...The Good Father wants his son to be his own man. He hopes the son will be good and kind. That he has a mind of his own, that he is productive and realizes his talents, and hopes to be surprised by his choices and his thoughts. A Good Father would be extremely disappointed were his son to become a fanatic – either ideological or religious – and God forbid, gets into planes and murders strangers imagining that he is doing the Father’s will.
The Good Father hopes his son will be creative. But to command creativity is a self-cancelling affair. He patiently awaits the son’s creative response to life and reality that reflects in some way the Father’s own loving, creative, engagement. There is the revelation of the Father to the son, and the son’s revelation to the Father. This will partly be a matter of what the son chooses to be interested in. No proper Father wants his son living in the basement playing video games wondering why women are not interested in him and becoming resentful.
In strongly paternalistic cultures, the son does not get to be his own man until the father dies. Since God the Father is definitely not dying we better hope God does not subscribe to authoritarianism. In the rather good book Being Mortal, the author describes a pater familias who lived to be over one hundred years old. Every day he would get on his horse and survey his property. His sons were in their seventies and eighties, all waiting to get out from under the thumb of this horrible, never-dying tyrant; waiting to be their own men in charge of their own lives.
It is important that the son be his own man. What father would respect a simpering idiot and want one for a son? It takes two to have a relationship. It takes two for love. The father lets the son tell him who he is, rather than setting up a template and measuring the son by that standard...
By Richard Cocks. Read the whole thing at The Orthosphere
Note: I was particularly struck by the observation that the fact God our Father does not die goes-with the distinctively Christian ideal that we are children of God - and children that God wants to grow-up. Jesus Christ is the example of a fully grown-up Man.
And - with that as the aim - this goes-with our condition as mortals, here on an earth; each in a situation that provides the kind of experiences we most need to learn-from.
This is the nature of our relationship with God. It would not help us grow-up if God contually stepped-in to save us from the consequences of our choices. Neither would it help if he prevented or over-rode those choices. God as a tyrant or dictator demanding obedient submission would not allow us to mature into that full spiritual adulthood he hopes us to achieve.
The first line for God is always to allow us to work-thing-out for ourselves; to let us muddle-through by trial-and-error. Of course, God is always present and (as creator) can do things for us or bail us out of trouble whenever that is for our eternal benefit: so miracles do happen...
Thus, God the ideal Father is the best metaphor to help us understand our relationship with Him - but we must remain to take account of the fact the God, and we ourselves, are eternal - and our relationship is intended to be eternal.
And that makes a difference. Some situations might suffice for the short-term, in specific circumstances of mortal life on earth - but would not be desirable in the context of Heavenly life everlasting.