Thinking about God as parent, Abba

Was the “Fall” inevitable, or was the incarnation of Jesus an ad hoc response to humanity’s “disobedience” in Eden? Theologians and philosophers take issue with both ideas – the former because it makes God responsible for evil, and the latter because it implies God was incompetent enough not to foresee a creature with free will choosing wrongly.

But if we understand God as a parent, as Abba, the false dichotomy disappears.

Say you knew in advance that your children would reject you and be estranged for life, would you still choose to have them and love them despite their “inevitable” rebellion? I would, and I’m pretty sure God’s love is more pure than mine.

Likewise, even in the human realm, I love all my children equally. Surely God can do better than me. (Let the reader understand.)


A fascinating article on imago Dei.

Since God is not bound in or by time and is omnipresent, he is omnipresent in all spacetime and tensed language does not apply.

"The Problem of The Now" - #12 by Dale
Good and Evil, Towb and Ra - #112 by Dale
Good and Evil, Towb and Ra - #113 by Dale

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And then there is this:

The fall was not inevitable, and God did many things before the incarnation of Jesus to fix what went wrong. Desiring a relationship with beings who make their own free choices is not incompetence – on the contrary, it is the competence in the understanding the nature of love.

I do think parenthood is the key, but not for the reasons you give.

If it was just about rebellion? I certainly would go ahead. But I don’t think that is what happened. I don’t see any rebellion in the story of Genesis whatsoever (I think that was made up by people using religion for power). But what happened was considerably worse than rebellion. If I knew that so many of my children would suffer the abuse and torment of completely evil people, then NO I would not do it. In the Bible, God told us He would not do it either.

> Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

That is what it means to say you are sorry you had done something. It means that if you had known how badly it was going to go then you would not have done it.

So if an evil man kidnapped you and your wife and wanted you to have children so he could torture them, would you just say, “ok, I will love my children anyway,” really?


Parenthood is the key because the difference between children and tools/machines is that you give children a life of their own to make their own choices. It is about a relationship where you write the story together and not like an author who controls everything which happens with mere fictional characters. According to Genesis 6, it was not like the latter at all. Things did not go as He had hoped and He was sorry that He made us. In that case, what you do, is you pick up the pieces and try to save as many as you can.

I fall way outside of the concept presented.

I don’t believe in a fall of any kind. I don’t think humans were ever perfect. I don’t believe that we were created with a purpose, or that God somehow guided evolution. I don’t even think God did something to spark life. I think chemical reactions occurred and eventually, the right combination worked resulting in abiogenesis which then randomly played out until we evolved.

I don’t think it matters personally if God knows everything or not. I don’t think either way makes him responsible for random events or the choices we make. I don’t think the incarnation, death and resurrection was necessary. God could have intervened in all kinds of ways. I think he intervened in that way to dwell among us , to love us and to show us an example of how to live. If God wanted, he could have just forgave us in numerous other ways. I think he did it that way because it’s just how he wanted to show his love.

Another bit from just a little later in that same sermon

If a man refuse to come out of his sin, he must suffer the vengeance of a love that would be no love if it left him there.

It is a powerful sermon that I highly recommend.

…he must suffer the vengeance of a love that would be no love if it left him there.

With no scriptural basis that I perceive and contrary to what Jesus says. Enter skeptical theism.

I must not have been ready for that condescension.

I’m so sorry, Dale! …Wow. Yeah - that was a condescending way to put it, and I’ll edit that. And the funny thing is - even thought it was a reply I launched from your post - I wasn’t thinking of you in the slightest as one that would be threatened by MacDonald! That was careless of me to use that wording that, of course, you would see as targeted at you rather than for the wider audience I had in mind. Not everybody will find MacDonald to be their cup of tea for a whole host of reasons, and I guess I just need to practice saying that in non-condescending ways.

And BTW, if you find the quoted saying non-scriptural, then I’m curious why you think so.

In my opinion the fall was preventable.

Seeing God as a father analogy falls very short. What parents heart would allow him to see his children get destroyed. It’s like a father seeing his child do substances yet he doesn’t do anything because of free will. I had this discussion recently. What a paradox that is that an almighty all knowing God knew the outcome yet went ahead and gave the ok knowing well that he couldn’t change anything after because “free will”


I don’t see what supports it except pervasive ‘luv’, and it is contradictory to what Jesus says, as just one example, about the Pharisees,

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
Matthew 23:15

That makes Jesus Plan B.

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It may have been plan B . I’m quite fine with that possibility

You’ve seen this before (go ahead and yawn :grin:) – Jesus was not Plan B:

None of this would convince anyone who knows about theology and philosophy and studies them religiously in his free time.

God knew what would happen gave the ok and then couldn’t do nothing because he didn’t want us without free will. He tried to erase that with the flood(which in my opinion for him to go ahead with that plan means God actually understood that all of this from the begining was wrong) but he couldn’t bring himself to it and then Jesus came . The plan B.

Which is interesting because apparently God couldnt brought himself to destroy us BUT he somehow is ok seeing his children suffer.

Now there are two possibilities here.

1 As we’ve discussed before either God saw ALL of the possibilities that exist(after all he is all knowing )and couldn’t find a single one to avoid the fall and all of this or 2 God for some stupid or not reason saw all of the possibilities and chose this one which then regretted but couldn’t change it for whatever reason.

Now I as Nick I can’t possibly believe that number 1 is true or else I’ll go mad. It couldnt possibly be only THAT. There must have been another way and all of this to be avoided. That’s why I choose option 2.

Option one is too pessimistic and dark for me

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Neither is that a convincing argument.

And then there is the wonderful (and maybe terrifying) mystery of God’s omnitemporality and his workings in providence. All of your above is tensed language restricting God in a timeline.

Why is that? I think mine argument is much more convincing . I speak with facts. It’s either this or that.

I use human language . I don’t restrict anyone. All of this happened . Now outside of time or not doesn’t matter. Gods choise still happened. It was either 1 or 2 . Time doesn’t matter . Your argument falls short I’m afraid.

Who and what God is does not depend on what we want to believe in or “what we can allow” ourselves to believe in.

I was making an analogy. Aquinas noted all language about God is analogical. I’m too lazy to check, but I’m pretty sure the Bible uses tensed language about God all the time. Otherwise, we simply couldn’t speak about him at all.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.

Sure. That’s my point. The charge of incompetence only applies if God was “surprised” by the Fall and Jesus was an ad hoc solution.

Fair enough. I should’ve put rebellion in scare quotes or chosen a different word because I don’t see it as rebellion against a revealed command, either. To clarify, I’m thinking more along the lines of having a child who chooses their own way and winds up estranged through no fault of your own. (Obviously, I’m not talking about an abusive parent, which is what some folks’ theology of God amounts to.) I know several parents in that situation, and they never stop loving or attempting to reach out. I think it’s no different with God.

Yeah, that’s the problem of evil. I’m not trying to solve that one here.

I’m not sure I understand your analogy. It sounds like you’re comparing God to an evil man. Obviously, I don’t get it.

God is Creator and Abba. All of humanity are his children. The point of my comparison was that even in the human realm, the ideal is that a parent would love all their children equally. (Not that I’m ideal or that many parents make no attempt to hide their favoritism.) It’s often said a mother’s love is unconditional. Surely God’s love is purer than any human mother or father’s love.

Yes, you do. No worries. haha

Well, Jesus himself encouraged us to address God as Abba, Father.

On your second point, you’ve obviously never had a teenager or adult child with a substance abuse problem. Tread lightly here, brother, cuz you don’t know what you’re talking about.