Summary: The Christian is one who recognizes person-hood to be the supreme value. The highest title or name of God is not king, master, or creator, but Father. Wordsworth said, “Father! To God Himself we cannot give a holier name.”
A man who worked in a Ford plant for many years just quit for no apparent reason.
When he was asked why he did it he said, “All I did everyday was to screw nut number
999 to bolt number 999 for years and years, and if I keep on doing this much longer, I
shall be nut number 999 myself.” Automation brings many blessings in the material
realm, but it can also be a curse when it turns men into robots. The debate is, do men
control the machine, or does the machine control men?
Dr. Glenn Frank declares, “The indictment brought against our civilization is this:
Man is losing control over the machine. He machine is destroying body, worth, and
beauty.” It is already a proverb in Africa-“An old man is one who remembers when
people were more important than machines.” The machine is making man more and
more materialistic and mechanistic in his attitudes and values. People are becoming
secondary, and life is becoming more impersonal. A machine wakes us up in the
morning, makes our breakfast, takes us to work where we park in a machine operated
parking lot, take another machine to the proper level, and spend the rest of the day
operating a machine or a computer. After this they go through the same process to get
back home where they spend the evening being entertained by a machine. The machine
reigns as king.
At the University of Seattle there is a painting where the great wheels of industry, and
skyscrapers, and factory chimneys are converging on the crust and prostrate body of a
man. The title is The Eclipse Of Man. Many do not need a painting to convey this, for
they experience it daily. A middle age woman said, “I live alone and all day long I work
at an IBM machine until I feel as if I could scream. I can’t talk to a machine, and at night
I can’t talk to my TV set.” Her life was dominated by the impersonal machine. For
many there is more tragedy than humor in the story of the scientist who fed the question
into the giant computer they had just completed-is there a God? The answer that came
out was, “There is now.”
In a world where machines dominate the Christian has a great obligation to believe,
experience, and communicate the true nature of God as a Person, and as Father. No one
can be an adequate Christian whose highest values are not personal rather than
mechanical. We do not reject the mechanical, for God is Himself the creator of the most
marvelous machine of all, which is the whole universe. The Christian is one, however,
who recognizes person-hood to be the supreme value. The highest title or name of God is
not king, master, or creator, but Father. Wordsworth said, “Father! To God Himself we
cannot give a holier name.” F. Faber wrote,
Father! The sweetest dearest name,
That men or angels know!
Fountain of life, that had no fount
From which itself could flow.
John Watson wrote, “With Jesus God and Father were identical. Fatherhood was not
a side of Deity, it was the center. God might be King and Judge; He was first of all and
last of all, and through all, Father.” The very first word we have recorded of Jesus was
when He was 12 and His parents found Him in the temple. He said He must be about His
Father’s business. The last words of Jesus before He died were, “Father, into thy hands I
commend my spirit.” From beginning to end of His earthly life, and eternally, God is,
was, and ever shall be to Jesus-the Father. But this is not just because He is uniquely the
Son of God. This is so, and Jesus revealed God as Father because God is this to all men
potentially, and to all in Christ actually. To as many as received Him John said, to them
He gave the power to become the sons of God.
This is why Jesus emphasized the Fatherhood of God all through His life. This
concept of God has greater power than any other to give assurance and security in a
materialistic, impersonal world. Jesus says that when we pray we should say our Father
who art in heaven. Fatherhood is the basis for prayer, and the basis for all true
understanding of God and His will. To address God as our Father in heaven implies two
things about God which art extremely important to know and feel to have an abundant
Christian life. The first thing it indicates is-
I GOD IS INTIMATE.
The philosopher would rather talk of a transcendent God, and the Totally Other.
They feel this is a more mature way of thinking about God. But this ignores both the