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True Father or Economic Father



Theology has introduced various terms to explain, in some cases, the inexplicable.

Now, we must cautiously preface this discussion with an admission that discussing words and expressions that cannot be found in scripture are potentially fraught with peril. But we will explore these that we might be sensitive to the difference between truth and error, “that we might know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” 1John 4:6.

The Trinity doctrine is a good example of an inexplicable theological term. This dogma, in fact, requires two descriptions of itself.

One is known as the Economic Trinity, the practical, functional relationships (what God does) that are assumed by the three persons for the benefit of accomplishing Their/His? goal of redeeming fallen man. The Father appears to be a father but is not truly one; the Son did in some fashion become a son of God, at least of God the Holy Spirit; and the Spirit--well, that’s not a relationship anyway. These putative relationships are referred to as “roles” which They play in dealing with us, so that we might be attracted to their infinite and mutual divine love which allegedly is so perfect it requires no such relationships. The Father’s love for His Son; the Son’s trust and submission to his Father, though supposedly not based on real relationships, assist in reaching the selfish heart of man, but will one day (after sin is no more) cease to exist even in their now artificial reality.

The second description is called the Ontological Trinity. This is the true nature of the three persons (what God is) who are, in spite of their economic titles, really completely independent, self-existent, original divine individuals who do not derive or borrow their powers from any other source than themselves. There is not among them one who is Source or Father for another, for they are all co-equal and co-eternal. The only way to achieve “one God” in the setting of such independence is to fuse their physical natures into one indivisible being: a consubstantial trinity.

The simple Bible description of “the one true God,” given by Jesus himself, is that He is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” that He has a Son, and that He gave His Son, sent His Son into the world, to be the Saviour of the world (John 17:3; 2Cor 11:31; Eph 1:3; 1Pet 1:3; Heb 1:3; John 3:16; 1John 4:9,14).

There is no need for separate terms to describe His true nature and His assumed relationship, because He is both the true God and a true Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, is “Son of the Father in truth and love” 2John 3.


Grace and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love. 2 John 3

Gary Hullquist