“I set before you life or death. . . “
“I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life then so that you and your descendants may live in the love of Yahwh your God. ” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
The 2018 winter Olympic games begin on February 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a country of approximately 49 million people. A mere 321 kms. from the Olympic site is Pyongchang, the capital city of North Korea…. a country of 25 million people ruled by President Kim Jong-un.
During the recent Advent and Christmas season, American President Donald Trump publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons to destroy North Korea if President Kim continued to develop missiles and nuclear weapons. Such threats of a nuclear war from the unpredictable President Trump horrified people throughout the world.
The 1950-53 Korean War led to the death of 2.5 million people and might have led to a nuclear war had the Americans not been afraid that their use of such weapons might have led to total war with China.
But 5 years earlier, on August 6, 1945, in a plan to end World War 2 against Japan, the United States did drop an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. That single atomic bomb killed approximately 80,000 people and wounded another 70,000.
And 3 days later a second American atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki that killed approximately 40,000 people and wounded another 60,000.
Today, this nuclear war nightmare has worsened. There are now 5 nations officially recognized as possessing nuclear weapons by their signing of the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: the United States, Russia, Britain, China and France.
However, 4 other nations today also have nuclear weapons but have not signed the Treaty: India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Experts say these 9 nations possess a total of about 15,000 nuclear bombs, of which 88% are owned by the United States and Russia.
Let us also realize that although today’s hydrogen bombs have never been used in war, they have the potential to be 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. As such, it is estimated that one hydrogen bomb would kill between 100 and 1000 more people than one atomic bomb.
And nuclear weapons today can be delivered not just by airplanes, but also by inter continental missiles and by submarines submerged beneath the water.
One more grim fact…. in 1914 European countries, fearing an invasion by their neighbours, issued orders to “mobilize” their armies. These mobilizations took days to complete, and were difficult to stop, since to do so would leave a country undefended and vulnerable to attack by a neighbour who broke a promise and did not de-mobilize.
Today a country that detects the launch of enemy missiles may have less than 30 minutes to launch it’s own retaliatory missiles or face annihilation. And as the people in Hawaii found out this January, the computers designed to detect or warn citizens of a missile attack can make mistakes.
As creatures of a loving God, we have been made in the image of God, and thus we possess both reason and free will. Sadly, as loved creatures we sometimes are selfish, weak and sinful. We make bad choices that are contrary to God’s will.
The present nuclear arms race certainly is not a part of God’s plan for His kingdom. We also do not know the time or how God’s kingdom will come. In his second letter, chapter 3, verses 3-15, Peter…the leader chosen by Jesus to continue his teaching…wrote:
“…the earth was formed by the word of God out of water and between the waters, so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded by water. (a reference to Noah’s time?)But by the same word, the present sky and earth are destined for fire….
Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home.”
Peter’s description of such an end time sounds like the eruptions of many volcanoes, or the crashing of many meteors onto our world, or…the results of a world wide nuclear war. God help us!
Maybe prayer and repentance in our individual and international relations will save us. Maybe cooler heads will negotiate treaties that will reverse the nuclear arms race and lead to era of peace between the US and North Korea.
In 1964 during the Cold War era, Stanley Kubrick produced a brilliant political satire/comedy movie titled “Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”. The movie starred Peter Sellers and George C Scott and satirized the fears of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Perhaps in 2018 our present generation can sublimate our fears of a nuclear war between the United States and North Korea(and which other nations get dragged into such a nuclear war), by cheering on the athletes of the world at the Pyongyang Olympic games in South Korea.
The ancient Greeks of the time of Plato and Aristotle invented the Olympic games as a temporary diversion between the many wars fought between rival Greek city states such as Athens and Sparta. Holy truces were proclaimed during the time of the Olympics and athletes could travel to competitions under safe conducts, without fear of being attacked.
Starting on February 9 and concluding on February 25, millions of people throughout the world will be glued to their televisions, IPhones, newspapers and computers. We can cheer our country’s athletes to victory and temporarily forget the plans for a nuclear war.
No reasonable, good Canadian would ever support a nuclear attack on the day of the Gold Medal game for Men’s (or Women’s) Hockey. Keep your faith and your sense of humour!
Or as Peter advised, “So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.”