Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

Godhead and humankind: The New Testament in unison with creedal Christianity

Andries G. van Aarde
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5521 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5521 | © 2019 Andries G. van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2019 | Published: 19 November 2019

About the author(s)

Andries G. van Aarde, Research Focus Area: Gender Justice, Health, and Human Development, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


The aim of this article is to argue that the sharing of ‘being’ between Jesus and the Godhead, professed in creedal Christianity and based on the Nicaean creed, pertains to a ‘sameness in divine substance’. This substance refers to divine wisdom, justice and mercy. The article attempts to demonstrate that there exists a congruence between textual evidence in the New Testament and these ‘orthodox’ belief tenets, especially represented in the Athanasian creed. This is explained in terms of an analysis of the origins and development of creedal formulae. This process represents a movement from a fundamental religious experience to a ‘use’ of metaphorical language, to the origins of confessional formulae that lead to the formulation of dogma. In light of the insight into the ‘building blocks’ of the formation of confessional formulae, the article concludes with a ‘deconstruction’ of the concepts ‘anathematisation’ and ‘heresy’.


creedal Christianity; Jesus tradition; Jesus; Paul; Nicea; Athanasisus; anathema; heresy


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