God is the Father of Jesus.

by K.W. Leslie, 12 September

We Christians worship God.

Which god is that? Well, we point out he’s the One God, יהוה/YHWH, “Jehovah” or “the LORD” (in all capitals, customarily), the God of Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Moses, David, and the Hebrew prophets. But both Jews and Muslims figure they worship that god too, so what makes us Christians any different from them? Simple: We believe God’s a trinity—whereas they don’t—and he’s uniquely the Father of Christ Jesus.

Uniquely the Father of Jesus. Because monotheists are generally agreed that God’s the Father of humanity. He created us, so he’s our Father. Duh. Says so in the bible. Moses, when he was yelling at the Hebrews, said as much:

Deuteronomy 32.6 ESV
Do you thus repay the LORD,
you foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father, who created you,
who made you and established you?

Throughout the Old Testament, God’s called the Hebrews’ father—and really everyone’s father, ’cause he made everyone. Jesus likewise calls him “your heavenly Father,” Mt 5.48 and compares our relationship with him like that of fathers with their kids. Lk 11.13 His Prodigal Son Story Lk 15.11-32 is all about God’s fatherly forgiveness.

Monotheists figure by the very same reasoning, of course God’s the Father of Jesus; he created Jesus same as he created you or me. But that’s where we Christians will say, “Wait; hold the phone; no he didn’t create Jesus. Jesus always existed. He’s God.

Which’ll confuse them. Heck, it confuses Christians! If God’s the Father of Jesus, yet Jesus himself is God, we’ve got a paradox brewing, don’t we? Well, kinda. So we gotta explain how God’s a trinity; one God, three persons, one person’s the Father, another person’s the Son, and both of them are the one Being who is God.

When Jesus described his relationship to our heavenly Father, there’s something way different going on than we see between us and our Father. ’Cause Jesus describes himself as the Father’s only Son. You know how John 3.16 goes:

John 3.16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus is our Father’s only Son, his unique Son, his Son in a way that I’m not. ’Cause you know the Lord’s Prayer; he’s our Father. Mt 6.9 Yet Jesus is the one and only Son.

Another paradox? Not really.

Jesus’s divine nature, and divine Father.

God’s not my biological Father. He made me, and considers me his kid, but we’re not the same species. His species is God; mine is human. God also created piranhas, y’know. Technically that also makes him the Father of all the piranhas in the world, same as he’s the Father of humanity. But again: Not the same species.

It’s a little like a programmer who creates a great app. One she’s always tweaking to make it an even better app. She spends a lot of time with it; even calls it her “baby.” But that app clearly didn’t come out of her uterus. Still, she spends a tremendous amount of time on that app—possibly more time than she spends with her actual biological children!—and puts a lot of love and attention and affection into it. But it’s a way different relationship between a programmer and her app, versus a mother and biological child. Heck, the relationship between a “dog mom” and her “fur baby” is closer to that of a biological child.

Yeah, this isn’t a perfect analogy. But you get the gist: Jesus relates to his Father in a way the rest of us simply can’t. Because he is the same species. Jesus may be human, but he’s got two species: His species is also God. (As theologians prefer to say it, Jesus has two natures.) He’s exactly like his Father. He easily, entirely understands the Father in a way the rest of us really can’t. They share experiences of being almighty and being love personified. They think alike. They know what the other knows. They’re One.

Luke 10.22 ESV
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Revealing the Father is kinda the point behind Jesus becoming human: He came here to explain the Father to us.

John 1.18 ESV
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
1 John 5.20 ESV
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
John 14.9-11 ESV
9B “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

It’s a unique relationship. One which Jesus, due to having two species/natures, can actually extend to us, ’cause he bridges that divine/human divide.

But still: God is uniquely the Father of Jesus in a way he’s not the Father of humanity. Or of piranhas. Or bananas. Or tardigrades.

Jesus, our connection to the Old Testament God.

There have been, and still are, Christians who attempt to separate our heavenly Father from YHWH, the God of Abraham, the God of the Old Testament.

Frequently it’s antisemites who don’t care for the idea we worship the same God as Jews and Muslims. Other times it’s theological liberals who don’t care for the judgments and violence they read about in the Old Testament, and are pretty sure God would never behave that way. Doesn’t Jesus teach peace and love?

Both groups claim our God’s a different God than YHWH. The YHWH we read of in the Old Testament was a middle eastern tribal deity, worshiped by the Hebrews who eventually became Jesus’s nation. Jesus might’ve used YHWH as the basis for his Father, the real God; but in so doing Jesus taught an entirely different God than YHWH. Kinda like Paul did when he taught the Athenians about their “unknown god” Ac 17.22-31 —Paul swapped out their false pagan ideas for the real thing. These folks presume Jesus did the very same thing with YHWH.

Where their argument completely falls apart, of course, comes from the dozens of direct Old Testament quotes, and the hundreds of Old Testament references, in the New Testament. The NT is steeped in the culture and traditions of the OT. It doesn’t make sense without it. God doesn’t make sense without it. Jesus doesn’t make sense without it; how is he even Messiah if the Old Testament concept of Messiah isn’t valid?

The whole idea of divorcing the Old Testament from the scriptures is stupid, but it hasn’t stopped people ever since Marcion from trying it.

Jesus identifies YHWH, the God of Abraham, as his Father. Jesus identifies the Old Testament as scripture—and scriptures which speak of him. Jn 5.39 The reason we Christians spend so much time looking at Hebrew history, Hebrew customs, Hebrew commands, and Hebrew literature, is because God first revealed himself to the Hebrews through Abraham… and then, centuries later, revealed himself to the rest of humanity through Jesus.

Nope, we worship the same God as Jews and Muslims. But as I said, the vital difference between the way Christians worship God, is we recognize nobody can understand this God apart from Jesus.

John 14.6-7 ESV
6B “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
John 17.25-26 ESV
25 “O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

So if you wanna know the Father, follow Jesus.