Father: The Appropriate Metaphor for God?

As I read Eric’s blog this morning I posted a note back to him:

I once heard someone say that having kids was like watching your heart walk outside your body. I think he was right!

I have often heard that God love all his kids the same. I discovered that i loved my kids differently, especially my differently-abled daughter. I have often wondered if God loves his kids differently also, but alas, that’s the problem in trying to understand the depths of God’s love using a human model.

I find now that my kids are older that i love them in a different way. They have truly become my best friends.

Eric’s blog caused some other reflections.

I wonder why we are often fixed, not to say that Eric, on Father as “the” appropriate metaphor for God. Do we not believe that a child growing up in a single-parent home is denied somthing of value if the single parent is “father” or if the single parent is “mother?” Yet we sometimes persist to think of our relationship with God as Father as the preferable lens of thinking about God. Maybe we should think of God as “parent” (both father and mother) as well as many other metaphors.

It occurs to me that God may not have wanted to be thought of by his creation by only one title. Scripture reflects many metaphors for God. Here are some samples:

Abba (Mark 14.36; Rom. 8.15; Gal. 4.6)
Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1.8)
Architect (Heb. 11.10)
Banner (Ex. 17.14)
Bear Robbed of Her Cubs (Hos. 13.8)
Beginning and End (Rev. 21.6)
Birds Hovering Overhead (Isa. 31.5)
Bridegroom (Isa. 62.5)
Consuming Fire (Deut. 4.24)
Defender (Psa. 68.5)
Dew (Hos. 14.5)
Eagle (Ex. 19.4)
Ever-Present Help (Psa. 46.1)
Father (Deut 1.30; Job 38.28)
Fortress (2 Sam. 22.2)
Gardener (John 15.1)
Green Pine Tree (Hos. 14.8)
Guide (Psa. 48.14)
Hiding Place (Psa. 32.7)
Husband (Isa. 54.5)
Judge (Job. 9.15)
King (Psa. 5.2)
Leopard (Hos. 13.7)
Lion (Isa. 31.4)
Master (Mal. 1.6)
Moth (Hos. 5.12)
Mother (Isa. 49.13)
Portion (Psa. 73.26)
Potter (Isa. 29.16; Isa. 64.8)
Redeemer (Job 19.25)
Refuge (Deut. 33.27)
Rock (Deut. 32.4)
Shade (Psa. 121.5)
Shepherd (Psa. 23.1)
Shield (Gen. 15.1)
Strong Tower (Psa. 61.3)
Woman (Isa. 42.14)

*God may I grow from being you child only to being your friend.*

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