Of God The Father (Ursinus)

Question 26.  What do you believe when you say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth?” ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Answer.

That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; (a)

who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) (b)

is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; (c)

on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body (d)

and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; (e)

for he is able to do it, being Almighty God, (f)

and willing, being a faithful Father. (g)

I believe in God.  To believe God and to believe in God, are two very different things. The first expresses historical faith; the latter, true faith or confidence; for when I say, I believe that God is, if I speak properly, I believe there is a God, and that He is such an one as He has revealed Himself in His word, viz: a spiritual essence, omnipotent, etc., the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When I say, I believe in God, I mean, I believe that He is my God, that is, whatever He is and has is all for my salvation. Or, to believe God, speaking properly, is to believe a certain person to be God, according to all His attributes. To believe in God, is to be persuaded that He will make all things attributed to Him subservient to my salvation, for the sake of His Son.

In God.  The name of God is here taken essentially for God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; because the phrase I believe, with the particle in, is referred in the same manner to all the three persons of the Godhead; for the reason that we do not believe in the Son and Holy Spirit less than we do in the Father.

Father.  When the name of the Father is opposed to the Son, it is taken personally, and signifies the first person of the Godhead, as here in the creed; but when it is opposed to creatures it must be understood essentially, and signifies the whole divine essence, as in the Lord’s Prayer, our Father, who is in heaven. In this sense the Son is expressly called by Isaiah, “The everlasting Father.” Isaiah 9:6  The first person is called the Father: 1. In respect to Christ, His only begotten Son. 2. In respect to all creatures, as He is the Creator, and Preserver of them all. 3. In respect to the elect, whom He has adopted as His children, and whom He has made accepted in His beloved Son.

To believe in God the Father, therefore, is to believe in that God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and to believe that He is also my Father, and as such has a fatherly affection toward me, for and account of Christ, in whom He has adopted me as His son. In a word, it is to believe: 1. That He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. The He is a Father to me for Christ’s sake.

Almighty. To believe in God Almighty, is to believe in such a God: 1. Who is able to accomplish whatever He wills, yes even those things which He does not will, if they are not contrary to His nature, as He might have delivered Christ from death, but He would not. 2. Who can accomplish all things by His simple command, and without any difficulty. 3. Who alone has power to do all things, and is the dispenser of that power which is in all His creatures. 4. Who is also almighty for my benefit, and can and will direct and make all things subservient to my salvation.

Maker of Heaven and Earth.  To believe in the Creator, is to believe: 1. That He is the Creator of all things. 2. That He sustains and governs by His providence all things which He has created. 3. That He has also created me, and made me a vessel of His mercy, that I should obtain salvation in Christ, and that He, by His special providence and grace, will lead me to that salvation which He confers upon His people. 4. That He has created all other things for us, that they may contribute to the salvation of the church, to the praise of His glory. In short, to believe in the Creator, is to believe that God created me that I might contribute to His glory, and that He created all other things that they might be subservient to my salvation. “All things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s,” as if he should say all things are created for us, and we for God. 1 Corinthians 3:22, 23

Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary On The Heidelberg Catechism, pp. 140, 141

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