Athanasian Creed - Saved by good deeds


#1

According to the Athanasian Creed, one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church:

" At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire."

Doesn’t this go against the teachings of faith with works for salvation?

Here is a link to the entire creed:
preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Symbola/Quicumque.html


#2

I am not sure that it does - perhaps that is reading too much into the phrase that is unintended ... God is the ultimate judge of our lives ...

We cannot earn our way to heaven - we are saved by Christ's sacrifice for us - but as the Scriptures make clear - faith without works is a dead faith .. thus we cannot be saved by 'faith alone' without an accounting ... as some Christians would have it ...

Perhaps better to understand that we are saved by the the grace of God and yet we are still accountable for how we lived that faith - in practice .... the evidence that illustrates to our Savoir our love for Him ... however you want to express that reality - it is not earning heaven - because you can't con the God who knows all and who is all ... your good deeds have to be an authentic result of your life in Christ ...

Jesus said that not everyone who calls on Him saying "Lord, Lord ... " will enter into heaven ..

Jesus said that "when I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink .. " and when the apostles asked "when did we give you to eat and drink?" Jesus said "whenever you do this for the least person , you did it unto me" ...

So obviously we are expected to "do" something ....


#3

[quote="YADA, post:2, topic:341495"]
I am not sure that it does - perhaps that is reading too much into the phrase that is unintended ... God is the ultimate judge of our lives ...

We cannot earn our way to heaven - we are saved by Christ's sacrifice for us - but as the Scriptures make clear - faith without works is a dead faith .. thus we cannot be saved by 'faith alone' without an accounting ... as some Christians would have it ...

Perhaps better to understand that we are saved by the the grace of God and yet we are still accountable for how we lived that faith - in practice .... the evidence that illustrates to our Savoir our love for Him ... however you want to express that reality - it is not earning heaven - because you can't con the God who knows all and who is all ... your good deeds have to be an authentic result of your life in Christ ...

Jesus said that not everyone who calls on Him saying "Lord, Lord ... " will enter into heaven ..

Jesus said that "when I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink .. " and when the apostles asked "when did we give you to eat and drink?" Jesus said "whenever you do this for the least person , you did it unto me" ...

So obviously we are expected to "do" something ....

[/quote]

I agree, but according to what I have heard, if some sinner repents on his/her deathbed, supposedly they will be forgiven for their transgressions, and not go to Hell.


#4

I think you're reading it too literally, in terms of absolutes, and isolated from other truths. It's not a mathematical formula. If it were, hardly anyone would be in heaven--or hell--because most everyone has done both good and evil deeds.

Okay, suppose you take the majority, and say that characterizes a person's life and determines his salvation. Then what would God do if exactly 50% of his deeds were good, and 50% evil?

The fact is, with a few exceptions, everyone who enters heaven did both good and evil deeds during his life, some more of one than the other. I daresay there are those in Heaven who were not in a state of grace for most of their life, but only in their final moments. Delayed baptisms, deathbed conversions, and what not.

I could be wrong, but I think the Athanasian Creed -- and Scripture -- are referring to the necessity of exercising charity while one has the ability to do so. The warning is against those who think having faith alone suffices for salvation, or believing one or two things, or having faith in faith itself. But I'd like others' input on this.


#5

[quote="CHRISTINE77, post:3, topic:341495"]
I agree, but according to what I have heard, if some sinner repents on his/her deathbed, supposedly they will be forgiven for their transgressions, and not go to Hell.

[/quote]

Yes - are we not very fortunate that a just and loving God is the arbiter of who gets into heaven and who does not - and not us? ;)

... and as Ad Orientem said:

I think you're reading it too literally, in terms of absolutes, and isolated from other truths. It's not a mathematical formula. If it were, hardly anyone would be in heaven--or hell--because most everyone has done both good and evil deeds.

Okay, suppose you take the majority, and say that characterizes a person's life and determines his salvation. Then what would God do if exactly 50% of his deeds were good, and 50% evil?

The fact is, with a few exceptions, everyone who enters heaven did both good and evil deeds during his life, some more of one than the other. I daresay there are those in Heaven who were not in a state of grace for most of their life, but only in their final moments. Delayed baptisms, deathbed conversions, and what not.

I could be wrong, but I think the Athanasian Creed -- and Scripture -- are referring to the necessity of exercising charity while one has the ability to do so. The warning is against those who think having faith alone suffices for salvation, or believing one or two things, or having faith in faith itself. But I'd like others' input on this.

With your two posts - I am reminded of Jesus' parable of the workers - those who started the day - those who came mid-day and those who arrived at the end of the day - all received the the same full days wages ... and the parable of the prodigal son - welcomed home after squandering his inheritance before coming to his senses ...

God gives us the graces we need to do his will - but it is always a choice that we must make ... and we are accountable for our actions - in this life and in the one that comes next ... whether we are like Enoch and walk all our days with the Lord or we are the prodigal son .... at some point there is a reckoning .. but we are saved - if we are saved - by Christ not of our own merits ... however - like St Paul - I know I am "working out my salvation" by and through the grace of Jesus....


#6

No, because it is completely Scriptural. Here’s a couple of passages from the Bible:

34* Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35* for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40* And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41* Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46* And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:34-46)

6* For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11* For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:6-11)

11* Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15* and if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

It is true that we cannot do any work that will get us into heaven apart from the grace of God. But God commands us to do good works, gives us the grace to do them, and holds us liable if we do not do them The above passages make this perfectly clear.


#7

[quote="CHRISTINE77, post:1, topic:341495"]
According to the Athanasian Creed, one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church:

" At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire."

Doesn't this go against the teachings of faith with works for salvation?

Here is a link to the entire creed:
preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Symbola/Quicumque.html

[/quote]

The creed says exactly what scripture says in Matthew 25 and other places.

-Tim-


#8

[quote="CHRISTINE77, post:1, topic:341495"]
According to the Athanasian Creed, one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church:

" At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire."

Doesn't this go against the teachings of faith with works for salvation?

Here is a link to the entire creed:
preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Symbola/Quicumque.html

[/quote]

It's actually a quote from Jon 5:28-29 - "Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment."


#9

[quote="CHRISTINE77, post:1, topic:341495"]
According to the Athanasian Creed, one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church:

" At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire."

Doesn't this go against the teachings of faith with works for salvation?

Here is a link to the entire creed:
preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Symbola/Quicumque.html

[/quote]

I don't think there's a contradiction with the orthodox faith here. By point of comparison, the Church of England accepts the Quicumque as one of its three authoritative, catholic creeds, whilst explicitly teaching justification sola fide! If we can read the Quicumque in such a strongly anti-Pelagian way, I imagine you guys can too!


#10

The important thing here (besides the Bible reference noted above!) is that this Creed is talking about the General Judgment when everybody's deeds become known to everyone, so that nobody can be ignorant of God's perfect justice and amazing mercy.


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.