I was going to refrain from posting anything on the topic of Tim Tebow throwing 316 yards. But since it is 2012, and in addition to the Mayan calendar, apparently Ronald Weinland (formerly of the Worldwide Church of God) is predicting the end of the world this year, it seems worth mentioning both, since they are connected.
These numbering systems are arbitrary. If Tebow threw 316 yards, then he threw 288.9504 meters. There is no chapter 288 verse 9504 in the Bible. And in the original manuscripts, there aren’t even any 3:16s.
People making much of dates and numbers which are arbitrary human inventions illustrates one of the hurdles that stands in the way of people using critical thinking: we tend to find significance even in the genuinely random. And so whether one is looking for evidence of a miracle or a conspiracy, this tendency of human beings has the potential to lead us into error.
But there’s something worse about treating numbers in a football game as a sign from God. To see a miracle in a football game, while God apparently refrains from giving miracles to people suffering from disease and starvation, seems to me really bad religion. Why bring God into it in ways that make God out to be a football fan who couldn’t care less about anyone when the game is on? Talk about some of us making God in our own image!