Human and Divine Fatherhoods
Matthew 7:11
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children…

God can only be apprehended by man through some relations that are familiar to man. It may be assumed that the highest, best, most universal, of human relations will be found most fittingly to represent him. The one relation which is universal, and universally esteemed the highest, is the parental. It is passing strange that any difficulty should be found in securing the thankful acceptance of the doctrine of the Divine Fatherhood. Probably men are hindered by the desire to attain abstract conceptions of the Divine Being; certainly they are hindered by observing the patent fact of the imperfection of human fatherhoods. But it is the ideal Fatherhood, which human fatherhoods do but suggest, which alone can be applied to God. We not only have references to God as the Father characteristic of our Lord's teaching - indeed, it is almost the only word he uses for God - but in this text we have his own comparison of the human and Divine fatherhoods, giving a precedent of which we may confidently take advantage. Probably theology would become altogether more human and more attractive if this comparison were more freely made. Man in the image of God is the best revelation of God. And it should be easy to separate man as man from man the sinner.


1. This he is by virtue of his relationship. A father has children; they are dependent on him. Dependence is the essence of prayer; it may be silent or it may be vocal.

2. This he is upon impulse of affection. His love inspires willingness to hear the needs of his children. Their good. is a personal interest to him.

3. This he is by the persuasion of duty. All relations involve responsibilities; and a father is under obligation to meet the wants of his children, whether he knows them upon fatherly observation, or they make them known to him by cry and prayer.


1. He also has been pleased to sustain relations as the Author of our being. And our dependence on our Creator is prayer to which he must respond.

2. He also has declared his personal love to us; and love must be heedful of the needs of its objects.

3. We may even think of God as being placed under honourable obligations by the relations into which he has brought us. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

WEB: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The Heavenly and the Earthly Parent
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