I Believe in the Father

There is an important question many are asking today. It is not a new question but an old one, yet it still needs asking, and it still needs answering: Is there a God or is there not?

I don’t think this is a question anyone can answer for another; it must be determined individually.

I believe in the Father

Image credit: Cima da Conegliano via Wikimedia Commons

Answers vary and among the conclusions are these:

    • There is a God (monotheism)
    • There is more than one god (polytheism)
    • There is no certainty regarding whether there is a God (agnosticism)
    • There is no evidence of a God (atheism)

Which of these are answers that an honest, reasonable, and informed person might embrace? All of them.

All of these are reasonable answers. Honest questioners can arrive at any of these conclusions. But I conclude that there is a God; I believe in the Father. Let me tell you why.

Proofs for God

Those who are believers are likely familiar with a number of proofs for the existence of God. Proofs do not establish certainty but rather support the likelihood of God’s existence. Some are more persuasive than others, and I imagine I have considered them all, or at least the most common ones. I will not address them here, though you can Google them or check Wikipedia for yourself.

The upshot is that I do not find any of the proofs of God very persuasive—I would not stake my life on any of them. At the end of all my study, I believed in God simply because the Bible said he existed and even described him and his activities to some extent.

But that was before the Bible itself created tremendous doubt for me and precipitated a spiritual crisis, in which I grieved the loss of God for over a year, until I found a new basis for belief. This new basis had nothing to do with philosophy or theology, rather I came to realize that I was drawn to the Jesus of the Gospels to the point that I could trust him—and I WILL stake my life on that!

Why I Believe in the Father

I believe in the Father because Jesus tells us about him, and the person he describes is the most wonderful person imaginable. He loves us; he wants to have a relationship with us; and he gives us eternal life both now and after our natural death.

However, the picture Jesus gives of the Father is quite different from what I read in the Old Testament about God. It is different because Jesus knows more about the Father than the Old Testament writers did.

So I recovered from grieving the loss of God but found that in listening to Jesus tell about the Father I lost many of the disturbing things I understood about him from the Old Testament.

And I am so glad of it!

Jesus Talks of the Father

In the coming blog posts, we will discuss what Jesus tells us of the Father and we will deal with the confusing stories from the Old Testament of an angry, violent God. A little hint: the Father is NOT angry, violent, and vindictive.

If you have questions you would like to see addressed, just let me know in the comments and I will try to get to them as we can.

Your observations and comments are welcome below.
If you enjoyed this or found it helpful, please sign up for updates in the column to the right (email, RSS, Facebook, or Twitter) so that you don’t miss future posts. Also consider sharing this post using the buttons below. Have a great day! ~Tim
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12 Responses to I Believe in the Father

  1. Hi Tim. An interesting follow up to this, maybe even as a guest post on ChristianEvolution.com would be to explore what the historical Jesus thought about the Father, as opposed to what others simply made up, forged, or misunderstood due to incorrect OT biases. There’s no doubt that Jesus believed in “the Father” but a number of people are wonering if he thought that was His Father and our adopted father, only the adopted Father of those who “believed in him,” his divine father from the seed of the Holy Spirit in a virgin mary, or everyone’s Father (i.e., creator) from all walks of life, or what, etc…

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    • CE, that is an interesting proposal! I plan to post several articles in this series on the Father, and I am still in the process of writing them. Perhaps when they are completed we can get together and discuss a possible guest post on your blog.

      Thanks for the idea!

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  2. I am incredibly excited to read the upcoming posts and look forward to learning more about Jesus’ view of Father God through them. This trilogy thing has me a little confused at times as I’m not sure why God would pray to Himself and ask Himself to forgive others… I think it will be interesting to read how Jesus being God relates to Himself the Father God. I’m confusing myself even writing this! 😉 I look forward to hopefully feeling less so in the near future! Ha!

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    • Thanks Blonde! I hope I don’t disappoint you.

      Good observation about the trinity. The theory developed as early Christians were trying to make sense of the relationship of Jesus to the Father, but I think the final construct has been confusing ever since. In fact, it was confusing to most people at the time it was adopted. I don’t often talk in terms of the trinity because it carries so much baggage.

      One thing I can say is that Jesus and the Father are not the same person. Even the doctrine of the trinity does not teach that. But the language is confusing: The Father is God; Jesus is God. Does God=God not mean that they are the same? Way too confusing!

      I think it is better to recognize that when theologians and creeds say ‘God the Father’ they mean the Old Testament God is the same as the Father of the New Testament, while ‘God the Son’ is Jesus, the son of God. This distinction is very clear in Paul’s writings for example, though he never uses the term ‘God the Son’. In fact the term ‘God the Son’ is found NOWHERE in the Bible.

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      • If Jesus really IS God why wasn’t it more clearly depicted? I’m just confused as to why he would pray to… Himself. You did not disappoint! I am grateful for any personal views and insights on the matter, especially from thoughtful theologians such as yourself! Thank you!

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        • My thought is that Jesus is not the same as God, which is why he is not clearly depicted as such. Therefore, when he prayed to God, he was not praying to himself.

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          • Tony McGurk says:

            I too have a struggle understanding Jesus being God. Being an ex-JW I am uncertain about many things at the moment. I disagree with the JWs that Jesus is Michael the Archangel due to Heb 1:5 but as Notjustablonde pointed out there are things that make it seem to me that Jesus isn’t God but just God’s Son. With 20 years of Watchtower doctrine in my head there are many things that I’m unsure about as far as what I actually believe at the moment. I’ve read various articles about the Trinity, looked up cited scriptures, watched video explanations as to why it’s claimed to be true but just can’t get my head around it. I just don’t feel convinced about it in my own mind.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Tony, I was never a JW, but I was part of another group that had God and Jesus all figured out. I don’t talk about the trinity much, but I will share with you that I don’t think the theoretical construct of the trinity which was pushed on the bishops at the 325 AD council is helpful at all–in fact it causes confusion, especially the creation out of nothing of a ‘Godhead’ of three persons that is never specified or even hinted at in the Bible.

            Who is God? The Godhead itself? God the Father? Each of the three persons individually? I can see the value in the attempt to clarify the relationship between the Father and Jesus, but the concept of the trinity really falls short. And that this explanation of their relationship became a binding doctrine for subsequent believers is a tragedy.

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  3. Turtullian makes some interesting remarks concerning the emotions of God that reflect well on your statement, “confusing stories from the Old Testament of an angry, violent God.” I believe that you will find them interesting. His main point is that our confusion comes when we read of the emotions of God and assume that they are just like ours. For example, we read that God is jealous and wonder how a good God could be Jealous. The fact is that God’s emotions are not tainted with the passions of the soul as ours our. God is angry but never with sin, God is jealous but not with the sinful passions that are attached to our emotion of jealousy. We cannot understand how God can be angry and living at the same time because we cannot understand how we can. WHen we read “anger” we read our anger, not His. Its not a problem with the biblical/historical record, its a problem with our understanding. We cannot project our emotions and weakness of soul onto God and properly understand Him. We must look deeper than our own understanding of ourselves to understand Him. David

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    • Thanks David! Do you have the references in Tertullian handy? I would like to read those passages.

      Your points are very good about seeing God through our own emotions. I think that makes good sense in terms of anger and jealousy. However, the God of the Old Testament seems also to be violent, cruel, and vindictive. It is difficult for me to reconcile these traits with the Father Jesus describes. I will be providing examples in soon-coming posts if you wish to weigh in on the specifics at that point.

      I always respect your responses and hold them in high regard.

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  4. The early hebrews were fisrt henothestic then montheistic. AND DON’T start crying over the fact that it doesn’t match your belief system. Well sorry to say this but the ancient Hebrews and Isrealities were henothiestic at first. Plasm 82 agrees with me because it’s talking about other divine beings. Are they angels? Maybe they are or maybe not. I do know that they cannot be man because the verse would said that you’ll die like all the other men, but it said that they will die like men. If they are men then how can they die like one? And please don’t use the bible on me because monothestic writers and translators could have twisted up the scriptures to match their world view. Then again henothestic ones will do same.

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