The Father

6 min • December 25, 2021

The Bible and life experience together tell us some important things about the role of the father in this life, and God the Father. If we learn from this, it will help us to know God’s will better, and to be more pleasing to him.

First, look at this life. What do we see happening in natural families, ever since Adam and Eve? The man leaves his father and mother, is joined to his wife, and becomes a father himself, while his own father withers away in time and space. Then this cycle continues, with his own children.

So from this perspective, the father’s purpose is to foster a family, and once they grow up and move out, his purpose in life seems to decay, to go downhill or wither away, until he dies and is eventually forgotten. How many of us know our paternal ancestors the 7th generation before us? Only a very few, and even they only know them by stories.

Now if you look at St. Joseph, this happened very clearly and directly. Tradition and reason both strongly suggest that St. Joseph died just before Jesus started his public ministry when he became 30 years old and was baptized. So there was a very clear line between Jesus being “St. Joseph’s son” and Jesus being “his own man”, moving out and beginning his own mission shortly after St. Joseph had died.

So what then? Is the purpose of the father to raise children, and then just to wither away, and be forgotten?

Not at all!

First, look at the Holy Trinity. God the Father is part of it, and an eternal part. The Glory Be reminds and assures us that God the Father will always be part of the Holy Trinity.

Second, look at the Holy Family. Joseph was Jesus’s real earthly father. Not just a stand-in, but some writers have said he was a real father to Jesus.

And we know that in eternal life, Jesus and Joseph are going to continue to live forever together in their resurrected, glorified bodies! So Joseph’s withering away was only in relation to this life.

But what does the Bible say about the next life? Before it comes, the first thing that will happen is Judgment Day. Jesus will descend from Heaven with a loud trumpet call, with the angels, and will pronounce judgment on the whole world.

And then what? St. Paul says somewhere that Jesus will deliver all things to the Father. He more specifically says that the Father has delivered all things into Jesus’s hands, but that He Himself (God the Father) is excepted from this “all things”, and that Jesus in fact will then give everything back to God the Father, so that God may be everything to everyone.

The Letter to the Hebrews also seems to confirm this, saying “it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things were made, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.” The rest of the letter explains and proves that the first “He” in this sentence, the one “for whom and by whom all things were made”, is probably God the Father.

So we see that, in the last days, everything is finally delivered to Jesus. But that he only gives it to God the Father. Which means, the Father is not only the source of all things, but the end of all things.

Now connect the concepts of both lives together, this life and the next life, and you start to see a pattern:

First, God the Father begot God the Son through God the Holy Spirit.

Then, God the Holy Trinity (an uncreated family) made Man in their own image and likeness (a created family).

The human family started with Adam (“Man”) and Eve (“Life”), and started to follow this pattern where fathers beget, then wither, their children grow up, become fathers, and this cycle until the end of this age.

At the end of this age, we see the cycle finally stop. All time is frozen, everyone is judged, and the new life begins, the real one.

Then the pattern begins to reverse!

The last sons of Adam, will be reunited with their ancestors all the way up to Adam, the first father, in the Resurrection.

Then, all creation, including all humanity, is given to Jesus, the Son of God.

Finally, Jesus delivers all creation into the hands of God the Father, so that He may be everything to everyone.

So we see that fathers are not meant to wither forever. Our role only grows weaker for a short time, but then it is “restored, established, and strengthened.”

This must partly be why God the Father wants us to value our fathers in this life so much, because we have an eternal connection to them, they’re like a link between us and God the Father, in several ways.

One of those ways is that God the Father’s values are ultimately the law, the rule by which we will all be judged. And these values should be passed on to each of us by our earthly fathers.

And this is why it’s deeply important that fathers in this life always strive with all their power to imitate God the Father. For what good is it for a man to have children, only to drag them down to hell with themselves by their bad example or neglect?

God the Father will be everything to everyone.

So we must focus on Jesus so that we can better know God the Father. For he has said to Philip, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

And we must focus on St. Joseph, on his actions and omissions, so that we can learn what Jesus values.

And we must focus on our earthly fathers, imitating their virtues and paying close attention to what they teach us about God.

(All Bible quotes are RSVCE.)

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