“We believe in one God…maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.” – Nicene Creed
Of course, the fact that a council had to declare, “We believe in ONE God…” suggests that not everyone held such a belief. There was an ancient philosophy that stated a belief in a “higher” or “good” Deity, the God of Heaven and spirit and goodness, and also a belief in a “lower” deity who was petty, jealous, easily angered. It was the jealous, war-like God who was believed to have created the physical world. This view, at least in Christianity, did not become the dominant one. But it must have posed some kind of threat to what would become the “orthodox” view, so we have the statement, “We believe in ONE God…maker of heaven AND earth, of ALL that is, SEEN AND unseen.” Rather than higher and lower, good and bad, worthy and worthless, there is just all that is, and all that is has come from the one Source of all that is…or at least that is the theology that prevailed.
But really, we still believe that “our” God (that is, our perception of what is ultimately real) is the best or true or only real God. We still insist that our view of holiness is right and others are wrong. We are still trying to write and enforce creeds to say only one view has merit, and, naturally enough, it is the view that WE hold.
Still, I wonder how much we honestly believe something that we must protect in a creed. If we were truly confident of our “rightness” (or right-ousness), would we need to silent other views? Wouldn’t dialogue and sharing be a better way to allow the most sound and life-giving spiritual views and practices to come to light? I, for one, believe in one Source of all that is, expressing in, through, and as all that is. I, as often as not, refer to the One as “God.” But what difference would it make if someone else called the “One” evolution? Or the gods? Or Allah? Or Cosmic Consciousness? Or the Ground of Being? Or the Inward Light? Or what if someone doubted there was a “One” at all?
My belief is my own, and yours need not mirror mine for mine to serve me. I don’t know what “we” believe, but “I” believe that there is room for a variety of beliefs. I’ll share mine; you share yours, and let’s enjoy the exchange. In that way, we can be “one” regardless of what we believe about the “One.”
(c) Durrell Watkins 2007