Fatherhood taken from a Biblical standpoint is the toughest job that a man can undertake. The male takes charge of his family out of Christ-like selflessness and leads his children to follow the precepts of the Lord. He is held responsible for the outcome of his family and gives an account to God for his work. Most importantly, he should live a life similar to Christ so that others can see the faith that he has and be a positive example to his kids.
There is a lot of pressure on dads, especially in the culture that we live in where Biblical fatherhood is looked down upon. Pornography, one-night stands, and passivity are the biggest killers of great fathers and they continue to devour those that follow after God. Men are constantly pursued by these fleeting passions and their leadership suffers as a result. Most times, dads walk away from their wives and children when the going gets too tough.
So in our perverted society, where can we turn to find standards for fatherhood? Many Christians will point to our Heavenly Father, who provided the greatest example of love imaginable by sending His son to die on a rugged cross for the sins of mankind. This is certainly true and God should always be our guide for fatherhood in all circumstances.
But as I recall back to the popular anime Dragon Ball Z, Goku stood out as a close representation to Christ, truly embodying the qualities of a strong father. He always placed what was right above even his own son, showed grace to his enemies when they didn’t deserve it, and gave his life selflessly.
One particular instance where Biblical fatherhood is the easiest to see in Goku’s life is at the time of the battle against his brother Raditz. The mighty Saiyan warrior came down to Earth ahead of the others in his race to take over the planet with his destructive powers and sell it on the pirating space market. Needing the help of his brother, Raditz offers his hand in friendship and extends an alliance for mutual conquering of Earth. Goku, of course, immediately declines the offer and even when his son Gohan is taken away as a bargaining chip he still refuses.
The decision must have been very hard for Goku, knowing that he was giving up the life of his only son for the sake of doing what he knew was right, and reminds me of when Abraham was tested by God to sacrifice his son before the altar. The promised son that him and his wife had waited over fifty years for had finally arrived and now the Lord commanded him to slaughter the baby? Even with his doubts Abraham followed God’s wishes and Issac was spared at the last second before the swipe of his blade. This marks the most important quality that a Biblical father must have, that he can put the Lord above even his most beloved children in all circumstances.
Teaming up with his archenemy Piccolo, the two face off against Raditz to prevent his mad conquest for Earth. The three are locked in intense combat, and after several minutes of fighting it becomes apparent that Earth’s protectors are no match. Displaying tremendous strength and nimble speed, Raditz is merely toying with Goku and Piccolo, and the battle appears one-sided. However, the weakness of every Saiyan lies in their long tail on their backside, and Goku quickly takes advantage of this, holding down his enemy where Raditz cannot escape.
The battle is won, yet Goku gives his older brother the opportunity to turn back away from evil. Goku demands a promise that Raditz will never try to take over the Earth or walk in darkness again in order to get his freedom. His partner Piccolo argues with him that he is insane to allow his enemy another chance and any normal person would agree. I mean, Raditz had captured Gohan as a bargaining chip and declared war against all the inhabitants of Earth, so why would Goku spare him? This same grace shown by Goku is exactly what Jesus embodied during His death on the cross and is expected by every dad that follows God.
So when your two year old is smearing poop on the walls, your teenager is trash talking you in anger, or your grown-up baby is begging you to save them from debt that they caused, choose grace. Dads, your Heavenly Father chose grace to save you from your sins, so why not do the same for your children? Not only does it save them a lot of heartache, but also gives them a taste for who Jesus Christ is and there is no greater aim than that.
As is expected of the villain, Raditz accepts the terms to his agreement and immediately turns against Goku. He takes advantage of the surprise and begins to mercilessly land a series of blows on his brother, beating him to a bloody pulp. All seems lost at this point and Piccolo even has his doubts that he can take on Raditz on his own. However, Goku uses the last ounce of his strength by holding down the enemy one final time, and desperately pleads for Piccolo to kill them both together. Charging the Special Beam Cannon, a brilliant light comes shooting from Piccolo’s palms and penetrates through both brother’s bodies.
Goku’s sacrifice resulted in his son Gohan living without a father, and from one perspective appears to be the wrong decision to make. On the other hand, Gohan was spared his death from the hands of his brother and was given the opportunity to live on. And deep down, I believe that Goku knew that Piccolo would become a fatherly figure to his son, and had confidence that his son would be safe. These same connections can be drawn to fathers in real life, where we are called to lay our lives down for our children if the situation calls. And even though we would be gone from this world to comfort and raise our kids, we would have the assurance that there is a Heavenly Father that takes care of and watches over them in our stead.
Overall, the qualities of a Biblical Father, placing the Lord above all else, showing grace to others, and laying down our lives for our families, can all be drawn by analyzing the fight between Goku and Raditz. Most importantly, the children that fathers take care of will see Christ and understand who he is through the actions of the dad. Besides, why else would God compare Himself to an Earthly dad?
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, NIV)