Does God Care Whether Tim Tebow Wins?
Tim Tebow succeeds on the football field because of elves.
You can’t see them on television. They’re tiny. But when the game gets tight and the Denver Broncos need a fourth-quarter miracle, the elves come out and do his bidding. Forming a dense pack, they push 350-pound lineman aside, knock defensive backs off their stride, and give speed to Demayrius Thomas after he catches a pass.
That’s why he wins.
What? You don’t buy that? It’s a lie, you’re right. You know Tebow doesn’t accomplish what he does because of elves. But when you hear about his faith, and the connection that some make between his devout Christianity and the success he enjoys on the football field, you might think it’s about as likely that Tebow succeeds because of God’s direct and benevolent intervention as it is that he wins games because of a roaming band of miniature wood elves.
Both sound ridiculous. God doesn’t care about football games, right? If he exists at all, isn’t he up there making sure that the planets spin in their proper orbits and, I don’t know, that there’s enough rainwater falling on Argentinean forests? Doesn’t he have better things to do than to propel a certain football team to victories?
As someone who teaches theology to college students, and so is used to winning unlikely attention from the bleary-eyed and skeptical, let me try to answer this question, for several months now the fodder not merely of church youth groups, but of bars, dorm rooms, and the front pages of serious sports sites like ESPN and Bill Simmons’s Grantland.