I believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth.
Here we have a compendious exhibition of the character, will, and works of God, the Father. For, since the Ten Commandments teach that we should not have more than one God, the question might then arise: What kind of a being is this God? what does he do? how can he be praised, or defined and described, so as to be known? This the following article teaches; so that the Creed is nothing but an answer and a confession of Christians, founded on the first commandment. As when we ask a child: Beloved, what kind of God have you?– what do you know about him?– that it can reply: This is my God, first, the Father who has created the heaven and the earth; I hold nothing else as God, but this one alone; for there is no one else who could create heaven and earth.
But for the learned, and those who have made some proficiency in the knowledge of the Scriptures, we might expatiate upon each of these three articles, and divide them into as many parts as there are words. For young pupils, however, it is sufficient, at present, to notice the most important points, nemely, as we have stated, that this article pertains to creation, and that we rely upon the words: Creator of heaven and earth. What then is implied, or what do you understand by the words, I believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker, &c.? Answer:– I mean and believe that I am a creatuer of God; that is, that he has given me, and continually preserves my body, soul, and life, and all my members; my senses, reason, and understanding, and the like; meat and drink, raiment and sustenance, wife and children, domestics, house and residence, &c.; and besides, that he permits all creatures to contribute to the benefits and necessities of life– the sun, the moon, and the stars in the firmament; day and night; air, fire, water, earth, and whatever these produce and are able to bring forth– fowls, fish, animals, grain, and all kinds of growth; and moreover, all other bodily and temporal blessings– good government, peace, security, &c. So that we learn from this article, that no one of us possesses life, or any of those blessings which we have just enumerated, or which may be hereafter mentioned, of himself; and that he is unable to preserve any of them, no matter how small and insignificant it may be; for all are comprehended in this word Maker.
We also confess, moreover, that God the Father has not only given us all those things which we have and behold; but that he also protects and defends us daily against every evil and distress, and averts all kinds of danger and misfortune. And all this he does, unmerited by us, through pure love and goodness, like an affectionate fahter, who takes care of us, so that no evil befalls us. A futher consideration, however, of these things pertains to the other two parts of this article, where we say, Father, Almighty.
Hence it is easy to infer, and it naturally follows– since God daily gives, sustains, and preserves all that we possess, together with all that is in heaven and on earth– that we are under obligation to love, to praise, and to thank him continually, and in a word, thus to serve him wholly and entirely, as he requires and orders in the Ten Commandments. Here there would be a great deal to say, if any one should describe how few there are who believe this article. For we all pass over it superficially, hearing and repeating it, but we do not see and consider what the words convey to us. For if we believed it sincerely, we would also act according to it, and not so haughtily pass along with insolent presumption, as if we possessed life, wealth, power, honors, &c., of ourselves, that others might fear and serve us, as the unhappy, perverted world is accustomed to do, which, beclouded in its own blindness, misuses all the gifts and blessings of God in its arrogance, avarice, voluptuousness, and disgraceful pleasures alone, without once looking up to God for the purpose of returning thanks to him, or of acknowledging him as Lord and Creator.
For this reason we all should be humbled and awed by this article, if we truly believe it. For we daily commit sins with our eyes, our ears, and hands; with our bodies and souls; with our money and property, and with all that we have; especially those who war against the Word of God; yet Christians, however, have this advantage, that they acknowledge themselves to be under obligation to serve and obey him for the blessings conferred on them.
Wherefore, this article should be daily exercised and impressed on our minds, and repeated in our memories in all that presents itself to our eyes and occurs to us; and when we have been rescued from dangers and difficulties,– as this is wholly the work and blessing of God,– that we may thereby perceive and learn his fatherly affection and superabundant love towards us. By this our hearts would be warmed and animated with thankfulness, and induced to use all these blessings to the honor and glory of God. Thus we have this article in the most compendious form, so far as it is necessary for the inexperienced to learn at first, both as to what we have and receive from God, and what we are under obligation to do; a knowledge almost unlimited; a treasure of inestimable value. For here we see how the Father has given himself unto us, with all creatures, and provides for us in this life, in the most bountiful manner; and besides, as we shall hear, he showers us over with ineffable and eternal blessings, through his Son and Holy Spirit.