Contrary to popular opinion, God may not be your father. That’s because God is not everyone’s father. Having accepted the lie that God owes them, that truth is hard for many people to hear. Or, rather, they need to buy the lie of the universal Fatherhood of God in order to convince themselves that they are ok and that everything will turn out ok.
If God is everyone’s father, it stands to reason that everything will be ok, right? I mean, what father would allow his children to ultimately and finally suffer if it was in his power to protect his kids? The answer is that no loving father would withhold his protection from his children. Ergo, and finishing the argument of those who believe in the universal Fatherhood of God, since God is “my” father, I don’t need to worry; God my father is love. However, the belief that every human can claim God as their Father is as dangerous as it is wrong.
To be clear, every human that has ever lived or will live has a relationship with God — the relationship of created to Creator. As the creator of all things, God has the right to set the terms and conditions of that relationship. According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:23, “all [humans] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sadly, the relationship that humans have with God has been severed by sin. This is why Paul adds a little later in Romans that, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). But, I may be getting a little ahead of myself because some defining of terms may be in order.
Readers may already be readying their fingers to type in the comment section the verses in the Bible that appear to refute me. I’ll get to a few of those verses in a second, but first, a distinction needs to be made between two ways to use the word father.
J. Gresham Machen explains it much more eloquently than I can in his seminal book Christianity and Liberalism, so I will lean on him:
[God] is the Author of the being of all, and as such might well be called the Father of all. He cares for all, and for that reason also might be called the Father of all. Here and there the figure of fatherhood seems to be used [in the Bible] to designate this broader relationship which God sustains to all men or even to all created beings. … Here and there the terminology of fatherhood and sonship is even used to describe this general relationship. But such instances are extremely rare. Ordinarily the lofty term ‘Father’ is used to describe a relationship of a far more intimate kind, the relationship in which God stands to the company of the redeemed.
God promises that His children will be co-heirs with Jesus. To claim that all of humanity are the children of God with the type of intimate relationship that we generally attribute to the word father (hence, co-heirs with Jesus) it’s required to ignore the verses about God’s eschatological (end times) and eternal judgment. Verses like Matthew 25:41 which plainly says, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'” If every human is a child of God, and God’s children receive the inheritance of life and are co-heirs with Jesus, then who are those on God’s left in Matthew 25:41?
Looking at the positive side of that question — who are the children of God? — helps reveal the answer.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes reference to God as Father. The first reference is found in Matthew 5:16 when Jesus commands his disciples to not hide their good works from the world so that the world will see “and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Immediately, in the first reference, we see a distinction between those who can legitimately call God father and those who cannot. The second reference draws that distinction even sharper.
In the famous “Love Your Enemies” passage, Jesus once again refers to God as Father. Verses 44 and 45 read, “But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
In those verses, two classes of people are clearly delineated — the sons of God and the enemies of the sons of God. That raises the all-important question of whether you are a son of God or the enemy of the sons of God. The belief in the universal Fatherhood of God erases the need to ask that all-important question. And brings us full-circle back to God’s coming judgment on the wicked.
Anyone who doubts that God punishes the wicked has a whole host of Bible verses that they are going to have to account for. Even simply relying on Matthew 25:41 that I quoted above, it’s obvious that not every human is going to escape God’s just wrath. For the sake of your eternal soul, it’s important that you confront yourself with the question of whether you are a son of God or not. Of course, that raises another question — how does one become a child of God? The answer is found in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Toward the top of this article, I referenced Romans 5:12. If I had kept going in Romans 5 I would have come to verse 19 that says, “For as by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” That second man is none other than Jesus Christ.
Through repentance of your sins and placing your faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, you are declared righteous and adopted into the family of God. God becomes your father and you become co-heirs with Jesus. Apart from repentance of sins and faith in Jesus, you cannot claim God as your father. And not being able to claim God as your father means that you will be included in the group in Matthew 25 who are on God’s left hand and who will be cast into hell. Being able to claim God as your father is eternally important, and God defines how a person becomes His child, not a feel-good aphorism.