God the Father

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God the Father or God the Father (also: God the Father , God the Father , the Father of Jesus Christ , the Father ) is called the first hypostasis of God ( YHWH ) in Christianity in its relationship to the second hypostasis, Jesus Christ , who is called the Son of God . In non-Trinitarian branches of Christianity, YHWH is usually identified only with the Father and not with the Son (or the Holy Spirit as the third hypostasis).

YHWH is addressed and designated as (my, our) "Father" in the Tanakh , in other writings of Judaism and in Jewish prayer. This means above all his actions as the creator of the world who is devoted to people and the merciful sustainer of his chosen people . Judaism thus stands in opposition to polytheistic religions, which have a “father of gods” as the main deity of a pantheon or a divine triad (trinity), a male “heavenly father” versus a female “ earth mother ”, or a human god-king ( Pharaoh ) as “father” adored by his subjects. In this sense, according to Jewish tradition, all people are sons and daughters of God, (divine) persons are not worshiped and Ruach HaQodesh ( the Holy Spirit , literally “holy breath”) is not raised to the status of a god.

The Christology teaches that Jesus Christ had been building on that tradition by God confidential in the Aramaic language, as Abba addressed ( "Papa") and his disciples the Lord's Prayer taught. The early Christians referred to YHWH as "Father of Jesus Christ" and thereby emphasized his identity with the covenant God of the Israelites. Therefore, the phrase "God the Father (Jesus Christ)" took the place of the Name of God in Christianity.

Following this usage in the New Testament (NT), the Christian doctrine of the Trinity describes God's nature in the three divine Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit . Tertullian introduced the new Latin word "trinitas" . The ancient church dogmatized the doctrine of the Trinity in the 4th century in order to preserve the unity and uniqueness of God in the Christian Bible . In doing so, she excluded Christian tendencies that wanted to separate the Creator God of Israel from the Savior God of Jesus ( Marcion , Gnosis , Docetism ) as heresies . The early church creeds and most Christian denominations represent the doctrine of the Trinity.

Extra-biblical analogies

The Egyptian mythology knew a primordial Godhead, with a variety of attributes, including "Father of the Gods" (... and goddesses / and humans) in the sense of Theogony ( "generates the one who created him") was circumscribed.

The Greek mythology called the chief god Zeus often "father" to express his supreme authority over gods and men. A creative activity was not intended. The title appears in Homer's two main works , Iliad and Odyssey , primarily as a direct address to Zeus. This rulership attribute passed on to the main god of the Roman religion called Jupiter (from iu- for "day", "bright" and pater for "father").

Carl Emil Doepler: Odin, the father of gods (painting from 1880)

The Germanic mythology of the Edda knew a "God-Father" or "Father God" Tyr . Like the names Zeus and Jupiter, his name is etymologically traced back to the Indo-European sky god Dyaus Pita . Its properties were later transferred to the main Germanic deity Odin (Wodan).

Some images of the gods of the ancient Near East show features that are interpreted as evidence of a "Father God": a beard, sitting position and a " Kalathos " -Korb as headgear. These features, for example, have the marble sculpture of a god's head from the Roman Empire , which for lack of other typical evidence was interpreted as Amun , Asclepius , Jupiter, Neptune , Saturn or Serapis . Serapis was also depicted on coins from the Ptolemaic period in Alexandria . It is believed that such images inspired the later idea of ​​God as a bearded, wise old man.

In addition to the main god El , the Ugarit pantheon also knew a related El-ib . It is unclear whether this title is to be interpreted as the genitive "God of the Father" (the ancestor of a Semitic clan) or as an apposition "God-Father" (deified ancestor). Here a pre-form of the "God of the Fathers" is assumed, which appears in the patriarchal stories of the Bible (Gen 12-50). In Ugarit, El was also referred to as "Creator of heaven and earth", "King", "Father" and "Creator of the gods". Abraham , the progenitor of Israel, transferred the creator attribute according to Gen 14,22  EU to his god YHWH.


Communal Kaddish prayer in Jerusalem to commemorate the dead at the grave

For the month of the Jewish calendar , see Aw (month) .

The word Av or Ab (Heb., Singular אָב , “Av” , plural אבות , “Avot” or “Abot” ) means “father” in the Hebrew language. As Adonai ( Heb. אֲדֹנָי ădonāy "my lord") is one of the paraphrases for YHWH to express respect. The modern Ivrit in Israel today uses the word אבא abba . Av or Ab occurs as part of names, e.g. B. Ab-ram , Av-i-ram , Ah-ab , Jo-ab .

The mixed natractic " Sayings of the Fathers " (Heb. פרקי אבות Pirqe Avot ) in the Nesikin order of the Talmud deals with ethical and moral principles.

The Aramaic term abba (אבא, father ) appears in the traditional Jewish liturgy and in Jewish prayers to Gd , e.g. B. the Kaddish (Aramaic קדיש 'holy' or 'sanctification').


The creation of Adam . It shows how God the Father brings
Adam to life with an outstretched forefinger

New Testament

YHWH is usually referred to in the NT as Kyrios or Theos , usually the father as Theos and Jesus as Kyrios , which is also the most common title for Jesus. In Jesus' own statements, however, the address "father" or "my father" often appears, in speeches to his disciples also "your father". Many of these statements, especially in the I-am-speeches of the Gospel of John , were put into Jesus' mouth after Easter. But the Pauline letters suggest that the early Christians 'address to God as a father goes back to Jesus' own Aramaic prayer:

NT vers context Quote
Mk 14.36  EU Prayer in Gethsemane Abba, father, everything is possible for you.
Lk 23.34  EU Intercession of the crucified Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing.
Joh 8,38  EU Commission of Jesus as revelator of God I say what I saw with my father and you do what you heard from your father.
Joh 11.41  EU Thanksgiving prayer for raising Lazarus from the dead Father, thank you for listening to me.
Joh 12,27  EU Last public speech of Jesus What should I say: Father, save me from this hour? But that's why I came to this hour.
Mt 28.19  EU Mission of the Risen One ... baptizes them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ...
Gal 4.6  EU Memory of the Galatians But because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit that cries: Abba, Father.
Rom 8:15  EU Life in spirit Because you have not received a spirit that makes you slaves, so that you still have to fear,
but you have received the spirit that makes you sons, the spirit in which we cry: Abba, Father!
1 Joh 3,1  EU Father's love See, what love the Father has shown us that we should be called God's children - and so are we! That is why the world does not recognize us; because she did not recognize him.

Deuterocanonical and Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament

In some prayers of deuterocanonical or apocryphal books of the Old Testament, YHWH is addressed as father, for example in Weish 14.3  EU and Sir 23.1  EU , there connected with Adonaj (“Lord”). In the apocryphal Ezekiel it is emphasized: “If you turn around and say: 'Father', I will answer you.” Addressing God as “my father” was also common in pre-Christian Judaism (Sifra Lev 20:16; Mekh Y Ex 20, 6).


  • Felix Albrecht, Reinhard Feldmeier (Ed.): The Divine Father: Religious and Philosophical Concepts of Divine Parenthood in Antiquity. Brill, Leiden 2014, ISBN 90-04-25625-3 .
  • Frances Back: God as the father of the disciples in John's Gospel. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2012, ISBN 3-16-152262-1 .
  • Yearbook of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 2007 , Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-11-020778-1 :
    Hermann Spieckermann: God the Father. History of Religion and the Old Testament. Pp. 401-406 ( full text online ).
    Reinhard Feldmeier: God the Father. History of Religion and the New Testament. Pp. 407-412 ( full text online ).
  • Christiane Zimmermann: The names of the father: Studies on selected New Testament designations for God before their early Jewish and pagan language horizon. Brill Academic Pub, Leiden 2007, ISBN 90-04-15812-X ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  • Annette Böckler: God as Father in the Old Testament. Traditional historical research into the origin and development of an image of God. Gütersloher Verlag-Haus, Gütersloh 2002, ISBN 3-579-02664-X .
  • D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: God the Father. 3 L, 2nd edition 2005, ISBN 3-935188-00-5 .
  • Helmut Jaschke: God the Father? Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag, 1997, ISBN 3-7867-2051-7 .
  • Edith Zingg: Speaking of God as "Father" in the Gospel of John (= Herder's Biblical Studies. Volume 48). Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau et al. 2006, ISBN 3-451-28950-4 .

Web links

Commons : God the Father  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: God the Father  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Karrer: Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1998, p. 205
  2. KW Niebuhr: Basic information New Testament. 4th edition, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht / UTB, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 3-8252-3594-7 , p. 30 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  3. ^ Lothar Goldbrunner, Christian Leitz: Lexicon of Egyptian gods and names of gods. Peeters, 2004, ISBN 90-429-1376-2 , p. 57 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  4. Ken Dowden: Zeus (Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World). Routledge Chapman & Hall, 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-30502-0 , p. 9 ( restricted preview ) and p. 29 ff. ( Restricted preview in the Google book search).
  5. Otto Höfler: Origin and spread of the runes. In: Die Sprache 17 (1971), p. 134–156, here p. 146. Again in: Helmut Birkhan (Hrsg.): Otto Höfler: Small writings: Selected works on Germanic antiquity and the history of religion, on medieval literature, for Germanic linguistics and cultural philosophy and morphology. Helmut Buske, Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-87548-015-5 , pp. 285-307, here p. 297 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  6. Irene Romano (Ed.): Classical Sculpture. Catalog of the Cypriot, Greek, and Roman Stone Sculpture in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, p. 182 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  7. Manfred Görg: Religions in the environment of the Old Testament III: Egyptian religion. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 3-17-014448-0 , p. 161 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  8. Eckart Otto (Ed.): Studies on the Old Testament and Old Oriental Religious History: On the 60th birthday of Klaus Koch. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1997, ISBN 3-525-53579-1 , p. 22 f. ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  9. Karl Erich Grözinger: Jewish thinking. Theology, Philosophy, Mysticism Volume 1: From the God of Abraham to the God of Aristotle. Campus, ISBN 3-593-37512-5 , p. 58 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  10. a b Klaus Berger:  Prayer IV: New Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE). Volume 12, de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1984, ISBN 3-11-008579-8 , pp. 47-60 (here: p. 49).