God the Almighty Creator The winds and the sea obey him.--MATT. viii. 27.
The disciples with our Lord, as the Gospel
tells us, were overtaken by one of those sudden and violent
storms that frequently occur on the lake of Genesareth. The
Saviour was asleep, and to the human eyes of the disciples it
seemed that all must surely perish. In terror they aroused the
Master. With one word of command He stilled the raging
waves and wind, giving another instance of His absolute control
of creation and all its elements, which, as the Almighty
Creator, was easy and natural to Him.
I. "I believe in God, the Father Almighty." 1. The majesty
of God is most often designated by the term "Almighty."
2. God can do all things which do not involve a contradiction.
Compare the weakness of man with the power of God. 3. The
Creed speaks only of "omnipotence" among the attributes of
God, because an acknowledgment of this attribute disposes us
to admit the wondrous mysteries that follow in the Creed, and
because it is the attribute most easily apprehended by the average
intellect. 4. The Creed attributes omnipotence to the Father
only, because He is the principle of the other Divine Persons.
The Son and the Holy Ghost may also be called Almighty, since
they are equal in all things to the Father.
II. "Creator of heaven and earth." 1. God formed the universe
out of nothing. 2. God created the universe not from
necessity, or to increase His own happiness, but out of goodness,
in order to communicate something of His perfections to
creatures. 3. God made not only the heavens and the earth, i.e.,
the firmament and the heavenly bodies, the mountains, valleys,
seas, continents, etc., but also every living thing--plants, animals,
men, and angels; in a word, He made all things, visible
and invisible. 4. Creation took place not in eternity, but in time;
hence the world is temporal, not eternal.
CONCLUSION. 1. The thought of God's omnipotence should inspire us
with great confidence when seeking to obtain any favor
through prayer. Example, the incident in today's Gospel, when
at the prayer of the disciples the winds and the waves were
stilled. 2. Contemplation of the beauty, harmony, and variety
of God's creation should increase our faith and lead us to glorify
our Creator in His wondrous works. Everywhere in nature we
see traces of the divine Artisan.
Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part I
ARTICLE I OF THE CREED
WHY THE POWER AND MAJESTY OF GOD ARE DESIGNATED BY
MANY NAMES IN THE SACRED SCRIPTURES; THAT OF
ALMIGHTY MOST FREQUENT
Almighty. The Sacred Scriptures, in order to mark the piety
and devotion with which the God of holiness is to be adored,
usually express His supreme power and infinite majesty in a
variety of ways; but the pastor should impress particularly on
the minds of the faithful that the attribute of omnipotence is
that by which He is most frequently designated. Thus He says
of Himself, " I am the Almighty God ";(1) and again, Jacob when
sending his sons to Joseph thus prayed for them, "May my
almighty God make him favorable to you."(2) In the Apocalypse,
also it is written, "The Lord God, who is, and who was, and
who is to come, the Almighty";(3) and in another place the last
day is called the "day of the Almighty God."(4) Sometimes the
same attribute is expressed in many words; thus: "No word
shall be impossible with God(5)" Is the hand of the Lord
unable?"(6) "Thy power is at hand when thou wilt."(7)
Many other passages of the same import might be adduced,
all of which convey the same idea, which is clearly comprehended
under this single word " Almighty." By it, we understand that
there neither is nor can be imagined anything which God cannot
do; for not only can He annihilate all created things, and in a
moment summon from nothing into existence many other worlds
--an exercise of power which, however great, comes in some
degree within our comprehension--but He can do many things
still greater, of which the human mind can form no conception.
But though God can do all things, yet He cannot lie or deceive
or be deceived; He cannot sin or be ignorant of anything or cease
to exist. These things are compatible with those beings only
whose actions are imperfect, but are entirely incompatible with
the nature of God, whose acts are all-perfect. To be capable of
these things is a proof of weakness, not of supreme and infinite
power, the peculiar attribute of God. Thus, while we believe
God to be omnipotent, we exclude from Him whatever is not
intimately connected, and entirely consistent with the perfection
of His nature.
OMNIPOTENCE, WHY THE ONLY ATTRIBUTE OF GOD
MENTIONED IN THE CREED
But the pastor should point out the propriety and wisdom of
having omitted all other names of God in the Creed, and of
having proposed to us that alone of "Almighty" as the object
of our belief. For by acknowledging God to be omnipotent, we
also of necessity acknowledge Him to be omniscient, and to
hold all things in subjection to His supreme authority and
dominion. When we doubt not that He is omnipotent, we must
be also convinced of everything else regarding Him, the absence
of which would render His omnipotence altogether unintelligible.
Besides, nothing tends more to confirm our faith and animate
our hope than a deep conviction that all things are possible to
God; for whatever may be afterwards proposed as an object of
faith, however great, however wonderful, however raised above
the natural order, is easily and at once believed when the mind
is already imbued with the knowledge of the omnipotence of
God. Nay more, the greater the truths which the divine oracles
announce, the more willingly does the mind deem them worthy
of belief; and should we expect any favor from heaven, we are
not discouraged by the greatness of the desired benefit, but are
cheered and confirmed by frequently considering that there is
nothing which an omnipotent God cannot effect.
NECESSITY OF FAITH IN GOD ALMIGHTY
With this faith, then, we should be specially fortified whenever
we are required to render any extraordinary service to our
neighbor or seek to obtain by prayer any favor from God. Its
necessity in the one case we learn from the Redeemer Himself,
who, when rebuking the incredulity of the Apostles, said to them,
"If you have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, you shall say to
this mountain: Remove from hence thither, and it shall remove:
and nothing shall be impossible to you ";(8) and in the other, from
these words of St. James: "Let him ask in faith, nothing
wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, which is
moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore let not that
man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."(9)
This faith brings with it also many advantages. It forms us, in
the first place, to all humility and lowliness of mind, according to
these words of the Prince of the Apostles: " Be you humbled
therefore under the mighty hand of God."(10) It also teaches us
not to fear where there is no cause of fear, but to fear God
alone,(11) in whose power we ourselves and all that we have are
placed;(12) for our Saviour says, "I will show you whom you shall
fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast
into hell."(13) This faith is also useful to enable us to know and
exalt the infinite mercies of God towards us. He who reflects
on the omnipotence of God, cannot be so ungrateful as not
frequently to exclaim, " He that is mighty, hath done great things
NOT THREE ALMIGHTIES BUT ONE ALMIGHTY
When, however, in this Article we call the Father "Almighty,"
let no person be led into the error of excluding, therefore, from
its participation the Son and the Holy Ghost. As we say the
Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God, and yet
there are not three Gods but one God; so in like manner we
confess that the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the
Holy Ghost Almighty, and yet there are not three Almighties but
one Almighty. The Father, in particular, we call Almighty,
because He is the source of all being; as we also attribute wisdom
to the Son, because the eternal Word of the Father; and
goodness to the Holy Ghost, because the love of both. These,
however, and such appellations, may be given indiscriminately
to the three Persons, according to the rule of Catholic faith.
FROM. WHAT, HOW, AND WHY GOD MADE THE WORLD
Creator of Heaven and Earth. The necessity of having previously
imparted to the faithful a knowledge of the omnipotence
of God will appear from what we are now about to explain with
regard to the creation of the world. For when we are convinced
of the omnipotence of the Creator, we more readily believe the
wondrous production of so stupendous a work. For God formed
the world not from materials of any sort, but created it from
nothing, and that not by constraint or necessity, but spontaneously,
and of His own free will. Nor was He impelled to
create by any other cause than a desire to communicate to
creatures the riches of His bounty; for essentially happy in
Himself, He stands not in need of anything; as David expresses it:
"I have said to the Lord, thou art my God, for thou hast no
need of my goods."(15) But as, influenced by His own goodness,
"he hath done all things whatsoever he would,"(16) so in the work
of the creation He followed no external form or model, but
contemplating, and as it were imitating, the universal model
contained in the divine intelligence, the supreme Architect, with
infinite wisdom and power--attributes peculiar to the Divinity
--created all things in the beginning: "He spoke and they were
made: he commanded and they were created."(17) The words
"heaven "and "earth "include all things which the heavens and the
earth contain; for besides the heavens, which the Prophet David
called the works of His fingers,(18) He also gave to the sun its
brilliancy, and to the moon and stars their beauty; and that they
may be " for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years,"(19)
He so ordered the celestial bodies in a certain and uniform course,
that nothing varies more than their continual revolution, yet
nothing is more fixed than that variety.
CREATION OF ANGELS
Moreover, He created from nothing spiritual nature, and angels
innumerable to serve and minister to Him; and these He
replenished and adorned with the admirable gifts of His grace and
That the devil and his associates, the rebel angels, were gifted
at their creation with grace, clearly follows from these words
of the Sacred Scriptures: "He [the devil] stood not in the
truth";(20) on which subject St. Augustine says, "In creating
the angels he endowed them with good will, that is, with pure
love, by which they adhere to him, at once giving them existence,
and adorning them with grace."(21) Hence we are to believe that
the holy angels were never without "good will," that is, the love
of God. As to their knowledge we have this testimony of Holy
Scripture: "Thou, my Lord, O king, art wise, according to the
wisdom of an angel of God, to understand all things upon earth."(22)
Finally, David ascribes power to them, saying that they are
"mighty in strength, and execute his word";(23) and on this
account they are often called in Scripture the " powers "and" the
hosts of heaven."
But although they were all endowed with celestial gifts, very
many rebelled against God, their Father and Creator, were in
punishment hurled from the mansions of bliss, and shut up
in the dark dungeons of hell, there to suffer for eternity the
punishment of their pride. Speaking of them the Prince of the
Apostle says: " God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered
them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell,
into torments, to be reserved unto judgment."(24)
CREATION OF THE EARTH
The earth also God commanded to stand in the midst of the
world, rooted in its own foundation, and made "the mountains
ascend, and the plains descend into the place" which He had
founded for them. That the waters should not inundate the
earth, He hath " set a bound which they shall not pass over;
neither shall they return to cover the earth."(25) He next not only
clothed and adorned it with trees, and every variety of herb and
flower, but filled it, as He had already filled the air and water,
with innumerable sorts of living creatures.
CREATION OF MAN
Lastly, He formed man from the slime of the earth, immortal
and impassible, not, however, by the strength of nature, but by
the bounty of God. Man's soul He created to His own image and
likeness; gifted him with free will, and tempered all his motions
and appetites, so as to subject them, at all times, to the dictates
of reason. He then added the invaluable gift of original
righteousness, and next gave him dominion over all other animals.
By referring to the sacred history of Genesis the pastor will make
himself familiar with these things for the instruction of the
GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL
What we have said, then, of the creation of the universe is to
be understood as conveyed by the words "heaven" and "earth,"
and is thus briefly set forth by the Prophet: "Thine are the
heavens, and thine is the earth: the world and the fulness thereof
thou hast founded";(26) and still more briefly by the Fathers of the
Council of Nice, who added in their Creed these words: "of all
things visible and invisible." Whatever exists in the universe,
and was created by God, either falls under the senses and is
included in the word "visible," or is an object of perception to the
mind and is expressed by the word "invisible."
THE PRESERVER AND GOVERNOR
We are not, however, to understand that the works of God
when once created could continue to exist unsupported by his
omnipotence. As they derive existence from his supreme power,
wisdom, and goodness, so unless preserved continually by his
superintending providence, and by the same power which produced
them, they should instantly return into their original
nothingness. This the Scriptures declare when they say,
"How could anything endure, if thou wouldst not? or be
preserved, if not called by thee?"(27) Not only does God protect and
govern all things by His providence, but also by an internal
power He impels to motion and action whatever moves and acts,
and this in such a manner that, although He excludes not. He
yet precedes the agency of secondary causes. His invisible influence
extends to all things, and as the wise man says, reaches
"from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly."(28)
This is the reason why the Apostle, announcing to the Athenians
the God whom not knowing they adored, said, " He is not far
from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and are."(29)
CREATION, THE WORK OF THE THREE PERSONS
Let so much suffice for the explanation of the first Article of
the Creed. It may not be superfluous, however, to add that
creation is the common work of the three Persons of the Holy
and undivided Trinity--of the Father, whom according to the
doctrine of the Apostles we here declare to be "Creator of
heaven and earth "; of the Son, of whom the Scripture says, "all
things were made by him";(30) and of the Holy Ghost, of whom
it is written, " The spirit of God moved over the waters,"(31) and
again, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were established;
and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth."(32)
I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY
BY THE REV. P. HEHEL, S.J.
Even the Pharisees, that hypocritical race, said to Jesus:
"Master, we know that thou art truthful, and teachest the way
of God according to the truth." He is the foundation of our
faith. He alone it is through whom we believe in our hearts
what we profess with our lips. In His most holy name, therefore,
I begin to explain to you the twelve chief points of this
faith, praying that I may be enlightened by Him who filled with
His grace and inspired the Disciples to compose this creed.
According to the first article of this creed, therefore:
I. What have we to believe?
II. What have we to do?
I. "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven
and earth." As often as we repeat these words in prayer we
utter an abundance of the greatest truths.
"I believe," we say; that means: I profess and affirm, that
everything that is contained in these twelve articles is the eternal,
infallible, and incontestable truth, for which I, as a Christian,
am obliged to answer for with life and property. First, "I
believe in God," we say. With these words we profess that we
believe firmly that there is a God. "I believe in God," we say,
not "I believe in the gods," so as to show that we confess and
adore only one God, and to distinguish ourselves from the pagans
and unbelievers who, having lost the knowledge of the one God,
are sunk in idolatry and worship animals, plants, and stones, as
Secondly, When we say " I believe in God the Father," we
confess at the same time the distinction of Persons and the oneness
of the Godhead. For the first Person of the Godhead is the
Father, who according to His Person is distinct from the Son
and the Holy Ghost, but yet with them constitutes only one God,
therefore is not earlier, not older, not greater, not more in the
Godhead than the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Thirdly, we confess of this Divine Father that He is "almighty";
that means, so mighty that He can do all things, that
He has all power, all strength and might to operate, to create,
and to make what and how He will, without having need of any
And of this Almighty Father we confess that He is the
"Creator of heaven and earth"; that is to say, of all visible and
invisible creatures which are in heaven or out of heaven, upon
earth or under the earth, which are of body or soul, which have
been or will be. We confess that in the beginning He made the
world and the heavens out of nothing, by His word alone, which
no man, no angel, could do, which God alone can do.
We confess all this in the words of the first article: "I believe
in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth." Still
it is not enough for us to believe and confess that there is one
God, who alone is God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven
and earth. The spirits in hell believe this, and they tremble on
that account. Nor is it enough that we believe His words and
works, and hold this for an undoubted truth of faith; for this
is known no less by the damned and is experienced by them as
well as by the blessed. But for true faith it is expected that we
also agree to all this with our hearts, that we embrace all this
faithfully with our hearts, and consequently direct our heart and
mind to God, place all our confidence, our love, and hope, in
Him, adore Him as our Lord and God, fear and love Him as our
Father, never despair of His goodness and mercy. For it is
written, "Not every one who says. Lord, Lord," will be saved,
but only those may hope to enter the kingdom of heaven who
live according to the will of the Father, who by their works
show forth and attest His faith.
Now, dear brethren, listen and learn how you should live according
to the first article, so that your faith may not be fruitless
and lifeless, but living, i.e., profitable and conducive to
II. First, then, when we believe according to our confession
that there is a God, we must not live like heathens, who either
observe no law, because they do not know of the existence of a
God, or live so godlessly, being blinded by the evil spirit whom
they worship in their gods and who incites them to impurity,
murder, and criminal actions, so that under the appearance of
devotion they practice the most abominable vices.
What must we think of those Christians who live so godlessly
that they neither keep the Divine law nor the commandments of
the Church? You who lie, do you believe that there is a God
who "will destroy all that speak a lie" (Ps. v. 7)? You who
deceive, do you believe that there is a God who " curses him that
acts deceitfully" (Matt. i. 14) ? Do you believe, you who are
addicted to impurity, that there is a God " who shall judge
fornicators and adulterers" (Heb. xiii. 4)? Do you believe, you
who sin by stealing, that there is a God who says that " confusion
and repentance is upon a thief " (Ecclus. v. 17)? Behold,
this means to act in one manner and believe in another: to say
I believe in a God and to act as if there were no God.
Secondly, if you believe, as you profess, dear Christian, "that
God is thy Father, that He hath possessed thee and made thee"
of all mankind, you must be subject to Him like a devout child.
You must obey Him from your heart, and endeavor to do His
will in all things. You must undertake nothing that could offend
Him, do nothing that might call forth His Holy anger. You
must relinquish to His paternal dispensations, to His solicitude,
your life and all that is yours; you must abandon yourself as
completely as a blind man to his leader, as the child lets itself
be led by the loving mother's hand. This is to show in reality
that you believe in " God the Father." "Dost thou then not
remember," says the Holy Ghost, " that God is thy Father, that
He hath possessed thee and made thee and created thee? That
He preserves thee, feeds, watches over and cares for thee?"
Now, if you think and believe this, where then is the honor,
the love, the obedience, the resignation, the childlike confidence
towards your Father? Ah, your works are different from your
words: they do not agree with your faith.
Thirdly, if you believe as you profess, that God is almighty,
you would always gladly submit your understanding and will
to His words. You would leave no room for unbelief, allow no
doubt to take root in your heart in regard to what He has said
and promised. You would never ponder over His mysteries,
never make over curious inquiries as to how this or that could
or could not happen, why and for what reason this so happened,
will or might happen, how this is possible and can be true, and
so forth. But it would be sufficient for you to know that He is
truthful in His words, wonderful in His works, that He is almighty,
and that for this reason nothing that He has ever said or
promised can be impossible. And for this very reason you must
know that everything comes from God, sin only excepted. You
should thank Him for the good that He shows you, and praise
Him also for that which appears to you to be a misfortune. For
He can, as the Apostle says, "even out of temptation, i.e., out
of evil, prepare an advantage for you." You must never doubt
when want oppresses you, never despair when you no longer
know how to help yourself. For the hand of the Lord is not
shortened, His almighty arm has never been weakened. Abandon
yourself therefore to the Lord, and you will experience that
God can always help, when even man is of no further assistance.
The reason that want always oppresses you is because your hope,
your confidence, is far from being as strong as it ought to be,
if your belief and profession really is, as you say: "I believe in
God the Father Almighty."
In conclusion, if you believe, as you profess to do, that God is
the Creator of all things in heaven and upon earth, you ought also
to believe and know that from Him alone you have to beg and
to expect all graces, everything necessary for your salvation in
time and eternity. You should believe and know that He has
created all creatures not without a purpose, but each one has a
destined end and aim, namely, in the case of man, to serve God,
his Creator, love and honor Him, and thus be blessed some day;
in the case of other creatures, to serve man so that through them
he may attain to the end and aim appointed for him. Hence you
are not at liberty to use God's creatures according to your will
and opinion, but according to the will of God for His honor and
your salvation. If you do otherwise you violate God's property,
antagonize all creatures, because you deprive them of their end
and aim and oppose yourself to the will of God. As heaven
and earth and everything therein are the works of the omnipotent
Creator, so must you know that He preserves and rules
them as He does you, and that none of them would serve you if
He had not decreed and permitted it.
This is all deduced from the first article. We declare all this
when we say: " I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator
of heaven and earth." We must observe all this that our works
may agree with our faith. Then shall we one day enjoy the fruit
of the true faith, namely, everlasting life in heaven.
1. Gen. xvii. I. 2. Gen. xliii. 14. 3. Apoc. i. 8. 4. Apoc. xvi. 14.
5. Luke i. 37. 6. Num. xi. 23. 7. Wisd. xii. 18.
8. Matt. xvii. 19.
9. James i. 6, 7.
10. I Pet. v. 6.
11. Ps. xxxii. 8; xxiii. 10.
12. Wisd. vii. 16.
13. Luke xii. 5.
14. Luke i. 49.
15. Ps. xv. 2. 16. Ps. cxiii. 3. 17. Ps. xxxii. 9; cxlviii. 5.
18. Ps. viii. 4. 19. Gen. i. 14.
20. John viii. 44.
22. Kings xiv. 20.
24. 2 Pet ii. 4.
21. Aug. lib. 12, de Civit. Dei, cap. 9.
23. Ps. cii. 20.
25. Ps. ciii. 8, 9.
26. Ps. Ixxxviii. 12. 27. Wis. xi. 26.
28. Wis. viii. I.
29. Acts xvii. 27, 28.
30. John i. 3.
31. Gen. i. 2.
32. Ps. xxxii. 6.
33. "Das 'Unser Vater ' ein schon Gebet
Es dient und hilft, in allen Nothen;
Wenn einer auch 'Vater Unser' fleht,
In Gottes Namen, lass ihn beten."