St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Catechist. Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief. Answer. I believe in God….

The Anglo-Saxon/English word God derives from the proto-Germanic word gudan, which in turn derives from the Indo-European word goutom. It has been translated literally either as “one to whom sacrifice is made” or “one who is invoked.” When capitalized the modern English word God is defined in the dictionary as: “the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.” In the popular mind, the basic distinction is made between those who believe in God so defined and those who do not, who are now commonly called “atheists.” It is also commonly asserted that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship this same God. But this is quite simply false! We are to believe in and worship not just a God but the God, who actually exists and has revealed Himself and His will to us. To believe in and worship any other god is idolatry, whether the idol is fashioned out of wood, stone, or metal, or fashioned in our own minds out of our own desires.
God has revealed Himself to mankind through His chosen people. The Holy Scriptures provide the record of God’s self-revelation. Though God revealed Himself to mankind through the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob many centuries before, He first revealed his “proper name” to Moses from the midst of a burning bush on Mt Sinai. This Name in Hebrew is (transliterated) YHWH, commonly pronounced JEHOVAH or YAHWEH. The Authorized Version of the Bible renders this Divine Name literally as follows: And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:13) The Revised Standard Version gives alternatively I AM WHO I AM or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE. This Name is the revelation of the nature of God as the Being and the source of all being. The AV appropriately renders YHWH as The LORD. The LORD revealed Himself to St John the Divine on the Isle of Patmos in similar terms: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…. I am Alpha and Ome'ga, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.(Revelation 1:4, 8; see also 1:17; 2:8; 22:13; Isaiah 44:6; 48:12)

God also reveals His Name in terms of His character or role. Again, the LORD appeared to Moses on Mt Sinai. And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.(Exodus 34:5-7; see also especially Exodus 20:5-6; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9101; 7:9-10)

But it was only with the Incarnation of God the Son, Jesus Christ, and the descent of God the Holy Ghost that God’s Name was revealed to man in its fullness. Before His Ascension our Lord commanded His disciples, His Church: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (St Matthew 28:19)Note that our Lord did not say to baptize into the names, but into the Name of the Holy Trinity. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost is God’s “full Name.” Though it is beyond our understanding, God has revealed Himself as both singular and plural, one and yet three. There are not three gods that are not one (paganism); nor is there one God that is not three (Unitarianism). 
When we say that we believe in God we do more that intellectually assent to the notion of His existence and His Name (His nature and character as He has revealed them to us). To believe in God is to put all of our faith and trust in Him and in His love, purpose, and power. For as St James wrote: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (St James 2:19) And as St Paul affirmed, without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)