Thursday, August 2, 2012

Theological Insights from Olympic Beach Volleyball

   While watching the Olympic beach volleyball competition recently, I noticed the American women’s team practiced a small ritual after each point. They would smack their hands together in a double high five, then hug, then do another double high five and then one of them would point skyward, apparently acknowledging the role of the Almighty in spiking the ball over the net and leaving the competition with a face full of sand.
   It was that final gesture which caught my attention. The volleyball player was pointing directly overhead… to what astronomers call the zenith point. This would imply that God is in a specific place in the heavens - for if, as some people state, God is “everywhere” there would be no need to point anywhere to recognize Him. God is just as much in the sand beneath the players’ feet as he is in the sky. But based on the pointing of the player it would appear that God was in the sky at a point directly over the London Olympic beach volleyball court at the beginning of the match.
   As the match continued, however, I noticed something intriguing. The American volleyball players continued to curry Divine favor, kept scoring and consequently kept hugging, high-fiving and pointing… directly overhead. As someone with an amateur interest in astronomy I found this fascinating. If God was indeed at a fixed point in the sky, that point would appear to move over time from our Earth-bound perspective as the Earth rotated about its axis. In other words, as the match continued, the volleyball player should have been pointing at a point in the sky slightly off the overhead point she was pointing to at the beginning of the match. Yet she kept pointing directly overhead.
   This could only mean one thing! Something profound in its theological and astronomical implications: God is in a geostationary orbit! Like a communication satellite, God is revolving in the heavens at the same rate as the Earth’s rotation. Thus, from our perspective, he remains in the same point in the sky at all times.
   It would also imply that in parts of the world opposite London, God is never in the sky at all! The Antipode of London (the point opposite the Earth from that city), in fact, is near New Zealand. Do religious New Zealand volleyball players point at the ground when they score a point on home turf? Is divine power unable to pass through the center of the Earth? If so, that would make New Zealand quite literally the most God-forsaken spot on the planet. That would make sense, I suppose. After all, could a creature as bizarre as the Kiwi have been intelligently designed by an All-Powerful Creator? This may also explain why the Olympic Games have never been held in New Zealand.

   So much to think about. So many questions. Maybe someday the American women’s beach volleyball team will tell all!

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