Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Grandfather God

My wife and I had one of those "Ahah!" moments during church this last Sunday. I can't remember what triggered the thought, probably something said by the Bible teacher or minister. In any case, the possibility of thinking of God as a loving grandfather came up. Immediately my heart felt a warmth about using that metaphor. You see, my earthly father abused me. I transferred much of my fear of my father toward God my heavenly father. Of course my brain logically knew the truth, but we don't live just by logic. We often live and relate to others according to emotional patterns we learned through experiences.

Now, for those of you who may be concerned about theology, I'm not at all suggesting that God is a grandfather. God is transcendental, beyond our human abilities to understand him perfectly. So he tries to help us out by picturing himself to us using a variety of metaphors, including father, mother hen protecting her chickens, etc. These metaphors are all verbal clues to help us understand a little better what God is like.

I have no negative feelings when I think of a grandfather. I delight in being a grandfather to our grandchildren. I love them and they love me, both ways are unconditional love. I love to play with them and make them happy. That's the way God is.

Although I have been working at correcting the negative feelings I have transferred from abuse from my father to the defective idea that my heavenly father is strict, keeping track of all my mistakes, conditionally loves me, ready to punish me, those negative ideas are still there sometimes. Maybe it will help if I temporarily retrain my emotions and brain by thinking of God as a loving grandfather. When the unconditional love in such a picture becomes anchored into my psyche enough, I can work at transfering those warm feelings toward grandfather to the idea of God as father.

What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel there is something to that -- God as Grandfather. For me, my emotional response to that comparison is warm, too (like yours). I think a lot of people may feel the same.

Two thoughts on that: in the Bible, "father" can be used for grandfather, like I think in some of the genealogies. In fact, if one doesn't recognize there that a Grandfather is being called a Father, it wont make sense. In II Sam 9:7, and Gen 32:9, where Jacob says: "O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me....", yet Abraham wasn't his father, but his grandfather. AHHH, but that is just an English restraint, apparently not theirs!

THe point isn't to be just technical! I think they really found no problem thinking of our "grandfather" as their "father". Jacob REALLY DID think of his grand-papa as his 'father.' It was kind of a melded concept, perhaps. Another idea is that Biblically, God himself seems to treat fatherS (a succession of fathers) as a very integrated thing. THe sins of the fathers, the 3RD and 4RTH! So maybe this thought isnt just helpful - but a stretch -- far from it, God may want us to actually think about our fatherS this way from the beginning!

Thanks for the idea Al, it is good and will cause me to think on it more.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Proshome said...

Grandfather God 19-Feb-07

When most Christians think about our Heavenly Father we generally think of him as our father rather than as our grandfather. At the same time, most Christians think about Jesus Christ as being a brother, rather than as our father. These concepts seem, in a way, only natural and at the same time both of the above are IAW scripture. It all depends on ones outlook regarding the spiritual aspect of man and of God. In the OT writings, we find that the Jews considered Abraham as their father, for he is the beginning of a new group of people based on a somewhat different spiritual outlook than the other inhabitants on this Earth. David is said to be the father of Jesus, but for most Christians God is his father. Here are a few cut and pastes from scripture that are applicable to this theme.
Malachi 2:10 (KJV) Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Matthew 23:9 (KJV) And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

1 John 3:1 - 2 (KJV) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

The above, and also other scripture throughout the bibles, makes it clear that God is the beginning of our genealogical chart. However, something happened in the early beginning of our family tree, the second generation from God, that caused us to become slaves to sin by our ancestor Adam. It was Adam that became the first of all living souls of the genus Homo or H. sapiens. It was through this first person that sin entered into this world: Ref. Romans 5:12 (KJV) As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned/sin:

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God/el, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [This person was the man Jesus.]

Galatians 4:4 - 7 (KJV) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. [It was the offering of his body that paid the price for our sins and redeemed us, who believe in Him, from our slavery to sin.]

James 3:9 (KJV) Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

Ephesians 4:5 - 6 (KJV) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. [As stated here, YHWH God is our father, but it was because of the son Jesus that we are born again with the new and everlasting life. Therefore, the name “Everlasting Father” of Isa 9:6 makes sense. However, YHWH is the Father of all, just as Abraham is considered the father of all Jews/”children of Israel”.

To sum up this idea, If the Christ had not impregnated our souls with the Holy Spirit, we would all die in our sins. But for those who really believe, there is life in those words of Jesus which gives us eternal life. Therefore, Jesus being called “Everlasting Father” as in Isa 9:6 testifies to this concept of Grandfather God.

simply "Christian"

2:27 AM  

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