After a few decades as a Senior Pastor, I have found that understanding someone’s relationship with their earthly father helps me understand their view of God the Father.
For some people, their view of the Heavenly Father is merely a projection of their earthly father. In sum, God is just a big version of their dad.
For other people, their view of the Heavenly Father is a rejection of their earthly father. If they did not like their dad, then God is the exact opposite of their dad. Here are six examples of what I am trying to explain:
- Atheism – I have no Father.
- Agnosticism – I may have a Father somewhere but I don’t know Him, have never met Him, and am not interested in starting a relationship.
- Deism – I have a Father but he abandoned me a long time ago and is no longer involved in my life.
- Reformed – I have a Father who can be cruel, domineering, and overbearing, but He’s definitely in charge.
- Arminian – I have a Father who is permissive and lets me do pretty much whatever I want to do.
- Liberal/Progressive – I have a very cool, tolerant, enabling Father who does not judge me but lets me do what I want and will smoke weed and drink beer with me.
The only hope is Jesus, since He gets us to the real Father who can heal our father wounds. This is what Jesus was getting at, saying in John 14:6b,“No one comes to the Father except through me.” The point and purpose of Jesus’ ministry is to get us into a relationship with God the Father that never ever ends.
How about you? How is your view of God the Father a projection or rejection of your earthly father?