Christopher Chelpka

Calling God “Father”

Let’s do a little theology.

In the Nicene Creed we call God, “Father.”

According to Scripture, there are several true ways we can understand the name “Father” as it applies to God. Each reflects something important about God and about ourselves in relationship with him.

First, we can call God “Father” as the creator of the world and the world to come. The Triune God is our maker. He makes us in his image and puts us into a covenant with him. Luke calls Adam, “the son of God” in Luke 3:38. In this sense, we can therefore call all three persons of the Trinity “Father” as Isaiah does in Isaiah 9:6 when he prophesies about Jesus:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Second, we can call God “Father” when we refer to the first person of the Trinity. In this way, he is called “Father” in relation to the Son, the second person of the Trinity. This occurs many places in Scripture. Here is one from John 6:40 where Jesus says:

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Finally, Christians alone can call God the Father “Father” as those who have been adopted through the Son into sonship and thus unto an eternal inheritance. Ephesians 1:3–5, 11:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will… In him we have obtained an inheritance.