Thursday, June 18, 2015

On Calling God Our Father

That God is personified as “He” in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and that He would have us call Him “Father,” says more about us, our needs and our nature, and about who we are in relation to God, than it does about the infinite God.

Everything that exists here in the world, in the finite realm of space and time, has its origins in God, in eternity, and is only rightly seen when viewed in relation to God.  That God would want to be called “Father” and “He” is God’s own way of making Himself in a way (albeit a very limited way) understandable to us in terms we can grasp, just as Sacred Scripture speaks of God as having “eyes,” or a “hand,” “right arm,” or a “back.” Knowing us better than we could ever know ourselves, God knew best what we would need from Him, which was, in the fullness of time, to reveal Himself as Father through His Son, and to reveal the fullness of His love for us in giving that Son up to death for us.

We can be certain that we bear something of God’s likeness, but we can also be certain that this does not in turn mean that God is like us. “The Father” is not in any way a male human being. When Jesus, Who became man, Who took on human flesh to redeem our flesh, says, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), He is speaking of the perfect communion of their persons and natures. They are still distinct persons. Jesus came from the Father and exists in the Father, but He Himself is not the Father.  Unlike us, Jesus bears the Father’s image and likeness perfectly ("Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9)). It is Jesus who taught us to call God “Father,” and it is in fact only in Christ that we can call God “Father,” as we have only become God's adopted children in Christ. As St. John writes at the beginning of his first epistle, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 1:2).

No comments:

Post a Comment