Yesterday, I watched my firstborn become my firstborn. It was less-than-graceful and full of grace. If I ever were to write something on practical fatherhood, now would not be the time to do it. I have a child, but I don’t yet have experience raising children. However, this is a fine time to reflect on the concept of fatherhood.
The idea that fatherhood cannot be understood, on some true, actual level, without first being a father, is a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). There are resources aside from Scripture which can be very helpful and informative, but Scripture alone is necessary.
I will be writing about four concepts: fatherhood by design (The Image of God and Sola Scriptura), fatherhood as imitation (The Trinity), fatherhood from curses (The Covenant of Life), fatherhood for blessings (The Covenant of Grace).
Truthfully, I have been a father for nine months now. I’m nine months into the job with no experience to show for it. Birth is often typified as “the beginning,” but conception is the true start. The womb is the place where people have their beginning. “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). We know that traveling a few inches down the vaginal canal does not bestow humanity. Abortion, of course, is built on ludicrous excuses.
So I was a father to this kid nine months before he was born. My fatherhood was real, but it was not yet exercisable. I took care of mother, and mother took care of baby. From here on out, things change. My exercise of fatherhood changes all three of our lives. This was symbolically demonstrated when I cut the umbilical cord. I severed the flow of nurture between mother and son, in order that new growth could take place. I don’t imagine this is something I will repeat often at the moment – but when the boy is twelve and his mother wants to dress him in the dinosaur onesie for Christmas, I think umbilical cord cutting is once again fair-game.
This series of articles, which I’ve nimbly titled Patrostork, is to be a short reflection on the meaning of fatherhood. “Pastros” is a transliteration of a New Testament word for “father” (patros; πατρός). “Stork” is what you think it is. A descent translation of the title is, “Father Stork,” or preferably, “Papa Stork.”