Happy father’s day weekend to all fathers and father figures! The vocation you fulfill is a holy one. Thank you for the service you provide out of love.
Now, this year Father’s Day happens to fall on Holy Trinity Sunday. This coinciding with celebrations might bring some attention to God the Father. Lately, there has been a critical eye turned towards this word. But we must acknowledge one of the sins Christians have committed by using the name of God the Father. Christians have used the name of God the Father to injure and hurt women throughout the ages. Also, we sadly know that not all fathers have been as loving as they ought to have been. For these, and other concerns, there has been a discussion of changing the word of “Father” when referring to that particular person of the Godhead. It would be prudent for this conversation to recall why we know God the Father as “Father” in the first place.
It is noteworthy that the Old Testament rarely refers to God as “Father.” When starting from Genesis 1, we get all the way to 1 Chronicles 17 to see an instance when God is called a father. The prophets and the Apocrypha add to the total number of times God is named “Father.” However, the number of times the Old Testament refers to God as “King” and “Lord” are much more common.
“Then how did we start calling one person of God ‘Father‽’” To put it simply: that is how Jesus refers to that person of the Godhead. Because Jesus is God, we take what he says as divine revelation. Technically, the person of God we call the “Father” is transcendent beyond gender and biological sex. This transcendence means that referring to God the Father with He/Him/His pronouns is a bit misleading. However, because Jesus Christ, our incarnate Lord and God calls this person of God “Father” and invites us to call this person of God “Father,” we do.
Remember! God the Holy Spirit adopted us to be God’s children. On our own, it would be very impertinent to refer to the Deity that chose to call themselves “I AM WHO I AM” by any name. But we know that the incarnate person of God, Jesus of Nazareth, has revealed his relationship with this other person of God to be like that of a son to a father. In fact, Jesus invites us to also call upon God the Father in our prayers. Because of this, we get the formula of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
May God continue to be with you!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+