God, if he exists, is no help, is he?

People everywhere are unsatisfied with the policies and the job performance of God. Polls are increasingly showing disinterest and disenfranchisement. God is no longer relevant to a generation which has spent the entirety of its formative years in the Age of Democracy, choosing for themselves that which is right and that which is wrong.

And now people demand a new king, a man of the people, a man they chose. The people demand to decide for themselves what is acceptable and what is not. If God is going to be Lord over them, then he must protect them, and he isn’t doing that. There is war, death, famine, AIDS, flu, poverty, preventable oppression and sickness.

The people are upset with the methods of God. Because there is no earthly way this makes sense.

The people want a new king, just as Israel demanded a physical, human ruler. The people are demanding that God be deposed for his ineptitude in regards to either benevolence or potency — they aren’t sure which. Either God is not good, or he is not powerful enough. Either way, he is underperforming and must go. They want their King Saul, their immediate, tangible results. They haven’t considered the flaws of created beings as rulers: they only want change, and someone who understands their plight.

But what if there was someone who understood the struggle in which all humans are forced to participate? What if this person were also deity? How much of a game-changer would that be?

This is the hope of Christ: he knows our plight, he knows our pain, he empathizes with the struggle and pain, and he advocates on our behalf. God wanted a direct connection to humanity, and humanity needed a way to God. This God that would otherwise not be relevant to our culture (unless you were Jewish), is now relevant to all and is working to bring about perfection and renewal in this world, for all.

I don’t understand everything. There is much room in my theology for mystery. I probably misrepresented some things already. There are logical paradoxes. But what I do know is that I have exhausted my mental resources trying to rely on my own capacity to know and understand. It is of utmost arrogance to claim God doesn’t exist because you don’t understand him. Of course we don’t! But for Christ, we wouldn’t even have any connection to him. Even with Christ, understanding comes slowly, because humans operate on a different level than Deus.

Imagine with me for one second that there is a Creator. The created could never outsmart or even fully understand the Creator, just as anything humans create cannot fully understand its creator (robot, computer, what-have-you). If there is a God, you should hope you don’t understand him: if you did understand him completely, he’d be human, at which point all hope would be lost. Humanity is engaged in a struggle, and the only hope is external. If my hope is in man alone, I have no hope.

None of this proves God’s existence. Don’t misunderstand: my point isn’t to defend or prove God’s existence. With words and logic alone, I cannot. My point — my hope — in writing this to be honest about the state of humanity, but also honest about the hope I have found in Christ. If you think my hope foolish, so be it. I do understand. The Bible itself calls the message of Christ foolish (until you have experienced it). I do hope and pray, though, that you will experience the hope and love and incredible peace that Christ brings. And I hope it changes you into a more hopeful, loving, peaceful person.

That is the hope of the world; not that man can change himself through internal willpower, but that an external force can draw the good deep from the well of your spirit, and fill you with things you lacked before.

That is why I am hopeful and optimistic for the future of humanity: when humans experience the indescribable peace and love of Christ, and connect their souls to God, they becomes a new creation. The old has passed away and the new takes its place. I pray and work for renewal in this earth, even while this earth seems to fall apart.

I’m sorry for preaching. I truly believe this and I truly have experienced this. I have no reason to lie to you and no reason to share this with you other than that I believe it.

Christ asked those who would later become his disciples, “follow me,”

That’s all. No contrived or forced prayer, no trembling or shaking necessary. Just follow him. Drop the selfish plans you had and pick up his: plans of love, peace, joy, and hope.

Thanks for reading,

Greg Tanis



Romans 10:4

‘Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.’

Maybe this is all very basic, but it’s exciting to me. To the best of my understanding, Romans 10 releases Christians to do exactly what they were doing before. Before the Law was replaced by Christ, those who followed God were obligated to do his will by following his express commands. After Christ became the fulfillment of the Law, everything changed. God created an atmosphere which, to this Arminian, appears to be centered around choice.

God’s will did not change. The only thing that changed was how we go about accomplishing it. Before Christ, it was very systematic. There were rules, given by rulers and prophets; and if you wanted to be close to God, you followed them. Post-resurrection Christians have a slightly different dynamic. For us, if we want to be close to God, we find out his desires (what he wants us to do and not to do- i.e. “rules” or “the Law”). He wants more of a back-and-forth, more intimacy involved. I believe this deepens the relationship; when we choose him and find out his will, it makes the Law our own.

For the politicians, I’ll put it this way: God wants a Libertarian system instead of a Fascist one. (This in no way makes God a Libertarian. This is simply to illustrate a point. Even though he might possibly be a Libertarian. Just kidding. But really.) God wants us all to choose him and find out on our own that we want to do what is right. He doesn’t want to have to force us. He wants us to carry our weight. He wants us connected to his Spirit.

For the artists, I’ll put it this way: God wants you to paint on a blank canvas, not a coloring book. God doesn’t want you to paint by numbers, die, and turn in your painting, saying, “Look, God, I did everything according to the book, just like you asked.” Surely, we should follow God’s Word, but I’m talking about the attitude here. God wants us to start with a blank canvas and yet be so connected to him that we paint exactly what he wants us to paint. He wants the relationship, the pursuit. He desires love, not simply sacrifice. This happens through his Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach our spirits how to be like God’s. Notice that the Holy Spirit was given after Jesus resurrected and fulfilled the Law. This is because the Holy Spirit did not belong under the Old Covenant. Essentially, the Holy Spirit replaces the Law, yet is the Law exactly. It’s a bit of an abstract point that I’ve been trying to grasp for years. Let me now interject a disclaimer: I say what I say with the best heart; yet I may be wrong in areas. It’s a nuanced concept, I believe, and I’m sure I don’t understand it in its entirety.

For the parents, I’ll put it this way: the point of parenting is so that your children adopt your rules. Parenting is futile if it simply establishes rules that the child must follow, but never encourages them to adopt the rules as their own. I believe Christ fulfilling the Law was God’s way of pushing us out of the spiritual nest. He is saying, “Go. Figure me out.” He’s done revealing himself on a mass scale, through prophets, to whole nations. That is what the Holy Spirit is for, and he does it on an individual basis.

The Law can give us glimpses of God’s expectations and character, but it cannot reveal fully to the reader what God has for that specific person. In Romans 10:5-8, Paul explains how followers of God used to listen to the prophets to hear God’s Law, but now, ‘“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and heart.”’

The words God has to tell to his children are personalized. Reading the Law without the guidance of the Holy Spirit- even following the Law without truly desiring it- is simply painting by numbers. Simply being a member of a Fascist regime. Simply being a well-behaved child with a rebellious heart. God wants you to desire him, to learn from him, not simply to follow the Law. If the Law did not exist, those who truly know God would not be acting any differently. That is the Law fulfilled through Christ.

Justice vs. Judgement (connotatively)

God is Judge. The final, ultimate judge that administers justice. Why should this be a scary concept? Do we not want justice? Is that not what we desire? Surely, justice will be uncomfortable for some and in some areas, but we should eagerly long for judgement because judgement, from a merciful God, is justice.

We must not equate God as Judge to our American understanding of “justice.” We must not view God as a judge in our court systems, which can only universally apply the law, whether just or not. God is the arbitrator who can see all and know what the best outcome is. God uses justice to solve problems. Worldly judges can only make a person pay for their actions. Seek justice, not only judgement, for justice heals.