Knowing You’re Going To Win

 the hurricane


For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 

    Job 19:25, KJV

Two coaches from two similar Christian schools met at half-court before the game. One coach said to the other, “I know we’re going to win. God’s on our side.”   As comical as it sounds, we sometimes are overly zealous when it comes to our athletic beliefs. Nonetheless, spiritually speaking, there are some things that we do know, and we know them beyond the shadow of a doubt.

We know that God is true; we know that Jesus is the Son of God; we know that Heaven and hell are for real; we know that we are going to win, that we’re going to emerge victorious from every brawl and every battle and every skirmish and every scuffle because Jesus already won on Calvary.

That being said, how do we know that we are going to win?  How do we know there is a God? Can the existence of God be proven?  Zophar asked Job this question: “Canst thou by searching find out God?” (Job 11:7, KJV).  This, of course, is a rhetorical question.  Thus, the answer is yes, but this “proof” is not rational or reasonable, and can only be arrived at, as Kierkegaard would say, by a “leap of faith.”  The proof is not empirical or rational, but intuitive.

Thus, “knowing” that God exists, as Robert Pargetter states, is “properly basic.” Kierkegaard adamantly argues this point: “without risk there is no faith.” Further, he states that “if I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe.” Being a movie critic of sorts, I love Paragetter’s “parallel between the experience of God and the experience of “the Force” in the Star Wars film series; the way in which Luke Skywalker and others came to believe in the Force bears an interesting resemblance to the way in which, according to Reformed Epistemology, a person may come to believe in God”[1]

One of the best examples of knowing in sports is found in the 1999 feature film The Hurricane starring Denzel Washington.  In the film, Director Norman Jewison examines the incredible true story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer who was poised to be to be a title contender before a wrongful conviction sent him to prison for nearly three decades.  And, per usual, Denzel Washington is commanding as the film’s lead.

The film depicts The Hurricane, a middleweight boxer who is falsely accused of triple homicide.  Tried and convicted of the crimes, while in prison, he wrote the book The Sixteenth Round. Lesra, a teenage boy from Brooklyn, finds his book at a bookstore and reads it. Convinced of his innocence, he embarks on an incredible journey to secure his release.

 Towards the end of the film, just prior to his release from prison, Carter asked Lesra “Do you believe I killed those people?” Lesra replies, “No.”  “How do you know?” Carter asks. Lesra replies, “I just know.” For the believer in the eternal and everlasting God, the response is the same. How do we know that God exists? We just know. The same applies to our belief that Jesus is the Son of God. The implication is that we are saved by faith alone, sola fide, through God’s grace alone, sola gratia.

[1] M. Peterson, W. Hasker, B. Reichenbach, D. Basinger, Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, 4th edition (New York: Oxford University Press), 2010, p. 244.

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