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The Truth About the Nicene/Athanasian Creed Concept of God

Updated on August 22, 2018
Rodric29 profile image

Sometimes writers distance themselves from religious subjects when writing. Religion is still taboo to speak about. Read about it instead.

The Unknown God

Paul, in hiding in Athens, was bestirred to the Greeks to teach the gospel with his compatriots. While there among them waiting for his associates to arrive from Berea, he noticed tributes to all of the gods of Olympus.

One god being honored brought with it the folly of the thinking of men. There among the many tributes was one to the unknown god--just in case one was forgotten or not recognized because it was not conjured by men.

Paul instructing the philosophers in Athens
Paul instructing the philosophers in Athens | Source

When brought before the thinkers and philosophers of the city, Paul admonished them that it was folly for them.

Paul called them to repentance by saying,

For in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent." Acts 17:28-30

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 6, 2007.
Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 6, 2007. | Source

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Church of Jesus Christ, and of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the result of Paul's instruction:

...When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it. Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage

Paul told them that humans are the offspring of God. We are descendants of God through Adam and Eve. We are children of a particular parentage spiritually. If Adam and Eve are created in the image of God, then He must have an image.

Jesus Christ prayed with His disciples near Him a powerful prayer in John 17. The entire chapter is worthy to read and digest because Christ makes it clear God the Father is a distinct individual who sent Jesus from His presence as a savior to the world. He also prays for His apostles to be one with Him as He and the Father are one.

Reading that heartfelt prayer that Jesus prayed for them, it makes reason itself stare to think that He was talking to Himself! Why would He deceive His people by doing that? He did not.


Some people, aspiring to unite the Roman empire about three centuries after Christ, needed to find a way to make God mysterious, obscure or hidden enough so that more people could easily accept Him. Give Him no parts they say. Give Him no passion they added. Make Him a thing that is mysterious and wondrous they preached. What better way to keep the masses together in faith based on ignorance of the thing that they worshiped.

He is too familiar. He is too easy to approach and too defined and personable. The people will not like the familiarity. Make Him unknowable, like the great unknown god in Athens.

All of this is in opposition to what Christ prayed for His disciples. It is in opposition of what Paul taught!

Jeffrey R. Holland


The Creeds

Recently in an address to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jeffrey R. Holland provided perspective on the Nicene creed and its LACK of Biblical origin:

"In the year A.D. 325 the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address—among other things—the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.” What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils) as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds—and others to come over the centuries—declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible

The creeds usurped authority from true Biblical teachings and make creeds that many Christians think are found in the Bible. There is no basis in the Bible for these creeds. They are based in the minds of enterprising men who wanted to get the job of uniting the people completed--and it worked!

The True God

Jesus Christ taught that everlasting life was to KNOW the true God and His son whom He has sent. The creed states that He is unknowable. Somebody is lying here and it is not Jesus Christ.

We can know God as He is, a perfect God in whose image we are created. We are His offspring. We do not grow to maturity to become a goat or frog but grown men or women. It is true. Ask God these questions, He won't mind.

Three persons make up a council called the Godhead. We pray to the Father , in the name of Christ for a witness by holy Spirit.

© 2012 Rodric Anthony Johnson


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    • theomajor profile image


      4 years ago from New Zealand

      There are some interesting comments here and it was a good article. What we see here are the normal christian rivalry play-offs in the commentaries. The Qur'an is very clear about the matter; desist from saying 3! The tragedy for the LDS church is they started doing what most of the other churches do, calling Jesus Jehovah. Thus they do make God to be Jesus and Jesus God, as does the Trinity. There was never christian "orthodoxy". Just read Revelation or other NT works for evidence that churches were going their own way. Then they talk about their bible. Bad news, there was only one bible made and it doesn't exist anymore. It was called the Vulgate. Every other so-called bible is a distant cousin. Then they talk about Jesus being crucified. Anyone who gets crucified is cursed by God (Deut. 21:23) so Jesus is ruled out as a saviour. Frankly I know he is our Messiah and too many christians are speaking obvious lies.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Christinme, though I am late with it, I return your sentiments and thank you for your comment. Thanks for reading and supporting my faith in Christ.

    • Christinme profile image


      6 years ago

      May God bless you rodric and may no one judge you about your love for Jesus. By His name we shall we saved, simple as . I love you as a brother .

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Christinme, bless your heart for that testimony of you love for Jesus Christ. We may differ on how God looks, but we share a love for him that makes how he looks less important than understanding what he does for us.

      I too love my Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ with my whole heart and soul. I have come to know them as my best friends. I only hope that I can learn to serve God as he deserves. I still need to work on that.

    • Christinme profile image


      6 years ago

      I seek only to know Jesus in my life, only for the Holy spirit to guide me. I lean not on my own understanding and certainly not on another mans understanding of God.

      I cry out to Jesus in prayer to show Himself to me and He is faithful. Jesus has shown His glory to me many times lately, and His awesomeness no tongue can explain. It is true in scripture that no man shall see His face and live because each time I was unable physically to turn my eyes to Him. Twice I had an urge to lay face down on the floor and hide my eyes. once I was lying on my bed and knew Jesus stood to my back but no way was I able to turn to Him. I KNOW you can know God, He craves a relationship with us. All these creeds do is get in the way . The true gospel is to die to self so Christ lives in you, Amen.

      I have had a vision of God and this is how I saw it. God is one and so big He covers the earth , so huge there is no room for other Gods. However God has different roles of His character, the same as I am a wife, mother, and daughter. However we are bound into an earthly body for example we cannot be in two places at once. I have to be a wife and mother at the same time in one body. Now look at God, He is huge and is of spirit, He can split His roles and be many places at once.

      I look only to Jesus for the author and finisher of my faith , no denomination will satisfy me . I awoke this morning to my soul singing

      "my heart will sing no other name, Jesus" . I thank the Holy spirit for showing me this is enough for me . I do not need to be a scribe, I can lead people to Him with love not scripture.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      I love this scripture that you posted. It makes me think of the reign of Christ for 1000 years. His knowledge will be so great in the world we will not need to teach the principles of the gospel as we do now. What a glorious time that will be when we are all full of the knowledge of the goodness and love of God!

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Rdlang05, it is not because it is not biblical that I deny the trinity concept as contained in the Athanasian Creed. It is because that concept is not true. I say in all earnestness, God is not unknowable and incomprehensible. Jesus taught that in order to have eternal life we must know God and Jesus Christ as recorded in John chapter 17. We cannot know him if we think he is so foreign that he is unapproachable. I used to believe that before I joined the LDS. I found God by talking to him. I did not find him in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. I had to speak to him and he revealed himself to me. You can read about it on my profile if you care to know how I came to know God.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      John King IV, your god sounds big. Thanks for posting here and adding to the conversation.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      CJV123, I read the earnestness behind your words. I appreciate your clarification but I do not read books to know God. I read them to see how he has dealt with other people and what I can expect if I were in similar situations. I know God from my walk with him, from the revelations I have received that help me to preserve my family.

      He is a kind God and he can speak for himself. Read my words and carefully consider the spirit as you do. I know Jesus Christ. I love him, and I know about him also. I learn more of him by showing kindness and charity to my family and others. The more I live as he did, the more I understand the precariousness of religion and silliness of creeds.

      God is love, but he is a person. He has flesh and bones. He also has a father and a holy spirit and they are one God, or Godhead. They act as one in purpose as they want us to be one in purpose with them.

      "I want to be a window to his love. So when you look at me you will see him" is lyrics from my favorite songs.

      I want people to look at me and see Jesus Christ written all over my face. I still have a long way to go about that.

    • profile image

      John King IV 

      6 years ago

      Those Athenian gentiles seem to have been more admirable than to other gentiles of their age. Heck, the unknown god sounds to me a lot more like my God, compared to the christian godhead.. I know idols, but as to my infinite God, he can not be contained, he is infinite, and most of the world does not know him.

    • cjv123 profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      OK Rodric - how do you know that God doesn't "talk to Himself?" How do you know that God doesn't "separate itself at will?" Where is this written in the Bible that this is impossible?

      If you read Job - you would know the ONLY time God really hammered Job (during their discussion) was when Job had the audacity to tell God how to behave or when Job acted as if he knew best what God should or shouldn't or couldn't do. God replied to him angrily (essentially) "Where were you when I built the heavens and the earth?" He told Job he should never presume to know the mind of God or all of God's mysterious ways. As you should never do the same. You presume too much based on nothing but LDS materials. The ONLY place you can TRULY know what God wants us to know is the Bible as it is His Holy Word and there is absolutely ZERO doubt - God's Word tells us about "The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit" They are one - they are not three separate gods as the Mormon Church teaches (with Jesus being the brother of Lucifer. Jesus Christ is God - Lucifer was a created being - an angel). We know what we do know - as Christians - about God from the Bible. You assume things from the Book of Mormon or other LDS books and teachings - but they are false assumptions based on nothing but a religion that began promoting these things in the late 1800's.

      And let me correct you about what you say about your own faith. If I claimed to be a Mormon and I ever publicly tried to teach that the Book of Mormon was not inspired, that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet - I'd be shut down and tossed out by the Mormon Church. In addition - your church would tell me - I'm not REALLY a Mormon. I couldn't be as I would not believe in the very basic teachings of your Church.

      As LDS have every right to believe whatever they wish to believe, they can't rightfully call themselves Christians when they don't believe what all Historical, Orthodox Christians have always believed - in one true God that manifests Himself through a Trinitarian concept.

      You have a right to reject the Trinity - but then you don't believe what true Christians believe. I'm sad about that - but perhaps you may someday when the scales will fall from your eyes and you will see the same Jesus I and so many billions of Christians see and know intimately. The greatest deception Satan can perpetrate is in two very insidious ways. 1) in convincing the world he doesn't exist and 2) in the deception that you know God with a salvation knowledge but don't. And worse, believe they are THE elite Christians. It's just so frustrating to hear such a misrepresentation of my Christian faith by LDS as you have done here. It breaks my heart. I sincerely hope that this will change. The LDS Church is filled with many, many wonderful earnest people who do wish to know God, I can only pray that like the Worldwide Church of God - they will change their wrong belief that they should reject the Trinity. If we don't know Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth, we don't know Jesus Christ. You MUST know Him in truth or you don't know Him and I'm sorry Rodric - you don't know the true Jesus Christ the only God of our salvation.

      Thank you for allowing my comments - it is very gracious of you. Carol

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      CJV123, the funny thing about what you said about not being Mormon if you don't believe in the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith is not true. I know some Mormons who question and disbelieve many things. As long as they do not try to teach it at church or persecute the other members for being different they are fine.

      I like your egg example. There is one God and I think that your example applies but not if you mean that they re the same person. There are three people, not one unknowable entity that separates itself at will and talks to itself.

      The are one God, as one in purpose power and majesty. Speaking to One is like speaking to the other. Being in the presence of one is being in the presence of them all, which is why sending the Holy Ghost was such and important act of Jesus. When we allow the spirit to dwell in us, we are forgiven of our sins and we are in the presence of God, or the Godhead.

      Regarding other differences you point out, I have addressed them in other hubs, but if you require more I will oblige. I am in school doing my masters degree, raising a family and writing books. My time is limited, but I enjoy discussing things that lead us to a unity of faith. One day we will all kneel before Christ and forget our differences.

    • rdlang05 profile image

      R D Langr 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      I'm not denying you a part of the Body of Christ. It merely seemed from your hub that you denied the reality of the Trinity because you don't see it as being Biblical. In my mind the rational question to ask then is what is the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Peace.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Rdlang05, thanks for commenting, but I actually wrote nothing about disbelieving anything but the trinity concept as found in the Athanasian Creed.

      I have his spirit so I know he sent it. Their relationship as that of Father and Son. The are also members of the Godhead, God the Father and God the Son along with God the Holy Spirit. They are three separate people in one Godhead. Just as we are one body in Christ but different parts I know you might not accept me as a part of the Body of Christ, but just as the feet cannot deny the hand exists, others cannot deny me my love from and of Christ.

      The Athanasian Creed is not Biblical. John 17 is proof enough for me, but there are multiple examples in the scriptures to support the opposite.

    • Christinme profile image


      6 years ago

      Hebrews 8:8: For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

      9: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

      10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

      11: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

      I am only interested in knowing God, not manmade creeds . Amen xx

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      CJV123, you posted much here. I hope that I can faithfully address your response. Thank you for taking the time to express yourself. I want to do justice because you committed many words of explanation.

      Following you logic though, the word Bible is in the Book of Mormon, so we should still believe in it! Seriously, I do not think what you say applies since I clarified that it is not a word, but the concept that cannot be found to support the Athanasian Creed.

      I think I may have been unclear and I will edit my hub to clarify. I was not referring to the word trinity being in the Bible. I refer to the concept of the trinity not there. In fact, in the Book of Mormon the concept of trinity seems to be there at quick glance though it is not.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Jaydeus, thanks for posting and the support. I have no intention of trying to destroy faith, but to clarify it. I was challenged by another person that I am not a follower of Christ because I do not accept the creeds. I did not accept them before I was a Latter-day Saint because they did not make sense to me. Duffsmom posted one of the creeds, which was the one that I used when I committed to Christ the first time, but the other was too foreign.

      God in my experience has parts and passion. He has substance and is approachable and knowable. I know him.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Duffsmom, thank you for commenting and posting here. I am honored you expressed you view here. I mentioned Athanasian Creed in the quote, but I did change the wording to be more clear after reading your post.

      I love John 17 and the beauty of Jesus Christ's prayer. It is evident of his great love for them in his words and therefore us. I am sure he wants all of us to know him and his Father and be one with them as he is one with the Father.

      I do not believe you are being disrespectful, neither are the other posters here. You are expressing a belief. I just challenged it with my own views.

      I say that Jesus taught that he was a separate person than his father and prayed to the father with the energy of his soul. Jesus is God and the Father. Yet he is God because he was the one who did all creation. He is the father and the son as I am a father and also a son. Christians are his children as we accept him as the author of our faith. I have another hub I will do that goes into detail. I will give a better perspective.

      His father and our father is the father of our spirits. God is spiritual because he is eternal. All things must be spiritual to worship God, not unembodied spirits as some one suggest here.

    • Christinme profile image


      6 years ago

      You are very welcome Rodric , we are all brothers and sisters in Christ regardless . God is spirit and sees our heart . I have realised that the closer we come into Gods revelations the more the religious spirits are wound up and they turn against us . this truly shows who is in the body of Christ and who is not.

      Amen and amen , xx

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Christinme, thank you for your comment here and concern. It is really a pleasure to hear from you here. Thank you for the encouraging words. I have found the truth and am only searching for a closer relationship with God. Thank you for blessing me, I believe it will be honored by heaven.

      I also pray for blessing on you as you continue in your walk with God.

    • Christinme profile image


      6 years ago

      It really saddens me when men who confess to be Christian argue over scripture . The basic true gospel tells us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God , so it is not us who live but Christ lives in us. A divided house will fall always.

      We either have a spirit of God ( Holy spirit) or a spirit of religion ( of the world). We can only serve one master at a time. I choose to serve God.

      By the name of Christ we will all be saved , ALL who have the Holy spirit, led by spirit and truth, not by flesh, regardless of denomination . I do not believe the bible was written for anything else except to exhort and encourage . Although we can disagree in the flesh we have no right to tell another believer that they are wrong . It is up to God to judge not man.

      I respect anyone who believes on the name of Jesus for salvation and I know we will all meet in heaven one day .

      God bless you Rodric as you draw close to God and search for the truth.

    • cjv123 profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      A. While the word the Trinity isn't in the Bible - neither is the word "Bible." So following Mormon logic the Bible doesn't exist and therefore Mormons should not believe in it.

      B. The concept and the idea of the Trinity is throughout the Bible. The reason the Council of Nicea was called was because there was a challenge to the Trinity and the council was called to make it official that the Trinity not only existed but was the very basis for Christian belief as it always has been. Only religious cults reject the Trinitiarin concept – The Way International, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other Christian cults. So LDS teachings is like-minded with these groups, but not Christianity.

      This is also why if one does NOT believe in the Trinity - they can't be Christian. That would be like me saying "I don't believe in the Book of Mormon. I don't believe that Joseph Smith was any kind of prophet, but I’m a Mormon.”

      The very core belief of Christianity is the fact that there is only one God. There can’t be any other belief about this and still be able to call oneself a Christian. It’s impossible. Historical, Orthodox, Christianity has always believed in one God with three persons that are all a part of the one true God. Example – take an egg – crack it, separate the yolk from the white, take a fork and mix, pour into a hot pan and you make scrambled eggs. Take the white and whip it into a sweet meringue baked in the oven. Take the eggshell and pulverize it into sand. While each of those things – the yolk, the white and the shell no longer resemble the one egg, they each are three parts of the ONE egg and always will be.

      Just like the Trinity – being unable to understand the concept doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. God is God and we’re not. The Bible tells us we don’t have the mind of God so how can we possibly understand all of His ways?

      God is God – and thinking we can figure every aspect of God out is very human, but a wrong thing to do. You say:

      “Paul told them that humans are the offspring of God. We are descendants of God through Adam and Even. We are children of a particular parentage spiritually. If Adam and Eve are created in the image of God, then he must have an image.”

      YOU and LDS teachings tell us that if God is made in His image He MUST have an image. Thus your lead-in as to why humans are pre-gods that turn into gods someday if they are good Mormons. But it’s not true. God can’t have an image, He is Spirit. Once again we go to the Bible for this: John 4:24:

      God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

      The Bible also tells us no one has seen God: John 1:18: No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

      While Mormonism teaches that the Bible is missing parts and lacking – that is a lie. The Bible – just as we have it today – is not only God’s Word – but it is an eternal living thing as God’s Word is God.

      John 1:1: In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and GOD WAS THE WORD.

      And we know in John 1:14 that Jesus Christ is God because in verse 14 it says so: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,d who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

      We have only seen a PART of God as Jesus Christ is a part of the one true God – Jesus Christ – the manifestation of God’s Word on earth.

      So when we want to know about the one true God of Christianity – Christians should follow God’s Word, not you I’m afraid and definitely not Mormon/LDS teachings.

    • Jaydeus profile image

      James Stratton 

      6 years ago from Springfield, TN

      I hold few religious text as credible, especially anything written by the Christian church, but within every great lie there is a truth retaining credibility and substance which acts as the catalyst to push the lie forward. The truth here is that ''God'' is the fundamental answer to every universal question. Blindly accepting this leads to religions. Critically studying and testing this leads to science. Religions accept science until the point it conflicts with man-written lies based upon poor understanding of God.

      Never stop testing God's waters.

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Rod, I understand that the Mormon Church is not a credal church but it would have been most helpful to print the Nicene Creed here. I once again reviewed the Creed and there is nothing in it that is inconsistent with Scripture. Are you by chance thinking of the Athanasian Creed?

      Nowhere in the creed does it deem God a mystery or unknowable. It plainly states that His Son was sent to us - it doesn't get any more personal than that.

      We believe in one God,

      the Father, the Almighty,

      of all that is, seen and unseen.

      We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

      the only Son of God,

      eternally begotten of the Father,

      God from God, Light from Light,

      true God from true God,

      begotten, not made,

      of one Being with the Father.

      Through him all things were made.

      For us and for our salvation

      he came down from heaven:

      by the power of the Holy Spirit

      he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

      and was made man.

      For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

      he suffered death and was buried.

      On the third day he rose again

      in accordance with the Scriptures;

      he ascended into heaven

      and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

      He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

      and his kingdom will have no end.

      We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

      who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

      With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

      He has spoken through the Prophets.

      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

      We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

      We look for the resurrection of the dead,

      and the life of the world to come. Amen.

      **Where is this inconsistent with Scripture? I am not being disrespectful here, I genuinely want to know what you are seeing that is off base.

    • rdlang05 profile image

      R D Langr 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      So you don't believe in the Trinity? Or that God sent his Spirit? What is the relationship between Jesus and the Father?


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