There have been accounts of people who have lived after falling out of an airplane or another height that reached ‘terminal velocity’ or the fastest something can fall with just gravity. How is this even possible when people die after falling out of a two-story building? Of course, we can explain it away with tons of reasons, like foliage, snow, or soft ground broke their fall. But the chances are so slim that it makes us wonder how lucky can someone get? This is a taboo subject, so please keep an open mind and understand that opposing ideas and beliefs can coexist.
What is luck? Typically, we call something luck when we either get something good or bad that was not expected. We generally use it when things are mostly outside of our control. For example, winning the lottery is good luck, and being hit by lightning is bad luck.
But what if we found out through years of research that there was a flaw in the lottery pattern, and we were able to exploit that pattern? Would that still be good luck? What if we were standing on a tall building, leaning on a lightning rod during a thunderstorm? Would that still be bad luck? Most likely not. In both cases, our choices were a major factor in the outcome.
The thing is, just by adding a little more to these scenarios, we can make them feel more (or less) than just luck. What if the person who got hit by lightning deliberately ran someone off the road because of road rage a few minutes earlier? They got home, got out the car, and BAM, got struck by lightning. That could still be considered bad luck, but the fact that they just did something bad makes it feel a lot more like divine intervention.
To make it sound like a coincidence, we just need to add some more information. If chances of getting struck by lightning in the US are one in 700,000, that means roughly 460 people get struck by lightning every year. That’s more than a person every day. If only five of those 460 people were ‘bad’ and recently did something wrong, then getting struck by lightning after doing something bad would seem much more like a coincidence than divine intervention.
Why Does This Matter at All?
The mind is a crazy thing. Whenever we call something luck or divine intervention, there’s one thing they have in common: the event was outside of our immediate control. If we controlled it to any reasonable extent, it would be like the guy leaning on the lightning rod in a thunderstorm; it wouldn’t be luck, it would be clearly in his realm of responsibility.
When we see things as not in our control, we cannot take full responsibility for any of the events that transpire as a result. Further, if we consistently believe things that are false or not repeatable and measurable, we risk developing a mentality that doesn’t have strong roots. If someone is struck by lightning and we write it off as bad luck, then there is nothing to be gained from the situation – no lessons, just crap luck. This is a slippery slope because we will never really know.
If we were a caveman or cavewoman standing in a large open field during a lightning storm, we might see getting hit as just bad luck. If we never look at the possibility that it’s within our control to an extent, we would never learn to do something about it.
Divine intervention is a little different because, in many cases, if we believe something is divine, then we may or may not claim to apply a specific reason to that intervention. For example, if we believe the man who ran someone off the road and got struck by lightning was divine intervention, then we are correlating doing something bad with a form of punishment. That becomes a catalyst to not do bad things ourselves. However, even though the result may be good, we can’t claim to know the reason for divine intervention; we can only assume.
That assumption is fine when it deals with a random bad guy getting struck by lightning. However, the assumption can be dangerous if we are using it to determine who should be arrested. For example, he was struck by lightning, so it must have been him who robbed the bank. We will never know what the actual reasons are. To make matters worse, if divine intervention was a real-time, consistent occurrence, would we need police? If we claim to know the specific reasons for divine intervention, we are walking in a sea of assumptions that may be correct but cannot be verified. Logically, they are a series of inductive and abductive reasoning. These are all assumptions that could be wrong, and we would never know because we can’t accurately repeat and measure the results.
For these assumptions to be ‘proven,’ they would need other proof or facts to lean on. In religious circles, these facts and proof are often sacred texts, like the Bible. This all, however, is built on an entire area of unknown, requiring that we tread carefully.
An Optimal Perspective
If we encounter good luck, then we need to work hard to determine how we can make it NOT luck in the future. We don’t want to depend on good luck, we want our actions to have our own positive influence. If we encounter bad luck, then we need to assume that it’s not luck at all and work hard to figure out what could have been done better.
For divine intervention that results in some form of punishment, we can learn from it and take the punishment as a lesson to not do bad actions. However, because it’s divine, we can only assume or have faith that we know what we did wrong. But what if it was an accident and we didn’t do anything wrong? How would we know? If divine intervention always held everyone accountable, we would not need laws and police. It would be more reasonable to assume that divine intervention is not a standard occurrence and operate as if it did not happen.
Good things that happen due to divine intervention are similar. If we believe that something good has happened because of divine intervention, we can be thankful and continue to do whatever it is that we believed caused the good grace. However, if we assume the wrong thing, we are liable to create cognitive dissonance or conflicts of reality in our minds.
Ideally, even if we believe in divine intervention, we must attempt to take responsibility for everything in our lives because we will never truly know when (or how) intervention is occurring and when it is not.