Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD

First Advisor

Jacques B. Doukhan

Second Advisor

Richard M. Davidson

Third Advisor

Jiri Moskala

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to develop a theology of the fatherhood of God from the Hebrew Scriptures. Although many studies have explored the topic from the perspective of other disciplines, the actual theology of God's fatherhood, as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, has been neglected until now. This has resulted in the dichotomization between the concept of God as presented in the so-called Old and New Testaments.

Because of the tendency to explain God through the lenses of Greek and Roman mythology, chapter 1 surveys ANE thought, showing that the fatherhood of god concept goes back a lot further, and is more pervasive, than the more modern mythologies seem to indicate. However, although similar terms and concepts are found (e.g., creative, salvific, kind, compassionate, merciful, etc.), the relationship they enjoyed with humans was not nearly as personal, intimate, or widespread as the relationship God enjoys with His "children."

The eighteen occurrences of God's fatherhood explicitly mentioned in Scripture are exegeted in chapter 2. These texts are grouped together in the"Song of Moses" (Deut 32), the "Vision of Nathan" (2 Sam 7; 1 Chr 17; 22, 28; and 29), in the Psalms and Wisdom Literature (Pss 68; 89; 103; and Prov 3), and in the prophets (Isa 63, 64; Jer 3; 31; Mal 1; and 2). The theological themes within them are discussed in chapter 3, arriving at a picture of God that is passionately involved with His individual children.

One of the main contributions of this dissertation is that it explores God's fatherhood from a theocentric perspective, rather than an anthropocentric one. However, the implications of this view of God impact human experience, since the attributes of God's fatherhood found in the Hebrew Scriptures provide researchers and practitioners in family dynamics a positive, multidimensional, role model for human fatherhood.

Subject Area

God--Fatherhood--Biblical teaching

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Share

COinS