Rev. Mark Buetow
This is a series of articles explaining what the Apostles’ Creed teaches.
The First Article:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
The first thing that the Creed teaches us is that God is our Father. People like to stick lots of adjectives on God: He is almighty. He is all-powerful. He is present everywhere. He is mighty and eternal and so on and so forth. While those things are true, what matters most for us is that God is our Father. What do fathers do? Well, they give us life and, if they are doing their job, they provide for their children.
God the Father made everything there is out of nothing, by speaking it into existence by His Word. Last of all, He made man and gave everything else to him as a gift. When man disobeyed God and fell into sin, the Father promised He would send His Son to save us from our sins and make all things new again. The Creed teaches and reminds us that from the very beginning, the Father has made all things–including us–and still takes care of and preserves them.
Some earthly fathers abandon their children. They may hurt or abuse them or just leave them altogether. It’s hard for people who have experienced a bad earthly father to believe that they have a heavenly Father who is loving and gracious. But even if we have a decent family life, it is still hard to believe that God could be a loving Father when there is so much suffering and want in our world. Sure, the Father may give you health and provide you daily bread, but what about that person who is sick and dying or doesn’t have what they need?
When the Father made things, He made them in such a way that the things He makes do the work He wants. For example, in order to give life, the Father makes parents who have a child together. Through those same parents, the Father takes care of that child, providing all he or she needs. Therefore, if it seems like our heavenly Father is not doing something, the more likely explanation is that man and his sinfulness have intervened to ruin and corrupt things. In fact, since the Garden of Eden, we creatures have been turning our backs on our Creator and doing things our own way. We have, as it were, run away from home, telling our Father to stay away from us and leave us alone. And, doing that, we have the audacity to blame HIM for our problems when all He would do is love and provide for us!
But here is what makes our heavenly Father a great Father: He sends His Son to bail us out. To rescue us. To save us. God the Father would give up His own eternally begotten Son to suffering and death to bring us back to Him. Suddenly, God being our Father isn’t just about getting what we want or avoiding stuff we don’t like. God being our Father means that when His children don’t want Him, He sends His Son to save them. The simple fact is, God can never disown us and the proof He cannot is that Jesus died and rose from the dead.
When the Creed says that God is “Almighty,” that’s more than just super powers that can flood the earth or whip up a tsunami or let loose a volcano. The power and might of the Father is that He is merciful and saves sinners, at the cost of His own Son’s life!
When we speak and confess and recite and pray the words of the Creed, in particular the First Article about the Father, we are reminded and taught that everything we have comes from Him. And whatever we suffer, whatever we lack, whatever seems bad–none of that can overcome what the Father has given us in His Son. And what the Father has given us in His Son is everlasting life. It’s pardon for our offenses, rescue from the things that would ruin us, and the promise that because of what His Son has done, now we are the Father’s dear children forever.
To say, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty.” is to say nothing other than what God’s Word teaches. The Father has made all things. He made you. And even when you don’t acknowledge and thank Him, He sent His Son to save you. Such a heavenly Father, full of patience, grace, and mercy, is what the Bible teaches, and what the Creed says simply and clearly.