The original languages of the Bible itself and, to my knowledge, most of Christian history, are replete with the filial language of God being known as a “Father” and Jesus being known as his “Son”. However there are certainly enclaves of folks professing Christianity that claim that this is either given unnecessary focus or is outright misleading. Books have been written that intentionally substitute “mother” and translations are being made that remove the family relationship language altogether.
This is a multi-part question and I’m looking for a broad overview of how these pieces fit together in history, not an argument for or against any position.
- When in Christian history is God first introduced as a male “father” figure? Have there been any turning points or changes in this imagery through different ages, regions or languages? Have any church fathers or theologians seen this a core issue to the faith?
- Historically, which groups professing Christianity have attempted to deviate from this filial imagery? Have any notable church fathers or theologians advocated for alternate renditions? If so what works did they write and approximately what size following did they attract?
- What is the overall (worldwide) view or trend on this issue today? What percentage of translations continue to use the language of father/son to translate the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible and what translations use something else?
- What modern day movements advocate deviating from this tradition and which (or what kind of) denominations support them? Are there any direct parallels between these groups/translations and historical groups/translations?