What We Believe: God the Father (Part 1)
“God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise.”
The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that each of the persons of the Trinity work together, but also that each has specific areas for which they have freely chosen to be responsible. We must be careful about drawing some of these lines too firmly, for there is what we might see as overlap between these responsibilities. Theologians use the term “economy” to describe the relation between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God the Father is the primary mover in creation and providence. While both the Son and the Holy Spirit have roles in this, the Bible depicts the Father as the prime mover and initiator. The entire universe, our own world, and every creature is the product of God’s creation. The early chapters of Genesis describe God’s creative word, and throughout both the Old and New Testaments we see many references to God as the Creator and the world and humanity as His creation. We see in Romans 1 that creation serves as a visible evidence of the reality of God.
God did not simply create the universe and leave it to run on its own. He also watches over His creation, sustaining it and both keeping watch over it and intervening in the flow of history. We call this care “providence.” This general care is provided for all, both those who follow God and those who do not. Providence is the product of the grace of God, given to humanity to show us His love and compassion.
The flow of history, particularly human history, is also cared for by God. The Father knows every event that happens. We must not think of this as God moving through time with us. As part of His creation, God created time, so He isn’t bound by what we perceive as the movement of time. This is another one of those teachings that we, as humans, can’t fully grasp since we are ourselves “stuck” in time. It does remind us that God is beyond our human comprehension, and that He is greater than anything we can comprehend or control.
God’s creation, providence, and oversight of history are enabled by His attributes. We looked at some of the attributes of God in a previous post. Here in this article His power, knowledge, love, and wisdom are mentioned. These affect the specific works of the Father mentioned here. It is important for us to remember that the attributes of God are not just theological constructs, but elements of His person that help us understand who He is and how is able to do all that He does.
Knowing that God is the initiator of creation, watches over us with providential care, and is involved in the flow of our history should provide comfort for us, since this shows us we are not alone in the universe. It also serves as a caution for us, since it reminds us that God sees and knows everything we do, say, and think. The power of God, revealed through His creation and care, keeps and sustains us through our lives.