Monday, September 03, 2007

The Reality of “Our World”

Separately, both science and religion have been trying to answer our questions about man’s role in the universe. But Albert Einstein, perhaps the most publicly quoted modern scientist, thought: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” The “Still Small Voice” within us, which Mahatma Gandhi described as, “...the Voice of God, the Conscience, of Truth...,” whispers — to all who will listen — that Einstein was right: We need both disciplines to provide us with pieces of the “Truth.”

Einstein, to his never-ending sorrow, helped to create the atomic bomb. But, about 2,500 years ago — 500 years before Jesus’ birth —the Prophet Zechariah spoke of people whose “...flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth...” (Zechariah 14:12).

Believers used to think that surreal Bible prophecy could only become reality through an act of God. Today, we know that Zechariah precisely described the remains of some victims of atomic bombs.

Zechariah told us that he could foretell the future because “...the word of the Lord...” (Zech. 1:1) came unto him. Of course, you don’t have to believe a supernatural Being spoke to Zechariah. But his prophecy of man’s flesh “consuming away” isn’t a modern invention, for it appears in Scrolls that are 2,000 years old. That leaves two possibilities. Either Zechariah’s amazingly accurate description of atomic destruction was an amazingly accurate guess (which skeptics might dismiss as only another of life’s many “coincidences”), or he somehow foresaw what our generation has witnessed.

Long ago, a handful of men brought messages from Someone they identified as the One and Only “Almighty” God of the universe. Their teachings have sustained believers through all manner of natural and manmade disasters. Today, however, even some unbelievers are recalling the messages that tell of a world bathed in “...blood and fire and pillars of smoke...” (Joel 2:30); of a time when “...the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light...” (Matt. 24:29); when “...darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the peoples...” (Isaiah 60:2). In other words, the time of the nuclear winter that scientists tell us would follow a nuclear war.

Because most of us aren’t the persons who could start or prevent that war, you might see no point in thinking about a catastrophe that’s beyond your control, severely depressing, and might never happen, or at least not in your lifetime. Nor do you have to think about it; you can readily dispense with the whole subject. You only need to tell yourself that nations will never engage in a nuclear war: Reason will surely prevail. And you could sincerely believe it — except for those moments when a news report reminds you that “the unbelievable” could become reality, for you, or your children, or your children’s children.

If you’ve suffered those moments, you aren’t “being paranoid.” You’ve simply caught sight of what some professional analysts of world affairs are now publicly stating. For example, when speaking of world “hot spots,” they tell us a nuclear war could erupt in the passionately religious Middle East within the first decade of this new century.

You might have little respect for “expert opinions” on any subject. But many believers in God don’t need political or military experts to make them suspect that “...the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal. 3:23/4:5) is drawing near. And even some skeptics no longer scoff at the thought.

Still, it’s reasonable for us to think that nations with economic or political reasons to engage in war wouldn’t use nuclear weapons, if only because they’d fear the world’s wrath. Or, they wouldn’t want to obliterate the resources they covet. Nevertheless, when religious convictions drive men to war, they firmly believe God is on their side. And if they believe it to be “God’s Will,” they would use nuclear weapons against their enemies, offensively or defensively. While outsiders might think them irrational, they would not be restrained by world opinion, or by the fear of what a desperate world might do to try to stop them.

The above article is an excerpt from my book:
Of Promises and Previews: Urgent Old Messages for a New Millennium