This article on the universal Fatherhood of God (God as Father of all people), looks at faith in Jesus Christ and the Fatherhood of God, and being children of God.

Source: The Monthly Record, 1992. 2 pages.

God is Not Their Father

From the idea of the universal fatherhood of God flow many others which undermine the true gospel. For example, one "evangelical" wrote recently: "My belief in universal salvation follows from my conviction that the loving Father recon­ciled 'all' creation to Himself in and through the person of the Son, Jesus Christ".

He continued: "Being a parent brings its own pain … They are still our children regardless of their condition, and we will always act for their greatest good ... I find a God who does not ultimately cast aside any part of His creation, but who ultimately redeems it all" (Why I believe we are all going to be with Him, Jim Weir, Vision, G.T.F., Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 15-17). I would like briefly to consider what the Scripture has to say about the fatherhood of God but especially to examine whether all men and women are God's children.

Biblical Evidence?🔗

The verse most commonly cited in this connection is the words of the heathen poet Aratus quoted by Paul in his sermon on Mars' hill, "We are His offspring" (Acts 17:28). Surely the point is that, just as Aratus saw the origin of man in Zeus, we see it in the Creator God. The human race having been made by God, this God cannot be an idol of gold or silver but Someone more intelligent, powerful and glorious than man.

In the genealogy of Jesus given in Luke we find the words, "Which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" (Luke 3:38). Actu­ally the word "son" is not to be found in the Greek but simply, "who was of God". Adam found his origin not in a human couple but in God by whom he was created.

This is also the sense in which Hebrews 12:9, "the Father of spirits", is to be understood. Indeed, this passage speaks of certain people who do not receive fatherly correction from God and therefore are not sons (Hebrews 12:8).

The only other passage that is commonly used to support the doctrine of the general fatherhood of God is the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). There is great danger in drawing doctrinal conclusions from the incidental details of parables. We do not believe that God is literally a husbandman or a man travelling into a far country. The great point of the parable is that there is "joy in heaven over one sinner that repents".

Universal Fatherhood Denied🔗

There are many passages where it is denied that God is the Father of all mankind. To some of the Jews Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do" (John 8:44). They thought that God was their Father (John 8:41) but Jesus makes it plain that this was not the case: "If God were your Father you would love me" (John 8:42). A person's unbelief and lack of love for Christ proves that they are not God's children. If there is one human being who is not a child of God, then the teaching that there is a universal fatherhood of God is proved false.

The unconverted are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). God is not the God of the dead, or the Father of the dead, but of the living (Luke 20:38). The biblical way of talk­ing of the unregenerate is as the "children of disobe­dience" (Ephesians 2:2), not the children of God. Because of their sins they are also the "children of wrath" (Ephe­sians 2:3), doomed to the same eternity as their father the devil.

God's True Children🔗

Who then are God's chil­dren? Only those who are adopted into His family. Jesus died so that "we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore you are no more a servant but a son" (Galatians 4:5-7). Surely it is obvious from this passage that at one time we were not sons. But at con­version we are adopted into God's family. "You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26).

Unbelief and an unholy life prove that we are not God's children.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God ... The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.Romans 8:14-17

Every child of God is led by the Spirit of God and has the Spirit witnessing to his spirit that he is such. If we were all God's children then we would all be heirs of God.

John's writings are also helpful. "To as many as received Him, He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12). You cannot become a son of God if you already are one. Those who reject Christ are excluded from this privilege.

Behold what manner of love the father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! ... Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as He is.  1 John 3:1-2

The true Chris­tian is a very special person.


We are all related to God as His creatures made in His image. The blessings of His providence are bestowed upon every one of us. His gospel is for the whole human race and offers salva­tion to all who will repent and believe. But only those who accept the gospel are adopted into God's family, become His sons and daugh­ters, and are heirs and joint heirs with Christ. The rest, who persist in sin and unbelief, are not God's chil­dren but belong to the devil's family. God is not their Father, and as His rebellious subjects and servants, they shall be punished forever.

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