Bible's Most Significant Name for God Is Father

by Jason Hall

The eternal Fatherhood of God should be a balm to Christians who have a negative relationship with their earthly father, said Mary Kassian, popular women's author and featured speaker at last fall's Women's Fellowship Day at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. "Father," Kassian said, is the most significant name of God in the Bible. "It's astonishing that the God of the universe would have us call him Father," she said. "Father" is not an abstract term. "Father" indicates a personal being." "Father' is the Christian name for God," she said. "God is not merely like a father; He is Father. We glean our meaning of fatherhood from Him." God the Father functions as a standard-bearer and a point of stability. But He is also a comforter. Young people today are part of a largely "fatherless generation," Kassian said, and the inability of men to perform the duties of fatherhood have contributed to the contemporary attacks on the image of God as Father-a view that some see as patriarchal and demeaning. While relationships with earthly fathers are important to the identity of both men and women, Kassian said, poor outcomes of those relationships do not diminish the perfection of God. The relationship of God as Father was most perfectly realized and reflected in the life of Jesus Christ, who constantly referred to God as Father and made it His specific mission to share that relationship with others-a mission that culminated in His death on the cross to make a personal relationship with God the Father possible for sinful humans. "Jesus' relationship with God demonstrates the power and love of God," Kassian said. "When Jesus was on earth, His whole message was this: Come and meet My Dad. Through Me, He can be your Dad, too." To that end, God has put a "Father-longing" into the heart of each person, Kassian said. That longing takes the form of a need for security, comfort, support and love. Unfortunately, that feeling is only a dream for many because their earthly fathers have marred the relationship. "When we become Christians, that dream becomes reality," she said. "Your heart longing will only be satisfied in loving relationship with Him."
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