When I look at the model of what most people consider a good father I see someone who is there for his kids, spends time with them, takes care of them, plays with them, teaches them, helps them grow up to no longer need his constant help and he makes sure that his kids know that he loves them. But I find it amazing that the God of scripture who is considered the ideal father shares almost none of these qualities. Instead the God of scripture hides himself behind mystery, he uses his power to justify any of his actions, he doesn’t speak directly to his children rather he only does it through a long game of telephone that extends through centuries (the bible), he never intends to teach his children enough to grow up and he chooses to place the majority of the responsibility for maintaining a good relationship upon the shoulders of the child instead of himself. And perhaps worst of all he never takes any blame for the shortcomings of his kids.
I’m not a parent but if I ever am one I hope I’m nothing like the Abrahamic God but rather like my parents. My parents have always been there for me. They have told me they loved me. They have never intentionally concealed themselves from me but have openly talked with me and have let me see them. They didn’t hide behind their power but rather sought to always explain themselves to me so that I could understand why things happened the way they did and why they made the choices they made. And they taught how to be on my own and make good choices without their help. The fact is I don’t have faith in my parents or their love for me rather I have knowledge in my parents and in their love for me. Put simply I don’t believe in my parents I know my parents. Faith is not needed in our relationship and if I’m a father I will do everything I can to make sure it is not needed by my child. Why make your child believe or hope that you’re a good parent and not be around when you can simply let them know you are a good parent by being open and honest and participating in their lives with them?
If the God of scripture is the ideal father I hope I fall far short of that ideal so that I can instead be a good father.