Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Believe in God the Father Almighty

Our faith begins with a Father. The archetypal father is the provider and protector head of the family. In using this image repeatedly to describe Himself, He surely wants us to feel confident that our needs will be met. Interestingly, when Abraham Maslow created his hierarchy of human needs, the foundational levels were provision and security. Jesus' sermon spends almost an entire chapter ensuring us of God's provision for our basic needs. The next level is community - belonging to a family, which is also implicit in the Biblical narrative and explicit in its doctrine. Finally, accomplishment and self-actualization round out the pinnacle of the pyramid. Although we could conceivably have a discussion about whose accomplishments are attained and whose self is to be truly actualized,  Scripture is clear that God's provision covers the gamut of our needs, as a good father is expected to do. I am reminded of John Adams' famous statement regarding the sacrifices a father makes for his children's self-actualization.
 "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy ... and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture ..."

In Matthew, Jesus tells us that if we fathers who are evil are able to give our children good things, how much more will our Heavenly Father do?

He's not just any father, but an Almighty One. I seems to me that any bad taste in one's mouth regarding his father pertains to a weakness in the man. He wasn't strong enough to restrain his anger or his addictions. He wasn't strong enough to stay when it was easier to leave. He wasn't strong enough to protect or provide for his family. He wasn't strong enough to discipline or cherish his children. But not this Father. He is the Almighty God, Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. He is never weak, and our weakness only makes Him stronger.

PS. I like what iMonk does here with the Creeds.

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