Apr 052016
 

“Who is The Eternal Father?”

Do any of you struggle with the first member of the Trinity? What makes my mind hurt is the idea that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures is the Father but is also the Son and the Spirit. When Jesus says He is under the authority of the Father yet He is saying that He is under the authority of Himself.

This reminds me of the story that is perhaps a legend of Saint Augustine and an angel:

This reminds me of the story—that is perhaps a legend—of Saint Augustine and an angel:

Saint Augustine is walking along the seashore, pondering the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. He comes along a little boy who scooping the sea water into a pool with a seashell. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?”

“Can’t you see?” said the boy. “I’m emptying the sea into this pool!”

“Son, you can’t do that!”

The boy said, “I will sooner empty the sea into this pool than you will manage to get the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity into your head!” Upon saying that, the boy disappeared, leaving Augustine alone with the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

BLN-013 Episode Card, unity

In this episode, we begin exploring article 2 of Lumen Gentium by trying to understand who is God the Father. We are going to ask some difficult questions such as why is does the first member of the Trinity have to be a father and not a mother. You are also going to get to know a little about Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Objectives

After listening to this podcast, you will be able to:

  • Tell why it is important for us to believe Isaiah 46:9 “For I am God, and there is no other.”
  • Explain how God sees the linear time in which we live.
  • Describe why we need to follow God’s standard of how we are to relate to each other and maintain His preferred order of family life rather than what the world teaches.

Lumen Gentium Text

This text from Vatican II document Lumen Gentium is the basis for the content of this episode:

“The eternal Father” §02 ¶01

Episode Quote

BLN-013 Episode Card, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica #33 “The proper name of any person signifies that whereby the person is distinguished from all other persons. Now it is paternity which distinguishes the person of the Father from all other persons. Hence this name “Father,” whereby paternity is signified, is the proper name of the person of the Father.”
~ Saint Thomas Aquinas from Summa Theologica First Part Question 33 Article 3Learn more about Saint Thomas from Dr. Taylor Marshall.

The

What does it mean for us that there is only one God?

  • As Christians, we must accept in one God to combat what Pope Benedict called the Dictatorship of Relativism.
  • Knowing there is only one God, one path of salvation, one standard of Truth helps us to stay on the narrow way to live the life for which we were created.

Eternal

  • God has always existed and always will exist. He wasn’t born, He did not inherit His throne from someone else, and Jesus is not going grow up to replace Him.
  • We live in linear time that God created at the beginning. There is no time in Heaven.
  • From God’s perspective, the creation, the crucifixion, and the return of Jesus are not events in separated by millennium but are all occurring now. When Jesus said He was returning soon, He did not lie. From His perspective He is.

What does it mean for us that God is eternal?

  • Unlike people who change their opinions, likes, and grow old, God never changes.
  • God is not bound by anything because He created everything.
  • We serve and have the ability to become a friend with the ultimate power; One who wants nothing but the best for us.

Father

His Name

  • Saint Tertullian wrote “The expression God the Father had never been revealed to anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he heard another name. The Father’s name has been revealed to us in the Son, for the name “Son” implies the new name ‘Father.’”
  • Jesus teaches about the Father and He reveals the Trinity in the Great Commission.
  • Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:6-14 that God is our Father.
  • John 10:25-39 makes clear Jesus is separate but one with the Father.
  • The name of Jesus is what gives us access to the power of the Father. John 14:13-14 teaches us that we can only access the Father through the Son. This is why we end our prayers of petition in the name of Jesus.

God As Father

  • John 1:12 says those who in faith accept Jesus as the Christ become children of the Father.
  • Ephesians 1:5 says we are adopted as children of the Father, just like Jesus.

I struggled with the wording of the next section both here and in the podcast. What I am passing on is the Truth but I know not everyone is going to like hearing about the roles of men and women but what is here is the Scriptural Truth. Saint John Paul II wrote “The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.”

  • Why couldn’t the first person of the Trinity be mother? Why any gender at all when none is given to the Holy Spirit?
    • Christians are not misogynists. That is a lie from the father of lies. Who stayed with Jesus is his darkest hour? Who were the first to see the resurrected One? Of which gender is the only human called blessed; others are told they are blessed but who is the only one given that title?
    • God ordered humanity from the beginning to give men the responsibility for the family.
    • Eve committed the sin but Adam was responsible for it.
    • This is what Ephesians 5:21-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-7 teaches.
    • Leading a family is a skill, which means is can be learned. The Church has been entrusted with the wisdom to teach these skills.
  • How can those who had lousy fathers relate well to God as Father?
    • “By calling God Father, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.” ~ CCC 239
    • “Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world.” Humility makes us recognize that “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.” The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area “upon him” would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.” ~ CCC 2779

Is God A Male

  • God has no gender. God is not a male nor female. God is spirit who does not have a physical form and in no need to reproduce.
  • Why then do we use male pronouns to describe One without gender?
    • Scripture reveals in the Hebrew and the Greek that God is described with both male and female attributes.
    • The pronouns have always been male. Because we believe that the Bible is the revealed Truth of God and that the Holy Spirit is deeply involved in all translations to ensure errors do not occur, we have to accept that if God wanted to be referred to with a gender-neutral pronoun, He would have inspired us to create one.
  • What do we do if we think this in not fair?
    • Ask yourself by whose standard are you judging God’s actions? One that changes every few hours or one that is eternal? By whose standard do you want your actions judged?
    • When you think God in unfair, go argue with Him. Yell and scream. Get it out of your system, but before you go to bed, you need to apologize because above all, God is THE standard of fairness and justice; everything else pales in comparison.

What does it mean for us that God is Father?

  • God as our Father as He is to Jesus makes Jesus our brother while He is also our God.
  • God as Father gives us membership in His family. Since He is the King of King, that means we will be part of the Kingdom.
  • God as Father is different than God as rule or taskmaster. Our Father has a mission for us and will assist us in achieving that mission. While He has high expectations of us, He understands our weakness and limitations better than we do.
  • God as Father gives us someone in whom we can trust.

Recommendation

A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn“A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scriptures” by Dr. Scott Hahn

This book is an introduction to Scripture written by one of the great theologians of our time in language for those of us without a theology degree can understand. The book started as a series of talks on salvation history Hahn gave to a parish just before he started working on his doctoral thesis. It traces the covenants from Adam to Jesus as an introduction to the Bible. Hahn uses his Scripture knowledge to unpack for us what they tell about the love God has for us and what this means for us today.

Rome, Sweet Home

Homework

Take your journal to prayer and ask God the Father to help you better Him as your father. Jesus said that Him and the Father are one. In another place He said that if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Ask God to help you understand what that means.

For the married men, ask the Father to help you become a better example of Him to those you are in a father role. If married, ask the Father for help to become the husband you are called to be. Ladies, please pray for the men in your life that they

Ladies, please pray for the men in your life that they would become the men we are called to be.

Blessing

May you be open to receiving the blessings that the Father has for you.
May you be open to conforming yourself to the image of Christ, the light of nations.
May you be open to the boldness of the Holy Spirit guiding you to live a life worthy of your calling.
May you be seeking God’s will for your life and doing what brings Him greater glory.
I ask for these blessings on you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!
Saint George Preca, pray for us!