The Fatherhood of God for Muslims

The Fatherhood of God for Muslims
February 2006 version

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)
This is a very precious teaching about God common to both the ancient Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, which has been lost to the Muslims world. Muslims claim they worship the same God as Jews and Christians. They speak of 99 names of God, but most of them do not realize that Mohammed failed to tell them about one of the most important titles of God: Father.

God's Word Prior to Christ

In the Old Testament, the metaphor of God being a Father was very common. Isaiah 63:16; Jeremiah 3:19; 13:9; Malachi 2:10; 1 Chr 17:11-14; 22:10; 28:6; Psalm 2:7; Prov 3:12; Hosea 11:1.
God made a promise to David about his son Solomon, "He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son...." (2 Samuel 7:13-14)
Not everyone respected God as a Father though. Malachi 1:6 says, "'A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?' says the LORD Almighty...."
Proverbs 30:4f says, "What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!"

The New Testament Message

In the 27 books of the New Testament, every single book except for 3 John either mentions that God is a Father, Jesus is a Son of God, or we are sons of God. For example, in Matthew 6:9 Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father, who is in Heaven...". In Revelation 21:6 we have the precious promise that "He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son."

The Words of the Messiah

Imagine losing your parents, and then having the joy of having your real father find you. That joy is small compared to the greater joy of having a Heavenly Father, the Creator. Our earthly fathers take care of us as they can, but God has prepared mansions in Heaven for all His children.
Matthew 6:31-33 says, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." (Matthew 6:31-32). But God taking care of you is not automatic. The next verse says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)
The most famous prayer in Christianity is the Lord's Prayer, which Jesus taught when His disciples asked Him how to pray. It starts out as: "Our Father".

The Teaching of the Early Church

Here are references from 40 followers of up to 300 A.D.

First Clement (97/98 A.D.) ch.23 (son) ch.36

Letter of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.5 (Son of God) ch.14

Mathetes to Diognetus (c.130 A.D.) ch 10

Ignatius to the Ephesians (before 116 A.D.) chapter 2, chapter 3

The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians (100-155 A.D.) chapter 12 p.35 refers to "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"

Concerning the Martyrdom of Polycarp (c.169 A.D.) 1st sentence p.39; ch.14 p.42; ch.19 p.43

Fragments of Papias (c.155 A.D.) Fragment 5 (2 times)

Shepherd of Hermas book 3 ch.6 p.35 (160 A.D.) says that God gave them to His Son. Also, Jesus received from His Father.

Melito of Sardis (170-177 A.D.) says "those who love him speak of Him thus; 'Father, and God of Truth'" in his Discourse ch.1 Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.8 p.751

First Apology of Justin Martyr (135-165 A.D.) chapter 13 (son), chapter 15 (2 times)

Tatian (110-172 A.D.) Later left Christianity and became a Gnostic. Address to the Greeks ch.4 p.66; ch.5 (2 times) p.67; ch.7 p.169

Didache 1:5 (2nd century) "For the Father wants his gifts to be universally shared)

Second Clement 3:1 (2nd century) "save refusing to deny him [Jesus] through whom we came to know the Father?"

Theophilus to Autolycus (168-181/188 A.D.) Book 1 ch.3 (2 times), ch.4 p.90, Book 2 ch. 22 p.103; Book 2 ch.34 p.108 mentions God the Father a total of 5 times.

Athenagoras' Plea for Christians (177 A.D.) chapter 10 (2 times)

Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) "Father who is in heaven" Against Heresies Book 2 ch.9 p.369

Tertullian (200-240 A.D.) mentions the Father, Son, and Spirit as well as the Trinity in numerous places.

The Octavius of Minucius Felix (210 A.D.) ch.18 p.185 Mentions God as a Father.

Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) in Exhortation to the Heathen ch.6 p.199 (2 times) ch.10 p.202, ch.11 p.203 (5 times), and The Instructor Book 1 ch.2 p.209-210 (4 times)

Julius Africanus (235-245 A.D.) mentions God the Father in his Letter to Aristides ch.1 p.125.

Cyprian (246-258 A.D.) mentions God the Father in Letter 50.3 p.348, Letter 51.23 p.333, Letter 54.16 p.345, and other places.

Moyses, Maximum, and Nicostratus (248-257 A.D.) mention God the Father in their letter to Cyprian. Letter 25.1 p.302.

Roman presbyters and deacons (248-257 A.D.) mention God the Father in their letter to Cyprian Letter 30.7 p.311.

Gregory Thaumaturgus (240-265 A.D.) mentions the Father, Son, and he mentions the Trinity three times in his Declaration of Faith p.7.

Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 A.D.) mentions God as our "Father and Maker" in The Books on Nature ch.4 p.88 . He also mentions the Father and Son, and he says there was never a time when God was not the Father in his Letter to Dionysius Bishop of Rome 1.2 p.92

Dionysius of Rome (259-269 A.D.) mentions the Father and the Son in his work Against the Sabellians ch.1 in Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.7 p.365 and other places.

Bishop Lucius of Castra Galbae/Gilba quotes Matthew 28:19 about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.) p.566-567

Bishop Munnulus of Girba quotes Matthew 28:19 "...in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" The Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.) p.567

Bishop Euchratius of Thenae quotes Matthew 28:19 "...in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" The Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.) p.568

Bishop Vencentius of Thibaris also quotes Matthew 28:19 about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Seventh Council of Carthage p.569

Bishop Clarus of Mascula also quotes Matthew 28:19 about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.) p.569

Theognostus of Alexandria (260 A.D.) teaches how the Son relates to God the Father in Seven Books of Hypotyposes or Outlines ch.1 p.155.

Archelaus (270-280 A.D.) mentions God the Father and the Lord's prayer in Disputation with Manes ch.20 p.194

Bishop Diodorus (270-280 A.D.) mentions God as the Father in Disputation with Manes ch.45 p.221

Pierius (275 A.D.), presbyter of Alexandria taught about the Father and son in his fragment in Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.6 p.157.

Theonas bishop of Alexandria (282-300 A.D.) mentions God your Father in Epistle to Lucianus the Chief Chamberlain ch.1 p.158.

Peter, Bishop of Alexandria (285-311 A.D.) Jesus prayed to His Father. Canonical Epistle 9 p.273

Methodius (260-313 A.D.) God is a Father The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Discourse 1 ch.3 p.312

Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (prior to 325 A.D.) "For our Savior Himself entreated His Father for those who had sinned, as it is written in the Gospel: and then quotes Luke 23:34 ch.16 p.402

Lactantius (260-325 A.D.) "God, the Father of the human race". The Divine Institutes book 2 ch.18 p.67. Mention of the His Son in The Divine Institutes ch.17 p.65

Now how could so many Christians believe that God was a Father? It could only be that a) they learned that from Jesus, b) they learned that from Jesus' apostles, c) they learned that from what was clear in the Old Testament, or d) all the above.
Could someone worship Jesus as God in the Trinity and still go to paradise? Of course the Bible answers yes, but let's look at this question from an Islamic perspective. From the time of Jesus on, those who believed in Jesus as a prophet of God believed Him to be God. Either God desired that all who tried to follow Jesus' words would go to hellfire or else he did not fiendishly mislead all who wished to believe Jesus. If Jesus taught the truth (as Muslims agree He did), then do you believe that God wanted/allowed the knowledge that the prophet Jesus was from God to teach lies to everyone up to the time of Mohammed; lies that would send them to Hell? It is difficult to believe in a capricious, fiendish god like that, but then again, people without really thinking about it, have believed stranger things.

How to Become a Child of the Father

1. Understand that God is a Father
God says, "He will call out to me, 'You are me Father, my God, the Rock my Savior" (Psalm 89:26)
God is our Maker, and He has the right to do with us as He pleases. He is strict and just, but He is also kind and delights to show mercy.
Zephaniah 3:17 says is amazing: "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Why would the God of the universe, who all of Creation to see, and all of the angels to obey Him, take great delight in us? Scripture says that He does though. Romans 8:19 says, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."

2. All of us are sinners and hopeless Without God
We are not born as children of God. Becoming a child of God. Rather, we are born sinful (Psalm 51) and are separated from God (Ephesians 2:1-5,12)
Titus 3:3-7 says, "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved su, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of hi smercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."

3. Our Only Hope is Jesus, the Messiah
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
We are children of God by adoption, as Romans 8:18, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5 show. We have also received a new second birth. This is the born again experience Jesus taught us about. Read it for yourself in John 3:1-21.
Jesus said in John 14:6, "...I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

4. Confess Jesus as Your Lord and Savior
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and as saved. As the Scritpure says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.'" (Romans 10:9-10)
"because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes ou a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:14-16)

Summary

"...the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" (Romans 10:12b-13) I hope you will be richly blessed.

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