Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com

If anything, I suppose I would be pre-disposed to not taking a kindly view of the fatherhood of God. I never knew my biological father; my mother had to run from him for my safety. And the years that followed did not exactly provide a Ward Cleaver in the home for me to look to either. So, when the email came in last week asking about the fatherhood of God and explaining that a young person the writer loves did not always have the best experiences with a father, I could well relate to the emotions behind the questions.

The letter boiled down to these questions: Is God male, female, or neither, and is he really a father? And the writer went on to suggest that perhaps I could even answer the question in a column, which I immediately determined to do.

So here goes. And since I do not know the name of the young person with these awesome questions about God, please bear with me as I use a random name, and please indulge my writing this as if a personal letter; it just seems fitting, given the circumstances.

Dear Jordan, I understand that you have some questions about God. So, right off the bat, let me put your mind at ease about one really big thing: God is actually okay with you having questions about him. Job questioned whether God was fair, Jeremiah questioned whether God was honest, and even Jesus said, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And yet God called Job “my servant” seven times and “a perfect and upright man” three times, loved Jeremiah even from the womb, and adored his Son, Jesus. So, if you have questions about God, ask them. You will find him to be the most patient, kind, and even fun person to ask questions of.

Now, as to your particular question, God is indeed both a male and a Father. I have read the Bible through in English sixty times or so, the New Testament in Greek a few times, and even a bit of the Old Testament in Hebrew back in my long ago seminary days, and I can tell you that there is not even the remotest question on this. When God speaks in Scripture, you will find the phrase “he said” many hundreds of times but will never find a single “she said.” In Exodus 15:3, God is called a man of war, and man is from the Hebrew word iysh, meaning male as opposed to female.

“God the Father,” a pretty common phrase that we use, is straight from the pages of Scripture. You can find it in John 6:27, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Galatians 1:1&3, Ephesians 6:23, Philippians 2:11, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, 2 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:17, 2 John 1:3, and Jude 1:11. You can also find Jesus instructing his disciples to pray “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” in the Lord’s prayer of Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In Luke 3:38, after a fifteen-verse list of sons and fathers, Adam is called “the son of God” since God made him and breathed life into him. And believe me, I could go on at length giving Scriptural proofs on these matters.

But that really isn’t why we’re here, is it? Your head may be asking for facts and figures, but your heart is asking for a bit more, I think. You want to know what kind of a Father God is, don’t you. And the short answer to that is, “Best. Father. Ever.” To begin with, he made people even knowing that we were going to sin and royally mess things up and knowing that it would cost him his only begotten Son, Jesus, to fix things. If I were him, I think I would have stopped with dogs, cats, gerbils, and the occasional dinosaur. But he loved us too much for that. And both he and his Son, Jesus, were willing to pay the awful price of Calvary to offer us a chance to be sons and daughters of God.

People often get a really warped picture of God in their minds. They view him as some perpetually angry, impossible-to-please God who is just itching to throw people into hell. And that is the exact opposite of who he really is. Yes, God is always angry at sin; but because we are sinners by nature and choice and cannot fix it ourselves, he poured all of his wrath out on a volunteer, Jesus his Son, instead of on us. In that one act, both the heart of the Father and the body of the Son were broken; God experienced anguish we will never know, just to pay our sin debt. And because of that, all he has left for us is an invitation to come and be a child of his! Galatians 4 tells us that he will adopt us into his family, and Jesus said that he would be both his Father, and our Father (John 20:17).

But this will have to be your choice. He is such a kind Father that he will never drag anyone into his family. He said in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” You get to choose; you get to call on him to save you, or not.

From forty-four years of experience, I can tell you that getting saved and having God as your Father is the most amazing thing ever. When I do wrong, he does give very effective spankings (Hebrews 12:5-11) but always and only for my benefit. He picks me up every time I fall, encourages me every time I fail, and is never too busy to talk. He brought me an amazing wife, gave me three wonderful kids, and has brought more great friends into my life than you can imagine. He has met all of my needs, given me a lot of my wants, and comforted me every time I felt my heart would break.

I wish I could say it all, but I could never do so. As the old hymn so poetically put it, “Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the sky of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.”

I am praying for you, and hoping to see you in heaven; you can look for me wherever my Father is at.

Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.

feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner