Image-Bearing and Football
A devotional thought from Mike Cosper for “Created to Rule”
It often surprises people, but one of the first things I think of when I think about being image bearers who reign over creation is football. Not the works of Shakespeare or Frank Lloyd Wright, not Bach or Sir Isaac Newton, but Peyton Manning on a fourth and a million, hitting an open receiver when it seems impossible. That, it seems to me, is the image of God on display.
You might think I’m being funny or sarcastic, but I’m not. In such a situation, there is a combination of mental and physical acuity that displays the heights of human ability. Everything happens in an instant, wherein the quarterback observes and accounts for the movement of 22 people at once—like an entire chess game played in 5 or 6 seconds. He can do this because of years of watching game film and studying plays. That knowledge enables him—again, in an instant—to identify points of weakness in the defense and identify a target.
The throw itself is another wondrous achievement. The ball has to move on a perfect trajectory with a margin of error that’s a matter of inches. The quarterback has no time to think about his throw, so he relies on years of practice and muscle memory to reflexively dial in the right speed, angle, and timing of the throw. And with the great quarterbacks, they make it. Such a performance is the convergence of years of study and practice, all in a body that’s been fine-tuned into a machine.
Maybe these moments—like a hole in one in golf or a triple double in the NBA—are simply a glimpse of life the way it was meant to be. Maybe this is the height of what it means for God to tell us to rule over creation—including our own minds, bodies, and reflexes. Maybe it is just a glimpse of what the psalmist meant when he extolled, “I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).
Pause and Reflect
• What kinds of expertise have you seen that reflect human rule over creation?
• Have you ever seen or personally experienced that kind of “effortless mastery”? How does such an experience reflect our rule over creation?