Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Chance and Coincidence
In another entry to this Blog I described an accident involving my car when it collided with a dog. My daughter was driving at the time, as a dog ran through an open gateway directly into the near side of the front bumper. The impact caused major damage to the bumper and minor damage to the nearside doors. Fortunately the dog survived with nothing more than a bruised head, a small cut on his head and an injury causing the dog to limp on its hind left leg. What were the chances of that happening? The car had to be at the precise spot as the dog launched itself from the gateway into the road. The dog owner’s boyfriend had inadvertently left the garden gate open, so that when the owner opened her front door, the dog rushed past her from the house, ran down the path and through the gateway into the road, where it came into contact with the front bumper.
Greg Kolodziejzyk had started his circumnavigation of Vancouver Island with a crewmate aboard his unique pedal driven vessel, ‘Within’, and they arrived at a point near Denmen Island, just as the ferry was crossing ahead of them. To avoid a collision Greg backpedalled, and as he did so he heard a popping sound. The drive mechanism to the propeller had failed, but at that moment one of Greg’s friends who had been looking for him happened to arrive in his kayak and he was able to tow the boat to the ferry wharf. What were the chances of these events coinciding? The timing of the departures of all three vessels, their speeds and courses over the ground were critical in bringing about the coincidental actions of the participants. Misfortune was turned to good fortune, because had the weak fitting not been discovered until later, the failure could have occurred at a less friendly location. For it to happen when Greg is halfway into his proposed voyage to Hawaii from Vancouver, the consequences could be very serious.
What were the coincidences that made it possible for me to be born? How much did chance play its part? My mother told me I was an accident! Nevertheless, she loved me and I’m grateful to have been born. As a starter, my mother and father had to have the opportunity for sex together at a specific time in a particular place. A mature ovum with an ‘x’ chromosome had to be released at the right moment from her ovary which could have contained two million ova in the form of follicles when in their infancy. By the time they were mature, at least 4,000 would have been potentially viable, but due to natural processes only a total of 400 of them would have been released during the span of her menstrual periods. As my mother had me late in life, near her menopause, the chances of successful fertilization from my father’s spermatozoa were slim, especially as he was nine years older than my mother. Nevertheless, a miracle happened, but that was not the end of chance coincidences, because the particular spermatozoon that helped form me had to bear a ‘y’ chromosome for me to be masculine. Furthermore, the spermatozoon that successfully fertilized the particular ovum had to be uniquely one of possibly 400 million ejected at the time of intercourse from my father’s penis.
Need I give more examples of coincidences that determine who were are, what we do, and how we do things? I think not, but for the Christian, such coincidences are not by chance or random happenings, they are the workings of God’s decreed will, because He is the Sovereign God who created, sustains and controls the Universe.
Here is an article by Jordan, Greg’s crewmate for the around Vancouver Island attempt.