God the Father

God the Father

Overview
God the Father is a gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

ed title given to God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector. In traditional Christianity, God is also called Father because of the Father-Son relationship revealed by Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as well as the reasons mentioned above.

In general, the name Father signifies God's role as a life-giver, an authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

, and powerful protector, often viewed as immense, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent with infinite power and charity
Charity (virtue)
In Christian theology charity, or love , means an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others.The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.- Caritas: altruistic love :...

 that goes beyond human understanding.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'God the Father'
Start a new discussion about 'God the Father'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
God the Father is a gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

ed title given to God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector. In traditional Christianity, God is also called Father because of the Father-Son relationship revealed by Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as well as the reasons mentioned above.

In general, the name Father signifies God's role as a life-giver, an authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

, and powerful protector, often viewed as immense, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent with infinite power and charity
Charity (virtue)
In Christian theology charity, or love , means an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others.The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.- Caritas: altruistic love :...

 that goes beyond human understanding. For instance, after completing his monumental work Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica
The Summa Theologiæ is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas , and although unfinished, "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as a manual for beginners in theology and a compendium of all of the main...

, St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 concluded that he had not yet begun to understand God the Father.

Gender of God


Masculine characteristics are often ascribed to God, in the Scriptures and traditions of many monotheists. In the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, God is directly addressed and referred to with the masculine term "Father", in both the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 and the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

.

God is also usually defined as being a spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

, and thus having no human biological gender. For instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 #239 specifically states that "God is neither man nor woman: he is God". Yet, God is thought of as dominant, powerful, fatherly, masculine, passionate, whose ways are too high for his children to understand.
God is traditionally referred to by the masculine pronoun he (often capitalized; He).

Feminine imagery for God is also found in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

.
Even though God is never directly addressed as "Mother", he at times is compared to and likened to a Mother. A woman in labor; a mother who does not forget the child she nurses; a mother who comforts her children; a mother who births and protects Israel; a mother who gave birth to the Israelites; Other maternal references: ; .

Monotheism


In modern monotheist
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religious traditions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Bahá'í, Krishnaism
Krishnaism
Krishnaism is a group of Hindu denominations within Vaishnavism, centered on devotion to Radha Krishna or other forms of Krishna, identified with Vishnu.The central text of Krishnaism is the Bhagavad Gita....

, Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

 and the Brahma Kumaris religion, God is addressed as the father, in part because of his active interest in human affairs, in the way that a father would take an interest in his children who are dependent on him and as a father, he will respond to humanity, his children, acting in their best interests. Many monotheists believe they can communicate with him through prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

, and improve their relationship with him. At times, it is also expected that God may punish those who err like a father punishes his children, e.g. as stated in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

: "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons."

Judaism



In Judaism, God is called "Father" with a unique sense of familiarity. In addition to the sense in which God is "Father" to all men because he created the world (and in that sense "fathered" the world), the same God is also uniquely the patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

al law-giver to the chosen people
Chosen people
Throughout history and even today various groups of people have considered themselves as chosen by a deity for some purpose such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People"...

. He maintains a special, covenantal
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

 father-child relationship with the people, giving them the Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

, stewardship of his oracles, and a unique heritage in the things of God, calling Israel "my son" because he delivered the descendants of Jacob out of slavery in Egypt according to his oath to their father, Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

. In the Hebrew Scriptures, in Isaiah 63:16 (ASV) it reads: "Thou, O Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name." To God, according to Judaism, is attributed the fatherly role of protector. He is called the Father of the poor, of the orphan and the widow, their guarantor of justice. He is also called the Father of the king, as the teacher and helper over the judge of Israel.

Christianity


In Christianity, God is called "Father" in a more literal sense, besides being the creator and nurturer of creation, and the provider for his children. The Father is said to have an eternal or special relation to his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, which implies an exclusive and intimate familiarity: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." In Christian theology, this is the revelation of a sense in which fatherhood is inherent to God's nature, an eternal relationship.
In the New Testament, God is called "Father" 245 times.

In the third century, Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 claimed that God exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—with the Father being the Head. To trinitarian
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 Christians (which include Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, and most but not all Protestant denominations
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

), God the Father is not at all a separate god from the Son (of whom Jesus is the incarnation) and the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

, the other Hypostases of the Christian Godhead
Godhead (Christianity)
Godhead is a Middle English variant of the word godhood, and denotes the Divine Nature or Substance of the Christian God, or the Trinity. Within some traditions such as Mormonism, the term is used as a nontrinitarian substitute for the term Trinity, denoting the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit not as...

.

According to the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

, the Son (Jesus Christ) is "eternally begotten of the Father", indicating that their divine Father-Son relationship is seen as not tied to an event within time or human history. See Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

.


To Christians, God the Father's relationship with humanity is as a father to children. Thus, humans in general are sometimes called children of God. To Christians, God the Father's relationship with humanity is that of Creator and created beings, and in that respect he is the "Father" or "Life-giver" of all. He is referred to as "your Heavenly Father" by Jesus, in the Gospels. The New Testament says, in this sense, that the very idea of family, wherever it appears, derives its name from God the Father, and thus God himself is the model of the family.

However, there is a deeper sense in which Christians believe that they are made participants in the eternal relationship of Father and Son, through Jesus Christ. Christians call themselves adopted children of God:
The Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 records that Jesus used the term Abba
Ab (Semitic)
Ab means "father" in most Semitic languages, sometimes extended to Abba or Aba.-Arabic:Ab , from a theoretical, abstract form ʼabawun is Arabic for "father"...

, "Father" when praying to God during his Agony in the Garden
Agony in the Garden
The Agony in the Garden refers to the events in the life of Jesus between the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest. Jesus' struggle praying and discussing with God, before accepting his sacrifice, before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane also denotes a state of mind - agony.-Scriptural...

 of Gethsemane
Gethsemane
Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where, according to Biblical texts, Jesus and his disciples are said to have prayed the night before Jesus' crucifixion.- Etymology :...

 shortly before his crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

, saying: "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this cup from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want." Here is the fervent appeal of a son to a beloved father, followed quickly by an assurance that, in any event, he would remain obedient. The New Testament refers six times to God as the "God and Father" of Jesus.

Eastern Orthodoxy


In Eastern Orthodox theology, God the Father is the "arche" or "principium" (beginning), the "source" or "origin" of both the Son and the Holy Spirit (which gives intuitive emphasis to the threeness of persons); by comparison, Catholic theology
Roman Catholic theology
Roman Catholic theology comprises the "Roman Catholic teachings" of the Catholic Church which bases its conclusions on Scripture and Sacred Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium. The Church teaches that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, keeping of the Ten commandments and...

 explains the "origin" of all three Hypostases or Persons as being in the divine nature (which gives intuitive emphasis to the oneness
Divine simplicity
In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. The general idea of divine simplicity can be stated in this way: the being of God is identical to the "attributes" of God. In other words, such characteristics as omnipresence, goodness, truth, eternity, etc...

 of God's being) while still maintaining God the Father as the Source of both the Son and the Spirit.

Jehovah's Witnesses



In Jehovah's Witness theology, only God the Father is the one true and almighty God, even over his Son Jesus Christ. While the Witnesses acknowledge Christ's pre-existence, perfection, and unique "Sonship" with God the Father, and believe that Christ had an essential role in creation and redemption, and is the Messiah, they believe that only the Father is without beginning. They say that the Son had a beginning, and was "brought forth" at a certain point, as the Father's First and Only-begotten, and as the Father's only direct creation, before all ages. They emphasize God the Father, in their services, studies, and worship, more than Christ the Son. In their theology, they teach that the Father is greater than the Son. The Witnesses, though they do give relative "worship" ("proskyneo") to Jesus as God's Son and Messiah, and pray through Him as Mediator, do not give him the same degree of worship or service as they give to God the Father.

Oneness Pentecostalism



God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same person, but just different faces or modes of the one God, in varying circumstances, according to Oneness theology. These titles (as well as others) do not reflect separate "persons" within the Godhead, but rather different ways in which the one God reveals himself to his creatures.

Oneness theologians teach that the "Holy Spirit" is just another name for God the Father. Thus, the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 speaks of "The Lord God and his Spirit" in Isaiah 48:16, but this does not indicate two "persons" according to Oneness theology. Rather, "The Lord" indicates God in all of His glory and transcendence, while "his Spirit" refers to His own Spirit that moved upon and spoke to the prophet. This does not imply two "persons" any more than the numerous scriptural references to a man and his spirit or soul (such as in Luke 12:19) imply two "persons" existing within one body.

Also, in contrast, says Oneness teaching, the Son did not exist (in any substantial sense) prior to the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth except in the foreknowledge of God. The humanity of Jesus did not exist before the incarnation. Although Jesus (i.e. the Spirit of Jesus) preexisted
Pre-existence of Christ
The pre-existence of Christ refers to the doctrine of the ontological or personal existence of Christ before his conception. One of the relevant Bible passages is where, in the Trinitarian view, Christ is identified with a pre-existent divine hypostasis called the Logos or Word...

 in His Deity as eternal God.

Oneness Pentecostals refer to the Father as the "Spirit" and the Son as the "Flesh". But they believe that Jesus and the Father are one essential Person, though operating as different modes. They believe that Jesus was "Son" only when he became flesh on earth, but was the Father prior to his being made Man. As Jesus, God took human flesh at a precise moment in time, while remaining fully and eternally God: "for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily". Thus the Father is not the Son (this distinction is crucial), just like "Spirit" is not "Flesh", but rather is in the Son in a unique sense, as the fullness of His divinity (Colossians 2:9). Oneness theology does not claim to teach (as some falsely accuse) that the Father is actually the Son, but rather that the Father (the Spirit) is in the Son (the Flesh) in a special sense (God in Christ). This divinity within Jesus was also the Holy Spirit, according to Oneness teaching, as the Father and Holy Spirit are one and the same. Oneness theology maintains that the terms "LORD" and "Jesus" refer to the same God, who is also known as Jehovah to some modern-day Christians.

Mormonism



In Mormonism, the most prominent conception of God is as a divine council of three distinct beings: Elohim
Elohim
Elohim is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language. When used with singular verbs and adjectives elohim is usually singular, "god" or especially, the God. When used with plural verbs and adjectives elohim is usually plural, "gods" or...

 (the Father), Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

 (the Son, or Jesus), and the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

. The Father and Son are considered to have perfected, material bodies, while the Holy Spirit has a body of spirit. Mormons believe that the Father is greater than both the Son and Holy Spirit. This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

; in Mormonism, the three persons are considered to be fully separate gods, but united in will and purpose. Mormons often refer to this Council as the "Godhead" to distinguish it from the traditional Trinity. As such, the term Godhead
Godhead (Christianity)
Godhead is a Middle English variant of the word godhood, and denotes the Divine Nature or Substance of the Christian God, or the Trinity. Within some traditions such as Mormonism, the term is used as a nontrinitarian substitute for the term Trinity, denoting the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit not as...

 has a different meaning than the term as used in traditional Christianity.

Islam



In Islamic theology
Islamic theology
Islamic theology is a branch of Islamic studies regarding the beliefs associated with the Islamic faith. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However, this term has taken a significant technical usage in Islamic history and theology, denoting those...

, God (Arabic: Allāh
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

) is the all-powerful
Omnipotence
Omnipotence is unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of whichever faith is being addressed...

 and all-knowing
Omniscience
Omniscience omniscient point-of-view in writing) is the capacity to know everything infinitely, or at least everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc. In Latin, omnis means "all" and sciens means "knowing"...

 creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid
Tawhid
Tawhid is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion's most fundamental concept and holds God is one and unique ....

). God is unique (wahid
Wahid
-Given name:* Waheed Ul Hasan, Living at Lahore, studied from BZU, Engineer at Pepsi cola,* Waheed Ahmed , Urdu poet* Waheed Akhtar , poet, literary critic and scholar...

) and inherently One (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent. The Qur'an asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the entire creation.

While Islam accepts and teaches the concept of God as life-giver and creator, Muslim theology rejects the Judeo-Christian concept of God as a "father", particularly in regard to his relationship to prophet Issa (Jesus in Islam).

According to the Qur'an:

"Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." (Sura , Yusuf Ali)

Hinduism


Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 is not just one religion, but many related religions collectively, believing in about 330 million gods and goddesses of varying ranks and meanings, as part of a pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

, and as aspects of the Supreme Being, and generally views God, not so much as the Father, but instead Ishvara
Ishvara
Ishvara is a philosophical concept in Hinduism, meaning controller or the Supreme controller in a theistic school of thought or the Supreme Being, or as an Ishta-deva of monistic thought.-Etymology:...

, a Supreme Controller or Supreme Being, although some say Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

 the Creator is father of all humanity. Therefore, human attributes, such as personality and fatherhood are the mind's projections.

Confucianism


Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 speaks of the yin and yang
Yin and yang
In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

 or the dark and the light as the creative power that gives and sustains life and being. It does not believe in a supernatural god per se. In classical Confucianism, however, it is thought that the position is that man is presented as a creation of God rather than just a product of unconscious nature. Some say that Confucius's ultimate goal was for man to be in harmony with his Creator or Life-Giver.

God the Father in Western art


For about a thousand years, no attempt was made to portray God the Father in human form, because early Christians believed that the words of Exodus 33:20 "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see Me and live" and of the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 1:18: "No man hath seen God at any time" were meant to apply not only to the Father, but to all attempts at the depiction of the Father. Yet, western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for the depiction of the Father in human form gradually emerged around the tenth century AD.

By the twelfth century depictions of the "hand of God" had started to appear in French manuscripts and in stained glass church windows in England. In the 14th century the illustrated Naples Bible
Naples Bible
The Naples Bible is the second printed Old Testament Bible in Hebrew. The very first complete printed Hebrew Bible was published by the Soncino brothers in 1488. This was then followed by the Naples Bible in 1491–1493. It is not to be confused with a 14th century illuminated manuscript bible, in...

, one of the earliest printed Bibles carried a depiction of God the Father in the Burning bush
Burning bush
The burning bush is an object described by the Book of Exodus as being located on Mount Sinai; according to the narrative, the bush was on fire, but was not consumed by the flames, hence the name...

. By the 15th century, the Rohan Book of Hours included depictions of God the Father in human form. The trend in depicting God the Father continued thereafter.

See also



  • Heavenly Mother
    Heavenly Mother
    In Mormonism, Heavenly Mother or the Mother in Heaven is the mother of human spirits and the wife of God the Father. Those who accept the Mother in Heaven doctrine trace its origins to Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. The doctrine was not widely known, however, until...

  • Divine filiation
    Divine filiation
    Divine filiation is a Christian concept of becoming a "child of God". The concept implicates a share in the life and role of Jesus Christ. Divine filiation refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as the second person of the Trinity, "God the Son"...

  • Christ
    Christ
    Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

  • Mother Goddess
    Mother goddess
    Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation or embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.Many different goddesses have...

  • Godhead (Latter Day Saints)

External links