Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Why We Call God 'Father'

Excerpts from 
"Why We Call God 'Father'

Fro at least the past 40 years, traditional language for God has come under fire.

Underlying this view is a belief that terms like father and mother are mere human characterizations of God, shaped by specific cultural and backgrounds.

But before we jump onto the theological bandwagon, we need to reexamine the reasons for the use of masculine terms for God in Scripture and throughout the Christian tradition.

Most ancient Near Eastern societies had a goddess as the main cult figure or at least to complement a male god--Asherah in Canann, Isis in Egypt, Tiamat in Babylon.  If patriarchy is responsible for cultures portraying God as male, then we would expect goddess worship to reflect a matriarchal society--one in which women were given superior status or at lease are equal to men.  But this is not the case.

In the new Testament, God's fatherhood conveys two distinct ideas.
First, it refers to the internal relationship within the Trinity. ... Jesus reveals a unique relationship between the Father and Son that constitutes the beginning of the Trinitarian doctrine.  
Second, the father metaphor points to God as the Creator (e.g., Isa. 64:8, Mal. 2:10) "from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name" (Eph. 3:15).

The Christian story is not merely an illustration.

The term Trinity is simply shorthand for the Christian story of God the Father, who sent his Son Jesus Christ and gave us his Holy Spirit.

If we leave out God's nature as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we risk turning the Christian story into another story.

By using this divine in its liturgy, the church is saying that this story, and no other, creates and shapes her unique identity as the people of Jesus Christ.  A generic name, even with many descriptive adjectives, dows not adequately distinguish the Christian identity.

Father is not a culturally conditioned term but the proper name of God given by divine revelation.

Read the entire article in Christianity Today

No comments:

Post a Comment