The term Father as used in Scripture ordinarily refers to the God of the covenant in His relation to believers and in this sense refers to the divine essence without distinction of Persons (see Fatherhood of God). But in many passages the Persons are differentiated. The Father, personally so named (e.g., Jn 3:35; 5:20; 15:9; 17; 20:17; 1 Ptr 1:3), is specifically described as unbegotten (Jn 5:26) but generating eternally the Son (Ps 2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5) and sending forth the Holy* Spirit (Gl 4:6). The act of generating, or begetting, the Son, of which the human mind can form no adequate notion, is a true act, but internal (terminating within the Godhead, the Son also being God, of one same and indivisible essence with the Father, Jn 10:30). The eternal procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son (see Filioque Controversy) is also an internal act. Generation and procession indicate the relation bet. Father and Son and bet. Father, Son, and Spirit. These acts involve no time factor, as if the Father existed before the Son was generated, or as if the Father and Son existed before the Spirit proceeded (the Spirit proceedeth from the Father, Jn 15:26). The difference bet. generation and procession transcends our comprehension. The external, or outward, works of God, which relate to the universe, include these: the Father sent the Son to redeem man (Jn 3:1617) and gives, or sends, the Spirit (Jn 14:26); creation, ascribed to the Father: redemption, ascribed to the Son; sanctification, ascribed to the Spirit.
See also God; Procession of the Holy Spirit; Trinity.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
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