i believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

this, the first article of the apostles' creed, expresses a conviction that there is a God, who created everything, both heavens and earth. this is said by contrast to the gods of paganism, who are themselves subject to the laws of fate and necessity. christianity traditionally teaches that God created the world ex nihilo, that is, out of nothing. the point is that God is not dependent upon anything else, and everything else is dependent upon him.

what the creed does not express is a conviction about how God created the world. nothing here is contrary to the explorations of scientists as they attempt to uncover the wonders of God's creation.

in addition, we hear here that God is a father. now this raises hackles for many; either because the word is gendered, or because they have bad associations with bad earthly fathers. the former difficulty is easily addressed: we have inherited the word, but the Christian faith does not teach that God is male. the point is God's parental concern and love, God's involvement. as for the second difficulty, the claim is not that God is like an earthly father, the claim is the opposite: God is the way an earthly father, or mother, ought to be. awareness of the deficiencies of so many earthly parents should bind us all the more strongly to the image of a loving God who behaves as a parent ought to.

pages on christian beliefs: