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The Father

The Father is God

That the Father is God is an essential teaching of the Scriptures. In the Gospels, Jesus frequently called God “My Father” (see John 20:17) and taught His disciples to pray to God using the words “our Father” (see Matthew 6:9). Likewise, the Apostle Paul speaks of “God our Father” in his letters to the churches (see 1 Corinthians 1:3; Philippians 4:20). Therefore, from the early Christians to present-day believers, Christians have held to the conviction that the Father is God.

The Father in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament the groundwork was laid for the revelation of the Trinity through the metaphor where God relates to His people as their father. In Deuteronomy, God is pictured as the Father who created His people (see Deuteronomy 32:6). The psalmist proclaimed that God is a Father to the fatherless (see Psalm 68:5). The Lord himself spoke of His fatherly relationship with His people in saying, “I am a Father to Israel…” (Jeremiah 31:9). Christians should be cautioned that these pictures of God as a father do not in any way imply that God is a man. Being Spirit, God is neither male nor female. The metaphor represents God’s committed relationship with His people and His caring authority over them.

Some might ask why the Old Testament’s teaching of God the Father was veiled. One answer is that God sought to embed the idea of His oneness in the minds of His people, as He said in Isaiah, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me” (45:5; see also Deuteronomy 6:4). This way God’s people were ready to properly understand the oneness of the Trinity. But the simplest answer is that God waited to reveal His triune nature at the proper time, namely at the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The Father in the New Testament

The New Testament reveals that the Father is holy (see John 17:11), sovereign (see Matthew 11:25), all powerful (see Mark 14:36), full of love and wanting to forgive (see Luke 15:11–32), the source of all things (see Matthew 11:27; 1 Corinthians 8:6), and all knowing (see Matthew 6:4, 8). Jesus expressed the importance of having fellowship with the Father through His deep, personal relationship with Him. He was constantly praying to the Father and always sought to accomplish His will. The New Testament, therefore, reveals that the Father is indeed God and is worthy of our worship (see John 4:23–24).

The Father in the Trinity

In the New Testament, God revealed His triune nature to His people. The biblical authors attest to the divinity of the Father (see Matthew 11:25), the Son (see John 1:1), and the Holy Spirit (see 2 Peter 1:20–21). While the Son and the Spirit are distinct Persons from the Father, they are of the same substance as the Father. God, therefore, exists as one perfectly unified Being subsisting of three inseparable, distinct, and wholly equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Scripture teaches that God the Father is the Father from eternity, from whom the Son is eternally begotten and from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds. The Father never existed without the Son or the Holy Spirit, nor did He exist before them (John 1:1–3; Genesis 1:1–2, 26). In their divinity, all three Persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal. Therefore, just as we can say that the Son and the Spirit are God, we can boldly proclaim that the Father is God!

(Also see “What We Believe: The Trinity,” “What We Believe: Jesus Christ,” and “What We Believe: The Holy Spirit.”)

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