Our God is an AUTHORITATIVE Father
It is interesting to note how often our image of God as Father is affected by the type of human father we have had. Psychologists have grouped fathers into four types — and only one of them gets it right. One of these can be labeled as AUTHORITARIAN. This type of father is focused on rules and obedience, and can often be emotionally distant. Too often people can see God in this way — as someone just waiting to punish us for our mistakes. Another type can be labeled as PERMISSIVE. This type of father is often emotionally affirming, but is very weak when it comes to the discipline necessary to raise responsible children. Sometimes people can see God in this way — as someone who doesn’t really care about our big sins and forgives us even if we are not particularly sorry for them. A third type — typically the worst of the bunch — is the ABSENT or DISTANT father. He is simply unengaged and largely uninterested in the lives of his children. How many people in our culture today see God just in this way? If recent studies are correct, most people in our culture see God as a distant Creator or an impersonal spirit that may, from time to time, swoop in to help sort things out.