The Bible tells us that God is our Father—a good, perfect, loving Father.
Human fathers may fail us, but we have a Father in Heaven who loves us with a perfect, unconditional love.
Jesus taught us to call Him “our father.” He exists in eternal and mysterious unity with the Son and the Holy Spirit as one Godhead, and is the source of everything in existence.
Seventh-day Adventists embrace what the Bible teaches us about God, the all-knowing, all-powerful, benevolent Father.
We’ll look at:
- The Bible’s words about God the Father
- God the Father as the Sustainer of Life
- The Character of God
- What it means to “Fear God and give Him glory”
- How God relates to us, His children
Belief 3: Father
God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also those of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Deut. 4:35; Ps. 110:1, 4; John 3:16; 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:28; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:8; Rev. 4:11.)
What the Bible tells us about God the Father
God is our Father in Heaven and we are His children.
Just like human parents love their children, so God loves us. But unlike our earthly parents’ love, His love is perfect. He loves you even more than your earthly parents ever could!
It’s incredible to think the God of the universe—the One who created all things—would call us His children. And yet, that’s what the Bible tells us!
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1, ESV).
God is a Father to the fatherless.
It’s a sad reality in our sinful world that some people are without an earthly father who loves and protects them the way he should. If you have a father who has wounded your soul, you can rest assured your Father in Heaven will never disappoint you. God’s love is perfect and His grace and mercy never runs out.
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation” (Psalm 68:5, ESV).
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18, ESV).
God is the Father of Jesus.
Not only is God the Father your Heavenly Father, He is also the Father of Jesus. According to the Bible, God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).
And we see that Jesus called God His Father, Abba, which means “father” in Aramaic.
“And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Matthew 14:36, ESV).
God is the Creator and Sustainer of life
In the beginning God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He desired a relationship with them, much like a parent feels toward their newborn baby.
God formed humans in His own image, setting us apart from any other living thing on earth. It’s true we don’t know what God looks like. So His image is defined by who He is. He bestows some of His key attributes upon us. This means we are intelligent, conscious beings with the ability to choose our own actions and allegiances.
“For ‘in Him we live and move and have our being, … for we are indeed His offspring’” (Acts 17:28).
Yes, we have used this freedom to often go our own ways instead of God’s, but the fact remains that we’re not robots operating on a program. God gave us our own individual minds, and we are able to know God and know His plans. No other creature in this universe bears this image of God.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27, ESV).
God spoke the world into existence. As the Creator, our Father God spoke and all that it exists came to be. There is nothing in this world God did not create. He is the creator of all things. Only God can speak something into existence from nothing.
“For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 ESV).
“For He spoke, and it came to be” (Psalm 33:9 ESV).
Creating man was an intimate act, different from all other acts of creation. God created man in His own image, with a loving and relational intent. He knelt down and breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils.
“The nature of God’s image is wholistic: “When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker” (Ellen G. White, Education, p. 15).
The Character of God
God’s character is love. He is perfect and holy and merciful and full of grace. The Bible has a lot to say about the character of God!
Here are ten attributes of God that frequently show up in Scripture:
1. God is love.
1 John 4:7-16; John 3:16; 1 John 3:1; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2: 4, 5
2. God is just.
1 John 1:9; 1 peter 1:17; Romans 12:19; Acts 10:34; Hebrews 6:10; Psalm 89:14
3. God is merciful.
Ephesians 2:4-5; Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 145:8, 9; Lamentations 3:22, 23; Micah 7:18, 19; Luke 6:36
4. God is all-powerful.
2 Peter 1:3, Ephesians 1:19; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Matthew 19:26; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16; Job 26; Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 19:6
5. God is patient.
2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 86:15; Romans 2:4;
6. God is good.
Nahum 1:7, James 1:17; Mark 10:18; Psalm 107:1; Romans 8:28
7. God is holy.
Revelation 4:8; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 57:15
8. God is unchanging. He always was, and always will be.
Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 40:28; James 1:17; Psalm 102:25-27; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8
9. God is all-knowing.
Psalm 139:4; Matthew 10:30; 1 John 3:20; Acts 1:24, Romans 11:33-36
10. God is ever-present
Jeremiah 23:23-24; Hebrews 4:13; Proverb 15:3; 1 Kings 8:27; Matthew 18:20; Colossians 1:17; Isaiah 57:15, Acts 17:27, 28
What it Means to “Fear God and Give Him Glory”
God is God, our Father and Creator. We are subject to His authority because He made us and gifted us an existence. When He speaks, we would do well to listen. God’s Word is powerful, and He is all that is holy.
“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:7, ESV).
But what does it mean to fear God and give Him glory?
“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 ESV
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God…” (Romans 13:5, ESV).
“So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statues, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 6:24, NASB).
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm (Proverbs 19:23, ESV).
And because He is God, it only makes sense to revere Him. We are told that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10, ESV).
We show God respect and acknowledge His ultimate sovereignty by devoting ourselves to studying His words in the Bible and understanding His precepts. This helps us recognize our sinfulness and inadequacy—our need for a savior. In return, He will give us wisdom.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28,29, ESV).
How God Relates With Us, His Children
God the Father desires to have a relationship with each one of us. He loves His children with an everlasting love and He wants to spend time with you.
Just imagine, the God of the universe doesn’t just want you to know about Him—He wants you to know Him!
But how does a human being really know God?
Think about when you first meet someone. You ask each other questions, you observe each other’s behaviors, and you do things together, whether it’s something you’re working together on, something you both enjoy doing, or maybe you’re helping each other. Through this, you can know each other deeply as you go through life together.
And yet, with God as our Father, we can know Him in powerful ways, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. That’s why we can come to Him with absolutely anything on our hearts.
He promises to help us:
- When we’re afraid. Psalm 34:4
- When we’re worried. Philippians 4:6-7
- When we need healing. Psalm 41:3
- When we need forgiveness. 1 John 1:9
- When we need wisdom. James 1:5
- When we feel lonely. Psalm 25:16
- When we’re brokenhearted. Psalm 147:3
God cares for us
God is attentive to our every thought, our every need, our every desire. The Bible talks about how he knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7), and how He knew us even before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He even knows what’s bothering us before we pray about it (Matthew 6:8).
He doesn’t want us to be anxious or afraid. He has promised to care for us so we can go through life without fear. That’s why He asks us not to worry about our lives:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25, 26 ESV).
“…Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV).
God disciplines us
Just like earthly parents need to lovingly discipline their children, God also disciplines His children. It’s not something any of us enjoy. No one likes being corrected! But being disciplined is in our best interest.
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV).
“God is treating you as sons. … For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:3-11).
But how does God discipline us? Does He zap us with a lightning bolt if He doesn’t like something we did?
No. It’s important to remember that “discipline” doesn’t necessarily mean “punishment.” It does not even mean God is angry or has any desire to inflict pain. The very word “discipline” implies teaching, correcting, and growing a person into the best they can be.
God might allow us to see the full consequences of our actions. Or we might face trials we wish God would remove from our lives, but instead He goes through them with us. James 1:2-4 says we should “count it all joy” when we face “trials of various kinds,” because they test our faith and make us stronger.
Titus 2:11 compares God’s discipline as “training” us to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives.”
But the best thing about God the Father’s discipline is that even in the toughest of times, He is there with us (Psalm 46:1-3; Isaiah 41:10), and will provide us a way “to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God protects us
We live in a sinful world. When humanity made the choice in the Garden of Eden to know both good and evil, the world became as it is today. Good and evil surround us, and the consequences of our choices play out. But even so, God offers us His protection. He is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1, ESV).
One example is the story of Job (Job 1-42), who suffered far more than most, but God was always working on his behalf, and His faith was rewarded.
Whatever obstacles you face in your lifetime, you can be assured that God will never forsake you.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, ESV).
Knowing about God the Father is so important to Adventists because it helps us understand and know God in an intimate way. We can see how God loves His children and takes care of them. He is always looking out for their best interests—even eternally.