“We believe in one god, [the] Father almighty, maker of all things both visible and invisible.”The first article of the Nicene Creed, 325
Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν·
“We believe in one god, [the] Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things both visible and invisible.”
Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων.The first article of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan revision, 381
I am already in trouble because I consider myself a Christian yet I believe the divinity is a Goddess, not a god, and therefore she is our Mother, rather than our Father. The Creed begins, for me, “We entrust ourselves to one Goddess, [the] Mother,” or “to one divine Mother.” Theologians agree that the divine is neither male nor female or is inclusive of both. They nevertheless prefer to imagine the divine as “Father.” I do not. If I am to engage my imagination, which I must if I’m using a gendered metaphor, I think of the divine as more maternal than paternal. It makes more sense
I am also a pantheist, or rather, a pan-thea-ist, meaning that I think the creation is divine. Creation and divinity are not two (finite and infinite), and the divine does not include an excess (of infinity) — transcendence — over what is (the finiteness of) creation. This puts my beliefs about both creation and divinity outside the mainstream. But are they Christian? Let’s see …
The next word is pantokratōr, usually translated “almighty,” meaning all powerful, that is, able to do everything. The compound word, “all” + “krátos,” has more than one sense. Krātos, from kra-, means primarily to finish, complete, or accomplish. From that we get the sense of strength or rule, thus the god is all strong and powerful or rules over all (makes things happen the way he wants). But the word pantokratōr can also mean, instead of the one who can do everything, the one who does everything, who accomplishes everything that is accomplished — ever. “We entrust ourselves to one divine Mother, doer of everything.” This makes perfect sense for a pan-thea-ist. It also has the sense of bringing everything to their fullness, their completion.
“Maker”? Poiētēs means a maker, craftperson, or author. It also means a doer, one who carries something out, who gets something ready. It can mean a stage performer, a performing artist. It can also mean an artist or poet. In fact, it is where we get the word “poet” from. The divine Mother, who is the creation, does everything that is done. She is the “artist of sky and earth, of everything visible and invisible.” For the pan-thea-ist, the creation is self (auto)-creating, springing up from within, but also together (syn) in connection to everything else, which are all also self-creating. Evolution is never individual; It is always ecological: there is no verticle movement that is not horizontal. Everything grows within a web of relations.
“Heaven and earth” might be synonymous with the invisible and the visible, heaven being the invisible realm. Heaven also means the dome of the sky, the atmosphere, and the air we breathe. The earth is the solid ground on which we stand. We are also people of the seas, lakes, and rivers, though patriarchal cultures (warrior societies), in their need for security, have forgotten this.
Finally, pisteuomen eis (“We believe in …”): The word pistis has to do with faith, faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, trust, even fealty. To say, “We believe in,” makes the affirmation about what I am committed to: a set of truths or doctrines, a dogma. I think, besides creating arguments, this misses the point. The Creed, the baptismal confession, commits us to the three faces of the Trinity, the persons of the one divinity. “We entrust ourselves to” expresses this personal commitment of trust and fidelity.
“We entrust ourselves to the one divine Mother, the doer of everything, artist of sky and sea and earth, of everything that can be perceived and everything that cannot be.”Sr. Petra Aleah, 2021