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Survival of the Fittest?

Creation Today February 1st, 2011

Have You Heard the Tale of the “Birkenhead”?

Evolutionism states that “The strong survive at the expense of the weak.” Yet take a look at this true story and evaluate for yourself the question of what is the right philosophy.

The date was February 26, 1852. The British H.M. Troopship “Birkenhead” was en route to South Africa. Her cargo? About 638 men, women and children. They were soldiers and their families sent to reinforce the troops engaged in the Kaffir Wars.

The ship itself was typical of the glorious power and industry of her generation. She was one of the first iron-hulled vessels of war. The crew and passengers had no fear in regard to her seaworthiness. But at 2:00 a.m. on that fateful day, the ship struck aground off Cape Danger. Within 20 minutes, she had sunk.

In those moments before she submerged, the soldiers and sailors made a valiant decision: “Women and children first!” They would give their lives for the women and children. So their wives and babes were loaded into the lifeboats and so escaped. The more than 400 men willingly stood at attention on deck and allowed them to get to safety. Then when the ship went down, those who foundered in the water refused to swim for the boats, lest they should capsize the little vessels.

The remaining men struck out for shore, but there was another danger. Sharks! Many were ravaged by these frenzied man-eaters. Slightly more than 80 reached the shore alive. Hundreds lost their lives, yet not one woman or child suffered injury.

The story of the “Birkenhead” drill was told for many years. It was that event which established the principle of “Women and children first.” The famous writer Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem of the account: “So they stood an’ was still to the Birkenhead Drill, soldier an’ sailor too!”

Now, remember that, according to Evolution, “The strong survive at the expense of the weak.” But these men deliberately chose to drown or be eaten alive by sharks rather than have one woman or child be hurt.

It is during this month that many people think of love, but here we have an account from history, from the month of February, of true love in action. It reminds me of the following passages:

“Greater love hath no man this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
“In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)