What is the difference between the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed?

After you've seen the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, you might find it easier to answer that question.

What is the difference between the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed?
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If someone came up to you today and asked what it means to be Catholic, what would you say? Perhaps you would tell him that to be Catholic is to be part of the Catholic Church, of the universal church.

If then he asks you and what does the Catholic Church and Catholics believe in, what would you answer? The answer may be simpler or more complicated than you think.

Basically they are asking you what the creed of the Catholic Church is, it can be simple, if you know the creed and you know what the church believes in, or it can be difficult if you don’t know it or don’t know what it means.

During Mass the community recites the creed, but sometimes they recite the Apostles’ Creed and other times the Nicene Creed.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is? What is the creed? Why do we recite one creed sometimes and the other sometimes? Why have two creeds?

These and other questions I have asked myself in my journey in Catholicism and it may be that you have also asked yourself the same thing.

If you have had that curiosity to know the difference of creeds and why, of creeds, I invite you to continue reading.

What Is A Creed?

To begin, it is important to know or define what a creed is. What do I mean when I’m referring to creed.

If you look in a dictionary or encyclopedia, you will find that a creed is simply defined as a symbol, a confession, or a statement of faith.

It is a statement or belief that is shared by a group of people or a community. It is usually used in liturgical or religious settings and situations, but can be used in personal or even professional terms.

Many job companies have one or more creeds, one for employees, one for management, and even another for the company in general.

The creed in the company has a function of creating identity, the creed recites what the company believes in.

Today the creed is included as part of the company’s mission. But even personally, many people have a creed for their life, their home, and their family.

Why Have A Creed?

The reason many religious communities, industries, and individuals have or formulate a creed is that a creed brings unity.

Unity in the sense that it declares the beliefs of that community, industry or individual.

A creed is also a way of declaring, affirming and clarifying what is believed and what is not believed.

A creed can be used to describe what a person believes, but you can also use it to announce something that you do not believe, for example, if your creed says that you believe your car is red, with that you are saying or you believe that your car is not blue or other color.

A creed also helps a community create identity. The creed functions as a statement of the beliefs of that community, as such those statements define your identity as a community and as a member of that community.

What is the difference between the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed?

The Apostles’ Creed

The apostles ‘creed is called the apostles’ creed, because it was authorized by the apostles.

It is the creed that they formulated and that the apostles are thought to have used as a statement of their faith.

The creed is believed to have twelve articles or parts, and that each of these parts can be associated with one of the apostles.

As formulated by the apostles, many religious communities use it as part of their statement of faith, including the Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglicans, and others.

The apostles’ creed has a trinitarian basis, in other words, it is based on the fact that God is triune, is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that is why many Christian communities believe and declare the apostolic creed.

What Is The Apostles’ Creed?

I believe in the all mighty Father God,

Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord,

who was conceived by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit,

was born of Holy Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate

He was crucified, dead and buried,

descended into hell,

On the third day he rose from the dead,

rose to the skies

and he is seated at the right hand of God, the almighty Father.

From there he has to come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

forgiveness of sins,

The resurrection of the flesh and eternal life.

Amen.

Rather than declaring or reciting the creed, it is important to understand it or put it into practice. Reverend John Trigilio and Reverend Kenneth Brighenti explain it like this:

I believe in the all mighty Father God, Maker of heaven and earth.

This article or expression tells us that God exists, that he is a triune God and that he is the creator of the entire universe.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord,

This tells me that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he shares his divinity. The word lord implies that he is divine.

The name Jesus means that God saves, so when we say that we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord, I am saying that Jesus is God and my Savior.

who was conceived by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit, was born of Holy Virgin Mary.

This article describes that Jesus is not only God but that he is human (born of a woman).

With this article we say that Jesus is human and divine. He is human because he was born of the Virgin Mary, and he is God because it is by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit.

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suffered under Pontius Pilate

He was crucified, dead and buried,

We believe that the humanity of Jesus suffered, in other words, suffered, felt like us.

By saying and mentioning the name of Pontius Pilate, we want to put the arrival of Jesus at a point in history.

It works for us as verification and proof in terms of determining when the crucifixion occurred.

descended into hell,

On the third day he rose from the dead,

Many times it is difficult to believe that Jesus went down to hell, because we think of the hell of the damned.

But in the creed, going down to hell is not the hell of the damned, but hell was the word or phrase that the Jews used to simply express the place of the dead. With this article we affirm that Jesus died. That Jesus rose from the dead.

rose to the skies

and he is seated at the right hand of God, the almighty Father.

By ascending to heaven, God gives us hope, teaches us that not even death will be able to separate us from his love and his divinity.

With the article we also guess that our body and soul will come together and remain eternally after the resurrection.

From there he has to come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe that Jesus ascended, is in heaven but will return to court. We wait for you for the second coming.

The second coming will be the end of the world, the last day of the world, as we know it today. After the second coming, eternal life will begin with or without God.

As Catholics we believe in the first (personal) judgment just when we die, and then the final judgment, when the second coming.

I believe in the Holy Spirit

Believing in the Holy Spirit reminds us that God is triune. That is Father, Son and also Holy Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, but at the same time he is a different person in the Holy Trinity.

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

This article reminds us that the church is more than a community, it is a communion of saints. It is more than an institution, it is a dimension of spiritual life, which is needed.

forgiveness of sins,

Just as we believe that Jesus came into the world, to save us, we believe that the forgiveness of sins is not only essential, but is necessary for a Christian life.

As Catholics we believe that the forgiveness of sins is achieved through the sacraments of baptism and confession.

The Resurrection Of The Flesh

The resurrection of the body means the resurrection of the body. It is as in the previous article that I described, that we believe in the second coming of Jesus and in the union of body and soul, for all eternity.

We believe that the human being is a perfect combination or union of body and soul, so when we die we temporarily separate until the second coming.

and eternal life.

We believe that Jesus came into the world with the purpose of saving us, with the purpose of giving us life, but eternal life, life in abundance.

He is our example, and just as he ascended or resurrected, we believe that we will do the same. Death is just a necessary step to reach eternity.

Amen.

The Nicene Creed

What is the difference between the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed?

The Nicene creed is often referred to as the long creed, because compared to the apostles’ creed it is longer.

The creed was created as a result of a council in the city of Nicea, which is why it is called the Nicene creed.

In approximately 341 AD, ideas and theologies were being promoted that did not agree with the Christian faith, with the Catholic faith, or with the teachings of the apostles.

The bishops at that time saw the need for a council. The Council of Nicea was created to dispute and disprove these false beliefs. For this reason the Nicene creed was created and spread in the years 380-390 after Christ.

The Nicene Creed does not contradict the Apostles ‘Creed, on the contrary, it uses the Apostles’ Creed as the foundation or basis for the Nicean articles.

The Nicene creed denied heresies of the time, but the main one was Arianism. This heresy was created by an Alexandrian priest named Arius. The heresy said that Jesus was not 100 percent God.

Arius said that because Jesus was the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus could not be God, this and other heresies of the time caused the members of the church council to invoke the Council of Nicea and explain the true position of the church.

In other words, the main function of the Nicene Creed was or is to clarify what the Apostles’ Creed says in relation to the heresies of the times.

Something important to mention is that the Nicene creed was started, before the church declared the books that made up the New Testament.

The New Testament as we have it today was declared in 393 at the council of Hippo. For this reason, the Nicene creed took and plays a very important part in the Christian faith, the Catholic faith.

Because the creed helped to defend the faith, against heresies, just as it helped to choose the books of the New Testament that were inspired by God.

What Is The Nicene Creed?

I believe in one god, Almighty father,

Maker of heaven and earth,

of everything visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

Only child of God,

born of the Father before all ages:

God of God,

Light of Light,

True God from true God,

begotten, not created,

of the same nature as the Father,

for whom everything was made;

that for us men,

and for our salvation

came down from the sky,

and by the work of the Holy Spirit

became incarnate of Mary, the Virgin,

and he became a man;

and for our sake he was crucified

in the time of Pontius Pilate;

suffered and was buried,

and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

and ascended to heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of the Father;

and again he will come with glory
to judge the living and the dead,

And his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit

Lord and giver of life,

that proceeds from the Father and the Son,
that with the Father and the Son

receive the same adoration and glory,

and that he spoke through the prophets.

I believe in the Church

which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

I confess that there is only one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

I await the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the future world.

Amen.

Rather than declaring or reciting the creed, it is important to understand it or put it into practice. This is a brief explanation or point of reflection for the creed.

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I believe in one god,

This confession helps to understand that God is one. That, even if there are three persons (triune), it is only one God.

In times perhaps when other Gods are trusted such as the sun, the moon, money etc. It is important to recognize that there is only ONE God.

Almighty father,

Not only is there only one God, but that God is almighty, which means that he can do everything, his power has no limits.

Maker of heaven and earth,

of everything visible and invisible.

The important thing about the creation story is to recognize that God created everything.

All that is visible is the things that we can see, and the invisible is all the powers, angels and spirituality that we cannot currently see but that one day we will see.

This prayer shows us that God was not created, that is why he is God because he is the creator.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

Only child of God,

born of the Father before all ages:

By saying that Jesus is Lord, we recognize that he must be our God, that we belong to him and as such we must follow and worship him.

We also declare that Jesus is God, because he is the son of God, and even more, the firstborn, the only son of God.

Son of God, for which he shares his divinity and is God because he existed before all centuries. In other words, it has always existed.

God of God,

Light of Light,

True God from true God,

Even speaking of Jesus, in the creed we recognize that he is God, we recognize his divinity, that he is light and that he is true God. This statement helps describe what the Arius heresy is trying to deny.

begotten, not created,

of the same nature as the Father,

for whom everything was made;

Another reason for discussion or contradiction in terms of heresies is the nature of Jesus.

In this article we declare that the son and the Father have the same nature, in other words, they are the same.

And we declare again that as God made everything or created everything.
that for us men,

and for our salvation

came down from the sky,

In the creed, we state why Jesus came into the world. Because being God he became man.

He came down from heaven, from his throne, for us, for our sins, to bring us salvation. Without God, without Jesus we could not have achieved salvation.

and by the work of the Holy Spirit
became incarnate of Mary, the Virgin,

and he became a man;

Previously we declared that Jesus is God, but now we declare that he also became man.

So here we declare one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. How Jesus could be just as man as God.

This article declares that he was God by the work of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time he was a man because he was born of a woman, the Virgin Mary.

and for our sake he was crucified

in the time of Pontius Pilate;

Like the Apostles’ Creed, we declare that Jesus was crucified for our sins, to save us.

By mentioning Pontius Pilate, we declare that it was not a simple story, but that it is true, you can look in the records and in the history books, when it was the time of Pontius Pilate, and we can verify the time of Jesus.

suffered and was buried,

We believe that Jesus was not only crucified, but died, and as a custom he was buried (if it were in our time he would be buried).

and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

and ascended to heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of the Father;

But the creed gives us hope. He teaches us that, although he was crucified, died and was buried, he did not remain there, the resurrection, as the prophets had announced, and as expected of the messiah.

We declare that, upon resurrection, he ascended to heaven, where he took his place again at the right hand of the Father.

and again he will come with glory

to judge the living and the dead,

And his kingdom will have no end.
Although he ascended to heaven, our story does not end there, he will return for the final court.

We know it as the general judgment. We believe that there will be two judgments, the personal (when we die) and the general when the second arrival of God arrives.

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When the second coming of Jesus arrives, the kingdom will be eternal and as such it will have no end.

Then we will live an eternity together with God or apart from God.

I believe in the Holy Spirit

We begin by declaring our faith or our thoughts towards the Father, then we declare our beliefs about the son.

But since God is triune, three in one, we still had to declare that we believe in the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.

Lord and giver of life,

Many times we do not recognize the work, power, and functions of the Holy Spirit. But the Nicene creed shows us one of the functions of the Holy Spirit, to be lord and giver of life.

By being lord, we again recognize his divinity, we recognize that he is God, but he is the person in the trinity that gives life.

As Jesus ascended, he said that he would not leave us alone, and that he would leave us with our defender, our advocate and our grace, he left us with the Holy Spirit.

that proceeds from the Father and the Son,

that with the Father and the Son

receive the same adoration and glory,

and that he spoke through the prophets.

This article shows us the divinity and part of the trinity. It tells us that the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son.

That together the three have the same function of adoring and loving. That when we praise or worship one of the three people, we are worshiping or praising all three.

As the holy spirit was the one that Jesus promised us, he is the one who is with us, always present IN us, through baptism.

I believe in the Church

which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

This statement is very important. It is the statement that there is only one true church, and that the true church has four pillars or four signs to show that it is true.

The true church has to be ONE (not many different), it has to be HOLY (because God is Holy), it has to be CATHOLIC (in other words, universal, church for all) and it has to be APOSTOLIC (which means that it proceeds of the apostles).

I confess that there is only one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

As there is only one church, through baptism we become participants or members of that church and baptism frees us from sins and gives us new life and helps us reach eternal life.

I await the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the future world.

Amen.

The resurrection of the dead and the future world speaks to us of the second coming, of the union of the body with the soul, of eternity, of community.

With this section we confirm that we believe in the world to come. We declare that we are in this world as travelers and that we are going to a new world, a future world.

With Amen we say so be it, so be it. It is the last confirmation of our creed.

When Do We Use The Creed And Which Do We Use?

Today, the church uses both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed at Holy Mass. They are not used together, but are used in different liturgical times.

The Apostles’ or Nicene Creed is recited after the priest’s homily. If you participate in a baptismal mass, that is, in which a child will be baptized, the priest usually makes the first profession of faith.

This consists of all the articles of the creed, but in the form of questions. The priest will ask the family, godparents and baptized (as well as the congregation) if they believe, for example, the priest would say:

Do you believe in the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints and the forgiveness of sins? And you must answer if I believe.

This is one of several questions and statements that are part of the first profession of faith.

When the first profession of faith is made,it takes the place of the apostles’ creed and the Nicene creed.

Aside from the first profession of faith, the Apostles’ Creed, it is used or recited at Masses after the homily during the season of Lent and Easter.

This time the church has allowed the apostles’ creed to be used to remember and honor the apostles in that liturgical time so full of reflection.

All the remaining time of the liturgical year the Nicene creed is used after the homily, and the reason is because it is more descriptive.

Summary

So if I ask you the same questions that they asked you at the beginning of the article; What do the Catholic Church and Catholics believe in, what would you answer?

After you’ve seen the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, you might find it easier to answer that question.

You don’t have to answer in a formal or theological way, just answer according to your creed, as you understand it and have learned it.

You can answer that the church believes in a single God who is triune, as the only God is almighty and I believe everything, but he was not created, you believe that Jesus is God and Man, he comes down to the world to save us and his death and resurrection will give you eternal life.

That you believe that the holy spirit is God and part of the trinity and that you believe in eternal life.

You can explain more or if you want less,But the important thing is that you know what you believe and why you believe it.

He trusted God that you have been of benefit. To see more post on Spiritual Health click here.

Blessings!

What is the difference between the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed?

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