What is the role and significance of the Nicene Creed?

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megvz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Nicene Creed can often be described as the backbone of Roman Catholicism. In essence, it is a declaration of the basic beliefs of the Catholic faith. It describes the Holy Trinity (which is three parts of one God, yet each of these parts is itself a whole) as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and clarifies how each of these differs from the other. It describes the primary belief that sets Christianity apart from Judaism or Islam, which is that Christ, the Son of God, was crucified, died, and was buried, only to rise from the dead on the third day after having redeemed the world of its sins and rose into heaven to take his place beside God the Father. Furthermore, it establishes the belief that the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church (begun by St. Peter, one of Jesus's twelve disciples, often called the Rock of the Church, following Jesus's ascension into Heaven), the belief that, through baptism, original sin is washed from a person and their future sins will be forgiven, and the belief in a life after death as well as a "second coming" in which the whole world will be saved. These are the very essence of the Catholic faith. Should a person disagree with any of the statements within the Nicene Creed, they typically aren't regarded as Catholic, as these, more than any other statement, are the Catholic faith.