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Who is God the Father?

God the Father

God the Father. God the Son. God the Holy Spirit. One God existing in three eternal Persons. The full truth of the Trinity is beyond our reach intellectually, but we accept it by faith because it is taught in the Bible.

According to the Bible, there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6). And this God eternally exists in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:21–22; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each Person of the Trinity is coequal and coeternal—no One is inferior to another (John 1:1–2). They are of the same essence and share the same nature. As the Athanasian Creed words it, “In this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.“

With that foundation, we can look at who God the Father is.

God the Father is the first Person of the Trinity and serves as its functional head. He is an infinite, personal Spirit (John 4:24) and has been identified as “Father” from eternity past, both to His Son (John 3:16–17) and to His chosen people (Exodus 4:22–23; 1 Corinthians 1:3). God the Father is neither male nor female, but He is referred to in Scripture with masculine pronouns. This portrays His parental closeness to His people as well as His authoritative role as God. Some passages in Scripture describe God the Father using feminine imagery, displaying His tender care and concern for His people (Isaiah 66:13; Matthew 23:37).

Even though God the Father is not superior in essence or being to the Son or the Spirit, He does serve as the functional head of the Trinity. God the Father is the one who directs the will of both God the Son and God the Spirit, both of whom voluntarily submit to Him on a functional level to accomplish the will of God (John 14:24–26, 20:21). God the Son is eternally begotten by God the Father and is sent from Him alone (John 17) while God the Spirit proceeds from God the Father through the Son (John 15:26).

As the functional head of the Trinity, God the Father can be understood as the author of all acts of God. God the Father is the one who created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1-2), and He did this through God the Son by the power of God the Spirit (Genesis 1:1–2; Colossians 1:16). He is the source for all other divine acts including election, calling, salvation, sanctification, glorification, and more. Romans 11:36 says, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (ESV).

Through His life and ministry, Jesus regularly taught His followers who God the Father is and what He’s like. The Gospel narratives, then, give us the clearest picture of who God the Father is. We are told that God is a Father who deeply loves His children (John 16:27); that He is to be prayed to (Matthew 6:6); that He is the source of salvation for all who come through Jesus (John 14:6); and that He has a will to be sought after (John 6:38).

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This page last updated: March 5, 2024