Why did God choose to be a father? "With deepest reverence be it said, He couldn't help it. His love compelled Him to become our Father. Only so could He tell out the love of His heart. He is our Father. He has fathered the whole race from the beginning. He still does. He fathers every new precious bit of humanity that comes. He never fails to join His fatherhood with ours. Every child has two fathers, the human, and above him, the divine; the human, father of his body, the divine, of his spirit. (Heb_12:9 <http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Heb+12:9>.) No human being can be born as a human being, with immortal spirit as well as body, without the direct creative touch of God upon him.
There's another question that comes yet closer in these homely talks. Why did God choose this father-plan for us men that we too should be fathers bringing forth life in our own image and in His? He could, of course, have chosen some other plan if in His wisdom He saw best. Why this? Well, without doubt it was a part of the likeness of Himself which He was giving to us. He would make us to be fathers because He is a father. He is a creator; He made us creators, too. We were to know the ecstasy of creating-love, as well as He.
Then we were to have full fellowship with Him in His work. We were to be fellow-creators. Only those who are fully alike can be fellows, one both in spirit and in work together. The image of God in man was to be full, not partial. God made us in His image that we might be His fellows in creative work. He began the creative work. He made us to join hands with Him as His fellow human creators, continuing His work step by step, from generation to generation, and He working with us at every step.
And yet there is more than this. Above and underneath every other reason that may be thought of is this: by being fathers we can come to understand God's father-heart. So we come into that real knowledge of the strength and tenderness of His love that grips our hearts. Through the experience of fatherhood and motherhood we come nearest to knowing God. Only we are constantly reminded that He is so much more than we; but it is more of the same sort.
Only through such experience can we come to know Him fully, with all the emphasis on that word "fully." So we enter into fullness of fellowship with Him. Only so can we understand God's heart in the depth of its tender yearning over us, and in the marvel of His giving His life out for us.
And then there is a step farther yet that brings us still nearer to the practical: only as we get some glimpse of the father-heart of God can we be real fathers and mothers to our children. For as God is a father even so the father is a god. Father and mother are as God to the child. That is to say, they are to the child in the place of God, until the child's awakening thought can be transferred to his parents' God, and then find out how much more God is than they; and yet simply "more," not different in kind.
The child looks up to us, as we look up to God. The child gets his first thought of God from father and mother. What purity and love and wisdom and simplicity should we pray for and practice! We are the child's god. We are telling him by our lives what God is—if we are; maybe what He isn't. Whatever we are telling with presence and life that God is, in the child's thought.