Question on the Creed


I always thought the Creed came about to counter heresies and to state the Church’s position. At the time the Creed was formulated, did all Christians (heretics or not) hold that Jesus was completely present Body, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist?

If not, why doesn’t the Creed state that we believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Surely this is a seminal position of the Catholic Church.



The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was defined largely in opposition to the heresy of Arianism, which was in vogue at the time. Thus, you find a great emphasis on the divinity of Christ, being co-equal with the Father: “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God,” etc.

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was simply not doubted enough to be presented in the Creed. The sacraments barely make it in at all with: “I confess one baptism for the remission of sins” because there was some controversey about re-baptism.

The Eucharist was then and remains the source and the summit of the Christian life.


The first real oposition to the Eucharist comes in the fifth century. Before that, no one really doubted it.

Here is a quote from J.N.D. Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines (pg. 317-318)

The oppsosition to Nestorius found a brilliant, if far from scrupulous, mouthpiece in Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria. While jealousy of the upstart see of Constantinople sometimes made him adopt an uncharitable tone, he was basically inspired by concern for theological truth. As he understood it, Nestorius’s teaching, epitomized in his attack on Theotokos, presupposed a merely external association between the Word and and ordinary man. From this point of view the incarnation became an illusion, a matter of ‘appearance’ and ‘empty words’. The redemption was undermined, since Christ’s sufferings and saving acts were, presumably, not those of God incarnate but of one who was a mere man. Similarly the conception of Christ as the second Adam inagurating a new, regenerated race of mankind demanded, he thought, a much more intimate union of the Word with the flesh than Nestorius postulateted. **Above all, in his opinion Nestorius had deprived the eucharist of life giving force and reduced it to cannibalism, since on his premisses only the body of a man lay on the altar and the flesh consumed by the faithful was not truly vivified by the Logos. **



And even then, Nestorius didn’t deny the Real Presence. He was just mistaken about who Christ is.


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