fatherly love, indeed, which provides the atonement. Thus the demands of holiness are met and the prodigal is restored to the privileges of son-ship, which have been forfeited by transgression. This natural Fatherhood, therefore, does not exclude, but prepares the way for God?s special Fatherhood toward those who have been regenerated by his Spirit and who have believed on his Son. Indeed, since all God?s creations take place in and through Christ, there is a natural and physical son-ship of all men, by virtue of their relation to Christ, the eternal Son, which antedates and prepares the way for the spiritual son-ship of those who join themselves to him by faith. Man?s natural son-ship underlies the history of the fall and qualifies the doctrine of Sin.

Texts referring to God?s natural and common Fatherhood are: <390210>Malachi 2:10 ? ?Have we not all one father [Abraham]? hath not one God created us?? <420338>Luke 3:38 ? ?Adam, the son of God?; 15:11-32 ? the parable of the prodigal son, in which the father is father even before the prodigal returns; <430316>John 3:16 ? ?God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son?; <431506>John 15:6 ? ?If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned?. These words imply a natural union of all men with Christ. Otherwise, they would teach that those who are spiritually united to him can perish everlastingly. <441728>Acts 17:28 ? ?For we are also his offspring? ? words addressed by Paul to a heathen audience;

<510116> Colossians 1:16,17 ? ?in him were all things created... and in him all things consist;? <581209>Hebrews 12:9 ? ?the Father of spirits.? Fatherhood, in this larger sense, implies

1. origination;

2. Impart of life;

3. Sustentation;

4. Likeness in faculties and powers;

5. Government;

In all these respects God is the Father of all men, and his fatherly love is both preserving and atoning. God?s natural fatherhood is mediated by Christ, through whom all things were made, and in whom all things, even humanity, consist. We are naturally children of God, as we were created in Christ; we are spiritually sons of God, as we have been created anew in Christ Jesus. G. W. Northrop: ?God never becomes Father to any men or class of men; he only becomes a reconciled and complacent Father to

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