In this study, we will examine what the Scriptures say concerning God the Father. We'll begin by reading once again the relevant section of the AMC statement*.
We believe that God is one but has manifested Himself in three separate and distinct Persons. Hence, we believe that God is a Tri-unity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the creator of all things. He is infinite and perfect, eternally existing in three equal persons, each possessing the nature of deity, as well as the characteristics of personality. He is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19; John 6:27; Acts 5:3,4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:8 *Full AMC Statement
By personality in the statement is meant "personhood", the essential attributes of which are: intellect, the ability to think, reason and plan; emotions, the ability to feel affectively with one's spirit; and will, the ability to choose a course of action.
The statement continues:
Part 1: God the Father - We believe He is Father over all creation, and thus its sovereign ruler; Father of Israel, whom He has chosen as His unique people; Father of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), whom He sent into the world to redeem mankind and creation; and Father of all who trust in His gracious provision. (Exodus 4:22; Matthew 3:17; John 1:12, 3:16; Acts 17:29; Galatians 3:26)
1 Corinthians 8:6: ... there is only one God, the Father, from whom everything came into being and for whom we live.
Job 9:5-7: [He] removes the mountains, shakes the earth out of its place. Speak[s] to the sun, and it does not rise; and seals up the stars.
Exodus 4:22: Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born:
Deuteronomy 7:6: Jehovah your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Matthew 3:17: And lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 8:21: That the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name.
THE REALMS OF THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD
God Is Named Father Over Six Realms *
Scripture names God as the heavenly Father over six specific realms: His eternal Son, Creation, Angels, Humanity, Israel, and believers in Jesus.
1. Father of His Eternal Son, the Second Person of the Godhead, Messiah Jesus. God is the Father of His eternal Son from eternity past to eternity future, not just during the period of time when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
Jesus is called the Son of God in John 3:16-17: 16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Among other verses that declare God’s Fatherhood of the Son, many of which strongly imply the eternality of the Father-Son relationship, are: Psalm 2:2,7; Proverbs 30:4; John 1:18; 3:16-17; 11:27; 16:28; Galatians 4:4; Colossians 1:13-16; Hebrews 1:2,5,8; 4:14; 5:5; 1 John 3:8; 4:9,10,14; 5:20.
The word begotten is often used of the Son. This does not imply any sort of biological conception. God the Father did not conceive the Son at any point in eternity past, nor did He biologically conceive Jesus in the womb of Mary. The egg in Mary’s womb began to grow into the God-Man when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her (Luke 1:35).
means unique. Isaac was not Abraham’s only son; Abraham had Ishmael prior to Isaac and six sons subsequent to him. Nevertheless, Hebrews 11:17 refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only begotten because Isaac was unique: he was the only one of Abraham’s eight sons that was in the covenant line.
2. The Father of Creation
Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Acts 4:24 adds, “and all that is in them.”
1 Corinthians 8:6 speaks of God, the Father, of whom are all things.
James 1:17 declares, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Many translations and commentators agree that lights here refers to sun, moon and stars. John MacArthur writes, “Father of lights. An ancient Jewish expression for God as the Creator, with ‘lights’ referring to the sun, moon, and stars.”
God is the Father of Creation by virtue of having created it.
God is the Father of all things in Creation and all that is in it. The above passages, then, and others like them, support the Fatherhood of God over the other specifically named realms of God’s Fatherhood, as follows:
3. The Father of Angels
It is noted in Colossians 1:16 that the Second Person of the Godhead created the angels: For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; but if there is any question as to whether the Father was involved in the creation of angels, let us again note 1 Corinthians 8:6 and James 1:17 above, and that, in Genesis 1, such phrases as God created, God said and let us make appear repeatedly, indicating that God the Father, who decrees all things (cf. Matthew 10:29-30), decreed the creation of the angels. Therefore, God is the Father of angels by virtue of creation.
4. The Father of All Humanity
Several passages indicated that God is the father of all humanity by virtue of having created them.
Genesis 2:4-5 relates the creation of mankind’s first parents by God.
In Acts 17:26, Paul tells the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, He has made from one blood every nation of men; and in verse 29, we are the offspring of God.
It is noteworthy that, though Paul was a believer and the Mars Hill philosophers were not, he declared that both he and they were the offspring, or children, of God. God is the Father of all humanity by virtue of creation. This is not to be confused with God's special Fatherhood of believers, addressed below.
5. The Father of Israel
Since God is the Father of all humanity and, therefore, of every nation, He is, of course, the Father of Israel. But He is also the Father of Israel in a special sense.
In Exodus 4:22-23, God instructed Moses, 22. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, '”Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me.’”
There were nations in existence before Israel; for example, Abraham was a Chaldean. So in what sense was Israel God’s firstborn?
In the Israelite culture of that day, the biological firstborn son was the one who normally received a double inheritance among all the sons and was the one who would inherit his father’s role as head of the family. The special place of the biological firstborn is brought out in Exodus 13:1-2: 1. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2. "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine."
However, exceptions did occur for various reasons. Consider the cases of Esau and Jacob in Genesis 25:29-34, Reuben and Joseph in 1Chronicles 5:1 and Joseph and Judah in 1Chronicles 5:2. In a parallel manner, though there were nations in the world before Israel, God consecrated Israel for special training in holiness, for leadership, service and privilege. He set them aside to be that nation which would carry His Name among the nations, write both Testaments, bring forth the Messiah, establish the church, complete the evangelization of the world (during the Great Tribulation), and be His first line of witnesses in the Millennium. (See the author’s study, The Chosenness of Israel.)
Because God set Israel aside for special training and service, He declared her His firstborn.
Other passages that bring out the Fatherhood of God over Israel are Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 3:4, Hosea 11:1 and Malachi 1:6.
6. The Father of Believers in Jesus
There were believers in the coming Messiah before the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost, but Scripture specifically declares the Fatherhood of God over church saints, those who come to faith between Pentecost and the Rapture. The following passages show that church saints are in a unique, special, intimate, personal Father-son relationship with the Father because they are born of God by virtue of being born of the Spirit.
John 1:12-13: 12. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13. who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:3-6: 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you,
unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to Him,
"How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John also notes that believers are born of God in 1 John 3:9, 4:7, 5:1,4,18. Note in particular 1 John 5:1: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
Romans 8:14-16: 14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of
God. 15: For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16. The Spirit
Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
The Significance of the Fatherhood of God
The Fatherhood of God over all the realms over which He is Father implies that He is the initiator of the relationship and that He exercises oversight, care for, and authority over them; and where He is designated Father of humanity and those divisions of humanity designated as Israel or believers, it indicates that He exercises a special love for them; for example, John 3:16: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
~ ~ ~
* The Six Realms concept and much of the material in this study was brought to the author’s attention by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum via his Messianic Bible Study 051: God the Father, available at www.arielministries.org.