Fathers hold an irreplaceable influence in all humanity. Sigmund Freud believed that humanity’s need for a powerful father figure manifested in the creation of Jehovah God. While Freud was tainted by his time and bias, the famous psychoanalyst understood that the way people see God can be affected by their desires from fathers. What society as a whole is needing from fathers is often how the majority portray God; thus, the view of God in any generation reflects what that generation wants most from father figures. In the 21st century, people interpret God as an all-loving and all-tolerate being, so society wants father figures who love unconditionally and accept whatever lifestyle their children want to lead. Nevertheless, what modern society wants in a father figure is not always what they need, nor does it accurately reflect God the Father. To genuinely love the Heavenly Father is to see Him for who He really is. Judgment Day will come as a terrible shock to those who image God falsely for their own desires because they will condemn themselves in a divine judgment they refused to see coming. Astute and honest Bible readers can be prepared for the final judgment if they accept the truth about the Heavenly Father.
On Paul’s second missionary journey, he preached a famous sermon on Mars’ Hill to which he addressed the Athenians of their “Unknown God” (Acts 17:22-31). In His sermon, Paul first introduced God to people that had never known Him. Paul explained that God is the father of the universe creating all things (vs. 24). God fathered the church, a temple not made with hands, a spiritual dwelling in His people (vs. 24). The apostle revealed that God made all humanity of a single brotherhood, of “one blood” (vs. 26). Paul described God as a present figure to all that seek Him. The inspired preacher proclaimed that God is not far even though no one can see Him (vs. 27). After explaining who God is and that mankind has the ability to seek and find Him, Paul revealed what God does when one finds Him. Paul said God gives the dutiful seekers a beginning, a direction, and a purpose; God gives to all a Father above (vs. 28).
A father first and foremost bestows life to his child, as Paul describes of God to those listening at Mars’ Hill, “for in him we live…” (Acts 17:28). How does God give life, a beginning, to those who seek Him? Jesus explains, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5,6). The life and beginning that God provides is a spiritual life born of water and of His Spirit. Paul elucidates how a man can be born of the water and of the Spirit, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). In baptism, God gives a new spiritual life to those who seek and obey the gospel. Through the obedience of the gospel, a person has a foundation on which to stand, be saved, and a place to grow (1 Cor. 15:1-3).
God provides not only a beginning but also a direction as the Father of a person’s spiritual life. When the apostles of Christ realized that their leader was leaving them, they did not understand what they needed to do next. God, the Father, gave His children their marching orders and direction through the last command of Christ, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:19,20). God directs His children to go forth and make disciples of all people, teaching them, and providing to the world the same beginning and direction Christ’s disciples enjoyed. God the Father, provides His children with a path on which they can “move” in their lives (Acts 17:28).
Finally, God, the Father, appoints a universal purpose to the life and direction of His children. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty [or being] of man” (Eccl. 12:13). The purpose and “being” of the children of God rests on their ability to honor and obey the will of God that they might one day dwell with the Father in eternal rest (Acts 17:28; Matt. 5:16; John 14:2,3).
A father figure who dictates the beginning of a child’s life, the direction of a child’s life, and the ultimate purpose of a child’s life frustrates the modern world. Most people refuse to accept a Father so structured and judgmental, but this is the truth of God. In reality, people do not get to choose what kind of father they want. Thankfully, the Heavenly Father gives the world what they need to spiritually accel even if they refuse to have it. The Good Father will always be there for His children when they are ready to accept the truth (Rom. 8:31-39; 2 Peter 3:9). However, if the disobedient child should perish or the Son of God returns to the world before he/she accepts the truth, then there will be no chance for reconciliation, no chance of salvation (James 4:14-17; 2 Thess. 1:8,9).