Fatherhood is not a human invention or a biological coincidence. It is not a construct of some patriarchal conspiracy, an attempt by men to keep the power. Fatherhood emanates from God. He is the original. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:15 that all fatherhood derives its name, its identity, from God.
WE as fathers are an expression of who He is. We flow from Him. God does not use the term to relate with us. He uses it with us as an expression of Who He is.
We need to realize that all of creation emanates from God. Just as an artist’s creation is an expression of themselves and therefore gives us insight into their true identity, so scripture tells us that all of creation bears witness to Him, revealing His eternal power and divine nature. Fatherhood is one such expression revealing who He really is.
Our human roles are reflections of the Divine, hints of the eternal order, faded expressions of the original that is God. He is not taking on our roles in an ill-fitted attempt to relate with us. The essence of who He is is a Father. We are the reflection, He is the reality. We have been assigned these roles as His created sons. But through the fall these have been twisted, distorting the real and original through the fall.
When trying to define fatherhood, we must not begin with man as the example. When we do, we reduce the concept of a father to the frail attempts of human fathers to be dads. We then superimpose their failures and deficiencies upon our Heavenly Father. This drives us to the faulty presupposition that God will fail us like our earthly fathers.
Earthly fatherhood was intended to aid us in our relationship with the Heavenly Father, showing us the way to Him (how to relate with God as a Father, how to see ourselves as sons and men of God, etc). Now, due to the fall, fatherhood has all to often become a hindrance.
When we start with God however, we then have the proper lens through which to interpret what true fatherhood is, and it equips us to face the hardships of life. When we start with God, He redeems the phrase and even the relationship. We are then able to extend grace to the broken sons our fathers were.
God’s revelation of Himself as Father is the first step in redeeming us from the fall. He wants to redeem this idea, this concept, and elevate it once again.
Dad, you pave the way for your kids to relate with God. Your example, your relationship with them and with God serve as a template pressed into the moldable clay of their young minds. This holy stewardship must be recognized for what it is.
But guys, you can give what you don’t have. We, like Jesus, need to hear the Father speak “you are my son in whom I am well pleased.” This is the revelation of the love of God that Paul prays for in Ephesians 3. He prays we “would know this love that surpasses knowledge.” He is saying we need an encounter that is beyond our ability to study ourselves into. We need a revelation of the true Father and His love for us as sons. Only then can we represent Him well as Fathers ourselves. - David L. Olson