Creator: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit

 

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Compiled and Edited by Monk Preston (Co-Founder  & President, The Prayer Foundation )  

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Question: In the Bible, John 1:3 states that God the Son created everything; so why do the Creeds say that God the Father was the Creator?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  

All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.  ...He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  

...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."  -John 1:1-3,10,14 

God the Father was indeed the Creator.  The Bible teaches that He created all things by Jesus Christ.  Scripture confirms the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, at the Creation.

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. ...And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."  -Genesis 1:1,2

"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."  -Ephesians 3:9

John refers to Jesus Christ in John Chapter 1 as "the Word of God" ("And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us...and we beheld his glory...the only begotten of the Father."

"A father begets, a mother conceives God the Son is begotten of the Father and conceived of the Virgin Mary.  The begetting is an eternal relationship, the conception is an event in time."  -Ken Collins *  

This Word was involved in Creation as the Word of God:

  • "And God said, Let there be light,"  -Genesis 1:3
  • "And God said, Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." -Genesis 1:6
  • "And God said, Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place,"  -Genesis 1:9
  • "And God said, Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." -Genesis 1:11

Contrary to the implication of the question, the Creeds do not say that God the Father is the Creator alone.  The Bible reveals that the Holy Spirit is Lord; that He is God, just as the Father and the Son are Lord and God

"Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."  -II Corinthians 3:17

"Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didn't it belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?  You have not lied to men but to God." -Acts 5:3,4

So the Nicene Creed , which is a summary of essential Apostolic teaching,  also clearly states that the Holy Spirit is Lord (and therefore worshipped as God) and is the Creator (giver) of life.  Both God the Father and Jesus Christ (God the Son), along with the Holy Spirit (as God and Lord); were all as co-eternal persons of the Trinity, involved in the Creation.

Excerpted from the Nicene Creed:

"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.  

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made;...  

...And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets."

In the Apostle's Creed much doctrine (not just the doctrine of this question) found in the Nicene Creed is absent, as this creed is a bare-bones doctrinal summary, historically used as a Baptismal Creed, and in the liturgy as a confession and remembrance of the commitment to the basic Apostolic teaching that was made at our Baptism.

In the Athanasian Creed, there are also no specific mentions of Jesus Christ as Creator - but neither is there mention of the Father as Creator.  This Creed is more concerned with the Trinity; and in making clear that Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, and God the Father are all to be worshipped as God, and are equally God.

Excerpted from the Athanasian Creed:

"...we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.  For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.  But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.  

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.  The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.  

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.  And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.  

So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.  And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.  So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. 

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.  For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords. 

The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.  The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.  

So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.  And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.  But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.  So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped."

The Apostle John knew the Old Testament well.  He did not write anything that contradicted it.  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John (verses 1:1-14), he revealed and made clear what had been the truth all along: the part that God the Son played in Creation.

Addendum:

Colossians 1:14-17 indicate that the Savior, Jesus Christ, is from eternity God the Son, who created all things for His glory, and holds them all in control by His will.  This perfectly coordinates with John 1:1-3, where it states that the Word was God.  

Verse 14 says: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...", thus it is clearly Jesus Christ.  Back in verse 3, it tells us: "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made."

Genesis 1:26 states:
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...".  The Trinity is shown in the creation of all things.  The name Elohim is the word translated "God" in Genesis 1:1, and is a plural form in Hebrew ("im" being in Hebrew a plural ending).  Jesus Christ was present at Creation with the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) and God the Father, creating the heaven and the earth and all that is in them.  All comprise the one triune God.

The Trinity is not easy to understand, yet the Scriptures clearly and consistently demonstrate the existence of the three co-eternal as the one true God.

Our lord Jesus said:
"I and the Father are one." and "He who has seen me has seen the Father."  Isaiah 9:6 states that the child's name that was to be born, who is obviously Jesus Christ, was to be called, amongst other names, "The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father."

Creeds rise or fall on their accuracy in representing the truth of the Holy Scriptures.  The
Nicene Creed correctly acknowledges "God, the Father Almighty" as the "Maker of all things visible and invisible."  It also correctly acknowledges the role played in the Creation of the "Lord Jesus Christ...by whom all things were made..."

"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."  -I Corinthians 8:6

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Sources:

  • wiki.answers.com: "In the Bible John 1" (First section written by John Welsh.  Addendum section written by "Frank1983".  Edited by Monk Preston, with comments and Scriptures added.)
  • * Ken Collins: "The Nicene Creed"

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