The Problem With The Humanity Of God (And Why We Need To Get Over It)


The problem with the Humanity of God is that he does not play by our human rules. He is so outside our god-boxes that what we think of God right now, is actually incomplete. Out of place.

Un-godly even.

God is so big and so wise and so loving and so perfect, that whatever we think we know about Him (even if it’s close to being right) is ridiculously deficient.

We are not even close to knowing who He truly is.

Not.

Even.

Close.

However:

“God is like Jesus. God has always been like Jesus. There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.We have not always known what God is like— But now we do.”

– Brian Zahnd

Now we do. 

Now we know that the supernatural God is the human Jesus.

That Jesus is God.

And any “God” idea-suspicion-version-image that is not exactly like Jesus… it is not God at all.

Yes, the problem with God is that he looks just like Jesus. The problem with that… is Jesus looks like a man. A humble, kind, tender, willing to die for scumbags, kind of a man.

We thought God would be more powerful, more dominant, hungrier to prove Himself. But then Jesus came and he was more concern with healing the sick, and feeding the poor and befriending the worst.

When people thought lepers where being punish by God, God came around and touched them. Healed them. Loved them.

When people thought celebrities were the right people for God to use, God came around and chose fishermen, and tax collectors and prostitutes. He trained them. He believed in them. And he showed them a superior Kingdom.

When people thought that God was angry and disappointed with humanity, God made himself human. Lived a human life. Died a human death. And kept his human body.

God showed up and forgave the sins that shouldn’t be forgiven. He loved the unlovables just as much as he loved children. Instead of destroying the Romans he ended up healing their servants. And he denied the temptation of using political power to change the world.

Instead of being like we wanted him to be, he was less religious, less of a war-monger, less sectarian, less like me.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

One time, I was in a maximum security prison, and I told a bunch of criminals in that prison, that God would forgive them, even if they had sexually abused their daughters.

(You can read the full story here).

I didn’t want to say that God would do that because I didn’t think God should do that. But he had forgiven them already at the cross. And I was 2,000 years too late to stop him.

When I said that statement out loud, the prisoners believed it, and everything changed.

It’s great when I agree with God. Sometimes, it’s life changing when I don’t.

Seriously, in the deepest part of me, I want God to hate the people I hate. I want him to be OK with the sins I don’t consider a big deal. I want God to vote like me, sound like me and go to the church I’m in. And I want God to be more latino.

NT Wright explained it like this: “This is the really scary thing… not that Jesus might be identified with a remote, lofty, imaginary being, but that God, the real God, the one true God, might actually look like Jesus… a shrewd Palestinian Jewish villager who drank wine with his friends, agonized over the plight of his people, taught in strange stories and pungent aphorisms, and was executed by the occupying forces. To say that Jesus is in some sense God is of course to make a startling statement about Jesus. It is also to make a stupendous claim about God.”

There are a lot of things I love about God. But there are also a lot of things I find very difficult to embrace, e.g. put the other cheek, forgive 70×7, wash people’s feet, raise the dead and so on.

They are not difficult to embrace because I don’t believe in them (I kind of have to because I’m a pastor and he said them) it’s more like I am terrible at them.

I have a problem with this version of God.

But Jesus is the only legitimate version there is.

So what I truly have is a problem with me.

God will not change.

I guess I’ll have to.

Peace. 

“When the crucified Jesus is called ‘the image of the invisible God’, the meaning is that THIS is God, and God is like THIS.” – Jürgen Moltmann 

+ For an in-depth (and beautiful) look, read the masterful book: Water to Wine: Some of My Story by Brian Zahnd

++ We also recommend: The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology by Jurgen Moltmann

For more on the loving kindness of God (the kind that changes the mess in you) read: 


Carlos is a pastor, a provocative preacher and the author of "Designed for Inheritance". He also serves as director of Catch the Fire Latin America and Chief Editor at HappySonship.com. Together with his wife Catherine, they have two gorgeous boys and are awaiting a baby girl through adoption.

6 Comments

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  1. God bless you son! Excellent article.
    Tu eres otra cosa! Te amo y cada vez mas orgulloso de ti.
    Te amo

    Papi

  2. I love this part: “They are not difficult to embrace because I don’t believe in them (I kind of have to because I’m a pastor and he said them) it’s more like I am terrible at them.”
    Thanks for this post. I agree and think that sometimes we’re tempted to create theology more in line with our deficiencies. But you’re right to call it out and say, just because we’re not like Jesus in these ways – doesn’t mean that God isn’t. Thanks for this post!

  3. Great stuff! If you’re reading Zahnd and Moltmann, I think we’re on the same path. 🙂 The most important fact of all reality is that God looks, acts, talks, and loves like Jesus.

  4. Yes, God is like Jesus, and Jesus is like God because he is God. God The Father and Son are one.
    He is love and grace.
    However, he has told us plainly that not all who call,”Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who are hypocrites will be cast out into the darkness along with liars and the lukewarm.
    If we want to know God we should remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This is the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah; this is the God who destroyed all life on land and all their great works except for Noah and his family.
    Do not make the fundamental mistake of believing only those scriptures that you like. Teach and live by TheWholeWordOfGod.

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