You Were a Winner Before You Were Conceived

John C. Rankin

(March 11, 2014)

Have you ever looked in the mirror first thing in the morning, and been thus motivated to return to bed? You have a hard day in front of you, you do not feel prepared, and one who gazes back in the mirror is lacking confidence.

If you are a pagan, consistent with the Babylonian genesis on forward, and believe that the gods and goddesses are fatalistic busybodies and tyrants, to whom do you turn?

If you believe in the God of the Bible, in whose image you are made, things are different. You have reason for daily hope and the power to overcome, fulfilled quintessentially in Jesus and his resurrection.

One fun way to consider this is with the scientific observation that you were a winner before your were conceived.

Namely, the ovum from which you came was fertilized by a spermatazoon that won the race up the fallopian tubes against as many as 500 million competitors (even with artificial insemination, the odds are the same).

In other words, even before your conception, you are a winner against impossible odds.

The first spermatazoon to arrive and penetrate the egg wins. And though during one cycle of ovulation the woman’s egg remains the same, the exact spermatozoa and their distribution will vary depending on all sorts of criteria that inform the details of how, when and where the husband and wife make love. Which is to say, the mathematical odds against the very sperm which fertilizes the egg are overwhelming. Mundane human choices produce subtle physiological changes in the man that will rearrange the sperm distribution from one moment to the next, affecting which sperm has the best likelihood to fertilize the egg. It may depend on which sperm in the final analysis gets the “pole position.”

And yet here we are. For all any of us know, the reason we were conceived is because of mundane or even funny choices our parents made, whereby they postponed sexual intimacy for enough time so that the sperm from which we came was able to jostle into the pole position. Another sperm which would have produced a different person was displaced. I wonder – how many of us are here because of a last minute change of schedule, an interrupting phone call or the knock of a small child on our parent’s bedroom door at an inopportune time?

When I thus consider the mathematical realities of all the spermatozoa in human history between Adam and my parents, I realize, humanly speaking, the “impossibility” of my existence and sentience. It only deepens my awe and wonder at the sovereignty of God, that he can work through the gift of human freedom at its mundane, faithful or rebellious levels, and show his love to me as one foreordained to taste his glory. Awe and wonder produce worship, and those who worship God are amazed at the miracle of conception and birth.