On Sunday night after leading his Green Bay Packers to victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers gave credit to God. Rodgers said to reporters afterwards: “I think God was a Packers fan tonight, so he was taking care of us.”
There is background here that makes this much more amusing. Last year the two teams played, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks won despite a dismal performance from their quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson gave credit to God, saying, “”That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special.”
Rodgers responded to Wilson’s words then by saying that while God cares for the people involved, God is not invested in who wins the games. Clearly though, Rodgers words this past week were a poke in the ribs towards Wilson.
Both Rodgers and Wilson are Christians, and their differing views here point to different ways Christians may deal with suffering. They are skirting the edges of the debate about freedom vs. determinism. Some, like Wilson, see God as pulling all the strings. So for Wilson God not only is praised for strength in order to succeed but God goes further and directly causes the evil and suffering in the world. Wilson throws four interceptions and loses? God caused it. Wilson comes through in the end for the win? God did it?
You have to assume then that this sort of God also directly causes genocides and wars, rapes and murders. But it is all for the greater good. As some Christians say, “God has a plan.” No matter what evil or suffering you encounter, rest assured that it is all part of God’s plan.
Rodgers, on the other hand, recognizes that God does care about everything. But this care does not go down to micromanaging football games, or directly causing suffering and evil. God cares about people but how this care works out, the level of freedom God gives, is somewhat a mystery.
Interesting how this theological debate about who God is and how God interacts with the world ends up on a football field.
I for one think Rodgers’ theology is better, more satisfying. I also respect a good ribbing.