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  Wikipedia: God the Father

Wikipedia: God the Father
God the Father
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In Christianity, God the Father (or Heavenly Father) is one of three persons, entities or manifestations of the Godhead, which also includes Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Trinitarian Christians (which represent the vast Christian majority) conceptualize the Godhead as a Trinity, in which the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are three persons with one metaphysical substance or essence.

Characteristics of God the Father

Trenscendentalism

Thought to be incomprehensible like others in the
Godhead, God the Father is described by the superlative terms omniscience (knowing all) and omnipotence (having all power).

Personality

Though considered inhuman, he is anthromorphized with superlative human emotions, including omnibenevolence (being full of justice, mercy, kindness, grace and love). His is also ascribed human fatherly qualities, and his relationship with humanity (his children) is portrayed as patriarchal or parental.

Gender

Although most Christians do not consider him to have sexuality, God the Father is usually portrayed as male, and given masculine and patriarchal qualities. From the late twentieth century onwards, many Christians have become uncomfortable with the traditionally male representation of God and have sought to angrogenize God by de-emphasising or eliminating gender-specific references to God. Some of these indiviuals and groups prefer the expression "God the Creator" in place of "God the Father".

Another approach has been to feminize God by emphasising God's feminine qualities (see, e.g., Isaiah 49:15 and places in the Bible where God is referred to by the feminine word Eloah) or by referring to God as "she" or "God the Mother". In some sects of Mormonism and Gnosticism, God the Father is thought to be male and masculine; however, a separate Goddess is postulated who is female and feminine.

See God and gender.

Metaphysical description

Like the Holy Spirit, the person of God the Father is thought by most Christians to be an aphysical spirit, an entity on the ideal plane not connected with matter.

Most Christians believe that God the Father is immutable meaning that he has always existed in his current forms, whatever they may be (see Nicene Creed). Latter-day Saints, however, typically believe that God has existed from all Eternity to all Eternity, and indeed has always existed, but they also believe that he was once a mortal man or is now an exalted man. They also believe he has a body of "flesh and bones as tangible as mans" similar to the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

Of the three persons, entities, or manifestations in the Godhead, God the Father is typically ascribed the qualities of leadership, partiarchy, and dominance. All heavenly acts such as "creation" are directed by the Father.

God the Father is thought to be the Father of Jesus Christ through a miraculous conception and virgin birth. Most sects of Christianity believe that Jesus was conceived by God the Father through the supernatural action of the Holy Spirit, and not by the act of sex, although some (such as Knights Templar and a minority of Latter-day Saints)) have speculated otherwise.

The Nicene Creed, a popular conceptualization of the Trinity, states that Jesus Christ is "eternally begotten of the Father", indicating that Jesus is co-eternal with the Father, and that the Father-Son relationship has existed for all eternity and did not begin with Jesus' human birth.

The Father is often thought of as the God who acts throughout the Old Testament and talks to and through Christ in the New Testament, although some attribute God the Father with acts in both the Old and New Testaments.

Relationship with humanity

Like other theist gods, God the Father of Christianity is thought to take an active interests in human affairs, although he is thought not to need humans.

God the Father is the most popular addressee of Christian prayer. The Lord's Prayer, for example, begins, "Our Father who art in Heaven...." For some Christian sects, he is the exclusive addressee of prayer, prayers to other beings such as Saints, angels, or Jesus Christ not being considered valid. Most Christians believe that they can alter the behavior of God the Father through the act of prayer.

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