The Fatherhood of God
Vol: 109 Issue: 28 Thursday, October 28, 2010
For all the sacred texts, for all the opinions and views and expectations and religious assumptions, and despite the best efforts of our imagination, it is not given to the human mind to fully comprehend the infinite God.
We can know some of His greatness and glory through observation and we can know something of Him through His Word and through the revelation of His Son, and such the retention of that knowledge is both a privilege and a duty.
God is revealed through nature as its Designer and Creator and through the Scriptures, which directly testify of Him. He is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who came to introduce men to Him.
Our human minds seem more readily able to grasp the concept of God as Creator than it does as Father, but the Scriptures reveal Him more as in His capacity as Father than as Creator. Still, any investigation of God is more likely to consider the creative abilities of God than His Fatherhood.
God the Creator is simply a generic title. In this sense, any that is called “God” and afforded the title of “Creator” speaks to the real Creator God, no matter who the intended addressee might be. There is one God and He is the Creator and He will be the God and Creator that He is regardless of what name He is called by.
That is not to say that all ways lead to salvation. While all roads lead to God in the end, there is only one road leads to salvation.
There is only one God by whatever name you approach Him, but that doesn’t mean He will answer to whatever name you choose. God is not a stray puppy.
If one is praying to a heathen god, it is still the Omniscient God that hears, since there is no other. But God is Creator of all things, but Father only to His children.
God is presented as ‘Father’ in the Scriptures in four distinct respects.
1. Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort .” (2nd Corinthians 1:3)
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” (2nd Corinthians 11:31)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3)
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:4)
“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” (Colossians 1:3)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” ( 1st Peter 1:3)
God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not, God the Creator of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father. Note also that God is presented as both “The God of” and “Father of” our Lord.
On the human side, the First Person of the Godhead is referred to as His God, whereas as the Second Person of the Godhead, He is referred to as His Father.
The connection in which the First Person is mentioned as His Father has continued throughout eternity. The connection in which the First Person is His God is in Jesus’ humanity which had a beginning with His virgin Birth but has no end.
There is no hint of inferiority or succession between God the Father and God the Son – it is more a case of manifestation. Instead, there appears to be a unique, eternal affiliation between the first Two Persons of the Godhead that is best conveyed to our minds in the pattern of father and son.
The Arian and Gnostic traditions argue that Christ, while unique, was inferior to the Father. From this heresy springs all kinds of other heresies, like Jesus and Lucifer were brothers (JWs, LDS) or Unitarianism (popular among the Founding Fathers) and so on.
That requires rejecting the clear teaching of Scriptures such as Luke 1:35, which identifies Jesus as the physical Son of God through the Holy Ghost.
It requires rejecting the doctrine that became One with the Father at His Resurrection.
It demands the assumption He is only the Son by virtue of His office. But Scriptures teach that He was One with the Father before the world began.
2. God is also the Father of all who believe.
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12)
Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God. When you received Jesus, you became a legitimate offspring of God through adoption. As adopted sons, we are co-equal heirs with Jesus Christ.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
The symbolism of adoption in Judaism is deliberately chosen. A Jew may disown his sons, disinheriting them and going so far as to declare them judicially ‘dead’ to the family.
That is not permitted in the case of an adopted son. Jewish law prohibits disinheriting an adopted son – no matter what. An adopted son is a son forever.
(When we were last in Israel, I heard a little Jewish kid call his father “Abba.” It means, “Daddy.”)
The promise of Romans 8:17 is that we will eventually be conformed to the image of His Son and transforming us into actual sons of God, otherwise we could never be considered joint-heirs with Christ.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)
We are conformed to the image of His Son when we receive our glorified bodies at the Rapture. At the present time, God’s attention is focused on bringing many sons unto glory.
3. God is the Father of Israel.
Several times in the Old Testament God addresses the nation of Israel as His sons. This relationship isn’t one in which individual Israelites were regenerated unto salvation by God, but rather connotes the national solicitude or fatherhood by reason of parental care for all. God has also declared Himself husband to Israel, completing the familial symbolism between Himself and His Chosen People.
4. God is the father of all mankind.
The first four books of the New Testament each trace the genealogy of Jesus Christ backwards to King David and all the way back to Adam:
“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (Luke 3:28)
Adam’s right of sonship came by way of direct creation – the only concept of Divine fatherhood within reach of an unregenerate Gentile.
Addressing the unregenerate Greeks at Mars Hill who worshipped THE UNKNOWN GOD, Paul identified them as the offspring of God.
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17:28-29)
All men, saved or lost, are the sons of God inasmuch as they owe their existence to Him. But this kind of sonship is based on mere existence without relationship. It is a relationship in which Father and son have never met and that’s the way the son wants to keep it.
Any study of the Fatherhood of God brings with it the tragic sense of loss that comes when that lost sinner enters eternity with all hope of fellowship eternally lost.
One that God loves so much that He sent His much beloved and only –begotten Son to seek and to save. One that Jesus loved so much that He willingly laid down His life to save is lost forever.
The tragedy in heaven when such a one is lost must be unbearable.
That is where we come in. We are sons of God, eternally saved, and secure in the knowledge that we are saved by grace through faith. As actual, literal sons of God, we have an obligation to reflect the Father’s love.
So the next time you are led to share the Gospel with someone and you’re hesitating over it, think about it from both perspectives.
How much would you have to love God to want to spare Him the agony of having to condemn one of His errant sons?
And secondly, how much would you have to hate that person to know the way to eternal life and not tell them about it?
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1st John 3:17)