In Faith and the Creeds, Alister McGrath helps us understand the Christian faith passed down through the centuries. McGrath concentrates on the nature of faith and the history and relevance of the creeds, in a thrilling reflection on what we really mean when we say “I believe.”
“Meaning and value are not things that can be ‘read off’ the world. Science is good at taking things to pieces. But analysis is not enough. What really matters is what we do with these pieces. We need synthesis in order to perceive the big picture. Science dismantles so that we can see how things work; faith reassembles so that we can see what they mean.” (Pages 5–6)
“Only shallow truths can be proved. The deepest truths of life lie beyond ultimate confirmation. The simple fact is that none of us, whether religious or secular, can prove any of the great truths we live by. That’s just the way life is.” (Page 5)
“The Christian faith allows us to see patterns in this apparent chaos of our world; to perceive a melody when others only hear a noise. Instead of being overwhelmed with information, we are enabled to discern meaning.” (Page 12)
“So we see—although the point is not generally appreciated—that the two most widely used creeds within Christianity today developed in quite different ways. The Apostles’ Creed arose within grass-root Christian communities over many generations, and commanded wide assent and support. The Nicene Creed was developed by a committee of bishops, in response to the Roman emperor’s demand for religious consensus within his empire. There has always been a sense in which the Apostles’ Creed is a ‘people’s creed’, whereas the Nicene Creed is a ‘bishops’ creed’.” (Page 70)
“Augustine of Hippo (354–430) expressed this theme well in a prayer written around the year 400: ‘You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.’14 If nothing in this world really satisfies us, it is because deep down we know that our heart’s desire is anchored elsewhere.” (Page 14)
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