The article presumes that religious language develops according to four phases: a movement from foundational religious experience to metaphorical language usage to confessional formulae to dogma. It is argued that Jesus’ call upon God as father should be seen as a foundational religious experience which was expressed by means of a familial metaphor. Writers of New Testament books refer also to the followers of Jesus as children of God. Paul and Mark point explicitly to the dual nature of a child of God: being born as human and being born spiritually from God. The confessional formulae in the Nicene Creed about the two natures of Jesus as ontological entities intended to emphasize Jesus’ humanness. The dogma, which originated during sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, continued to convey this tendency. The article concludes that, for Christians today, the metaphor “child of God” is still functional to express a foundational religious experience.
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