God the Father: The Name and Essence

This is part 2 of our 4 part series on a doctrinal statement about god and the Trinity. This post will focus mainly on God the Father providing information and definitions for Him, His names, and attributes. This is again trying to be a high-level overview about God the Father. Because He is infinite and infinitely holy and good, there are not enough words to capture His glory or glorious qualities. Nor even if there were enough words, would they be adequate to describe Him. For many, a bigger discussion would be needed to describe what each means or comes from. The last part on “essence” could be a book on its own.

You will notice that the section on God the Father is the shortest, mainly because there is the least controversy about God and Hime being a Father. Many forms or variations of monotheism will recognize God  or God as Father, but throughout history, some of the greatest debates and controversies have surrounded Jesus and His diety and the Holy Spirit and His Diety.

I believe in one God, the Father[i], the all-powerful Lord and Master, the Glorious and Majestic God of all. I believe that God is the Creator and Maker of heaven and earth, and all that is seen and unseen.[ii] He is the only God, the Creator and Sustainer, the Most High One, the Lord.[iii] The Father is completely self-existent, self-sufficient and free.[iv] I believe the Father is the Divine Source[v], Sovereign Ruler[vi], Lord Chief Justice[vii], Compassionate Reconciler[viii], Him to Whom All Things Return[ix], and the Father of the Son.[x]

[i] Deut 32:6; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 68:5; Jn 6:27, Rom 1:7, Eph 4:6. “[T]he term God or theos generally denotes the person of the Father, with only a few important exceptions.” Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 3 God the Father who Draws Near, ST102 class notes, DTS, 7. “Everything that Christ taught… is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 224.

[ii] Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

[iii] God reveals His name most frequently as Yahweh (LORD, I AM), Elohim (powerful ones or God, gods), and Adonai (Lord, master).

[iv] God does not originate from or depend on anything outside of Himself. He sustains all things and is necessarily self-existent. Job 41:11; Acts 17:24-25; Rom 11:35-36.

[v] Acts 17:24-25, 28; Eph 1:11, 4:6; Rev 4:11.

[vi] Deut 10:14, 17; 1 Chron 29:11-12; Matt 11:25; 1 Tim 6:15.

[vii] Gen 18:25; Ex 12:12; Lev 18:4; Luke 23:34; John 8:15-16.

[viii] John 3:16; Acts 14:15-17; 1 John 4:8, 16; 2 Cor 5:18-19.

[ix] 1 Cor 15:24-28; Col 1:20; Rev 1:8, 21:22, 22:13.

[x] To explain the doctrine of the Trinity more fully, a distinction between essence and persons is helpful. It is helpful to remember that each member of the Trinity is present in every act of God, either in a primary or a secondary role. The one divine essence includes attributes that are equally shared by each member of the Godhead, but these six roles are predominantly ascribed to the Father. Other roles and activities of the Father include: God as husband and Judah/Israel as wife (Hos 2:2-16; Jer 3:1-14); the potter with human beings as the clay (Isa 45:9-10; Rom 9:21-24); the good Shepherd of the sheep (Ps 23; John 10:11-16); and the Vinedresser, with Jesus as the vine, and the believers the branches (John 15:1-8) – cf Dr. J. Scott Horrell, Chapter 3 God the Father who Draws Near, ST102 class notes, DTS, 13. In reference to God as the Father of the Son, see: Luke 23:24; John 3:16, 8:15-16, 17:5, 24.

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