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The Apostles Creed
~
I Believe In :
God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth




The Apostles' Creed 



Cuthbert cross

God the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and Earth

Read : Luke 11:1-4, Psalm 104  


This starts our look at the phrases in the creed that state what we believe. Here we are looking at our belief in 'God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth"  

I'm going to start with the second half of the phrase - "Creator of Heaven and Earth". The bible starts, "In the beginning, God created…". It then goes on to tell us how in the very beginning there was nothing but God, until God created everything, from the smallest particle, to the whole universe and everything in between, including the first people - Adam and Eve. You are probably all familiar with the bible story. 

Now, you may believe that the story of creation in Genesis is an accurate historical account of exactly what happened and how everything was created, or you may consider it to be poetry or allegory like the Song of Solomon, or perhaps something in between. However, as Christians what we do believe, are the truths the story points us to, which are God created everything, and before God started creating, there was nothing except God. 

As Christians, we believe that the earth and the universe are not a combination of random or meaningless events, which just happened to coincide. We believe that there is a creator with a plan and purpose behind the whole of creation. We believe that our existence here is not random and meaningless. We believe that God created us and loves us, watches over us and cares for us. We believe that there is more to life than what we can see and touch, here and now. We believe that beyond this life, there is another life, eternal life with God, where we will be able to be with God, in the way that he originally planned. 

God then, the creator of everything, is therefore also literally the father of everything, because he is responsible for its existence.  

We are all now so familiar with the image of God as father, that we probably don't even stop to think about it, but the people of Israel in Jesus' time, thought of Abraham as their father, and the father of their nation, so when Jesus called God 'father' or 'abba' or 'daddy', it was unheard of, it was revolutionary, and it was one of the reasons why the religious leaders of Jesus' time, accused him of blasphemy and heresy. But they were wrong, because Jesus is the Son of God, so to call God his father was natural. But Jesus went further than just calling God his father, he went on to say that we can call God 'Father' too. Jesus showed us that God is not a remote or distant figure, but someone we should be close to. 

But we hear of many fathers today who have no interest or involvement in the lives of their children, fathers who have walked away from their responsibilities, who want their children to have no contact with them, and to make no claim on them. So, is God that sort of father ? Was creation a one time event, after which God left, to go and put his feet up?  

No ! Definitely not ! God still continues to create, all the time. Every new leaf and flower, every new born creature and baby, every sunrise and sunset, all bear the fingerprints of their creator, if we look carefully enough to see them. God is not an absent parent, who wants nothing to do with us. On the contrary, God is with us, watching over us, loving us, caring what happens to us, and wanting to be deeply involved in our lives, like the best of fathers. 

If you who had a good and loving father, or mother, or both, then this image of God as father, or parent, is probably a very comforting and comfortable image, a picture of God that you can relate to and understand. Except, remember that however wonderful your parents were, God is an even better parent then them ! He loves you more, he cares for you more, he is more available to you, than your parents - because after all, they are only human, so have human limitations that God doesn't have. 

However, you may be thinking that you know what your father or parents are like, and you really don't want your God to be like that. If you feel more alienated than comforted, by the image of God as father, or parent - for whatever reason - then here's some good news - God is nothing like your father or parents. In fact, God is millions of times better than even the most perfect father, or mother, or parent that we could ever imagine ! 

The truth is that God loves us more than we can ever understand, and we each need to accept that God loves us unconditionally. It doesn't matter what you do, or don't do, God's love for you never changes. God doesn't have favourites, so it doesn't matter what you or anyone else does - God never loves anyone else more than you, or less than you, he loves you as though you were the only person who ever existed, he loves you to the full extent of his being, and that will never change. God is never somewhere else when you need him. God is never too busy to listen to you. God never has something he would rather do than spend time with you. God is always loving, always patient, always there, always available, always listening. God is always wanting to help you, and to be with you, in the bad times as well as the good times - if you will let him.  

So if you didn't have a good parent or parents, then look to God - the Father Almighty - the best parent there could ever be - and he's yours - Jesus said that you can call God 'Father' ! Even for those of you who had a wonderful father, or wonderful parents, you too can call God 'Father' - everyone can ! 

However, we must never forget that God is more than just 'Father' and 'Creator'. In the bible, people's names often tell you something about them. In the same way, God's names, are descriptions of what God is like. 'Father Almighty', and 'Creator of Heaven and Earth' are just two of the names for God, or descriptions of what God is like. On the jigsaw pieces are many more names of God -

jigsaw


- and you will find many more of them in the bible. All are true attributes of God, each one describes something of who he is, and what he is like. 

But just as we may accurately describe someone as a parent or grand-parent, a writer or engineer, a nurse or musician, we also know that, even if all of these descriptions were true of someone, then they still would not tell us everything about that person.  

So, if there is more to any of us than can be described by just a few words or attributes, think how much more true this must be of God. Even if we listed all of the names for God that we know, and all those that we find in the bible, there would still be far more to God than they describe. There will always be far more to God, than we can ever know in this life.  

So, if you find the image of God as father or parent difficult, or uncomfortable, or unhelpful, for any reason, please don't let that become a stumbling block for you. Perhaps try to understand and accept intellectually everything that this phrase of the Apostles' Creed means, but remember that it is just shorthand with much more behind it. 

Also remember that, regardless of how you feel about the image of God as father or parent, and regardless of what your own parents are like, 'father' or 'parent' doesn't have to be your primary image of God, or your most helpful way of thinking about him. Try and find names or attributes that describe God in ways that are helpful to you, and make those the images of God, or the ideas of God, that you carry with you.  

God will always be far bigger than everything we know about him ! Yet, more than anything else, he wants us to love him. What God certainly doesn't want, is for there to be a name or an idea, or anything else, which prevents us from loving him or talking to him. So whether you choose to pray to God as Father or Fountain, as Counsellor or Creator, as Love or Lord, as Shepherd or Saviour, as Treasure or Teacher, as Healer or High Tower - however you chose to think of God, then he isn't going to mind what name you use (as long as it's true). God, the creator of everything there is, will just be delighted that you are thinking about him and talking to him !  

So, we might say - I believe in God, who created everything that there is from nothing, from the smallest atomic particle to the whole universe, and everything in between, including me. I believe in God who has known me as an individual since before I was born, who knows me better than I know myself, who loves me unconditionally and more than I can comprehend, for reasons that I don't really understand. I believe in God who is always with me, who watches over me, who wants to help me, who wants me to love him, and who wants to be deeply involved in my life.  

..or, as it says in the Apostles' Creed - I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 

Ruth Gillett, 2009

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