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Titan, Titanic, and Human Hubris

There is a thin line between confidence and hubris and between recklessness and calculated risks; the Bible teaches that Christians are given the wisdom of the Holy Spirit so that we may discern the distinction. It was this request for wisdom that blessed the kingship of Solomon when the young Solomon asked in 1 Kings 3:9: “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” The tragic human frailties one can see in daily life remind us why we must seek the wisdom of Solomon, especially on matters of humility.

Luke 14:11 teaches that “all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” As recent events have proven, Sometimes, being “humbled” has fatal consequences.

The tragic deaths of 5 people aboard the Titan submarine, which was bound for a tour of the Titanic shipwreck, is a poetic tale of human failure and hubris. The irony of the submarine’s name and intended trajectory are not lost on the world, which watched with bated breath as the initial search and rescue efforts gradually turned into a search for missing bodies.

The luxury experience financed by OceanGate was being offered despite the safety concerns raised by submarine expert Karl Stanley in 2019. At the time, Stanley contacted Stockton Rush, one of the men who ultimately perished aboard the submarine, to raise concerns about loud noises he heard while aboard the submerged vehicle. The contents of the email are damning:

“What we heard, in my opinion … sounded like a flaw/defect in one area being acted on by the tremendous pressures and being crushed/damaged,” Stanley wrote in the email.

Stanley continued: “A useful thought exercise here would be to imagine the removal of the variables of the investors, the eager mission scientists, your team hungry for success, the press releases already announcing this summer’s dive schedule…Imagine this project was self-funded and on your own schedule. Would you consider taking dozens of other people to the Titanic before you truly knew the source of those sounds ??” [1]

People magazine recorded the death of Stockton Rush by saying: “OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush Added to Wikipedia List of Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions” [2]

Unsurprisingly, People’s headline reminds us of the fatality of our own human presumptions of greatness and the fact that this flaw is all too common.

Wikipedia’s list includes stories like that of Luis Jiménez, a sculptor who was crushed and killed by the demonic Blue Mustang statue that greets visitors to Denver International Airport in Colorado. [3] It also references ancient apocryphal tales—like Wan Hu, who allegedly blew himself up while trying to launch himself into space with a rocket chair—demonstrating that human arrogance is as old as time itself. [4]

These fatal stories remind us why James 4:6 integrates the teachings of the Old Testament, reminding us that the “Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” Let us all pray that we may become humble servants of God, understanding that we do not possess His wisdom, lest we, like Stockton Rush and Luis Jiménez, fall prey to our own ignorance.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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