Can “verging on the impossible” count as a miracle?
A boat capsized Aug. 1 in the Atlantic Ocean. The Spanish coast guard was alerted when a French sailor who had set sail from Lisbon sent out a distress signal late that evening, according to the BBC.
A rescue ship carrying five divers as well as three helicopters was dispatched to find and rescue the 62-year-old who was sailing the 40-foot boat.
When the coast guard located the upturned vessel 14 nautical miles from the Sisargas Islands — near Spain’s northwest Galicia region — a rescue diver was winched onto the hull of the vessel to search for signs of life.
The French sailor banged on the inside to alert the rescue team that he was still alive, the BBC said.
The problem? The seas were too rough and the sun had gone down. There would be no rescue attempt until morning. The rescue team attached buoyancy balloons to the boat to stop it from sinking and proceeded to wait for the light of day.
At that point, the Frenchman’s survival was “verging on the impossible,” coast guard divers said, according to the BBC. The mission was “on the edge of the impossible,” Spanish television reported.
In the light of day, two divers swam under the boat to rescue the sailor. They found him wearing a neoprene survival suit submerged in water up to his knees inside an air bubble under the boat.
The French sailor, who had spent 16 hours in the air bubble, jumped into the chilly water and swam under the boat toward the sea’s surface. With the help of divers, he made it to the surface, a coast guard told the BBC.
French sailor survives 16 hours in capsized boat in Atlantic https://t.co/ejZq36m04z
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 3, 2022
The Frenchman, who remained anonymous as of Monday, was then airlifted to the hospital for a check-up.
The official Spanish Maritime Rescue and Safety Society account shared footage of the rescue on Twitter.
“Each life saved is our greatest reward,” it said.
“Cada vida salvada es nuestra mayor recompensa”
Así fue el rescate realizado ayer por Salvamento Marítimo al tripulante del velero francés JEANNE SOLO SAILOR que estaba quilla al sol a 14 millas NNW de Islas Sisargas. pic.twitter.com/gqobWTSoWc
— SALVAMENTO MARÍTIMO (@salvamentogob) August 3, 2022
Some say it was a miracle the French sailor survived the night. Others would call it luck.
Luck, of course, implies blind chance. A miracle, on the other hand, requires some measure of divine intervention.
It’s an old argument.
On the other, there’s the age-old faith that the universe and everything in it were created by God. Sir Isaac Newton, along with Thomas Aquinas and myriad others, fall into this camp.
Which camp do you fall into? It is a choice we all must make. And it makes all the difference. Whichever camp you choose dictates your worldview. Your worldview impacts everything in your life — your interactions with others, your attitude and behavior, your morals. Everything.
I’d love to know what camp the French sailor falls into. If he believes his survival was a miracle — even if he didn’t believe in God before the incident — he must be overwhelmed by the miracle of not only his survival but existence itself.
If he falls into the Hawking camp, his survival was chance necessitated by the laws of physics. It was just one more occurrence in a countless procession of meaningless events that signify nothing.
In other words, his life would be nothing more than a tale told by one more idiot, full of sound and fury, fear and love, meaningless hope and a perpetual sense of impending doom. Put all together, the sailor’s life would signify nothing. Nobody’s would.
What a waste.
Can some miracles, such as an air bubble in which a sailor huddled for 16 hours, be explained by physics? Of course. But physics will never explain the mystery of existence.
Some miracles defy logic and scientific explanation. They are and will remain a mystery. Mysteries like these remind us humans that we are not gods. They are humbling. They are good.
The sailor’s survival can serve to remind the faithful of the miracle of existence — of their own existence.
Thank God for that.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.