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catechism-God

God

Faith in God presupposes two distinct inquiries. One concerns belief itself, which engulfs the total personality of man. The other concerns the very existance of God in Whom he believes.

The unerring knowledge of God, even in part is in itself a blessing that guides the spirit and destig of an toward salvation and protects him from being a prey of superstitions. The existance and substance of God are the object of man's inquiry witnessed in the Creation and through the assistance of His Divine Grace.

The purpose of Creation reflects the splendor of God's omnipotent power and divinity. Man's innate tendency to believe in God is substantiated by the revelations of the physical world and by the inspired word of Scripture. Both the physical world and Scripture become manifest by the same Author, the Redemmer, out of love and mercy for man.

The existance of God cannot be proved by scientific methods. God is incomprehensible and cannot be understood by man's finite mind. The exstence of God cannot be the subject of scientific inquiry, for God's existence and substance are beyond man's perceptibility and sensibility. If the existence of God and His substance coud be proved by scientific methods, then God could not be an object of man's faith. The Fathers of the Church understood the existence and substance of God as incomprehensible.

The genuine faith in God is affirmed by the divine Revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture and Sacred Traditions. God revealed Himself at the begining through the law and prophets.

Knowledge of God and faith in His existence and substance are derived from His own revelation. Beside the fact that the universe itself strengthens the faih of man in a living Supreme Being, God Himself made His existence known to man through the prophets and other signs. Man knows God indirectly.

The source of God's Attributes

Whereas the attributes of God are understood as the subjective patterns or the real relationship between God and finite man, the source of these sacred attribtes emanates from the relationshipbetween God and the universe. God possesses all the perfections of the universe. Finite man approaches the knowledge of God by using the method of abstraction -abstraction of unimportant, secondary, and accidental factors in relation to the knowledge of God. Concerning the division of these attributes, three central ideas on which the attributes depend, should be investigated: first, Love; second, Person of God: and third, His absoluteness. As has been stated, the attributes of God are divided only for man's rational necessty to analyze the oneness of these sacred attributes. In reality, these attributes are one entity, for the divine essence and substance is one and the same. As such, all the attributes of God are of the same validity; one attribute is not greater than the other. Consequently none of the three attriutes of God can be accepted as the source from which the others are derived.

The only division of God's attributes which can be used are those that are natural, logical and ethical. Under these naural attributes three things are understood: Ever-presence, Eternal, Almight. Under the logival attributes come All-knowledge and All-wisdom. Under the ethical attributes, Holiness, Righteousness and Love.

In the primitive Church the faithful were baptized in the name of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. After His Resurrection, Christ commissioned with "authority" His Apostles to go to all nations and baptize the people in the name of the Holy Trinity. From the very beginning the dogma of the Holy Trinity was the basis of the true Christian teaching. The dogma was the foundation of the formulation of the Nicene Creed, especially as pertains to the true nature and essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of the Christian era, the nature of the Holy Trinity was misunderstood and misinterpreted; the three Persos in the Holy Trinity were incorrectly taught as being only 3 manifestations of the Godhead. This incorrect teaching perverted the concept of 3 distinct Persons, equal in rank and of the same essence. This incorrect teaching does not explainthe mystery of the Holy Trinity but adds confusion to the truth as revealed by Christ in Scripture.

The Christian dogma of the Holy Trinity was also misunderstood in Arianism, which diminished the essence of the Second Person in the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, as being created in time. Later, the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, was misunderstood as only a divie power, and not equal in essence to the Godhead. This misinterpretation and perversion of the essence of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity were the cause for the summoning of the First Ecumenical Synod in 325. This Synod in Nicaea formulated and declared the orthodox teachings in the first seven articles of the Nicene Creed, to which were added the remaining 5 articles by the Second Ecumenical Synod in 381. The dogmas of the Nicene Creed were developed by the Fathers of the Church. They taught and determined, according to divine Revelation, the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, and also the procession of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person, from the Source, the Father.

The phrase filioque was inserted in the Nicene Creed sporadically, and later (c. 589) became a part of the Creed of the Western Church. The first official rejection of this filioque phrase was made in a synod in 879. Patriarch Photius circulated an encyclical to all ecclesiatical authorities in the East condemning the West for the addition of the filioque and proving it without any foundation.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity surpasses human conception and is grounded upon the authority of divine Revelation only; as such it is not possible to be appropriated to the finite mind of man, but only to be accepted by faith as it is revealed in Scripture. This concept of the Holy Trinity being 3 distinct but eqal Persons is the foundation of the faith of the Christian Church. It is the fundamental belief without which every teaching, promise and hope of salvaton will fail. Without belief in the Holy Trinity, salvation cannot be attained. The Will of God was to send His only-begotten Son into the world to save man from his sins and to make him heir to His Kingdom in order to share the blissful life of God's sonship.

The Nicene Creed is also called the Ecumenical Creed as having been issued by the undivided entire Church. It is considered as the Constitution of the Eastern Orthodox Church.