How has God designed our body to react in survival mode?
During one of the manned missions to the moon in the 1970’s, there was an explosion on the Apollo 13 space capsule. After the explosion, Apollo 13 radioed home one of the great understatements of history, “Houston, we have a problem.” Over the next few days, NASA and the astronauts solved nearly every problem thrown at them. In addition, President Nixon publicly asked the entire nation to pray for their safe return. But one problem could not be solved; the lunar module was getting cold, almost freezing (38oF). The astronauts were alone, freezing, without warm clothes, or any source of heat, and at least three days’ travel from Earth. How did the astronauts survive?
What NASA couldn’t solve, God had already provided for. God knows we will meet with unexpected dangers and has designed our bodies with backup systems for such emergencies. In the case of extreme cold, the brain’s hypothalamus is ready. The first defense is to generate heat, so the astronauts started shivering. The second defense is to conserve body heat. The blood vessels just below the skin’s surface begin to constrict, keeping the blood deeper and warmer as it circulates. As the cold increases, our heart rate and digestion slow, this came especially useful when all there was to eat were blocks of frozen food! Next, the brain triggers the blood to concentrate around the heart and brain, protecting these vital organs. Fingers, toes and other extremities are left to the cold.
As the astronauts’ bodies became colder, their nervous systems slowed and with this, clear thinking became more difficult. The astronauts struggled to understand and recall what Mission Control had told them. By the time they entered Earth’s atmosphere, their brains were in survival mode. Because their capsule was on “autopilot”, their Command Module splashed safely into the ocean.
How did the astronauts survive? Our brains are wired for the extremes; God has equipped our bodies with sophisticated contingency plans to help us survive in life-threatening situations.
(Source: Inspired Evidence –Heather M. Brinson “The Human Body, Wired for Extremes”pp.37-38)