God the Father

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In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2

The Bible is so full of imagery of God the Father. But is God’s Fatherliness an essential element of Christian doctrine? Or is it just an analogy? Anthropomorphism?

If the Fatherliness of God is essential Christian doctrine I’m in Big Trouble. I can’t think of God as a Father.

Understanding the concept – so often invoked – of God, the loyal and loving Father presupposes that one has a pre-conscious understanding of the concept of a loving father who won’t abandon you.

I don’t have that. And I can’t believe that I’m the only one who’s ever had this problem.

Impressions formed at a very young age affect how our brains are wired, or so the psychologists say.

My story is that my father – whom I barely remember – died at work when I was 2 years old. He just left for work one totally normal day and never came home. I was too young to go to the funeral or participate in any of the mourning surrounding his death. I just got sent to stay with a neighbor (whom I didn’t like) for what seemed like a long time. Then I went home to my mom & my dad just never came back.

I don’t remember this, but my Mom tells me that when she told me my Dad had died I asked if we could go to the store and get another Dad. My only concept of death at that age came from our fish tank. When one of the fish died, we went to the store and got another one. So I probably figured that if you go to the store and get another one when your fish dies, you could do the same thing when your Dad dies.

At any rate my very early concept of a father is someone who leaves one day and never comes back.

I do remember feeling safe with my dad. I was scared of my mom. But I knew I was always safe with my dad. And then one day he just disappeared and all I had was my mom, who frightened me. (Why that’s so is a different story for another time.)

At any rate, the more I read in the Bible that I am supposed to feel safe and loved and supported by God the Father, the more it invokes an almost hardwired automatic fear that He will abandon me.

I know with God all things are possible. I pray that God will heal my poorly wired psyche so that the very idea of a father doesn’t always provoke fear of abandonment.


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