A God You Can Shoot

white arrow lot

In his monumental book The Resurrection of the Son of God, British scholar N.T. Wright tells the story of a king who once called upon his archers to shoot their arrows at the sun. He became angry when they all failed to reach their solar target. One clever archer waited until midday, aimed his bow at the reflection of the sun in the pond near where the king was seated, and shot his arrow through its center sending glistening waves in every direction.

This man was able to find an image of the sun that was close enough to shoot. There’s something very similar in Christian theology, namely, the claim that God came near. As the Apostle Paul says, Christ is the image or icon of God (Colossians 1:15). That reminds me of a question an atheist student once asked me, “With all the religions in the world, why doesn’t God just come down and tell us the one true way?” Well, Christians believe he did.

At the center of the Christian faith is the belief that God really did come close enough to shoot. And, as evidenced by both Christian and non-Christian historical sources, those first century arrows hit their target, pinning a Jewish carpenter to a Roman cross. If would be a sad story indeed if it ended there. But it didn’t. The sun, though pierced, would rise again.