In a comment posted here, a reader named Duane asked (in an edited version):
Why is Jesus never referred to as “the Father,” aside from that Isaiah prophecy? Is it incorrect to call Jesus “Father” or “Abba”?
This article is an edited version of my response, originally posted as a comment here.
Isaiah 9:6 and similar prophecies make it clear that the one to be born would be not only the Son, but also the Father—and of course, God:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus was not born fully divine
However, during Jesus’ lifetime on earth he was not fully divine because he still had the finite human element from his human mother in addition to the infinite divine element that was God, the Father. During his lifetime on earth it would not have been correct to refer to him as “God” or “Father,” but only after he became fully one with the Father. That is why it was after his resurrection that Thomas recognized him not only as “Lord,” but also as “God” (John 20:28).
Now that he is fully glorified and one with the Divine Father, he is also Father, just as Isaiah 9:6 prophesies that he will be. And so it is good for us to think of him as Father and to call him “Father” as well. (“Abba” is an Aramaic word for “Father.”)
The Trinity is within God
It helps to make a distinction between the internal dynamics of God and God’s relationship to us. Internally, God consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which are the Divine Love, the Divine Wisdom, and the Divine Power. This means that within God there is a metaphorical relationship of Father to Son and Son to Father, and of both with the Holy Spirit that proceeds from them. These are not separate “Persons” of God, but distinct parts of God. (See: “Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?”)
However, that is within God. In relation to us humans, who are not God, all of God is our Father.
There is only one God, who is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Regenerator of all. That God is the Lord God Jesus Christ, who is one both in essence and in person—contrary to the false and unbiblical doctrine of the Trinity of Persons that invaded Christianity early in its history, and has held it captive ever since. (See: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”)
We can and should call Jesus “Father”
All of the attributes of God are in that one God, and are that one God: Father, Creator, Redeemer, Regenerator, and every other name that is applied to God. They are all names of the one God, seen in God’s various qualities, characteristics, components, and powers. We can and should call Jesus all of these things because that is who and what he is: the one and only God of the universe.
Yes, now that the Lord Jesus has been glorified and is the one God, sovereign over heaven and earth (see Matthew 28:18), it is good and proper to call Jesus “God” and “Father,” just as he is called in the Old Testament prophecies of his coming, and just as he identifies himself to Philip in John 14:8–10:
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak from myself. It is the Father living in me who is doing the works.”
Jesus prepared us for his full union with the Father
Keep in mind that almost half of the Gospel of John, chapters 12–20, covers events and sayings that took place in the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. When he spoke these words to Philip in John 14, he had nearly completed the process of glorification: of becoming fully one with the Father.
Much of what he says in these last chapters before his crucifixion is in anticipation of his full union with the Father. In his last days with his disciples, he was preparing them for the great change both in him and in their own lives, when he would be not only their Lord, but their God, and when he would not only be the Son of God, but would be God their loving Father.
Further, if the Epistles were properly translated according to the exact meaning of the original Greek, and not bent in translation to conform to the false doctrine of the Trinity of Persons, readers would see many places where Jesus is called both “God” and “Father” by the Apostles after the resurrection. Whoever is God is also our Father. There are not three of them, but one of them.
(And yes, God is also our Divine Mother. See: “The Mother of All the Living.”)
For further reading:
- Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?
- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- What is the Biblical basis for disbelief in the doctrine of the Trinity?
- If Jesus Christ is the One God, Why Did He Talk and Pray to the Father?
- What is the difference between the Swedenborgian and Oneness Pentecostal doctrines of God?
- The Logic of Love: Why God became Jesus