Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 16th, 2015 by Joel Watts

T.F. Torrance on God the Father as Creator

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17.

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Torrance notes that God the Father is referred to as “Father” in two different ways. The first, the transcendent one, is based upon God as Creator. This is my favorite attribute of God, and the one which theology first takes shape.

…(W)e think of God the Father as the eternal Creator and Lord of all being and existence, he to whom our Lord referred as ‘the heavenly Father’ and to whom he taught us to pray. He is the Father who cares for all his creatures in such a personal and detailed way that, as he taught in the sermon on the Mount, not a sparrow falls to the ground without him, the very hairs of our head are all numbered, and his divine provision for people’s needs is extended equally to the just and the unjust. This fatherly conception of God was given definitive expression in the opening clause of the Nicene Creed, ‘We believe in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.’ The Almighty is Father, and the Father is Almighty. There the omnipotence of the Creator, his power over all existents and realities whether visible or invisible, is not defined in some abstract metaphysical way, but is defined quite concretely with reference to God precisely as Fatherit is as such that he is the one eternal self-grounded personal Being who is the Source and Lord of all that was, is and ever will be.1

It is this aspect of God, that of Creator, that should guide us as we define the other attributes of the Holy Trinity in our Creed.

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

  1.  Thomas F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1996), 138.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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