Athanasian Creed - by James Archer

(a fifth century statement to counter the heresies of the day)

 

(This is a translation of the old version in the 1662 prayer book which has not otherwise been updated.)

 

There are two versions – a straight liturgy and a poetic presentation.

 

Version 1 – straight liturgy

 

Introduction

Whoever wishes to be saved must above all things hold to the universal faith; unless he keeps it whole and pure, he will without doubt perish.

 

The doctrine of the trinity

The universal faith is this: that we worship one God in trinity, and Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons, nor dividing the substance.

 

For there is one person of the Father,

     Another of the Son,

     And another of the Holy Spirit;

But the godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is all one: their glory equal, their majesty co-eternal.

 

Just as the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit:

     The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated and the Holy Spirit uncreated;

     The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible;

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

 

And yet, they are not three eternals, but one Eternal;

     Not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreateds,

     But one Incomprehensible, and one Uncreated.

 

So, likewise, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty; yet they are not three almighties, but one Almighty.

 

And so the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; yet not three gods, but one God.

 

As the Father is Lord, so is the Son Lord, and so is the Holy Spirit Lord; yet not three lords, but one Lord.

 

For just as we are required in Christian truth to acknowledge each person by himself to be God and Lord, equally we are forbidden to say that there are three gods, or three lords.

 

The Father is made by no-one – neither created nor begotten;

The Son is of the Father alone – neither made nor created, but begotten;

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

 

So there is one Father, not three fathers;

     One Son, not three sons;

     One Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

 

In the Trinity, no-one is before or after another; all three persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.

 

In this way, the Unity in trinity and Trinity in unity is to be worshipped.  Whoever wishes to be saved must think like this of the Trinity.

 

The doctrine of the incarnation

Furthermore, in order to gain everlasting salvation, one must believe rightly in the incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The right faith, that we believe and confess, is this:  that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man:-

     God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world was formed;

     And man, of the substance of his mother, born into the world;

     Perfect God and perfect man, in body, mind and spirit;

     Equal to the Father in regard to his godhead, and inferior to the Father in regard to his manhood.

 

Although he is both God and man, he is not two, but one Christ:

     One, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh, but by the taking of manhood into God;

     One in every way, not by confusion as to substance, but by unity of person.

     Just as body, mind and spirit make one person, so God and man make one Christ.

 

The facts of salvation

He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty.  He will return to judge the living and the dead; at his coming, all men will rise again in their bodies, and must account for themselves.  Those that have done good will enter everlasting life, and those that have done evil will go to everlasting fire.

 

Conclusion

This is the universal faith; unless a man believes it faithfully, he cannot be saved.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever.  Amen.

 

 

Version 2 - poetic presentation

 

What I envisage is a poetic and pictorial presentation to reinforce the message of the Trinity. The cast would be a narrator (N) at the lectern and three people (1,2,3) standing around the communion table facing outward, each with a microphone. 

 

The aim is to get a swirl around the three people, so that the three act together as a unity, albeit with different voices and identities, using a stylised approach with elements of echo, rhythm, poetry etc to create an almost musical effect.  It is not intended that each of the three people should represent one person of the Trinity.

 

The headings are to help the reader, and need not be announced.)

 

 

Introduction

N    Whoever wishes to be saved must above all things hold to the universal faith; unless he keeps it whole and pure, he will              without doubt perish.

 

The doctrine of the trinity

N    The universal faith is this: that we worship one God in trinity, and Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons, nor dividing          the substance.

1     For there is one person of the Father,

2          Another of the Son,

3          And another of the Holy Spirit;

N    But the godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is all one: their glory equal, their majesty co-eternal.

 

N    Just as the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit:

1         The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated and the Holy Spirit uncreated;

2         The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible;

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

 

1    And yet, they are not three eternals, but one Eternal;

2         Not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreateds,

3         But one Incomprehensible, and one Uncreated.

 

1    So, likewise, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty; yet they are not three almighties, but one       Almighty.

2         And so the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; yet not three gods, but one God.

3         As the Father is Lord, so is the Son Lord, and so is the Holy Spirit Lord; yet not three lords, but one Lord.

 

N    For just as we are required in Christian truth to acknowledge each person by himself to be God and Lord, equally we are            forbidden to say that there are three gods, or three lords.

 

1     The Father is made by no-one – neither created nor begotten;

2          The Son is of the Father alone – neither made nor created, but begotten;

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

 

1     So there is one Father, not three fathers;

2          One Son, not three sons;

3          One Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

 

N     In the Trinity, no-one is before or after another; all three persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.

 

N     In this way, the Unity in trinity and Trinity in unity is to be worshipped.  Whoever wishes to be saved must think like this of             the Trinity.

 

The doctrine of the incarnation

N    Furthermore, in order to gain everlasting salvation, one must believe rightly in the incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The           right faith, that we believe and confess, is this:  that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man:-

1          God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world was formed;

3          And man, of the substance of his mother, born into the world;

1          Perfect God and perfect man, in body, mind and spirit;

3          Equal to the Father in regard to his godhead, and inferior to the Father in regard to his manhood.

 

N    Although he is both God and man, he is not two, but one Christ:

1          One, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh, but by the taking of manhood into                 God;

3          One in every way, not by confusion as to substance, but by unity of person.

2          Just as body, mind and spirit make one person, so God and man make one Christ.

 

The facts of salvation

N   He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven,           where he sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty.  He will return to judge the living and the dead; at his coming,         all men will rise again in their bodies, and must account for themselves.  Those that have done good will enter everlasting           life, and those that have done evil will go to everlasting fire.

 

Conclusion

All   This is the universal faith; unless a man believes it faithfully, he cannot be saved.

 

All   Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever.  Amen.

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