Fathers and Sons
The past couple days I have had a bit of time to think about being a Father. Calvin is at this really cool age where he is learning how to do different things. He is getting independent and yet at the same time loves cuddling. He wakes up in the morning and wants to cuddle with mom. At bed time, he wants me to cuddle with him after having read a book or two, prayed, and sung a song. He just wants to cuddle. Yet, between waking up and going to bed he is very much on the go and active. He wants to do everything and he wants little to no help in doing it.
It is fun watching him grow up. It is fun seeing him grow into his personality more. The funny part about our relationship though is that I would not be who I am without him and he would not be who he is without me. For Calvin to be my son, I need to be his father and for me to be Calvin’s father, he needs to be my son. The language of father and son is relational. You can’t be a father without a son and you can’t be a son without a father. The second century Church Father, Tertullian put it this way:
Father makes son, and son makes father…. A father must have a son to be a father, and son must have a father to be a son.
The fascinating thing about all of this is the fact that God for all of eternity has been in this relationship. The Father and Son have from eternity past been Father and Son. The Father has never existed when he was not Father to the Son and the Son has never existed when he was not Son to the Father. If that doesn’t blow your mind, what should is that into that relationship, God invites us to partake. Through the work of the Spirit to unite us Christ and place the seal of adoption on us, we are made joint heirs with Christ and adopted sons of the Father. The name of God is written on us and we become children of God. We no longer bear the name that we were given at birth, but have been given a new name because we are in a new family.
The fact that we have been adopted into the family of God has always made me shudder a little bit. To think that the family in which we were born was a family that would only lead to sin and death, but because of the sovereign work of the Triune God, we have been plucked out of that family and placed in a new one, leads me to rejoice. The depths of love and mercy that are poured out on us should bring us to our knees in worship.
Calvin is growing up into maturity. He is learning new things about himself, the world, and our family. This same thing is true for those of us who have been called by God and take his name as our own. We are growing up into maturity. Yearning to know and love God more and more each day. This is what theology is, really. It is growing in maturity. Learning new things that cause us to know and love God more. God is a Father, not because of our relationship to him, but because his Son bears an eternal relationship with him. The amazing thing is, however, we are invited into that relationship and we are made sons.
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. - Galatians 4:3–7
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! - Romans 11:33