This is the third in a four-column series on the Nicene Creed.We left off half-way through the part of the Nicene Creed focused on the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
For us men and for our salvation, Mt 1:21; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 2:10In the old translation we said that “by the power of the Holy Spirit [Jesus] was born of the Virgin Mary”, but the new translation says that “by the Holy Spirit [Jesus] was incarnate of the Virgin Mary”. We make a profound bow (a bow of the body, not just of the head) as we say these words, and on the Solemnities of the Incarnation (March 25) and the Nativity (December 25), we genuflect at these words.
he came down from heaven, Jn 6:38; 16:28; 1 Cor 15:47
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate Lk 1:30-35; Jn 1:14
of the Virgin Mary, and became man. Gal 4:4; Mt 1:18-20; Lk 24:39
What is the difference between saying Jesus was incarnate rather than born? We are certainly not denying that Jesus was born, but the theological point the Creed is making here is that “the Word became flesh.” (Jn 1:14) This “becoming flesh” is described by the word “incarnate” which means “in the flesh” (in- + carne). Jesus had a true human body, and took His flesh and blood from Mary. Even more importantly, the Creed states that Jesus became man at His incarnation, not later when He was born. At the moment of His conception in the womb of Mary, Jesus received His flesh.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, Mk 15:15; Acts 2:36The Nicene Creed uses the language of St. Paul, professing that Christ’s Passion, death, and Resurrection happened “in accordance with the Scriptures”. (1 Cor 15:3-4) The old translation used the phrase “in fulfillment of the Scriptures”; the translation changed to accurately reflect the scriptural text and the Latin of the Creed.
he suffered death and was buried, Mt 27:50-60; Rom 5:6
and rose again on the third day Lk 9:22; 24:46; Acts 10:40
in accordance with the Scriptures. Lk 24:27; Acts 18:28; 1 Cor 15:3-4
He ascended into heaven Lk 24:51; Rom 10:6; 1 Tim 3:16
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Lk 22:69; Rom 8:34
He will come again in glory Mt 25:31; 1 Th 4:16; 2 Th 1:9-10
to judge the living and the dead Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pt 4:5
and his kingdom will have no end. Dan 2:4; 7:14; Lk 1:33; 2 Pt 1:11
Also note that in the old translation, we said that Jesus “suffered, died, and was buried” but now we will say He “suffered death and was buried”. The Latin text of the Creed (as well as the original Greek text) uses a single verb (passus in Latin, pathonta in Greek) which indicates a suffering demise; literally, it means Jesus underwent His Passion, which included physical suffering as well as death.
The remainder of this part of the Creed is unchanged in the new translation.