Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, renowned for his stories about detective Sherlock Holmes, said, “Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence.
“If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”
Do you agree? Here are a few “strange coincidences” to consider: From the January 1980 Reader’s Digest came this story of identical twins born in Ohio.
The twin boys were separated at birth, being adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both families named the boys James. Both James boys grew up not even knowing of the other, yet both sought law-enforcement training. Both had abilities in mechanical drawing and carpentry, and each had married women named Linda.
They both had sons whom one named James Alan and the other named James Allan. The twin brothers also divorced their wives and married other women — both named Betty. And they both owned dogs which they named Toy. Forty years after their childhood separation, the two men were reunited to share their uncanny similar lives.
Coincidence or predestination? According to “A Book of Wonders,” by John Michell and Robert J. M. Rickard, while riding a moped in Bermuda in 1975, a man was accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, this man’s brother was killed in the exact same way. He was riding the same moped and was struck by the same taxi, driven by the same driver who was carrying the very same passenger!
Is there a “reason” for such strange incidents or could they be astounding coincidences?
One of the most intriguing coincidences is the well-documented account of U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960.
Both presidents were especially concerned with civil rights. Both presidents had the legality of their election contested. Both presidents lost a child while living in the White House. Both were slain on a Friday and in the presence of their wives. Both presidents were shot in the head.
Both presidents were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
Both assassins were Southerners favoring unpopular ideas. Both assassins were known for their three names. Both assassins were detained by an officer named Baker. Lt. Luther Baker was leader of the cavalry patrol which trapped Booth at Garrett’s Barn. Officer Marion Baker, a Dallas motorcycle patrolman, briefly detained Oswald on the second floor of the School Book Depository.
Lincoln and Kennedy are composed of 7 letters.
Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson are composed of 13 letters.
John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald are composed of 15 letters.
Lincoln was shot in a theater named “Ford.”
Kennedy was shot in a car called “Lincoln” made by “Ford.”
Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and hid in a warehouse.
Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and hid in a theater.
Booth and Oswald were murdered before their trials.
Lincoln and Kennedy were carried in death in the same caisson.
Do these astonishing similarities serve some Divine purpose or are they merely commonplace occurrences in a strange world where history seem to repeat itself at times?
Could similar coincidences be happening all the time without rhyme or reason, or does everything have to happen for a purpose? The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that no one fully understands what all is going on or why.
In his famous parable about the Good Samaritan, Jesus used the phrase “by chance there came down a certain priest,” at Luke 10:31. Young’s Literal Translation of it reads, “by a coincidence.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 also expresses God’s view that “chance” is a real part of life. What are the chances, then, that we’re responsible for our actions, not fate?