Did you know Jesus once called the Devil a father? When the Son came to “reveal the face of the father” and was asked by His disciples how they ought to pray, it was with this very image – “Our Father, who art in heaven…” So, I think we should pay attention when the devil is given a paternal recognition. Fatherhood generates and perfects new life – what did the devil generate?
Look closely at how Jesus applies fatherhood to the devil. It occurs in an exchange between some Jews and Jesus about who are the real sons of God. They are growing increasingly angry that Jesus refers to Himself as the son of God while seemingly questioning their following of God. The Jews remind Him that they are sons of Abraham and therefore God is their Father (John 8:41) by birth. But Jesus claims that if God were their Father, then they would love Him (v. 8:42). But it get’s more direct when He claims their allegiance is not only not with God, but with the enemy of God…
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof”(John 8:44).
What the Devil introduced in Eden was an alternative view of fatherhood. Consider the fact of an “alternative fatherhood”. Earthly fatherhood is a foretaste of God’s fatherhood as well as an extension of it stretching back to creation. If there is any distortion or falsehood in fatherhood, it’s the devil’s version. And, since to be a man, to be a male, is at its core to be a father – to pass on life to the next generation – then each man is living within himself either the truth of fatherhood or its lies, and those around him are experiencing and living in the wake of whichever one he has internalized within himself. Often its is an extension and continuation of the fatherhood he has experienced. Sure, sometimes it may be a mixture of the two, but there are clearly two versions of fatherhood at play today.
God is not holding out on you. He is trustworthy. He loves us as a good Father. He cares. We can cast ourselves into Him completely and confidently. “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7, RSV). And, after that, be a man after the heart of the Father.