St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Catechist. Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief. Answer. I believe in God the Father…

There is some confusion, and indeed distortion, in terms of our understanding of God as Father. Over the centuries, there are those who have suggested that all that is really required of man is to affirm the first article of the Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” After all, is not the Creator of all also the Father of all? Certainly the Scriptures do affirm that our Creator is our Father. The Prophet Malachi asked rhetorically: Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? (Malachi 2:10a) And St Paul while preaching to the Athenians even quoted a pagan Greek poet and affirmed that God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth… for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (Acts 17:26, 28) But both the Prophets and the Apostles placed these notions of God’s Fatherhood of all things in the context of their condemnation of mankind’s rebellion against God and the need to repent and turn to Him, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. (Acts 17:27)
But when the Scriptures and the Creeds speak of God the Father they are referring not to His relationship with His creatures, but rather to His nature; to the inner life of the Godhead, the Holy Trinity. If God were the Father only because He created heaven and earth and all that is in them, He would not always have been Father. God is Father because He has always had an only Son. There has never been a time when God did not have a Son; for the Son is “Begotten of His Father before all worlds;” that is to say, in eternity. Thus, it is only through knowledge of the Eternal Son of God that we know God as Father. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (St John 1:18) And as Jesus prayed to His Father in His High Priestly Prayer at the Last Supper: I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (St John 17:6, 26) 

The voice of the Father in Heaven proclaimed Jesus Christ as His only and well-beloved Son at His Baptism and at His Transfiguration. (St Matthew 3:17; 17:5; St Mark 1:11; 9:7; St Luke 3:22; 9:35) And as St John the Evangelist testified: The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. (St John 3:35) For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. (St John 5:20) The Father has bestowed His glory upon His Son; and He has given Him many great tasks to perform as His Son, including offering His life for the life of the world and the judgment of all things at the Last Day. (See St John 5:20-30; 10:17-18; 17:23-26) 

Not only is God the Father of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, but through Christ we too become the sons or children of God. It was for this purpose that the Son came into the world; and as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (St John 1:12) It is through the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; 1 St Peter 1:11), that we are adopted as sons of the Eternal Father; for we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15; see also Ephesians 1:5) This Christ declared to His disciples after He had risen from the dead and was prepared to ascend to the Father’s right hand in heaven. I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (St John 20:17)

The Father's eternal love for the Son is  the original model of His love for His people. This love also serves as the model for the relationship between fathers and their children on earth; for as St Paul wrote: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…. (Ephesians 3:14-15) There are those in our day who choose not to address God as Father, and prefer “Mother,” or some “gender neutral” or “inclusive” form of address, in part because too often human fathers, because of sin, have failed to live up to the model of the Heavenly Father. But, this attempt to rename God is another form of creating our own god; and the sins of earthly fathers in no way can alter the nature and character of God as the eternal Father revealed in Jesus Christ. In the words of the Psalmist: When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. (Psalm 27:10) Therefore we proclaim with St Paul:Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)