In his Letter to Families, John Paul II charts new theological territory, exploring ways that motherhood is made in the image of God and reflects God’s creative power. His letter opens with a reference to God’s creation of the world:
“The universe, immense and diverse as it is, the world of all living beings, is inscribed in God’s fatherhood, which is its source (cf. Eph. 3:14-16). This can be said, of course, on the basis of an analogy, thanks to which we can discern, at the very beginning of the Book of Genesis, the reality of fatherhood and motherhood and consequently of the human family” (Letter to Families, p. 13).
John Paul II claims that, in light of the mystery of God as the source of all creation, we may begin to understand the true nature of both fatherhood and motherhood. The fatherhood of God is the source of all creation, and fathers and mothers reflect God’s creative act. To be related on the “basis of an analogy” means that while mothers and fathers directly and accurately reflect the fatherhood of God, they are not identical with God as Father; they are like a heated pot of water in contrast to the heat of the sun—as the water gets its heat from the sun, mothers and fathers receive their power to procreate from God the Father. The best way to comprehend the nature of fatherhood and motherhood, then, is through an understanding of God’s creation of the world. It is noteworthy that John Paul II includes motherhood as equally reflective of God’s fatherhood as human fatherhood. For him, both motherhood and fatherhood find their root in the fatherhood of God.