Article: The Fatherhood Of God | Dr. Julie Thomas, USA
God’s triune nature is central to the Christian faith as well as the epicentre of vehement disputes and debates among theologians for centuries. The oneness of God accentuated in the Book of Deuteronomy in conjecture to the plurality in the Godhead emphasized in the creation accounts of Genesis, along with the New Testament introduction of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has become the ammunition for altercations between Christians and the followers of other monotheistic faiths such as Islam and Judaism. Nonetheless, the majority populace accepts the universal fatherhood of God as a middle ground for peace despite the disagreements in deism. “God is but one, independently of the name we give him, Allah or Yahweh, and so on. God is one and we are his children” said Patriarch Bartholomew in a 2009 interview given to Charlie Rose (referenced below) asserting that people of all religions are the children of God, the Heavenly Father.
The Universal Fatherhood of God
The universal fatherhood of God was first introduced by Adolf von Harnock, the well-known professor of church history, in his book What is Christianity? In it, he summarized Christianity as the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. This novel doctrine was received with applause by liberal groups in the Christian faith. However, scriptures affirm that the fatherhood of God is particular and contingent upon faith in Christ, the son of God. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13). Hence Christianity denies the universal fatherhood of God and confirms that God is Father to only those born into the family of God through faith in the Son of God by the working of the Spirit.
Understanding the Fatherhood of God
Although the title of father is attributed to God in prayer and preaching, this concept is difficult to comprehend and raises reciprocal responses because Christians instinctively compare God, who is perfect, to their imperfect earthy fathers. They are often oblivious to the truth that the fatherhood of God is not patterned after the fatherhood of man, which is tinted by sin, but rather the latter after the former. The fatherhood of God is the blueprint for the fatherhood of man. As the world celebrates Father’s Day this month, each earthly father is encouraged to imitate the Heavenly Father, especially those among us who have endured bitter experiences from fathers who were either abusive or absent.
The Uniqueness of the Fatherhood of God.
The Fatherhood of God is the least disputed personality of the Godhead, agreeable to even those who reject the Biblical concept of a triune God. However, misconceptions prevail in recognizing its uniqueness. The Fatherhood of God is first and foremost singular. It transcends all standards, expectations, and creaturely limitations set forth by human fathers. It is self-existent, immutable, and independent of creation. God is the Father of lights, in whom there is no variation or shadow due to change and through whom comes every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). The Fatherhood of God is unique in its exclusivity. The right to call God “Father” is the sole privilege endowed only to those adopted by faith into the family of the Lord Jesus Christ, of whose Father the whole family in heaven and earth is named (Ephesians 3:14).
Dr. Julie Thomas, USA