My husband and I are reading a most excellent book about the trinity, Delighting in the Trinity, An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves. I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember, and have always known and accepted the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as an integral part of my faith, but this book is bringing to light aspects of what that truly means in ways I had never before pondered or understood. As we approach Father's Day, understanding God as "Father" seems of great and timely importance. And the way Reeves unfolds this personhood of God is truly beautiful.
What was God doing before Creation? Have you ever wondered about that? God has existed forever. He was not created. He IS. He WAS. He ALWAYS HAS BEEN. Our minds (being limited to time and space) can't even truly comprehend what that means. We have no experience of "forever". But if we even try to imagine that He has existed - forever - then we must wonder...what did He do for forever before He created the Earth???
I was actually thinking about this recently and totally confused myself trying to figure it out. I know that when the Bible begins, in Genesis 1:1-2, we "meet" God for the very first time. At the conception of creation:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
God proceeds to separate light from darkness, to form water and land, to produce vegetation, the sun, moon, and stars, to create creatures of the sea, air, and land, and finally, He makes man (and woman). Beautifully, we see the trinity revealed even here, so early in scripture, as God talks of himself in the plural form:
"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..." Genesis 1:26.
So what was He doing in this "forever" before He created Earth??? He was the Father, and He spent eternity loving His Son.
"And that is the God revealed by Jesus Christ. Before he ever created, before he ever ruled the world, before anything else, this God was a Father loving his son. The most foundational thing in God is not some abstract quality, but the fact that he is Father. Again and again, the Scriptures equate the terms God and Father (Ex 4:22, Is 1:2, Jer 31:9, Hos 11:1, Deut 1:31, Deut 8:5, Ps 103:13, Jer 3:19, Jer 3:4, Deut 32:6, Mal 1:6, Is 63:16, Is 64:8, John 20:17, Rom 15:6, I Pet 1:3, I Cor 1:3, Heb 12:7) Since God is, before all things, a Father, and not primarily Creator or Ruler, all his ways are beautifully fatherly...He is Father. All the way down. Thus all that he does he does as Father. That is who he is. He creates as a Father and he rules as a Father...For if, before all things, God was eternally a Father, then this God is an inherently outgoing, life-giving God. He did not give life for the first time when he decided to create; from eternity he has been life giving." (Delighting in the Trinity, pp. 21-24)
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" (I John 4:7-8).
How could God be love if He was just one person? There must be another - an object of His love. And that "other" has for eternity been his son. First, he was Father to the Son. Now, he is Father to all who call upon His name through the Son. And that beautiful, all-powerful, life-giving love that was once (and for all eternity) for his Son, is now also for us. Can you wrap your mind around that kind of love???
So on this Father's Day, while it is good and lovely to honor our earthly fathers and celebrate our husbands, take hold also of the beautiful truth that the triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) is our perfect, loving, Father.
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." I John 4:9