Summary: From a study of the Genesis creation account, we learn much about God’s provison for mothers.
How Can Mothers Relate to “Father” God?
After all, He is male, isn’t He?
A Mother’s Day Message by Bruce Morrison
Introduction: The Way We Think About God
This then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven….” (The words of Jesus from Matthew 6:9)
Jesus taught us a great deal about God. One thing we can’t help but notice is the number of times he referred to God as “Father”. Of course, when we think of “father”, we automatically think “male”. Therefore, consciously or unconsciously, we can’t help but perceive of God as being essentially male. To demonstrate what I mean, try to imagine God as being a female. The idea just doesn’t fit the way we have been conditioned to think about him. And yet, it doesn’t seem quite fair that God should be just male. Maybe He is female too? Lately, some have tried to bring the two concepts together which gave birth to the idea of “inclusiveness” in the worship and liturgical literature of some churches with the result that God is now referred to in both genders. .
The truth is, God is neither male nor female nor is He a hybrid. Why then is he called “Father”?
God as Father
When we hold a tiny seed in our hand it is hard to imagine the potential in that seed. From that one seed could come many tons of a grain harvest or many trees in a forest. The reason is this: life is in that seed. We also know that the new life that comes from the seed will be exactly the same in kind. If it is wheat it will produce wheat, not oats or any other grain. When we think of “father”, we also think of a tiny seed that is joined with a mother’s egg and the beginning of a new human life. The identity of that new life is certain. The offspring will be human, not something else.
When God created, He too planted His identity in the human race. We were made in His likeness and His image. At the very outset in sacred literature, the Holy Bible, this most important statement is made:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27.
Man was created in the image of God. Since image has to do with identity, that statement defines the human race. In other words, in the creative order, when you looked at man you saw a replica of God. This doesn’t mean that man is God. It does mean that man was the crown of God’s creation and as such was the greatest demonstration of the nature of the Creator. Make no mistake, the Creator and the created are not both God. God alone is God! But stand in awe at the wonder of the creature, man. No one in all the created order is like him.
Many people today have what is often referred to as an “identity crisis”. They don’t know who they are. This phenomenon can be traced back to the lack of a father’s positive influence in their lives. Just as God the father placed the highest sense of image possible in the first humans when he imparted his identity in them, even so human fathers are to establish a high and positive sense of self-image in their children. Abusive fathers or absent fathers leave huge deficits when it comes to establishing a positive identity in their children. Nothing demonstrates the high significance of a father’s role more than the fact that God, in his role as Creator, became our Father and placed his image in man.
Sadly, it is often young girls who suffer at the hands of abusive fathers more than young boys do. This is particularly true when sexual abuse is involved.
How do mothers, who at onetime were those young girls, possibly relate to God as Father when the very name sometimes conjures the worst memories? I believe it takes an act of divine grace for this transition to happen. And, most thankfully that’s the business God is in these days – dispensing grace to a broken, hurting race of men and women who at one time were at the very top of the creative order.
The problem of course, was the introduction of sin. Sin not only altered our status, it altered our nature as well. By nature, our identity is no longer defined as “being in the image of God”. We have become, by nature, sinners – separated in the most absolute manner possible, from God.