Last week the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. Humanity is now only two and one-half minutes away from total annihilation. It is the closest the Doomsday Clock has been to the moment of ultimate catastrophe since 1953.
The Doomsday Clock was created by scientists in 1947, after World War II, to warn the world of the nuclear dangers that lay before us. Those of us who were children in the 1950s can remember bomb drills, hiding beneath our desks (as if that would have saved us). My uncle built a bomb shelter in his back yard, stocked it with food, batteries and a radio to hide from the ultimate disaster.
We haven’t thought about the Doomsday Clock in a while. When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the clock was set back to 17 minutes to midnight. But, with the recent rhetoric and saber rattling by powers that possess the ultimate weapon, scientists have moved it to within 150 seconds of our doom. Last week, Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who oversaw the dissolution of the Soviet Union, was quoted in Time Magazine, “Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous ... It looks as if the world is preparing for war."
While some fear the threat of nuclear war, others fear global warming, pollution of the environment or genetically engineered viruses. In 2014 Stephen Hawking stated that he believed development of full Artificial Intelligence could result in the annihilation of the human race. “Once humans develop Artificial Intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans,” he warned, “... would be quickly superceded.”
Predictions for the end of the world are not new. Jesus spoke of it when He said, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21-22) Peter predicted, “The present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgement.” (2 Peter 3:7) John wrote the book of Revelation predicting the end of time and the ultimate battle between good and evil.
The Bible is not just a “feel good book.” The Bible deals with real dangers, real life and death issues. It warns us of the dangers of pursuing prejudice, violence, hatred, greed, anger and lust. Those paths always end in death and destruction.
But the Bible offers hope. Any individual and any generation can turn from their sins, place their trust in God and receive His loving forgiveness through Jesus Christ and be saved. Left to our own devices, we are doomed. But God has prepared something better. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:19). “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13).