The first statement in the Apostle’s Creed is “I believe in God.” It is perhaps the most fundamental moment in the Creed because all of the remaining articles depend on this belief in God. But we don’t just believe in God, “we believe in one God,” the first statement in the Nicene Creed. Throughout the Old Covenant, the revelation of God continues to confirm that the LORD God is one Lord (CCC 201). God is unique and he is the only God, there are no other gods but him. Unique to Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ is God. This, and our profession of the Holy Spirit as God, does not undermine our belief in one God. The council of Toledo sums it up like this:
We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal, infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty, and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.
In history, God has revealed his name to us. He progressively revealed his identity through the Old Covenant by different names, but to Moses he revealed his divine and mysterious name YHWH (I AM WHO I AM). In this name we find what is perhaps even more mystery surrounding God, not any real question about who God is being answered here. Though it is quite fitting in that it shows that God is above all things that can be understood. He is a hidden God, yet he draws near to man. And by revealing his name, God reveals his faithfulness as “The God of your fathers” and “I will always be with you”. He expresses his unchanging presence to his people (CCC207). Faced with God’s fascinating mysteriousness, we find our own insignificance, expressed in the words and actions of some of the prophets:
Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
God’s name also reveals his mercy, for if his name expresses faithfulness, it also expresses mercy, for men are rarely faithful. Despite Israel’s sin of the golden calf, Moses intercedes before God and God agrees to show mercy and forgiveness to the sinful people. As time goes on, the people of God have discovered the deep mystery of God’s great mercy, ultimately expressed in the the death of Jesus Christ.
And through his name, we discover that God alone IS. He alone transcends time. He has no origin, no end. All other things have their existence in him, but he exists in nothing else. He alone is the fullness of being, and whereas all other things will pass, will wear out like an old garment, God never will pass, never fade, never become corrupted.
God is truth and he is love. Jesus Christ expresses the need for truth in knowing God, for God is truth. The Apostle John echoes this sentiment in his first epistle: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ,” (1 John 5:20). God is truth and in him there is no lie. God is also love. Israel came to discover that the only reason for God’s faithfulness to them was his love for them. The Scripture overflows with descriptions of his love, from the infamous John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son” to this beautiful word from the Prophet Jeremiah:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
God’s love is everlasting, as he is everlasting. His love for his people will never ever end.
So what are the implications of believing in one God?
1.It means coming to know God’s greatness and majesty.
2.It means living in thanksgiving.
3.It means knowing the true unity and dignity of all men.
4.It means making good use of created things.
5.It means trusting God in every circumstance.
Let nothing trouble you.
Let nothing frighten you.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all.
Whoever has God wants for nothing.
God alone is enough.
St Teresa of Avila