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Part Three: The Divinity of the Father

Introduction

Now that we have covered the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity and a brief understanding of the doctrine, we will now examine the divinity of each of the persons of the Trinity, beginning with the divinity of the Father. It is demonstrably clear that this part of the series will be the shortest, as this point is practically never debated within Christian circles. The idea that the Father of the Trinity being divine is foundational for not only the New Testament revelation of the Trinity, but for the entirety of the Bible.

God as Father in the Tanakh (OT)

The idea of Yahweh (God) as Father exists within the Tanakh more so metaphorically than compared to its metaphysical understanding within the New Testament. Ancient Israel understood God to serve as their metaphorical Father, notably in his role as redeemer from bondage in Egypt, and this understanding is reflected in a number of texts.

Look down from heaven and see,
from your holy and beautiful habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion
      are held back from me.
For you are our Father,
      though Abraham does not know us,
      and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O LORD, are our Father,
      our Redeemer from of old is your name.
(Isaiah 63:15-16 ESV)

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
(Hosea 11:1 ESV)

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
(Psalms 68:5 ESV)

Though Yahweh was not seen as a literal Father to the nation of Israel, he was, in effect, a father figure to the nation itself, as the nation’s existence was dependent on him establishing it, protecting it, and expanding it.

God the Father in the New Testament

Once we find ourselves within the pages of the New Testament, we see Jesus repeatedly refer to God as the father of his people. Just within the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to God as father 17 times. Though the idea of God being a father to his people was surely a part of the Jews’ understanding of God, Jesus introduced a more metaphysical understanding of God as Father, and that was echoed by the Apostles in their later writings. Even the opening line of Christ’s model prayer reflects God’s fatherly relationship to us before reflecting his divine power.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
(Matthew 6:9-10 ESV)

It was the objective of the Son not to appear as a mighty warrior king – though many expected such – but as a bridge across the endless gap of humanity and its creator. By becoming the God-Man, Jesus the Son was able to facilitate a relationship opportunity with humanity and God as sons/daughters to their Father. When speaking to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul explained that living for God now grants us sonship rather than enslavement.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(Romans 8:14-14 ESV)

Referring back to Christ’s prayer, God as Father in the New Testament still, though, calls on his divine nature, even if it prioritizes his fatherly nature. While praying in John 17 of his coming crucifixion, Jesus the Son prays to God the Father in petition that the Father glorify him (Jesus) in his presence which he shared before creation.

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
(John 17:4-5 ESV)

In order for Jesus to have experienced glory in the presence of the Father before the creation, the Son must be eternal – as we saw in Foundation Three of part two of this series – as well as the Father. The only difference we have now is that the Son has emptied himself for a little while to redeem humanity (Phil 2:7).

Conclusion

As I said in the introduction to this part of the series, this will surely be the shortest and least-debated section of the teaching because of the inherent understanding of believers that God the Father is divine. Regardless, the argument for this thesis – that God the Father is divine – is necessary for a sufficient defense of the Trinity doctrine, as a non-divine being sending the divine Son would be quite a conundrum.

I hope you continue with me in this journey.

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