Nicene Creed, deux

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Eutychus Fell posts
" I must say, I prefer "seen and unseen" to "visible and unvisible" -- the first puts the burden on us: God made things and if we can't see them, tough luck; the second (visible and invisible) puts the onus on God: God made things invisible -- ah, so why even bother to look if we already know we can't see."

look at the context here:
"maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."
God made ALL things. Even if we can't see them, He still made them.
Visible and seen, as you point out, do not have the same meaning. Visible is a state of being, seen is past tense. I am visible even if you don't see me. Seen and unseen subtly diminishes God and exalts humanity, and I am glad that we are going back to the more accurate translation.
The Church Fathers at the Council of Nicaea fought and argued every word, every point of grammar, and one phrase (the filioque clause) was a proximate cause of the schism between East and West. Words matter.

Have you ever read through the Latin for the Nicene Creed?
here is a great little bit of history and commentary on this creed.

I grew up reciting the 1549 English translation (raised Anglican, remember?) and was rather irked by the inaccurate translations foisted upon the english speaking Catholic parishes by the ICEL. (See my previous post on the topic) I am personally pleased that we will be returning to a more accurate (even if more complex language) translation.
The following is from the 1962 Missal
Nicene Creed (Latin first, then English)

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem coeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium. Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum, not factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine: ET HOMO FACTUS EST. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis; sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in coelum: sedet ad desteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est com gloria judicare vivos et mortuos. cujus regni non erit finis. Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre, et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per Prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum. Et vitam ventura saeculi. Amen.

I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. (here all present kneel) And became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: AND WAS MADE MAN. (here all arise) He was also crucified for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and sits 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. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, and who spoke through the prophets. And one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I await the resurrection of the dead and the life + of the world to come. Amen.


Hmm... could you say that "seen and unseen" views creation in a flat sort of way? Anything at all can been seen, and if I can't see it,well, it's unseen. "visible and invisible" hints at something broader, or deeper. There are things not visible even when they're present. Or something.

Cheers -


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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on February 26, 2005 9:50 AM.

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