was thought to have been written by Athanasius soon after the Nicene Creed, but modern scholarship has revealed it is an anonymous document that originates from southern France in the 5th century A.D. This creed is the foundation of the false belief in a trinity of three persons. and has no foundation in scripture.
This is a proposed corrected Athanasian Creed of the New Church, corrected according to the principle of true Monotheism according to the doctrines of true Christianity. As can be seen below, much of the creed is erroneous and false. The original creed is shown with the incorrect and false portions crossed off, followed by the final corrected text. Any additions are written in bold red with footnotes to the corrections noted in bold pink. The true portion quoted by Swedenborg is written in bold black. I will first show the corrected Athanasian Creed, and afterwards provide a rationale for each correction in the footnotes.
From this creed, one can see that despite the fact that most Christians profess to believe in one God, in fact in their mind they constantly think of three persons, three gods, but from this creed they are forbidden to admit to it with their mouth. Most fail to question the rationality of such a creed according to reason, and since it is irrational, it is declared a "mystery of faith."
THE PROPOSED CORRECTED ATHANASIAN CREED
THE NEW ATHANASIAN CREED
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in One Person.  For there is One Person of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the soul, body and spirit of Jesus Christ.  We believe faithfully in the Incarnation of God in  our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Father as to the soul;  begotten to the virgin Mary as a Man in the flesh.  Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood before he rose from the dead.  Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. One altogether by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge all men according to their own works.  And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
EXPLANATION OF THE CORRECTIONS
As one can see, the old Athanasian Creed has "a lot of fluff." The New Athanasian Creed is shorter and to the point. Here is the rationale for the corrections, where each number corresponds to the numeric footnote:
- A trinity of three persons is a falsehood and is found nowhere in scripture, and irrational justifications for it are unnecessary and should be removed. The Trinity is in one person, Jesus Christ. The Trinity is explicitly mentioned once as part of baptism (Matt. 28:19). Yet the apostles always baptized in the name of "Lord Jesus Christ" indicating that this name is equivalent to the titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 8:12, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5; Rom. 6:3). Also Jesus said, Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9) and I and my Father are one (John 10:30).
- Each person has a tripartite nature of soul, body and spirit (Gen. 2:7, 1 Thes. 5:23), Jesus was born in the likeness of Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), and thus there is a Holy Trinity of soul, body and spirit in one person, Jesus Christ. Moreover: For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9). Jesus always referenced his will as the will of Father (John 5:17, 5:19, 5:30, 8:28-29, 8:38) and the Father worked through him (John 5:36, 9:4, 10:32, 10:37-38, 14:10).
- God became incarnate in human form as Jesus Christ, not Jesus became incarnate. Jesus is God incarnate in human form (John 1:1, 1:15). Jesus said, I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me (John 8:42).
- The Son of God was not begotten from eternity, but was born in time to the virgin Mary (Luke 1:31, 35), as also declared in the Apostle's Creed. A Son of God born from eternity was not known until it was invented by the Nicene Creed.
- No creed or belief should be used as a measure to condemn a person to hell. Only God has the right to judge: The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22). Also: Judge not, that you be not judged (Matt. 7:1).This does not refer to judging others according to the civil laws, but rather it refers to judging one's spiritual state.
- Statements including the words "substance" and "essence" are removed as the definitions of these terms are not clear.
- Before the resurrection, Jesus prayed to the Father as to another person, but this was in his state of humiliation before his human form had been made Divine (Phil. 2:5-11). He was inferior to the Father and could be tempted until he rose from the dead, after which all power on heaven and earth had been given to him (Matt. 28:18), indicating at this point his human form had become one with the Father.
- Scripture only states he will come to judge all men according to their works (Matt. 16:27). Also, only the dead will be judged (Heb. 9:27, Rev. 20:12-14).
WHY A NEW ATHANASIAN CREED?
In the New Church, God is worshiped as One Person in Jesus Christ, for He is Jehovah in human form. The human of the Lord, although at first like any other human when born to Mary, was transformed into a Divine Human upon the resurrection, and this is supported by the Athanasian Creed. A New Athanasian Creed is necessary to remove the belief in three gods, and to reestablish true Christianity which should be founded in a belief in One God as One Person, One Being.
As such, this offers a good explanation of the New Church to those of other Monotheistic religions such as Islam and Judaism.
Here are some quotes from Swedenborg which further explain the corrections to the Athanasian Creed:
"It shall here be shown that the union of the Father and the Son, or of the Divine and the Human in the Lord, is as the union of soul and body; and afterward that this union is reciprocal. That the union is as of the soul and the body is established in the Athanasian creed, which is received in all the Christian world as the doctrine concerning God. There we read these words: Our Lord Jesus Christ is God and Man; and although He be God and Man, still there are not two, but there is one Christ: He is one, because the Divine took the Human to itself; yea, He is altogether one, and He is one person; for as the soul and body is one man, so God and Man is one Christ. Here however it is meant that there is such a union of a Son of God from eternity with the Son born in time; but because God is one and not three, when by that union is meant union with the one God from eternity, the doctrine agrees with the Word. In the Word we read that He was conceived of Jehovah the Father (Luke i. 34, 35), whence was His soul and life; wherefore He says that He and the Father are one (John x. 30); that He who seeth and knoweth Him, seeth and knoweth the Father (xiv. 9). He says, If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also (viii. 19); He who receiveth Me receiveth Him who sent Me (xiii. 20); also that He is in the bosom of the Father (i. 18); and that all things whatsoever the Father hath are His (xvi. 15). He is called the Father of eternity (Isa. ix. 6); and it is said that He hath power over all flesh (John xvii. 2); and all power in heaven and in earth (Matt. xxviii. 18)." (True Christian Religion, n. 98, see also n. 4)
"Hear the very words of the Lord, and if you have not attended to them before, attend now, for He said, The Father and I are one; the Father is in Me, and I in the Father; Father, all Mine are Thine and all Thine are Mine; he who seeth Me seeth the Father. What else do those words mean than that the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, and that they are one as the soul and the body in man, and so that they are one person? This also must be of your faith if you believe the Athanasian Creed, in which like things are said." (True Christian Religion, n. 112)
"All of the sacred order... are informed afterward concerning the unity of God, that it is not divided into three Persons, each one of whom singly is God and Lord, according to the Athanasian Creed; but that the Divine Trinity is in the Lord the Saviour, as the soul, the body, and the proceeding power with every man." (True Christian Religion, n. 138)
"A Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity, or before the world was created, is, in the ideas of thought, a Trinity of Gods; and this cannot be abolished by the oral confession of one God. That a Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity is a Trinity of Gods, is very evident from the following passage in the Athanasian Creed: — "There is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. The Father is God and Lord, the Son is God and Lord, and the Holy Spirit is God and Lord; and yet there are not three Gods and Lords, but one God and Lord; for as we are compelled by Christian verity to confess each Person singly to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say three Gods or three Lords." ...That not only was a Trinity of Gods understood by them, but also that no other Trinity is understood in the Christian world, is the consequence: all the knowledge concerning God is from that creed, and every one abides in the belief of its words. That no other Trinity than a Trinity of Gods is at this day understood in the Christian world, I appeal to every one, to layman and clergyman, to laureled masters and doctors, and to consecrated bishops and archbishops; also to cardinals in their purple, and even to the Roman pontiff himself; let every one take counsel with himself, and then speak out from the ideas of his own mind. From the words of this universally accepted doctrine concerning God, this is as manifest and clear as water through a crystal cup, that there are three Persons, and that each one of them is God and Lord, and also that from Christian verity men ought to confess or acknowledge each Person, singly, as God and Lord, but that the Catholic or Christian religion or faith forbids them to say or name three Gods and Lords; and thus that verity and religion, or truth and faith, are not one thing, but two things contrary to each other. It was however added that there are not three Gods and Lords, but one God and Lord, lest they should be exposed to ridicule before the whole world; for who would not laugh at three Gods? Yet who does not see a contradiction in this addition? But if they had said that the Father has the Divine essence, the Son the Divine essence, and the Holy Spirit the Divine essence, yet that there are not three Divine essences, but that the essence is one and indivisible, then this mystery would be explicable; that is, when by the Father is understood the Divine from which are all things, by the Son the Divine Human therefrom, and by the Holy Spirit the Divine proceeding, which are the three essentials of one God; or if by the Divine of the Father the like is understood as by the soul in man, by the Divine Human the like as by the body of that soul, and by the Holy Spirit the like as by the operation which proceeds from both, then are understood three essences which are of one and the same person, and so together make a one and indivisible essence. The idea of three Gods cannot be abolished by the oral confession of one God, because it has been implanted in the memory from childhood, and every man thinks from the things which are there." (True Christian Religion, n. 172-173)
"From the Nicene Trinity and the Athanasian together, a faith arose which had perverted the whole Christian Church." (True Christian Religion, n. 177, and also n. 183)
"The second discussion concerning the Lord was upon this point: Are not the Father and He thus one, as soul and body are one? They said that this is a consequence, because the soul is from the Father. Then one of those who sat upon the seats in the third row read, from the general creed which is called Athanasian, these words:— "Although our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man, still they are not two, but one Christ; yea, He is altogether one; He is one Person: since, as the soul and the body make one man, so God and Man are one Christ." The reader said that the creed in which are these words is received in the whole Christian world, even by the Roman Catholics. And they said, "What need is there of more? God the Father and He are one, as the soul and the body are one." And they said: "As it is so, we see that the Lord's Human is Divine, because it is the Human of Jehovah; and also that the Lord as to the Divine Human is to be approached, and that so and not otherwise can the Divine which is called the Father be approached."" (True Christian Religion, n. 188)
"The Lord our Saviour is not only God and Man, but that in Him, moreover, God is Man and Man is God. And I confirmed this by Paul's saying that in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (or Divinity) bodily (Col. ii. 9); and also from John, that He is the true God and eternal life (i Epistle, v. 20); and also from these words of the Lord Himself, that it is the will of the Father that whosoever believeth on the Son hath eternal life, and that he who believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him (John iii. 36; vi. 40); and furthermore by the declaration in the confession of faith called Athanasian, that in Christ, God and Man are not two but one, and are in one Person, like the soul and the body in man." (True Christian Religion, n. 798)
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT?
As one can see, the New Athanasian Creed is Monotheistic unlike the older creed which is obviously tritheistic, although the older Christian churches will never admit to it. The New Athanasian Creed is in agreement with the doctrines of the New Church. If anyone reading this has suggestions for better wording, do drop me a note. For example, I removed wording regarding "substance" and "essence" as these terms have different definitions in New Church theology: God is substance and essence itself. Another word for "essence" is "Being." So there is possible room to expand on this New Athanasian Creed, but I initially wanted it to as close to the old one as possible.
Please also write the new version in clean textReplyDelete
Done. Good idea Ian.Delete
Somewhat hilarious, I received one comment, that by quoting scripture to fix the Athanasian Creed, that what I did was "Satanic." The comment was even Satan quoted scripture against Jesus. The problem is they have no scripture to support their own belief so this argument always appears when they start grasping at straws.Delete
Just discovered that there is an unpublished manuscript by Swedenborg on solely the Athanasian Creed. One can read it here: Swedenborg's notes on the Athanasian Creed.ReplyDelete