God the Father is a title given to God in several religions, most notably in Christianity. God the Father is recognized as the first person of the Trinity in mainstream trinitarian Christianity, followed by God the Son Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit. Since the second century, Christian creeds have incorporated a statement of belief in “God the Father (Almighty),” primarily as “Father and Creator of the Universe.”
However, in Christianity, the concept of God as the father of Jesus Christ extends metaphysically beyond the concept of God as the creator and father of all people, as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed, where belief in the “Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” is expressed. However, it is followed individually by “Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,” reflecting two conceptions of fatherhood.
Much of modern Christianity refers to God as the Father, in part because he takes an active interest in human affairs, much like a father would take an interest in his dependent children, and as a father, he will respond to humanity, his children, acting in their best interests. Many people believe they can communicate with God and become closer to him through prayer, which is an important part of gaining communion with God.
In general, the word Father (capitalized) refers to God’s role as the giver of life, the authority, and the powerful protector, who is typically considered gigantic, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and endowed with limitless power and charity beyond human comprehension. For example, after finishing his mammoth work Summa Theologica, Catholic St. Thomas Aquinas concluded that he had only just begun to comprehend ‘God the Father.’Although the name “Father” indicates masculine attributes, God is commonly regarded as having the form of a spirit and no human biological gender, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 239, “God is neither man nor woman: he is God.”
Although God is never formally addressed as “Mother,” motherly characteristics are sometimes understood in Old Testament texts such as Isa 42:14, Isa 49:14-15, or Isa 66:12-13.
The Christian concept of God the Father in the New Testament can be considered as a continuation of the Jewish concept, but with unique additions and alterations that, through time, rendered the Christian concept even more distinct by the start of the Middle Ages.
In Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8, in answer to temptation, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13 and says, “It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and he only shall you serve.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 demonstrates the different Christian perspective on the “There is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him,” he says, before going on to say, “and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him.” This verse respects Jewish teachings on God’s uniqueness while also stating Jesus’ position as an agent in creation. Through the teachings of the Church Fathers in the second century, Christian theory began to split from Judaism, and by the fourth century, belief in the Trinity was codified. According to Mary Rose D’Angelo and James Barr, the Aramaic name Abba was neither a term of love nor a formal word in the early New Testament but the word that sons and daughters have used throughout their lives in the family setting.
The Old Testament
According to Marianne Thompson, God is referred to as “Father” with a distinct sense of familiarity throughout the Old Testament. In addition to being ‘Father’ to all men because he created (and so ‘fathered’ the world), the same God is also uniquely the law-giver to his chosen people. He maintains a special, covenantal father-child relationship with the people, giving them the Shabbat, stewardship of his prophecies, and a unique heritage in the things of God, calling Israel “my son” because he delivered the descendants of Jacob from slavery in Egypt according to his covenants and oaths to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob [Hosea 11:1]. “For You are our father; Abraham did not know us, and Israel did not acknowledge us; You, O [YHWH], are our father; our redeemer from the beginning is your name.” According to Judaism, God is given the fatherly function of protector. He is known as the Father of the Poor, the Guardian of the Orphan, and the Widow. As the judge of Israel’s teacher and helper, he is also known as the Father of the King.
The concept of God as the Father of Jesus in Christianity differs from the concept of God as the Creator and Father of all humanity, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed. The creed’s confession opens with confidence in the “Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth,” and then immediately, but individually, in “Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,” expressing both conceptions of parenthood within the creed.
Creeds in the Western Church have featured affirmation of belief in “God the Father (Almighty)” since the second century, with the major reference being to “God in his capacity as Father and creator of the universe.” This did not rule out the possibility that the “eternal parent of the universe was also the Father of Jesus the Christ,” or that he had “vouchsafed to adopt [the believer] as his son by grace.”