Eve Of Destruction

Posted: January 22, 2020 in Meditations

Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki after the d

A Soviet Union bomber took off from an isolated military airbase north of the Arctic Circle on October 30, 1961. A small crew led by pilot Andrei Durnovtsev said little. Today was no ordinary day. The plane carried one bomb, a bomb so big the entire plane had to be completely retrofitted to house and release the weapon. 26 feet long, 7 feet wide, the “tsar bomba” weighed in excess of 50 tons. Remember the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that halted World War 2? Multiply the combined release of energy of those two atomic bombs by 1,570 and you get the equivalent energy release of this singular bomb. The crew said little because they expected to die on this flight. Soviet physicists gave the crew an optimistic 50% chance of surviving the blast. The bomb detonated at 30 miles and the shock wave hit them at 71 miles. Flying at 35,000 feet, the fireball scorched the plane. The crew survived but not without a harrowing instant free fall of one kilometer and a smashing shudder to the plane.

Everything within a 34 mile radius of the bomb blast was utterly destroyed. Stone buildings 62 miles away lost their roofs. Windowpanes broke up to 560 miles away. The estimated energy yield exceeded the yield of all conventional weapons used in World War 2 by ten times. Andrei Sakharov designed this “layered cake” hydrogen bomb to be a clean bomb, minimal radioactive fallout. Yet today, the bombsite still cannot be inhabited by man. Nobody will live on this island in my lifetime.

Sakharov abandoned a career in weaponry, largely the result of this bomb test. “I will not pursue self immolation.” Andrei Sakharov sacrificed his future to fight the madness of man’s race to destruction. But what have we learned since 1961? China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, India, Pakistan, North Korea: all have verified nuclear weapons. Israel remains undeclared. Iran aggressively pursues nuclear weapons. Now the arsenal of man reaches to space, the new frontier. Who will dominate? Who crosses the line? Where? When? And for what?

Energy, in many ways, is the visible essence of God. Building blocks of the universe inspire awe and every year unveils more secrets. The applications of energy cast heavenly dreams on one hand and our worst nightmare on the other. The economic welfare of whole nations is sacrificed today in order to hold weapons of mass destruction, and for what? To feel safe? No, the argument boils down to this, “If you are going to destroy me, I am going to get my pound of flesh.” Nations seek to ensure that any existential victories will be pyrrhic victories. Nuclear weapons declare the depravity of man. Platitudes and treaties cannot shadow lurking arsenals. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, “Men have forgotten God: that’s why all this has happened.”

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14  Man is who he is. William Golding, in Lord of the Flies, says, “Maybe there is a beast…maybe it’s only us.”  How many people cling to the childlike illusion of John Lennon’s “Imagine”? How many of us refuse to acknowledge the madness we live in? How many of us have forgotten God? Folks, run to Jesus. You are created by and for him; he is the only solution to our depravity. Christ is who he says he is. Be bold, no regrets, do the right thing. In the end, Christ is all that matters.

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