Three Lessons From the Titan Tragedy

The loss of the Titan submersible holds many lessons for Christians today. It is a vivid reminder of where our priorities in life need to be. 

On June 18, what started as a routine exploration of the infamous Titanic shipwreck turned deadly. During its dive to the bottom of the North Atlantic, the submersible Titan lost communication and went missing. 

Rescuers arrived as quickly as possible to assist in locating the submersible some 12,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.

For four days, the world held its breath and hoped for a miraculous rescue. 

The passengers’ fate wasn’t known until the Titan’s debris field was found close to the wreckage of the Titanic. The worst fears of many experts in deepwater exploration proved true: The Titan imploded under the intense pressure above it, instantly killing all five people on board.

The passengers now share the same burial site as the 1,500-plus people who perished in the Titanic tragedy 111 years ago. (To learn lessons from that tragedy, read “What Can We Learn From the Titanic Tragedy?”)

Investigators are just beginning their work to determine what really happened to the Titan, so we don’t know all the details and facts. However, let’s consider three important lessons that we can learn from this latest tragedy based on what we do know.

Lesson 1: Diligently heed warnings and never take them lightly

The pilot of the submersible was Stockton Rush, the CEO of the company that operated these expeditions. Some have criticized Mr. Rush for disregarding warnings from other experts on submersible construction.

These industry experts expressed great concern that some of the components used in making the Titan would continually weaken after each deepwater dive. They warned that the 6,000 pounds per square inch of pressure at the depth of the Titanic’s resting place could have catastrophic results on the Titan. In a 2021 interview, Mr. Rush even admitted that he broke some rules in his design, believing that the rewards outweighed the risks.

So instead of listening to his peers and improving the Titan’s construction quality so it would meet industry standards, it seems Mr. Rush chose to be self-certified and labeled the Titan as an experimental craft.

If it does turn out this was the reason the Titan failed, then his decision may have proved fatal—to both himself and the other four passengers.

It appears that the warnings were there. Concerns were brought to his attention several times.

The Bible advises us to listen to wise counsel: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Another proverb reads, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence” (Proverbs 14:16, New Living Translation).

On the spiritual level, God has warned humanity of impending disaster if we choose to disregard His commands.

“Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: ‘Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perversity, and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant’” (Isaiah 30:12-13).

Because it has rejected God and His commandments, our world is on a collision course with disaster. Things may seem to be working out for the time being, but ultimately disaster will come, just as it did for the Titan. And, just as it did for the Titan, it will come very fast

Even though the world as a whole ignores God’s warnings in His Word, you can choose to heed those warnings and be preserved from the coming disaster. Heed those warnings by obeying God and His commands.

To learn more about heeding God’s prophetic warnings, read “As in the Days of Noah: Warnings for Today.”

Lesson 2: Make sure your priorities are right

This dive aimed to observe how much the Titanic shipwreck had disintegrated and to provide an opportunity for wealthy individuals to see the shipwreck up close.

But one must ask, Was the potential reward worth the risk?

All of those who perished left mourning family members behind. Though each participant signed a long waiver acknowledging that death was a possibility, surely with the benefit of hindsight we could all wish different decisions had been made. 

We cannot give the physical pleasures of life priority over what God expects from us.It’s a reminder to all of us of the importance of life and of family. It’s an opportunity to consider our priorities.

Our most important priority is God! Our relationship with God should be our biggest priority since He has ultimate control over our eternal fate. 

Notice what Jesus Christ said regarding setting priorities: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

The lesson for us is that we cannot give the physical pleasures of life priority over what God expects from us. A life of disobedience may include fleeting pleasures, but if we neglect God and His expectations, we won’t have any future ahead of us, only eternal death.

On the other hand, if we strive to follow God and make Him our first priority, we will ultimately be given eternal life.

There is nothing more important.

Lesson 3: Unless we repent, we will all perish

Those aboard the Titan did not perish because they were sinners. However, this loss is a reminder that death befalls us all. This tragedy may have resulted from poor choices that ultimately caught up with those involved.

However, time and chance also contributed to this disaster. Perhaps the investigation will find that time and chance played a larger role than it seems at the moment. Time will tell. 

Tragedies have always occurred, and during the time of Christ, He used one of those to make a powerful point. He cited a situation about some local citizens who had been killed by Pilate, and another calamity of a tower collapse that had killed 18. Jesus asked His audience if they thought those people died because they were worse sinners than others. He answered His own question with, “No,” but then explained that everyone is going to perish if we don’t repent.

Likewise, the people who died in the Titan were not worse sinners than other people.  However, their deaths should make all of us reflect on the temporary nature of life and consider the bigger point Jesus was making—that we have all sinned and earned eternal death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). 

But God the Father sent His Son to pay the death penalty in our stead if we repent and strive to live by God’s commandments.

A tragic irony. What led to the sinking of the Titanic is the very thing that happened in the Titan disaster.

That means repentance and obedience must be a priority in our lives. Anything else will ultimately result in eternal death.

To learn more, read “How to Repent.”

History repeated itself

Sadly, there is a level of irony in this tragedy. Those who set out to explore the tragedy of the Titanic have now become part of that tragedy.

Instead of seeking to gaze on the remnants of a century-old tragedy, we would be better served to try to learn lessons, especially spiritual lessons, from the Titanic.

Because of a series of misjudgments, the captain, crew and most of the Titanic’s passengers perished. But their lives may not have been lost entirely in vain if, from them, we can learn some of the most important spiritual lessons in life. 

The encouraging news is that those who died in both the Titan and the Titanic tragedies will live again. They will be afforded an opportunity to know God and have a relationship with Him.

To learn more about the hope of the dead, download our free booklet The Last Enemy: What Really Happens After Death.

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About the Author

Tim Groves

Tim Groves

Tim Groves attends the Jefferson, Georgia, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, where he serves as a deacon. 

He has been married to his wife, Teresa, for over 30 years. Together, they have two daughters and two sons and live in South Carolina. They moved there from Ohio in 1997 to flee the cold northern winters and allow him to do the things he really enjoys, like roaming though automobile junkyards looking for hidden treasures from times long past.

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