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Oriental Orthodox Christianity

1. God

Orthodox Christians worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the Holy Trinity, the one God (Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; I Peter 1:1-2; Rom. 14:17-18, 15:16, etc.). Following the Holy Scriptures as interpreted by the Holy Fathers of our faith, the Church believes that the Trinity is three divine persons of one essence. There never was a time when any of the persons of the Trinity did not exist. God is beyond and before time and yet acts within time, moving and speaking within history.

God is not an impersonal essence or merely a “higher power,” but rather the divine Persons of the Trinity relate to mankind personally. Neither is the word God merely a name for three gods—we’re not polytheists. Rather, the Orthodox faith is monotheist and yet Trinitarian. The God of the Orthodox Christian Church is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the I AM who revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2-14).

The Church primarily draws near to God and communes with Him in divine mystery, approaching God apophatically, which means that we don’t make precise, exhaustive definitions of Who God is. We’re content to encounter God personally, realizing the inadequacy of the human mind to comprehend Him (John 1:18; I John 4:12; Is. 55:9) and following the revelation about Himself that He has made. We know Who He is because He has told us through Jesus Christ.

The primary statement of what the Church believes about God is found in the Nicene Creed, usually just called the Nicene Creed, which was formulated in AD 325 and 381 at the First and Second Ecumenical Councils.

So if God’s character is revealed by Jesus Christ, then Who is Jesus Christ?

Next Article: Jesus Christ.

Adapted from St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. 

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