I believe in God the Father…
The early church had a very clear concept of the paternity of God, however because of the distance from the cultural context of ancient history, influence of secularism, and the collapse of the home, we see that this idea of fatherhood of God as a nothing unique or special.
When looking at the Apostles Creed we see that belief brings together the will and the mind, now in order to move the will we must know what exactly is feeding our mind.
God as father… it seems like a very interesting idea. Interesting due to the fact that we have a notion (or even an absence of that notion) of what a father is. To say God is father is a hard thing to explain, to say he is OUR father is another great abyss we have to jump.
The early church had a concept of what fatherhood was, the idea of a healthy patriarchy. No absentee fathers were allowed the name of christian. When we think of fatherhood we cannot help but reach into our own perspective of what it means.
This is the difficulty that the Apostles Creed faces in our day and age.
We must understand fatherhood not in the context in which we have lived or experienced in, but instead we must understand the idea and role of father as it was designed to be.
How is God father? God revealed himself to be a father in the scriptures more in the New Testament but also is seen and adressed as father in the Old Testament. The book of Psalms presents the idea of how God shows compassion towards, who he calls, who fear him.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.“ Psalm 103:13
An aspect of what it means to be a father is filled with compassion. The early church though facing much persecution not only from the empire of Rome (also the hatred of the Jews because of the inclusion of the gentiles (Ephesians 2)), they remembered the Lord their God is one filled with compassion.
The person of Christ is the promise of compassion through the divine act of adoption. We are now, through Christ, made just. This justification or being made righteous came with a promise of adoption, to be co-heirs of the riches of Jesus (Romans 8:17). The honors Jesus deserved, he shared with those who the Father has adopted. We are made those who receive the inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4).
It is much easier to claim that God is unjust in the suffering of his elect. Modern ideas of prosperity is that we face no trials and tribulations due to the name of Christ. This is a watered down notion of the gospel. However the compassion of the Lord is not seen in the absence of suffering but instead in peace in the midst of suffering.
The early church understood that they not only had a Creator but also had one who is filled with compassion as a father. A God who is not like the pagan gods who are capricious and self-serving as man is, but instead our Father is the one true God who, though we may be without faith, he remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
The Apostles Creed is a reminder of the Fatherhood of God, who has not taken away his compassion from us but is abundant in lovingkindness. It is a blessing to reciete the Apostles Creed and it be a reminder that we trust and act upon that faith that not only that there is a god but he is our God, and not distant one but a Father to us.