Wednesday, June 3, 2009

God As Father...

I realize not everyone sees Him as Father….and some are more drawn to the feminine side of God…which most surely does exist. (and which is clearly expressed when he reveals himself in scripture as El Shaddai) At this point in my journey, he has mainly revealed himself to me as Abba Father.

I did a bit of study about God as Father revealed in the Bible (more so than as mother) when it came up in an internet conversation a few years ago.

In the New Testament the Greek word for father is “Pater”.

Following is the strongs definition of the word.  Feel free to skim through. There will be no surprise quiz at the end of this post :)

Strong's 3962

Original word: path/r - apparently a root word

Transliterated Word: Pater

Parts of Speech: Noun Masculine

1) generator or male ancestor
a) either the nearest ancestor: father of the corporeal nature, natural fathers, both parents
b) a more remote ancestor, the founder of a family or tribe, progenitor of a people, forefather: so Abraham is called, Jacob and David
1) fathers i.e. ancestors, forefathers, founders of a nation
c) one advanced in years, a senior
2) metaph.
a) the originator and transmitter of anything
1) the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself
2) one who has infused his own spirit into others, who actuates and governs their minds
b) one who stands in a father's place and looks after another in a paternal way
c) a title of honour
1) teachers, as those to whom pupils trace back the knowledge and training they have received
2) the members of the Sanhedrin, whose prerogative it was by virtue of the wisdom and experience in which they excelled, to take charge of the interests of others
3) God is called the Father
a) of the stars, the heavenly luminaries, because he is their creator, upholder, ruler
b) of all rational and intelligent beings, whether angels or men, because he is their creator, preserver, guardian and protector
1) of spiritual beings and of all men
c) of Christians, as those who through Christ have been exalted to a specially close and intimate relationship with God, and who no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but revere him as their reconciled and loving Father
d) the Father of Jesus Christ, as one whom God has united to himself in the closest bond of love and intimacy, made acquainted with his purposes, appointed to explain and carry out among men the plan of salvation, and made to share also in his own divine nature
1) by Jesus Christ himself
2) by the apostles

It occurs 418 times in the KJV of the NT....always translated father.  268 times in Capital “F” father (God) and 150 times with a little “f” referring to earthly fathers. 

In the Old Testament the word for father is

Strong's 01

Original Word ; b) a root word

Transliterated Word: 'ab

Part of Speech noun masculine

Outline of Biblical Usage

1) father of an individual

2) of God as father of his people

3) head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan

4) ancestor

a) grandfather, forefathers -- of person

b) of people

5) originator or patron of a class, profession, or art

6) of producer, generator (fig.)

7) of benevolence and protection (fig.)

8) term of respect and honour

9) ruler or chief (spec.)

The Hebrew word which is translated "father" is used for God (again capital F) and also of father (little f) 1205 times. It is translated into other words such as chief, 2; desire, 1; families, 2; fatherless + (0369), 1; forefathers + (07223), 1; patrimony, 1; prince, 1; principal, 1…you can see, just a time or two here and there.

Many verses came up in the list of verses that contained this word...1205 to be exact.  I did not read all the verses...but here are two that express the idea as God as Father.  

Jer 3:19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.

Isa 63:16 For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. (ESV)

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (ESV)

Deut 32:6 Don't you realize it is GOD you are treating like this? This is crazy; don't you have any sense of reverence? Isn't this your father who created you, who made you and gave you a place on Earth? (MSG)

I've thought about this a lot since it came up on several years ago......and for me, Father works just fine.  I see some characteristics in the definitions of both the Greek and Hebrew words for father that I wish had been present in my own father.  It gives me a great sense of security to know that my Heavenly Father is indeed, a perfect Father. I absolutely respect the belief of those who see a need to broaden the way they think about and refer to God because he truly cannot be squeezed into a box labeled father.....or mother for that matter.

More on that in my next post.....

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