If you spend enough Sundays in evangelical churches, sooner or later you’ll hear it said that the reason Paul didn’t translate ‘Abba’ from the Aramaic when writing Romans was because he wanted to capture the essence of the familiar, child-like, intimate name for father, for which there was no real equivalent in Greek.
the image painted is usually something like that of Jenny Agutter’s Bobbie flying down a station platform crying ‘Daddy, my daddy!’ at the end of The Railway Children.
The message is that God is not merely ‘Father’, that stiff, remote, Victorian patriarch to whom we are presented only when we’ve been suitably cleaned up, brushed down and smartly turned out. He’s ‘Daddy’, waiting with arms open wide, longing to be reunited with us after an absence.
But as I’ve written on WhatYouThinkMatters today, the name implies an everyday intimacy and depth that that picture doesn’t really convey.
What do you think? Do you find it easier to relate to God as ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’? Or is your experience of fatherhood such that you struggle with the whole concept.