In the long lead up to the Super Bowl there is usually a point where there aren’t a lot of things to talk about or to analyze as far as the big game is concerned. At some point we reach the understanding that the team that scores the most points wins and after that we get into the opinions and ideas of folks who screw the cleats into the players shoes or the folks who pump the air into the ball. We get the psychological and philosophical musings of folks who spend their time remembering when to set the tight end in motion and how long they have to get someone open if the safety takes a step (one step, not two or three, but a step) toward the line of scrimmage. So it was not a surprise that we got an expose’ of an interview that Aaron Rogers gave before the Packers were expelled from the hunt for the Lombardy Trophy. It went out on social media and somewhere in the interview he said “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet…to a fiery hell. What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn most of his beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?” I guess his parents were upset because they raised Aaron to be a pretty fundamental Christian but somewhere in the rounds of x’s and o’s and jargon filled lectures he got the old bug that leads us to hate God in his inscrutable majesty. Perhaps he has had too many locker room fumes or the heady world of huckstering commercials twisted him a bit but he is in good company. Luther’s view, that when we come up against incomprehensible wisdom and dreadful might, we should look to the manger and the cross, is laughed at and held in contempt.
There is a lot of meat on this bone and Roger’s is in a long line of questioners. Some of the great lines in literature are like Roger’s comments and much theological ink has been wasted and theological breath has been wasted too. There is no point to trying to “scrut” the “inscrutable” so you can rebel against it, use it against the idea of God altogether, or you can try and ignore it. There are people that study this subject, not from a purely theological motive, but from an anthropological one as well. Why do some rebel against God’s inscrutable nature? Why do some simply resign themselves to it and others use the inscrutable part of God to acknowledge his existence and also to assert this as a reason to hate him. St. Augustine captured the idea when he said – “Peter denies and the thief believes: Oh the depth! You look for answers? I tremble at the depth.”
There are people that actually study the “History of Emotion” and this is one of their areas of study. Why did God’s incomprehensible wisdom and dreadful might inspire fear and awe in older generations inspire anger and hubris in the moderns?
This a huge topic and another shiny bauble to distract my attention. Maybe they should have a side bet at the Super Bowl as to how many atheists are playing in the big game?