Our Belief in God
Alexandria and Christian Dogmas
Our Belief in God
The Heavenly Creatures
GOD IS LOVE
"God is love" I John 4:8. He is
neither an idea that we believe in,
nor a Supreme Being isolated from
mankind in His heaven far away from
our world, but He is the Lover of
mankind, He granted us His divine
knowledge to enjoy His love and to
touch His Fatherhood. He would like to
be very near to mankind, to unite them
to Himself, to live within their
souls, and grants us participation in
In other words, God reveals Himself to
us, not to involve us in theoretical
discussions, nor to practice His
authority upon us, but to attract us
to Himself as children to their true
Father in whom they find the essence
of life, satisfaction, immortality and
REVELATION OF GOD
God created man in His image, as the
most perfect of His creations on
earth. God did not plan to leave man
in Paradise alone, but to embrace him
as His beloved, to meet him (Gen.
18:17), and to reveal Himself, His
nature, His mysteries and His will to
God spoke to mankind through nature
(Rom. 1:20). As they refused to hear
the voice of the natural law, He
presented His written Law through
Moses and sent His prophets to them
(Heb. 1: 1,2). At last, the Incarnate
Son of God came to enlighten their
inner life and to set His Kingdom
within them. He came to reveal the
mystery of God, the Lover and Savior
of men. His revelation has its effect
on our nature and eternal future.
MYSTERY OF GOD
"Mystery" in Christianity does not
mean that a believer takes obscure
dogmas without understanding them, or
that these dogmas are unacceptable to
his mind. Our minds cannot conceive
this naturally without God's grace and
revelation. Mystery does not oppose
man's thinking but is supreme and
inconceivable without God's help.
God created us as rational beings. He
reveals Himself and His deeds to us,
not to abolish our minds but to
elevate them so that all our human
nature can accept Him and acknowledges
MONOTHEISM AND TRINITARIAN FAITH
Our faith in its essence is a call to
enjoy the experience of the One God,
Lover of mankind. The Old and the New
Testaments confirm the belief in the
One God, but the Old Testament deals
with this matter in its passive
aspect, for its aim was to keep the
believers away from idols and from
practicing the abominations of nations
that accompanied paganism (2 Kings
21:2; Chorn. 28:3).
The New Testament witnesses to the One
God in a positive aspect, for it does
not only declare the oneness of God
but it also deepens our faith in God
by revealing the "Trinitarian" faith.
In fact this faith does not oppose
"Monotheism," but emphasizes it by
revealing some mysteries of the One
God and giving interpretation to these
THE TRINITARIAN DOGMA AND THE BIBLE
The Holy Trinity was referred to at
Jesus' baptism (Joh. 1:27-33). Besides
our baptism is fulfilled in the name
of the Holy Trinity (Matt. 28:19). St.
Paul benediction enumerates the
Trinity in 2 Cor. 13:14.
In the Old Testament we find the
Trisagion (holy, holy, holy) of
Isaiah's Vision (6:3); and the name of
God is mentioned in plural "Elohim,"
even in the Deuteronomy 6:4 "unity"
passage [see Gen. 1:26, 11 :7].
Is it necessary to believe in the Holy
faith solves many problems which
was caused by the absolute
"monotheistic" faith. For
example, we say that God is love
and His love is eternal; does
this mean that there was another
being whom God loved eternally?
We can not say that He loves
Himself eternally; this means He
is selfish (God forbids!). We
cannot say that He eternally
loved by power and not by action,
and after the creation of the
heavenly and earthly beings His
love became in action; this means
that creation was necessary for
God to realize His love and
changes it from power to action.
What we say concerning love might
be repeated in regards to other
divine characteristics like
peace-making, mercy etc..
Truly if we accept the Holy
Trinity as three Hypostaseis in
one divine essence, this problem
will be easily solved. This faith
in the One God of three
Hypostasies declares the act of
love, unity and peace in God as
an eternal action of the Holy
Trinity. The Father loved the Son
and there was no time when the
Father did not love the Son. Love
as a divine character was
eternally in power and in action,
for "Love" is God Himself who
loved eternally, and was not in
need of the creation to declare
His characteristic' s. God's love
to us is an extension of His work
and eternal loving nature. Then
the Trinitarian faith reveals God
as a dynamic, personal and
communal Being and not a solid
Someone may say
that the "Trinitarian" faith may
incline to "polytheism." We reply
that the Son is the Word of the
Father; many religions believe
that the words of God are
eternal. the Word of God is not
"outside" God, but is one with
Him, as brightness that shines
from the light. The Father was
not without His Word, as light is
never without brightness. Thus
our belief in the Son does not
The Holy Spirit is the "Life,"
and the Father is the "Being."
This "Being" is not separated
It is important to believe in God
who is "the rational, Being" one
essence, eternally simple, for
the three are not separated, nor
has one existed before the
others. They are like the fire
which has flame, light and heat
at the same time.
St. Clement of
Alexandria states that all
expressions concerning God are
used because of our weakness and
disability. In other words, we
must not understand "One" here as
a number among other numbers, but
it means an unspeakable unity.
"Monotheism" cannot be tasted nor
understood as "Numbering," for it
makes God as a solid Being
subject to numbering. St. Clement
says: [God is One, and beyond
one, and above the Monad itself].
Let us not understand the Oneness
of God in a material manner.
We should not
understand the expression "the
Son" in a materialistic way as if
the Son had an essence other than
that of the Father, but He is the
Brightness who never separates
from the "Light. 11
Can God not bring forth a Son?
For we cannot accept God as a
solid, being unable to bring
forth! Every energetic essence
has to bring forth something.
Fire brings forth light and
radiates heat, the radio element
brings forth energy, and the
human mind brings forth wise
thoughts. God can never be a
solid Being, but eternally He
brings forth the Son, for He is
the "Light" who brings forth "the
Light." Truly a light that brings
forth no light is darkness.
Bringing forth the Son eternally
reveals the nature of God as the
Loving Being, who in His infinite
love brings forth the Son
offering to Him His own divine
essence being One with Him.
clarifies that the "Son" is
called "the Word of God," to
confirm the oneness of the
essence, that no one may think in
The unity of the
Holy Trinity as a unity of love,
of continuous movement, has an
effect on our lives, for we
imitate the Holy Trinity through
our unity together in the Holy
faith has its effect on our daily
life and on our eternal future.
For through it we acknowledge the
fatherhood of God, enjoy the
divine friendship of Jesus our
Savior, and the communion of the
Holy Spirit. Thus, the door of
hope in the eternal glories will
always be opened before us.
The Holy Trinity
declares the concept of
"perfection," i.e., the
perfection of the unity of the
Holy Trinity and not the
theoretical A the solid
perfection which has no movement
THE HOLY TRINITY
AND HUMAN MIND
Our Trinitarian faith does not oppose
the human mind as someone may think,
for if it is called a "Mystery" this
is because of our need for a divine
revelation to accept it. Even
"monotheism" has many mysteries that
the mind cannot understand by itself.
For example, all religious men say
that God fills heaven and earth and He
in infinite, at the same time there is
a divine throne. Is this divine throne
limited? How does it look like in
heaven? How can God occupy the whole
world and at the same time He is
present in every room and in every
house of God, not partially for He is
undivided, but He is entirely present?
The human soul may be used as an
example to explain the Trinitarian
faith. Every soul is "Existent,"
rational and alive. Although man has
one soul and its being is
distinguished from its mind and its
life, the three are inseparable.
Fire has three self-properties that
look like the hypostasis, for ithas
flame, the light that is begotten of
the flame, and the heat that proceeds
It was very important to reveal the
mystery of the Holy Trinity so that
our salvation can be realized. The
Father, Lover of men, sent His Word
incarnate to bear our sins and pay our
debts, and sent His Holy Spirit which
raises us to His Glory.
Our Trinitarian faith uncovers the
real divine love, for God does not
seek our destruction, or have
authority over us as some
existentialists say, He is "Love,"
that longs for our adoption so that we
might be united with Him and share in
His eternal Glories.
Man and Redemption
MAN IN GOD'S SIGHT
Our faith in God is correlated to our
life, for we acknowledge Him as the
Lover of mankind who reveals Himself
to His beloved creatures, likewise we
can't understand ourselves as human
beings, our salvation and our eternal
destiny apart from our relationship
with God and outside our concept of
Man in God's view is not just one out
of billions of creatures, but God
deals with him as His own image,
beloved, and His own close friend. He
founded all the world for his sake,
and gave him authority even over the
space. Therefore, when man was totally
ruined his spirit and body the Word of
God was incarnated to raise him up and
to renew his nature. Through
Incarnation, God revealed two things:
sight of man, for the Word of God
Himself became man and dwelt
He granted man
freedom which sin had destroyed.
According to St. Cyril of Alexandria,
the image of God in which man was
created (Gen. 1:26) was his own free
will, however, he spoiled it by his
disobedience to God, thus he became
incapable of interacting with God's
THE HUMAN NATURE
When we speak about "man and his
redemption" or about the human nature
and its renewal, we refer to man's
soul, mind and body, for Christ came
as a perfect Man to renew "man" in his
wholeness. Therefore, the Alexandria
Fathers argued against the Gnostics
who rejected the body and looked at it
as an enemy. The Alexandrians were
also interested in revealing the
sanctification of mind: looking to
science and philosophy as if it were
not in enmity towards the mind.
GOD'S ROLE IN MAN'S SALVATION
After his fall, man became in need to
enjoy the risen life, and at the same
time he was in need for One who can
redeem him by realizing God's justice.
These two requirements can't be
fulfilled except through the
"Incarnation and the Resurrection."
The Word of God descended to us and
became our Savior, to realize the
following advantages to us:
1 . To declare the Creator's goodness.
He created man and He is able to renew
2. To join us with Himself (John
3. To accomplish God's sentence of
death (2 Cor. 5:14) and to condemn sin
4 . To undergo death by His victory
over death and His resurrection (I Cor.
5. To conquer Satan, our enemy (I John
6. To raise us up to heaven (Eph.
7. To renew our nature in Him, and
grant us participation in His divine
nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
8. To realize universality of the
Church, by joining the Gentiles
together with the Jews through faith
in one Body.
9. To grant us the true knowledge
(Matt. 11:27), for Jesus alone knows
MAN'S ROLE IN SALVATION
Grace is the center of the Alexandria
theology, for God "first loved us" (I
John 4:19), foreknew us (Rom. 8:29),
chose us, predestined us, called us,
justified us and glorified us. He
wills, decides and acts for our
salvation, but we never enjoy this
free salvation unwillingly. God wills
that all men might be saved and come
to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim.
2:4), for He has no pleasure in the
death of the wicked but that the
wicked turns from his way and lives
(Ezek. 33:11). He offered His Son as
the propitiation for the whole world
(I John 2;2). Nevertheless, God asked
us to choose the way we desire (Deut.
30:15,19), and to declare this choice
through practical faith. Thus the good
deeds that we practice by the divine
grace are necessary and essential.
H.H. Pope Shenouda III, in his book
"Salvation in the Orthodox Concept"
presents many proofs of the importance
of "good deeds" to our salvation:
Evil work leads
to eternal condemnation (Gal.
5:19,21; Eph. 5:5,6).
Judgment will be
based upon our deeds (Matt.
16:27; John 5:28, 29).
Works are the
fruit of true faith (Luke 3:8,
deeds we witness to our faith
(James 2:18; Matt. 7:16, 17).
Through our good
deeds we witness to be children
of God (I John 2:29; 3:9, 10).
faith perfect (James 2:22; 1: 2
We have to distinguish
between many kinds of good works as
mentioned in the Holy Bible:
The works of
man's own righteousness, when man
trusts in his own power, his
salvation is ruined.
The works of the
Lam), like circumcision,
preserving the Sabbath in a solid
way etc. If these works are
performed literally they ruin the
Good works which
are the fruits of faith: The
believer leans on the Lord's
breast and asks for the work of
His divine grace under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit;
these works are necessary to our