27 Oct 2013

God the Father

Religious 47 Comments

What are the attributes of a good father?

==> He loves you unconditionally.

==> He has the power to take care of you.

==> He is fair and just.

==> He makes plans for your future prosperity.

==> He teaches you to help you avoid error.

==> He disciplines you when you are in the wrong, in order to teach you.

==> He pursues you if you run away and welcomes you back even though you betray him countless times.

==> He would die for you.

47 Responses to “God the Father”

  1. Bala says:

    OK. You’ve just personified the attributes of a good father and have decided to consider that your God 🙂

  2. Yosef says:

    What if you think unconditional love is monstrous, if not meaningless?

    He has the power to take care of you, form the very difficulties he created and the ills he designed.

    He is fair and just only if you define his way as fairness and justice.

    He controls you forever, having made your life into a movie that you can only watch.

    He beats you until your submit to his way alone (see fairness above)

    He haunts you, forever, and makes a show of his control by welcoming you back when he orchestrated your return. Even though you try to escape countless times

    He would make others dies for you.

    • Samson Corwell says:

      Are you projecting?

  3. Gil says:

    And smites you if dares stray from His commands.

  4. Major_Freedom says:

    I don’t get how half of these statements are explications or representations of the bible passages in question.

    • timmillr says:

      I personally like the Westminster Larger Catechism’s:

      Q. 7. What is God?

      A. God is a Spirit,[18] in and of himself infinite in being,[19] glory,[20] blessedness,[21] and perfection;[22] all-sufficient,[23] eternal,[24] unchangeable,[25] incomprehensible,[26] every where present,[27] almighty,[28] knowing all things,[29] most wise,[30] most holy,[31] most just,[32] most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.[33]

      [18] John 4:24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

      [19] Exodus 3:14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Job 11:7-9. Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

      [20] Acts 7:2. And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran.

      [21] 1 Timothy 6:15. Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

      [22] Matthew 5:48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

      [23] Genesis 17:1. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

      [24] Psalm 90:2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

      [25] Malachi 3:6. For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

      [26] 1 Kings 8:27. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

      [27] Psalm 139:1-13. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

      [28] Revelation 4:8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

      [29] Hebrews 4:13. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Psalm 147:5. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

      [30] Romans 16:27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

      [31] Isaiah 6:3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. Revelation 15:4. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

      [32] Deuteronomy 32:4. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

      [33] Exodus 34:6. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

  5. Keshav Srinivasan says:

    Bob, how would you explain that Job 38 passage you linked to? It seems to be describing a flat Earth, which is fastened to a foundation, where the oceans would fall off the side of the Earth if God didn’t hem them in with “thick darkness”, and the sun is kept at the east end of the Earth until it’s time for sunrise, and there are fixed supplies of snow and hail waiting to fall to the Earth.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      I would say God was speaking metaphorically to a guy who wasn’t an expert in climatology and geology. If God had said, “I will pursue My children to the ends of the earth” would that imply He didn’t know it was an oblong spheroid?

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        No, chasing someone down to the ends of the earth, although it has its origin in the flat earth theory, is an idiom that even someone who believes in a round earth could use. But when you say he was speaking metaphorically, do you mean that the whole passage is just one giant metaphor for “Were you around when I created the world, and have you seen all the parts of my creation?”? Or is each thing he describes a metaphor for something real? Like what could preventing the ocean from falling off the side of the Earth be a metaphor for?

      • Andrew_FL says:

        Minor quibble, I believe you mean an oblate spheroid.

      • timmillr says:

        Or, since the World is round and technically without end, couldn’t you infer a pursuit that knows no bounds?

  6. David says:

    I would have to agree with Major_Freedom, in that the passages don’t seem to fit with the comments. However, I do very much like your list.

    I would personally recommend

    John 3:16 for His Love

    The Job 38 passage for Fair and Just (He deals with everything in His Universe and has weighed the consequences of all actions, even if you don’t understand His purpose)

    Luke 15: 1-7 for how He pursues you and Luke 15:11-32 for how he welcomes you back

  7. Innocent says:

    The real issue is how often do people right down exactly what God says precisely the way He means it. Unfortunately words are an imperfect medium for the exchange of ideas. I would suggest therefore that in my own experience of God that there is a better method for the understanding of these items, while the words suggest meaning it is not until you seek to feel God that you will understand them. The words are meant as a sign that He is there, a witness of His existence, it is not until you actually seek Him out that He teaches line upon line, precept upon precept.

    Which REALLY stinks when you then have to attempt to explain it all to someone who not only does not believe but mocks you for the understanding that you have garnered through hard work, humility, patience, and meditation. Yet I know why it is the way it is, just does not make it any easier in the attempt to convey the information on which at times to the lay person can seem… contradictory.

    Oh well, great post on the attributes of God, I would also suggest one about mercy, which you sort of touched on in He pursues you if you run away and welcomes you back even though you betray him countless times. that the only person that ends up receiving the full consequence of the ‘laws’ of God are the unrepentant. Even then, who will be the true one to condemn us? I already know how I feel when I know I did something wrong and it is shown to me in clarity. I do not think that I will stand before God without a perfect knowledge of my mistakes, and willful pride, and disregard for others. I pray for that mercy in that day, not to excuse my failings but to know I am not the sum total of the mistakes and that the path that God walked is the one I WANT and TRY to walk as well.

  8. Ken B says:

    “What are the attributes of a good father?”

    Existence would be a good start.

    One thing lacking from Bob’s list is consistency. For good reason. And anyone so inclined can proof-text — for that is what Bob is doing here, a sadly venerable tradition — to show pretty much the reverse of each of these things. A good father for instance rarely tells his other children to murder you, or you to murder his other children, but *this* father most assuredly does, in other passages.

    • knoxharrington says:

      Well said Ken B.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Hopefully when that is addressed, we’ll also see a good response to my challenge:

      “Since you reject there being one morality for God and another morality for man, when is it moral for a man, in the real world, to [murder a 45 year old by giving them terminal cancer] (since that is what God does)?”

      Murphy argued that there is one morality for both God and Man. That should pass the test of considering real world examples, to see if our moral analytics doesn’t lead us to absurdity.

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        I think Bob at least attempted to answer that question in that thread, something along the lines of (paraphrasing): “It is moral for a man to kill another man when the alternative is for the other man to not have existed at all. If you think otherwise, then you must believe that if God wasn’t willing to give humanity immortality, then he shouldn’t have created humanity in the first place.”

        Whether that’s a coherent argument is another story, but at least he tried. (It seems to echo what Bryan Caplan and Steve Landsburg say about whether it’s better to be an abusive parent or not be a parent at all. I’m somewhat skeptical of Landsburg’s arguments concerning this, but YMMV.)

        • Major_Freedom says:

          I can’t find that in the thread, but if that’s an answer, then Murphy is arguing it is always moral for man to kill man, because if a man exists, then he is better off being murdered by man because the alternative is to not exist.

          Men can kill defenseless babies, and it would be moral.

          I strongly doubt that’s what Murphy actually believes.

          • Keshav Srinivasan says:

            That was my paraphrase of what Bob was saying in that thread, but for instance look at this comment:

            Anyway, Bob isn’t saying that it’s OK to kill someone if the alternative to them existing is them not existing. He’s saying that it’s OK to kill them if the alternative to you killing them is them not existing, which it is if immortality is off the table.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              I resonded to that comment Keshav.

              That comment is not a real world example. It’s a Stephen King story.

              “Anyway, Bob isn’t saying that it’s OK to kill someone if the alternative to them existing is them not existing. He’s saying that it’s OK to kill them if the alternative to you killing them is them not existing, which it is if immortality is off the table.”

              That’s what I said.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                Then what’s your justification for saying “Men can kill defenseless babies, and it would be moral.”? Shouldn’t you instead say “Men can kill defenseless babies, and it would be moral if the alternative to killing them was preventing them from existing?”

              • Major_Freedom says:

                The alternative to killing them would be preventing them from existing?

                Is that even possible in the real world, which is a requirement of my challenge?

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                Well, if you’re asking whether this circumstance actually occurs In the real world between ordinary humans, then the answer is no. But I think that Bob’s point is that IF ordinary humans were to find themselves in that extraordinary circumstance, then their acts of killing would be moral, just like God’s acts of killing.

                Let me repeat that I’m just summarizing Bob’s view, not necessarily my own.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Keshav, I thought you were leading us down a path where you were going to show me that I missed my challenge being answered.

                I thought I emphasized a requirement of a real world example.

                This answer, which I understand is not your own, is essentially “It is moral for Man to do what God does, but only when Man is God.”

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                Yeah, that’s basically a fair summary of what Bob was saying: it’s only moral for Man to do what God does when he is in a certain circumstance, a circumstance that only God happens to be in.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Honestly, I’d rather have a response (real world example), then a summary of what Murphy is saying.

  9. Ivan Jankovic says:

    I am wondering where are the Hinduists and Buddhists who practice conventional morality but don’t believe in any celestial Father – are they in Hell?

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      First of all, the term is Hindu, not Hinduist. Second of all, we Hindus certainly believe in celestial deities, AKA gods. Whether Hinduism is monotheistic or polytheistic is a complicated issue (look up henotheism, kathenotheism, and Brahman).

      But I think the thrust of your question is, how does mainstream Christianity consider Hindus? Well, I think it considers us heathens, and it thinks that any worship of deities other than their God is considered to be tantamount to worship of Satan. (Thus the negative connotations of Baal worship.) Of course, there’s the question of whether the deities of two religions can be identified with one another, so you might say that Hindus and Christians worship the same god, except they might have different views over the attributes of that deity.

      • Ivan Jankovic says:

        You believe in deities but you don’t believe in God-Father who created the Universe. that’s the problem. Gods in your tradition are created themselves and Upanishads say that nobody knows exactly when and how.

        • Ivan Jankovic says:

          Actually it’s Rig Veda, rather than Upansihads:

          “Who really knows?
          Who will here proclaim it?
          Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
          The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
          Who then knows whence it has arisen?”

          • Keshav Srinivasan says:

            You’re taking a quote out of context with imprecise translation. The gods that are being referred to there are not all the gods, but merely lesser gods. It’s talking about the main Vedic gods, the ones who control the various forces of nature, not knowing the nature of how the world was created, because they came afterwards. That doesn’t mean that there was no one who antedates the Universe. We do indeed believe in a paternal figure who created the Universe – his name is Brahma, the creator god, and he did under the auspices of his father, the supreme being, known as Vishnu, the preserver who pervades all things. Brahma and Vishnu existed before (although before is an imprecise term) time even existed. Vishnu, who is an eternal and pre-existing being, uttered the syllable “AUM” (also spelled “OM”), which created the god Brahma, and that syllable also instructed Brahma to create the universe. Other gods came later, in the course of creation and afterward, so they cannot fathom that eternal power of Vishnu, used by Brahma, by which all things have come into being.

            • Ivan Jankovic says:

              “Whence all creation had its origin,
              he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
              he, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows – or maybe even he does not know.”

              Rig Veda, Nasadiya Sukta

              • Ivan Jankovic says:

                And ‘Brahman’ in the Hindu tradition is an abstract philosophical principle, and does not have anything to do with the emotional, anthropomorphic images of God-Father who cares for you in real time from the Abrahamic religions. Emotional monotheism appeared in India in the Middle ages, 2000 years after Rig Veda.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                The “he” that’s being referred to is the god Brahma. Although Brahma created the universe, he wasn’t the only ultimately responsible, because he created the universe by invoking the power of Vishnu. So that passage is saying that even Brahma may not know the nature of the power which was responsible for creation . Vishnu, however, does, because he is the ultimate source, from which Brahma and the universe ultimately arose.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                You’re confusing Brahma with Brahman. Brahma is a concrete personal god, and he was the creator of the Universe (although, as I said, he created it under the auspices of Vishnu). Brahman is indeed a far more abstract entity (although I wouldn’t call Brahman a “principle). I was talking about Brahma, not Brahman. As far as a loving god who takes care of you in real time, we certainly have such a figure: the preserver god Vishnu.

            • Samson Corwell says:

              Isn’t Brahma supposed to be made up of everything or something? If so, then that’s already different from the Abrahamic conception of God.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                Like Ivan, you’re confusing Brahma with Brahman. Brahma’s a god with four heads, Brahman is a more abstract entity.

  10. Gamble says:

    The Old Testament was before Christ.

    The Bible does make sense unless you keep in mind the chronology.

    The OT is an example of who we were before salvation, of course the OT does not make sense. The OT really is a story about incomplete people. The non messianic Jewish people really cling to the OT. Unfortunately many “Christian” churches are stuck in the OT, pre-salvation.

    I read the OT before I read the NT and hated it. Horrible story. It wasn’t till I read the NT that is all made sense.

  11. Daniil Gorbatenko says:

    So would a loving father (whom his child doesn’t know and thus doesn’t believe that he exists) subject his child to an eternal suffering in hell?

    • Chance_Nation says:


      According to the Bible the answer seems to be yes. Even though I wouldn’t do that to my kids. I also probably wouldn’t murder them if a burning bush told me to either. Lucifer is Gods enemy, but was once one of his angels and got to be in his presence, which is a perk that humans don’t get. Lucifer gets a better shake than the rest of us? Heck, didn’t God still associate with good old Lucifer for a friendly wager to make Job’s life miserable? Thou shalt not kill (with an asterisk saying “unless God tells you to”). God commanded the genocide of the Amalekites and countless other peoples. Slavery isn’t prohibited in the Ten Commandments? The bible seems to be obviously man-made by 1st century humans. What in the bible couldn’t have been written by 1st century humans?

    • Gamble says:

      Maybe if this bad apple will destroy his other 7 children?

      Get rid of 1 to save 7?

  12. Edward says:

    while we’re on the thread of fathers and families.

    I was watching old episodes of the Sopranos recently.

    Did anyone ever notice that Corrato “junior” Soprano looks a lot like the older pic of Murray Rothbard? COmpare the two pics and look it up?

  13. Lord Acton says:

    I had heard, but now I am sure that Bob Murphy shares a wonderful relationship with his child. Good for you bob..

  14. Razer says:

    What about when he murders his children?

  15. Dave says:

    ==> He actually exists and isn’t just a character in a book.

  16. Steve Finnell says:


    It is the will of the Father that all men be saved. The question is can men reject what the words of Jesus and still be saved.

    John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    The Father wants all men to be saved.

    John 12:48-50 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day……..

    Can men be a true believer in Jesus and at the same time reject His word?

    How many times can men say, “Jesus did not mean what He said.” Can men proclaim their creed books and other denominational teaching takes precedent over the words of Jesus and still be saved?


    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

    Can you reject the fact that Jesus said “Has been baptized shall be saved?” Are you receiving the sayings of Jesus when you proclaim that water baptism does not precede salvation?

    Matthew 24:10-13 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another…….13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

    Can men oppose what Jesus said and declare that men that are once saved are always saved? Will they still be saved?

    John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one isborn of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

    Can men proclaim that Jesus was saying, in order to enter the kingdom of God you have be born by natural child birth. Can you imagine Jesus saying that a requirement to enter the kingdom of God is being born of amniotic fluid?

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

    Can believers in Christ say that Jesus is just one of many roads to salvation and remain saved?

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son , that whoever believes in Him shall not perish , but have eternal life.

    Some say, that John 3:16 actually means that whoever God has been predetermined for salvation, will believed and be saved and all others will burn in hell for all eternity.

    Can men give their private interpretation of Scripture and still be saved?



    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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