The Seattle Seahawks have been in the news recently because of their improbable last minute win over the Green Bay Packers. With four minutes left in the game, the Packers had a 99.9% statistical chance of winning. But the Seahawks pulled it out.
Russell Wilson, the QB for Seattle, is a vocal Christian. After the game he prayed and gave glory to God (which is awesome). He also seemed to imply that God caused the improbable outcome of the game.
“That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special. I’ve been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It’s what’s led me to this day.”(link)
Some other Seahawks gave credit to God too, but without implying God determined the outcome.
“We fought. Playing football it’s awesome. God is so good. It don’t get no better than this.” – Earl Thomas, Facebook.
“To God go the glory!” – Richard Sherman, Facebook
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aaron Rodgers, QB for the Packers (and also a Christian) had a different view.
“I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome, He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.”(link)
Here’s what I think:
It’s admirable that so many football players are vocal about their Christian faith, and that they give God the glory. Through their platform they can be a positive witness for Christ.
And God certainly does help us to do our best in all we do as we honor him. In the case of athletic events, he does that for Christians on both teams.
But there are some problems with the idea that God fixes the outcomes of games.
First, God can be glorified with either outcome of a sports event. God didn’t need the Seahawks to win in order to bring about his plan. If the Packers had won, God would be equally glorified. It is really a small view of God to think that he has to make sure a certain team wins. God is bigger than that.
Second, it implies that God honored the request of players and fans of one team, but not the players and fans for the other teams. Does God love Russell Wilson more Aaron Rodgers? No, he loves them both. And for a player to claim that God favors him over others is a little selfish.
Aaron Rodgers is right. God cares less about the outcome of a game than he does the people who are involved in it.