Father of the Fatherless -- By: Mary A. Kassian

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 04:4 (Spring 2000)
Article: Father of the Fatherless
Author: Mary A. Kassian

Father of the Fatherless

Mary A. Kassian

Women Approaching God As Father

God has said ofyou, “I will dwell in [you] and walk among [you], and I will be [your] God and [you] shall be Mypeople.... I will welcome you. And I will be a Father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me. (2 Cor. 6:16–18).

Does every child need a father? Increasingly, our society’s answer to this question is no, or at least not necessarily. Each night, about forty percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live.1 And not only have we as a society lost the presence of fathers, we have lost something more fundamental: We have lost our idea of fatherhood. We are living in a culture of fatherlessness.

Unlike earlier periods of father absence caused by war, our cultural loss is more than physical and it affects every home. The most important absence our society must confront is not the absence of fathers but the absence of our belief in fathers.2 Few idea shifts in this century have had such enormous implications. At stake is who we are as male and female, what type of society we will become, and even more importantly, the way we understand and relate to God.

God is our Father. Why do we call Him that? God is not male. He is a spirit. And does not the Bible use a number of maternal metaphors to speak of how God relates to His people? Did He not give birth to the Jewish nation (Deut. 32:18)? Does He not have compassion on us like a mother has compassion on the baby at her breast (Isa. 49:13)? Does He not nurse, nurture, and comfort us like a mother does (Ps. 131:2; Isa. 66:13)? Because so many women, particularly those who come into Christianity from non-religious backgrounds, wrestle with the idea of addressing God with masculine pronouns, shouldn’t we refer to God as Mother, or at least as Mother and Father? Why do we address God as Father?

The first and most obvious reason is this: That is what He wants to be called. The First Person of the Trinity has many names—Almighty One, Creator, Most High, Holy Holy Holy, Rock, the Great I AM—but when Jesus came to tear away the veil so we could look directly into the heart of God, He revealed God as Father. Jesus used the word Father more than any other description or name. And He taught us to address God in the same way: “Our Father who is in heaven We address God as Father because He has revealed Himself to us as Father and not a...

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