Allah or Abba

"Allah or Abba"

These are the two fundamental ways of looking at God. Regardless of religious faith or persuasion the answer to this question will shape your life.

Let me explain...

The term "Abba" was first coined by Jesus in the New Testament.  Prior to that, the term was never used by the Old Testament Jews.  What made this so revolutionary was the fact that it greatly humanized God.  God was no longer some distant, fearful figure.  This was scandalous to the Ancient world.  God was all of a sudden human.  He could bleed, he could suffer, he could cry, he could understand what it meant to be human.

The term "Allah" was popularized by the rise of Islam.  This term was the opposite of "Abba" in that it signified a total submission of one's freedom to Allah, who was God.  God viewed from this angle was authoritarian; there was no free will, there was only Allah's will, that was it.  In Christianity God was fully human, fully God. In Islam God was all powerful, worthy only of total submission.

However, this dichotomy isn't just relegated to the religious spheres.  These two opposing views can impact
how one lives their life in general.

Let's take for example parent/children relationships.

Most psychologists and philosophers agree that children form their views of God from their parents, specifically their fathers.  So if a child is brought up to view their father as Abba (Daddy) he will view the world radically different than a child who views their father as Allah. The child who is brought up to view God as Abba will not feel uncomfortable being open and seeking forgiveness. In turn this openness will lead to a greater tolerance of others who have also fallen short.  While a child who is brought up to view God as Allah will not approach their father as an equal, but rather as a master. One view glorifies mercy, while the other view glorifies submission. 

I was recently talking to friend who was telling a story about his authoritarian, imposing father. My friend was profoundly affected by his father's boundless need to control and intimidate his children. He said something impactful: He said, "Unfortunately my dad was too much Allah and not enough Abba.  As a result our adult relationship as father and son still suffers."


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