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The First Creed

August 26, 2011

“I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. I believe in Jesus Christ …”

The Apostles’ Creed, can you do it? Lutherans, and recovering Lutherans, gimme an, “Amen.” I quit church when I was 13, but a decade later, when someone brought it up (and quoted the first line) I could recite the whole thing. Creeds are powerful things.

Did you know that one of the earliest Christian creeds is recorded in 1 Corinthians?

I started reading my new BookSneeze book, Has God Spoken?, a couple days ago. It’s an apologetic work, and a pretty good one so far, but this bit on 1 Corinthians 15 is pretty amazing:

“Oxford scholar and philosopher Dr. Terry Miethe concurs. Says Miethe, ‘Most New Testament scholars point out that one of the ways we know [15:3-8] is a creedal statement is that it appears to have been in a more primitive Aramaic, and it’s also in hymnic form. This means it was stylized Greek, non-Pauline words, and so on, which indicates that it predated Paul and was widely used, probably even used and recited in worship experiences as a form of worship or a song or a hymn or a creedal statement, and was there fore universally acknowledged.’”

What is 1 Corinthians 15:3-8?

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, [4] and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, [5] and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

“[6] After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. [7] After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. [8] Then last of off He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

Before the New Testament was even written the Church had a statement – sung, chanted, recited, whatever – that declared Jesus’ death – and it’s purpose and prophecy, resurrection, and appearance to His followers. The thing was written, accepted, adopted and recited while those it referenced were still alive.

The author’s comments agree,

“It is mind-boggling to realize that Christianity can confidently point to a creed that some of the greatest scholars, theologians, philosophers, and historians have traced to within just three to eight years of Christ’s crucifixion.”

Pretty cool.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2011 1:38 pm

    I got this book from Booksneeze too. :) Haven’t started it yet, but looking forward to it!

    • Lex permalink
      August 29, 2011 11:32 am

      I’m liking it. It’s good, and it’s challenging some of my theology – which is frustrating but exciting at the same time. :) Let me know what you think when you get into it!

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