The Fatherhood of God has meant a great deal to me throughout my life. My own father left home when I was very young, and the family was left destitute.
Not long after he disappeared, my mother started attending a Christian Science church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we lived at the time, and my sister and I were enrolled in the Sunday School. One of my earliest recollections was discovering that God is the Father and Mother of each one of us...that we are the beloved children of this all-loving Parent. A verse from the Bible subsequently became one of my favourite texts: “Have we not all one father?”
It was a joy to learn in Christian Science that our heavenly Father will never disappoint us or desert us, will not abandon us or leave us alone, but will always be there for us, loving us and keeping us safe from harm.
Although our family faced many challenges after my father left home, our needs were always met by turning to God in prayer, acknowledging His goodness and trusting in His provision. Part of the answer to the question “What is man?” given in Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy is that man is “the compound idea of God, including all right ideas”. As I saw it, this meant that I could experience fathering in my life through qualities of courage, strength, safety, support, protection, and so on, because these qualities are included in each individual’s identity as an idea of God.
A few verses in the book of Matthew in the Bible were also very helpful when thinking of fatherhood. They describe an interaction between Jesus and his disciples:
“While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him, Who is my mother and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother”.
I take this to mean that we can love our family dearly, but also realise a larger sense of family because we are all children of our infinite Father-Mother God. Our true identity has its source in this glorious, divine fact.