Theology Thursday: God the Father Almighty

By Dr. Mark Kreitzer

Hands embrace pleasantly outside

The first words of the Apostles' Creed could be translated “I put my trust and confidence” in God the Father. He created humans to be his children. But since Adam, all have rebelled and become children of the devil according to Jesus (John 8:44-45; Romans 5:1-19).

Our Father can only legally adopt someone back into his family, who repents and trusts in the completed work of his son, who satisfies his love and justice (Romans 3:24-26). What an awesome blessing that the God of creation has provided to those who were his enemies and were absolutely irreverent and ungodly, completely without the strength of moral character. He transforms sinners into his children through the work of King Jesus (Romans 5:6-8; Ephesians 2:1-10).

God is Father

We are to trust our Father, whom Jesus calls “the only true God” in John 17:3. Within his single Being, the eternal Word (Son) and Spirit dwell (John 1:1-3, 18; Romans 8:9-11). Scripture reveals the Father to be the leader of the Trinity before the universe began because he foreknew and predestined all things (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11).

Through the prophets, he promised the coming of the “Word made flesh” (e.g., Isaiah 9:6-7; John 1:14). He also predetermines Jesus’ Second Coming (Acts 1:7) and even gave Jesus the revelation “to show his servants” in Revelation (Revelation 1:2). He becomes again “the All in All,” after giving that title to his Son (Ephesians 1:23) when Jesus hands the Kingdom back to him at the End (1 Corinthians 15:28).

God is Sovereign

This teaching about the sovereignty of God the Father over all things within the Apostles' Creed aptly sums up the remaining phrases of this first line. The word translated “Almighty” inadequately renders the Greek, Pantokrator, which means “All Ruler” or “All Sovereign.”

Paul ascribed this title to God the Father once (2 Corinthians 6:18), but John mentions this title many times in Revelation, where it is always used of the Father and echoes the OT YHWH Sabaoth or YHWH Shaddai. He is thus the Lord of the heavenly armies and of powerful strength, who can do anything he desires (Daniel 4:35). This does not mean, however, that he can or will do any and everything. For example, he can never think evil (Habakkuk 1:13). He’s also not able to lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:8), deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13) or change his essential character (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). What great news!

God is Creator

The greatest of all of his works as Pantokrator, second only to the new creation, is his original creation out of nothing. By himself, with no participation from anyone or anything apart from the Word and Spirit (Psalms 33:6; Isaiah 44:24), the Father spoke into being all things in “heaven and earth” (Hebrews 11:3; Isaiah 66:2). This phrase completes the first line of the Apostle’s Creed and is a Hebrew figure of speech for all things, both visible and invisible. This includes the spirit world, humanity, all creatures and physical things (Colossians 1:16).

Again, these words echo the Old Testament:

“May you be blessed by YHWH, the Maker of heaven and earth” — Psalms 115:15, 146:6

Paul quotes this last passage to the Lycaonians when they tried to sacrifice to him and Barnabas as if they were Zeus and Hermes. Essential to Paul’s Gospel proclamation, and indeed of all the Scripture, is that no such worthless gods can compare at all to God the Father Almighty (Psalm 96:1-5). He alone created everything by the Word and Spirit-Breath of his mouth (Psalm 33:6). He is the living God, who deserves all our praise and our complete trust together with his eternal Word and Spirit.

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