TRINITY: CREED OF ST. ATHANASIUS

There is no greater subject to man than a correct knowledge of God. “3 And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jesus, John 17)
 
It is impossible to have faith in the true and living God without a correct understanding of His being, attributes, character, and perfections. “6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11)
 
No one can even obey the first and great commandment: “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Jesus, Matt. 22) Failure to abide in this commandments is one of the greatest sins. The will not go unpunished. Jesus will soon return: “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of t he Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1)
 
It was the unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine who adopted the pagan god in place of the true and living God because he was a loyal follower of the sun god. This creed also made Jesus the bastard son of a ghost; as Joseph and Mary were married (betrothed) at the time of Jesus’ conception. Only Joseph carried the “seed” of Abraham. Matthew in the first chapter gave the genealogy of Jesus as the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the house of David, through Joseph his father. Without this lineage, Jesus could not be the Messiah.
 
Jesus advised us: “42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.” (Matt. 22) “17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2) Since Jesus was a man like us, He cold be tempted with evil. After his baptism Jesus was tempted of Satan. “13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James. 1)
 
We are told: “21 Prove all things ; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5) How can we prove all things? By reason not sophistry and “to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)
 
THE CREED OF ST. ATHANASIUS
 
Whosoever will be saved before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick faith.
Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholick faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated; but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity, to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of 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 Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of 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 Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God, and perfect Man: of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting:
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood.
Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether, not by confusion of Substance, but 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 sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith; which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.
 
This creed states: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.” Yet, Jesus told us: “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17) Sever punishment awaits those “that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1:8,9) Jesus was tempted of Satan. “13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil , neither tempteth he any man.” (James 13)
 
NOW LET’S TEST THE TRINITY AGAINST REASON AND THE LAW AND THE TESTIMONY. The latter day prophet James J. Strang wrote in the Book of the Law of the Lord in 1856:
 
“1. The design of the Almighty evidently is to found his government in love; and to make that the chief sanction of his law. Love is the first thing required of all men; love unto God, who first loved us, and who bestows on us all the good which we possess.
2. The adoration service and obedience, which he demands of us, are but the natural sequence of that love; and the universal prohibition of false gods, is a necessary means of keeping our hearts unto him; for if we were allowed to bestow divine adoration on fire, the sun, or any instrument of his munificence, or any statue, or symbol, or any man, or officer, or imaginary being, as his representative, man’s shortsightedness would forget God, and soon worship only the creature.
3. Thus the earth is filled with examples of nations relapsing to idolatry through such small beginnings as setting up apt symbols of God’s perfections, to be worshipped by the ignorant, instead of the God whose majesty they symbolized.
4. The priesthood and the generality of the learned in most Pagan nations, do not worship the idols which they set up for the ignorant to adore; but rather the majesty who is above them, or the power and beneficence which they represent.
5. And in Roman Catholick countries, it is to be feared that many of the ignorant, really terminate their adoration on the cross, the images and pictures, with which their churches are filled: though the mere presence of them in the church is not objectionable.
6. Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment to imagine that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.
7. For in the same breath he tells us that he is a jealous God, visiting iniquity on all that hate him; not as some have said, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their innocent posterity; but upon their children who abide in their sins.
8. Often it happens that though the father alone may have committed the sin, the children are its beneficiaries. If the fathers have obtained property by fraud and violence, the children who inherit it, receive it, subject to the curse; and unless they make reparation for the iniquity, must expect to be visited with the wrath of God, as for a sin done in their own persons.”
 
The prophet James wrote again in the Book of the Law of the Lord:
 
17. Those who worship a God without body, parts, or passions, do not worship the God of Abraham, of whom Prophets spoke and Apostles bore witness; but an idol—a false god, which their imagination conceives of; and as by their Creed, he is a nonentity, their faith is Atheism.
 
18. Close upon the tail of this Atheism, follows Polytheism. For as the Creed declares that the Father is Lord God Almighty, uncreate, eternal, aud incomprehensible; the Son, Lord God Almighty, uncreate, eternal, and incomprehensible; and the Holy Ghost, Lord God Almighty, uncreate, eternal, and incomprehensible; it is most indisputably the Creed of three gods, notwithstanding the disclaimer, which says they are one God.
 
19. Thus they worship God the Father, “without body, parts, or passions;” and God the Son, begotten by the Father, with “body, flesh, and bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature,” sitting at the right hand of God, the Father, who has no hand; and God the Holy Ghost, who proceeded from the Father and the Son, who is, nevertheless, eternal, though he could not have proceeded from the Son, until he was begotten; three gods, all unlike; and require men to believe these three, but one, on pain of being damned everlastingly.
 
20. It is no wonder that those who preach this doctrine declare it a mystery. It is a greater mystery, that men have been found to believe it. Well did John the Revelator name the Church in which it originated, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth. (Rev. xvii, 5.)
 
21. She was once the Apostolick Church; the Lamb’s wife; but when she lost the Apostolick Priesthood, and went off in an unholy union with the Kingdoms of this world as her Lord, she became what the Angel declared her to be, a whore; as all her daughters, prostituting themselves to the various national governments, without ever being lawfully joined to Christ are only harlots.
 
22. To make their Creeds as ridiculous as they are infidel; false as they are heathenish; Catholicks teach that Christ’s mother is the “Mother of God;” as though God was begotten by himself, on a creature of his hands, that he might be eternally begotten.
 
24. And, as by their faith, these three gods are one and the same god, it fo llows that the Lord God Almighty, uncreate, incomprehensible, and eternal, became a Priest unto himself, and offered himself a sacrifice unto himself, to make propitiation unto himself for sins against himself, and became a mediator between himself and his rebellious creatures; and has risen from the dead, though he alone hath immortality, and ascended on high, where he has received all power from himself, and sat down at his own right hand; where, with his human body, flesh and bones, and all that pertains to the perfection of man’s nature, raised to immortality and everlasting life, he “is the express image of the invisible God,” (Col. i, 15. 2d Cor. iv, 4,) “and the express image of his Father’s person,” (Heb. 1, 3,) who has not any such body or any part of it, and is nevertheless the same identical person with himself.
24. And, as by their faith, these three gods are one and the same god, it fo llows that the Lord God Almighty, uncreate, incomprehensible, and eternal, became a Priest unto himself, and offered himself a sacrifice unto himself, to make propitiation unto himself for sins against himself, and became a mediator between himself and his rebellious creatures; and has risen from the dead, though he alone hath immortality, and ascended on high, where he has received all power from himself, and sat down at his own right hand; where, with his human body, flesh and bones, and all that pertains to the perfection of man’s nature, raised to immortality and everlasting life, he “is the express image of the invisible God,” (Col. i, 15. 2d Cor. iv, 4,) “and the express image of his Father’s person,” (Heb. 1, 3,) who has not any such body or any part of it, and is nevertheless the same identical person with himself.
25. This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ye shall not bow down to the God of Babylon, for the God who spoke in Sinai, said, “Thou shalt not bow down unto, nor adore anything that thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only.”
 
26. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was not the offspring of adultery; nor was he born of woman; he was not carried about in a nurse’s arms, nor dependent on his mother’s milk for sustenance; he never died, nor did he cry to himself, and find no helper. (Matt. xxvii, 46. Mark xv, 34.) Eternal ages are but pulsations in his lifetime, and his might is omnipotence.
 
James J. Strang wrote to Mr. Rafferty–a Catholic–thirty-one questions; which all believers in the Trinity must answer. If the Trinity fails on even one point, it is the doctrine of a false god.
 
1. Now will you please tell us whether you really believe in one God or three?
2. If in one, is that the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit? If the Father, or the Holy Spirit, how is Mary mother of God?–Who made the infinite atonement!
3. If Jesus Christ is the “one living and true God,” who filled his place when in the womb of the virgin? Who was the “living God” when he died?
4. If the Father and the Christ are but one being and one God, then is it not evident that what is true of the Father must be true of Christ the Son, Father and Son in this case being but two different names for one and the same God?
5. If the Christ the anointed be God, who anointed him? Did he anoint himself, being at once both the anointer and the anointed? Luke iv. 18. Acts x. 38.
6. If the Father be unbegotten, and the Son begotten, and if they both are one and the same being, then does it not follow that the same being is both begotten and unbegotten, and begot himself?
7. If Christ & the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, be one and the same being, then does it follow that Christ is the God and Father of himself? 2 Cor. xi. 31. Eph. i. 3. 15. Peter i. 3.
8. If the Father and Son be the same individual being, does it not follow that Christ is both the Father and Son of himself; that he sent himself, ascended to himself, and now sitteth at the right hand of himself; that he prayed to himself when he prayed to his Father whom he calls the only true God; John xvii. 5; and submitted his own will to the will of himself, when he prayed to the Father, Luke xxii. 42, “not my will, but thine be done;” and forsook himself, when he prayed to the Father, Matt. xxvii. 46, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
9. If Christ be God Almighty, possessed of all power, with what truth could he declare, that of his own self he could do nothing; John v. 19 and 30; and that to sit on his right hand and on his left, was not his to give? Matt, xx. 23.
10. Was God Almighty the infinite, eternal, and unchangable Jehovah, once a helpless infant, dependent on the care of one of his own creatures for protection from injury, and for the supplies of an¬imal life; and carried from place to place, at the will of his nurse, in her supporting arms?
11. If Christ be the omniscient God, to whom are perfectly known all times, and all events past, present, and to come, with what truth could he say, “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the father?” Mark xiii. 32.
12. Can it be true, in any sense whatever, that the very same being could be ignorant of that day, and at the same time know it; and what language could Christ have used, which would more clearly have expressed both his own ignorance and that of all other beings whatsoever, but the Father concerning that day?
13. If Christ be God, the ever living God, who only hath life and immortality in himself, who was it that expired on the cross, after praying, Luke xxiii. 46, “Father into thy hand I commend my spirit?”
14. Did Christ know that he and his Father were one being, when he said to the Jews, John viii. 17, 18. “It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true; I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me, beareth witness of me?”
15. If that saying of Christ’s, John x. 30, “I and my Father are one,” prove Christ and his Father to be one being, will not that other saying of his also prove his Father, himself, and his disciples, to be all but one being, when he prays to his Fattier, John xvii. 11, 21, 22. 23, “that they all may be one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us ; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me that they may be made perfect in one?”
16. Did Christ know, or mean others to understand, that he was God, when he said to the Jews, John viii. 40, “Ye seek to kill me, A MAN that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God?”
17. Does not the doctrine of the deity or Godship of Christ do away with all the piety and obedience of Jesus to his heavenly Father, and cast unjust reflections on the character of him who came to bear witness of the truth, and in whose mouth was found no guile?
18. Did Peter know that Christ was God, when he called upon the assembled multitude to hear his words, and told them, Acts ii. 22 to 36, that “Jesus of Nazareth was a MAN approved of God, by miracles, &c., which God did by him; and that after the Jews had crucified and slain him, God raised him from the dead, and that the same Jesus whom they had crucified was made by God both Lord and Christ?”
19. If Christ be very and eternal God, is he not the Lord in and of himself, there being in that case no one superior to him to make him Lord? How is he, then, a made Lord, made by God both Lord and Christ, and Lord not of his own glory, but of God the Father?
20. Was he a God, or a crucified man, whom the Jews slew, but whom God exalted to be a Prince (or Leader) and a Savior? Acts v. 30, 31. xiii. 23.
21. If he was a crucified man, does it not follow that Christ the Savior was a man and not a God?
22. Did the apostle Paul understand Christ to be God when he said, 1 Cor. xv. 21, “By man came (or cometh) the resurrection from the dead;” Acts xvii. 31, “God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world by that man whom he hath ordained and raised from the dead;” and 1 Cor. viii. 6, “to us there is but one God the Father;” 1 Tim. ii. 5, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the MAN Christ Jesus;” and again, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 28, “That Christ must deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, and be SUBJECT to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in (or among) all?”
23. Did the apostle Paul understand Christ to be God, when he says, 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23, “All things are your’s, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s, (not God, but God’s,) and in 1 Cor. xi. 3, “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God?”
24. Did Paul know that Christ was God, or indeed more than man, when he said, Christ was made LIKE his BRETHREN in ALL THINGS, TEMPTED in ALL points as we are, and made PERFECT through SUFFERINGS? Heb. ii. 10, 17, 18. iv. 15.
25. Did the apostle John, (the author of the Revelations,) understand Christ to be God, when in the book of Revelations Christ is described as the lamb which was slain; and when in chap. i. 1, it is said, that God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ; who must have been previously ignorant of it, else how could it have been a revelation to him?
26. Did the real and very Christ himself, and in his proper person, actually die on the cross, and in the agonies of expiring nature pray, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do?” Luke xxiii. 34.
27. If the real and very Christ himself, and in his proper persons [Page 14/326] died, was it a man, or God himself, that died, was laid in the sepulchre, and on the third day was restored to life?
28. Did the Jews in reality crucify God Almighty; was the Creator and upholder of all things put to death by his own creatures; and did the God of the universe actually expire?
29. If the God of the universe had ceased to live, who then could have lived; would not all nature in that instant have wrecked world on world and become a vast chaos?
30. If it was only a man that died, and if the real and very Christ himself, and in his proper person, actually died, does not the conclusion necessarily and unavoidably follow, that the real and very Christ himself, and in his proper person was only a man?
31. And if Christ was really and truly a man what hinders our believing he was begotten of Joseph the husband of Mary in the true lineage of David?
Well did Paul, looking down through the vista of time to that age when apostles and prophets, called by revelation of God, set apart to that ministry as pastors and leaders of the church, should cease, call you “children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every WIND of DOCTRINE in the wickedness of men, in CRAFTINESS whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” How miserable does that mass of absurdities we have been poring over look by the side of the plain system taught by apostles and prophets; that Jesus Christ came according to the prophets, of the lineage of David; that he was a man of like passions with us, Heb. ii. 17, and tempted and tried as we are, Heb. ii, 18, iv. 15, and resisted evil and kept himself unspotted and free from sin, 2 Cor. v. 21; that he is the Son of God by holding the priesthood after the power of an endless life, Heb. vii. 16, 24. i. 5, 9, as were Adam, Enoch, Noah, Elijah, and many others; some of whom wickedly married the daughters of unbelieving men, by means of which they raised up, not giants, but men of might and renown, upon whom they conferred the governing power, which of right pertains to this priesthood, and destroyed the antediluvian world thereby, Gen. vi.; that he is begotten of God, not by any carnal begetting, but by being made an high priest after the order of Melchisedec, that is, made a son by God himself, Heb. i. 9. v. 5, 10. vii. 21, 38; that he is the first begotten of God, as the first raised from the dead to life everlasting, Rev. i. 5, and by the precedence and superiority of his priesthood above all others of the like order, Heb. i. 2. Eph. i. 20, 21, 22. Psa. lxxxviii. (lxxxix, in Prot. version) 28; in accordance with the rule that the first begotten is entitled to a double portion, 2 Chron. alias Para. v. 1, 2, 3. Gen. xlviii. 22; that he is the only begotten, John iii. 16, 18, in that there is no other brought into the same degree of priesthood and jurisdiction, Acts v. 31. John xvii. 2. Heb. xi. 17. Rom. lx. 5. 1Cor. i. 25, 27, 28. Heb. ii. 5 to 10; that he possesses his power by grant from God, Acts x. 38, v. 31. John xvii. 1, 2, 7, 8. Heb. i. 2, 4. v. 4, 5, 6; that he is called an “EVERLASTING FATHER” because by his priesthood he is made the FATHER or SHEPHERD of the true fold FOREVER, Rev. xvii. 14. Isa. lx. 6. Heb. xiii. 20, in that by the oath of God, not man, he has received an everlasting priesthood, Heb. vii. 16, 17, 21; that he is called the mighty God, Isa. ix. 6, because God has GIVEN HIM ALL POWER in heaven and on earth, Matt. xxviii. 18, and placed all things under him, Eph. i. 22, so that in the name of God, by virtue of the priesthood and authority of God, he rules as God.
 
He has BECOME PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERING, Heb. ii. 10. v. 9, obtained the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18, received power from God, John v. 19 to 30. Acts xvii. 31, ascended on high, Acts i. 9, 10, 11, and being perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect, has set down, not in place of God, but at his right hand, Heb. i. 3. Eph. i. 20, as the principal viceroy and highest minister unto him, Heb. i. 4, 9. Eph. i. 20, 21, 22, being one with God, not in person, essence or individuality, nor in any mysterious sense, but in the same manner in which the saints are all likewise required to be one with him and each other, John xvii. 11, 21, 22, 23. Gal. iii. 28; that is, one in faith, one in purpose, one in interest and one in possession and enjoyment. And he, as son, being heir of God; that is, as high priest having an inheritance in the power of God’s kingdom, seeks to bring us to a like perfection, that we also may be sons, that is, high priests after the power of an endless life, that we may be also heirs of God, joint heirs with him in this inheritance, Rom. viii. 17. James ii. 5, setting down with him on thrones in the kingdom of God, Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 29, 30. 1 Tim. vi. 15. Rev. i. 6. v. 10. xx. 6; retaining to Christ his double portion as first begotten, because whereas we shall be kings, princes and lords, he will be king of kings and Lord of Lords, Rev. xvii. 14 xix. 16. And in his inheritance, as he is so like his father as to be declared the express image of his person, and the brightness of his glory, Heb. i. 3, so we shall be like him, Phil. iii. 2l.

Christ constantly spoke of himself personally as “the son of man,” Matt. xvi. 13, &c. As “the redeemer he is expressly declared to be a man,” 1 Cor. xv. 21. In that greatest treatise on priesthood, the epistle to the Hebrews, it is said that because he loved righteousness (and of course not till he had done so) God exalted him in power above all others, Heb. i. 9; became a son of God by being made an high priest by the oath of God, Heb. v. 5, 6. vii. 21, and it was by the word of the oath, and not by the act of carnal generation, that be became God’s Son, Heb. vii. 28.For what trash have men bartered away the truths of God? All “want of the proper priesthood, which God set therein as a perpetual and unerring standard of truth.  JAMES J. STRANG.

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This page was constructed by elder Samuel E. West on August 5, 2016.
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