The Dignity of Fatherhood

Posted on: June 19th, 2016

Years ago the third Sunday of June, each year, was designated as “Father’s Day.” This year it is June 19. Since I am a father I think it is good that families give honor to fathers on this special day. I, for one, appreciate any extra affection my 3 children extend to me on this occasion. Having written this, I object strongly any attempt to place this observance in a religious setting. I know many churches will promote the observance of “Father’s Day” in their assemblies. This is without scriptural authority. The only Father we are to honor religiously at any church assembly is our heavenly Father. Here at Etna, this is what always strive to do each time we assemble.
Even though our heavenly Father has not decreed a special day to honor fathers, he does instruct men how to be good fathers. Yet, many in the world, and even some who claim to be members of the Lord’s church, seem to ignore and/or belittle the role God has assigned for men who become fathers.  
Today, it seems man’s place in the home has become confused and uncertain. So many men do not really know what their role is, and even if they do understand, they still want to abdicate their roles and responsibilities as fathers. They have allowed the teachings of secular humanism, and its handmaiden, “feminism,” to permeate their thinking. Both of these groups have as their goal the eradication of God’s design for the family, with man as the head and woman subordinate to him 1.Cor.11:1-3; Eph.5:22-33.
Society has listened to the cry of “women’s lib” for so long – absolute equality with men, do the same work, have the same responsibilities, enjoy the same privileges, and earn the same pay – that they have allowed God’s plan to be removed and replaced by the thinking of godless, secular sociologists. Their thinking has encouraged men to step away from their God-given rights and responsibilities. In today’s society men are made to feel worthless. They do not realize that God created man with personal worth and integrity, all given to him by God.  Modern fathers are made to feel worthless, with little resemblance to what God intended, when He created man. A good dose of self-worth would banish the feeling of inadequacy and inferiority. Men need to come to a better understanding of what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father.   
The sociologists, humanists and feminists who object to the position God has given the man says it makes woman inferior. They suggest that man is head over the woman only in the sense that he is the source or origin of woman. This kind of thinking is what one would expect of a society obsessed with feminism. Feminism (Women’s Lib) suggests that the husband exercising his authority as the head of the family is demeaning to women. They do not understand, nor care, that in God’s scheme of things, it is not a question of superiority or inferiority, who is the boss or who is the slave, rather it is a question of which role God expects each to fill in life. The roles of men and women are not identical or interchangeable. Neither is superior to the other, since both are necessary. They are equally important. They complement one another. Man has just been assigned a different role in the family than woman. He needs to understand his role and fulfill it as best he can.
At the time of Creation we are told, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” Gen.1:27-28. “Then the LORD took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it” Gen.2:15.
Notice a couple of things in the scriptures just quoted. “Male and female He created them.” He made man distinct from the woman. He placed them in the Garden of Eden and gave man the responsibility “to tend and keep it.”  With this He was assigning man (not the woman) to be the head of the family unit. to dominion over all other creatures.
Man (the father figure), by God’s design, is the head of the family, and is to rule and lead. Why? A simple answer would be, “Because that is what God said.” But, it would be wise to look carefully into the scriptures. Man is to lead and rule because he was made first. See Gen.2:15-22. Paul noted this by writing, “let a woman learn to keep silence with all submission…For Adam was formed first, then Eve” 1.Tim.2:11-13. He then stated a second reason for man’s headship. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” 1.Tim.2:14-15.
Not only was man made first, it was woman that first sinned. After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden God spoke to the woman and “to the woman He said, ‘…your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you’” Gen.3:16. The word of God is very clear. God designed man to lead. The woman was made for him, brought to him, and named by him Gen.2:18-23. He is the one responsible for the direction of the family formed by this union. While it is true that Eve sinned first by listening to the serpent, God held Adam accountable for the introduction of sin into the world and the consequences that followed Rom.5:12-14. Adam was silent and passive when he should have been functioning in his role to lead, guide and protect the woman.

Tommy Thornhill