Christianity: beliefs and teachings

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  • Created by: Kata J
  • Created on: 19-12-18 10:40

The nature of God

- Christianity is the main religion in Great Britain and has three main traditions: Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.

Catholic: Based in Rome, Orthodox: Split from Catholic church in 1054CE and is practiced in Eastern Europe,    Protestant: Split from the Catholic church and branched out into different denominations. e.g. Methodist, Baptist

- Christianity is monotheistic and means that Christians only believe in one God. 

'You shall have no other gods but me' -  Exodus 20:2-3

 'We believe in one God'- The Nicene Creed

Christians belief that God is the creator and susutainer of all that exists and people are inspired to do God's will. 

People can have a relationship with God through prayer and he is a spirit and therefore does not have a gender but characteristics from both.

God is holy and set apart for a special purpose and is worthy of worship, Jesus is God's son,                                         'The true representation of God on Earth' - Hebrews 1:3

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God as omnipotent, loving and just

Omnipotent: God is the supreme being who is all powerful and has unlimited authority. 

'Nothing is impossible with God' - Luke 1:37

Benevolent: God uses his power to do good and shows his love by caring for the humans that he has created by sending his only son Jesus to the earth.

'God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son' - John 3:16

Just: God is a fair judge of humankind and will never support injustice, ill-treatment, prejudice or oppression. 

The problems of evil and suffering:

- If God is benevolent then why does he allow people to suffer and hurt others. 

- If God is omnipotent then why does he not prevent evil and suffering such as natural disasters. 

- If God is just then why does he allow injustice to take place.

= Christians believe a just God treats people fairly so they trust him even when things seem to be going wrong. 

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The Oneness of God and the Trinity

- God is understood as Christians to be a loving relationship between, Father, God and Holy Spirit. 

- There are 3 persons all of which are God

- There is only one God, each person of the Trinity is fully God, the persons of the Trinity aren't the same

God the father: the creator of all life, acts as a good father to his children. He is omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent. 

God the son: became incarnate through Jesus who was fully human whilst he was on Earth, has a special relationship with God the father. 

God the holy spirit: the unseen power of God at work in the world, who influences, guides and sustains life on Earth. 

'I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and Earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our lord. Who was conceived by the Holy spirit.' - The Apostles' Creed

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Different Christian beliefs about creation

Genesis 1:1-3

- Many Christians believe that although the story isn't scientifically accurate it does have some religious truth to it, they believe that God made the world in literally 6 days and created everything good and continues to make new things everyday and the Holy Spirit and God the Father were involved in the creation. 

'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep abd the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light" and there was light' - Genesis 1:1-3

John 1:1-3

- In John's gospel, everything was created through the Word, who was God and with God. The Word is the Son of God who is portrayed as Jesus and Christians believe that it was him who was involved with the creation. 

'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.' - John 1:1-3

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The incarnation

The incarnation: 

- On separate occasions an angel appeared to Mary and Joseph to explain that it was no ordinary conception and that it wasn't going to be an ordinary child that she would give birth to. 

- In the gospels of Matthew and Luke it explains how Mary conceived Jesus without having had sex. 

- The virgin conception is evidence that Jesus was the Son of God and therefore part of the Holy Trinity.

- Through the incarnation, God showed himself to be a human being (Jesus) for around 30 years. 

'This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit' - Matthew 1:1

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Jesus, the Son of God

- Jesus was fully God and fully human which helps to explain his miracles and also his resurrection. 

- His words, deeds and promises have great authority because they are the word of God. 

- Most Jews expected a Messiah to come and save Israel and establish peace, however, they do not believe that Jesus was that person. 

- Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah but a spiritual one rather than a political one. 

- Gospel writers refer to Jesus as 'the annointed one' but his followers at the time didn't call him this as they were worried that he could have been arrested for blasphemy (claiming to be God).

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling amoung us.' - John 1:14

'When Jesus was baptised, a voice from heaven said, "You are my Son".' - Mark 1:1

'You may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.' - John 21:31

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The Crucifixion

  • Jesus was sentenced to death (crucifixion) by Pontious Pilate. 
  • Jesus forgave those who crucified him and promised one of the men who was being crucified with him that he would meet God in paradise. 
  • Jesus' body was buried in a cave-like tomb when he had died after spending 6 hours on the cross. 

'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.' - Luke 23:46

  • Although Jesus was fully God he was also fully human and therefore suffered pain and horror and died through asphyxiation. 
  •  One of the Roman centurions in charge of the crucifixion praised God and acknowledged that Jesus had done good and been a righteous man.

' Surely this man was the Son of God.' - Mark 15:39

  • Jesus' sacrifice on the cross gives people hope that their sins will be forgiven if they repent..
  • Christians who believe in God understand human suffering and accept it because Jesus, who is God experienced it

Once Jesus was buried Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus in a tomb and the entrance was blocked with a stone but the burial had to be rushed because the Sabbath was about to start. 

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The Resurrection

  • Some of Jesus' followers went to visit his tomb to annoint his body (this included Mary Magdalene) 
  • However, Jesus' body was not there.
  • A man who could have been an angel told the women to go and spread the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead.
  • Jesus appeared to several people over the next few days including Mary Magdalane and his disciples. He told them that he had risen from the dead as he has said he would before he was crucifiied. 

- Some Christians believe that a person's soul is resurrected immediately after death whilst others believe that the dead will be resurrected at some time in the future, when Jesus will return to judge everyone that has ever lived. 

- Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe in bodily resurrection. This means that the resurrection is physical aswell as spiritual because the old body lost at death becomes a new spiritual body. However, some Christians believe that a resurrection will just be spiritual and not physical aswell. 

- A belief in resurrection means that, life after death is real, it gives hope of a future life with Jesus, gives confidence in the face of death, shows Christians how much God loves them, inspired Christians to live life the way that God want them to.

'But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead' - 1 Corinthians 15:22

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The Ascension

- After meeting with his disciples and asking them to carry on his good work, Jesus left for the last time, returning to God the Father in heaven. This event was known was the Ascension. 

- If Jesus had the power of God to rise from the dead then maybe he also had the power to leave Earth and physically return to heaven. 

- Mark and Luke's gospels say that after meeting his disciples he left them for the last time. 

'When he had lead them out to the vincity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing, he left them and was taken up to heaven.' - Luke 25:50-51

- Jesus' ascension assures Christians that God will forgive their sins and if they follow the teachings of Christanity then the will become closer to God in this life and the life after that. 

- The ascension shows that Jesus is back with the Father, which paves the way for the coming of the Holy Spirit to provide comfort and also guidance. 

- Without this event there would be no Christian faith. 

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The significance of Resurrection & Ascension

Resurrection:

- Shows the power of good vs evil and life over death. 

- Means that sins of Christians will be forgiven if they follow the laws that God has set out for them. 

- Meaning that Christians will also be resurrected if they accept Jesus, so death doesn't need to be feared.

Ascension:

Shows that Jesus is now with God in heaven. 

- Paves the way for God to send the Holy Spirit to provide comfort and guidance for those remaining on the Earth such as his disciples. 

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The afterlife and judgement

  • Christians believe that they will be resurrected and recieve eternal life after they die, which is dependent on their faith.
  • They will be judged by God after they die and will be rewarded by being sent to heaven or punished by being sent to hell. 
  • 'The Day of Judgement' is when the world will end and Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. 
  • At this time many Christians believe that their souls will enter a different dimension.
  • When they die Christians think that God will judge them on their behaviour and actions during their lifetime including their faith in Jesus. 
  • The parable of the sheep and the goats as told by Jesus describes the way in which the judgement will be made, in serving others, they are serving Jesus, and this is how rthey should live their lives. 
  • Jesus told his disciples that he would have a special place in heaven for them with God amd made it clear that having faith in him and following his teachings was essential.

'He is seated at the right hand of the father and will come again to judge the living and the dead.' - The Apostles Creed

'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me' - John 14:6

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Heaven & Hell

  • After God's judgement, Christians will either experience eternal happiness in the presence of God (heaven), or be unable to experience God's presence (hell).
  • Catholics believe some people might enter an intermediate state known as purgatory before heaven. 
  • Knowledge of these states is limited and linked to imagery of the past. 

Heaven & purgatory:  Heaven is though to be a physical place or a spiritual state of peace, joy and freedom from pain and suffering. Some Christians believe that only believers in Jesus are allowed into heaven whereas some think it's anyone who has pleased God by living a good live and others believe baptised Christians are allowed, regardless of how they have lived their lives. Heaven is a reward for both faith and actions. Purgatory is an intermediate stage where souls are cleansed in order to enter heaven. (Catholic belief) 

Hell: Hell is the opposite of heaven - a state without the existence of God and is pictured as a place with eternal torment ruled by the devil, who is a powerful source of evil. Many people question whether a loving God would condemn people to eternal torment and pain in hell, so some people see hell as a state of mind in which you cut yourself off from God and there is no possibility of him in your life. Hell would be there for people who didn't acknowledge God or didn't follow his teachings during their life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

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Sin and Salvation

  • Sin - any action or thought that separates humans from God.
  • Thoughts (anger) can lead to acts (murder).
  • Some sins like murder or assault are illegal whereas some sins like adultery are simple against the laws of God.
  • Christians believe that all humans commit sins because of the built in tendancy called 'Original Sin.'
  • Original sin comes from Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden, they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge which had been forbidden by God. 
  • The result of their sin was separation from God and the introduction of death into the world. 
  • God gave people free will but they should use this to make choices that God would agree with.
  • Guidlines are given by God in the form of the 10 Commandments. 
  • Salvation is to be saved from sin and it's consequences and be granted eternal life with God, it repairs the damages caused by sin and has separated God and people. 
  • Salvation can happen through doing good works and through grace. 

'In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead' - James 2:17

'For it is by grace you have been saved' - Ephesians 2:8

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The role of Christ in Salvation

  • Jesus' crucifixion made up for the original sin of Adam and Eve. 
  • The death of Jesus, as an innocent man, was necessary to restore the relationship between God and the believers, to bring them salvation.
  • Jesus' resurrection shows the goodness of Jesus defeated the evil of sin. 
  • God has accepted Jesus' sacrifice on behalf of humanity.
  • Humans can now recieve forgiveness for their sins. 
  • Jesus' death and resurrection made it possible for all who follow his teachings to gain eternal life. 
  • Atonement removes the effects of sin and allows people to restore their relationship with God.
  • Many Christians believe that through the sacrifice of his death, Jesus took the sins of humanity all upon himself and atoned the sins of humanity.
  • This sacrifice makes it possible for all who follow Jesus' teachings to recieve eternal life with God. 

'He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but for the sins of the while world.' - 1John 2:1-2

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