The Tick Tock of the Doomsday Clock

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is not my go-to
publication for calculating the world’s immediacy to “The End.” But I do find
the discourse of physicists enticing, especially when the brainy guys and gals
pontificate the fate of the modern world. The great thinkers should know when
the planet is about to blow, so it’s only fair that they take time to warn us
annually by moving the hands on a clock.
The Doomsday clock debuted in 1947, on the cover of the premiere
issue of the Bulletin. Designed by artist Martyl Langsdorf, the timepiece of terror
first placed the minute hand at seven minutes until midnight. Martyl was the
wife of Alexander Langsdorf, one of the physicists who helped develop the
atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project. From it’s inception, the clock has advanced
or recoiled according to the predictions of people who might be the ones to literally
bring about Doomsday. The simple rendition of a clock with its dots, hour hand
and minute hand has given report as to the nearness of the end of life as we
know it from that first magazine issue until today. Last week, on the cover of
the Bulletin, the smart people moved the minute hand to a new position: two
minutes until midnight.
The clock has taken this position before, in 1953 with the
advent of the hydrogen bomb. In 1991, the countermove to seventeen minutes
until midnight purported the safest year since the clock began ticking out it’s
predictions. Overall, the countdown has brought us closer to Doomsday than it
has to worldwide security.
This latest forward motion toward destruction was based on “the
failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with
looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.” Of course, Trump will take
the heat for…whatever. I agree, along with the people of Hawaii who were wise
enough to take cover in the recent misidentified drill, that somebody might
drop a bomb one day. But I’m not convinced that what used to be called global
warming has any real chance of ushering in the apocalypse.
The magazine, the scientists, the clock, the bombs,
the weather—that’s all interesting and it brings a bizarre sort of excitement
to our mundane lives. I’m guilty of pouring literary fuel on the theoretical
fire with my own novels. But only one publication offers substantial vision for
the future of us. In the scriptures, a thrill-seeking end-timer might get
pumped up when prophecy and current events collide. As for me, it’s where I
find peace and security. Not the kind the world seeks, but true rest in the
knowledge that God has things under control. Bombs have already been deployed to
annihilate human life. The earth has already survived periods of life-altering
change. And we are still here to live or die according to God’s plan.
Now, were closer than we were yesterday to “The End”
if that’s what you want to call it. Perhaps as close as two minutes.
Something’s going to happen. Life as we know it is going to change. I’ll agree
with the scientists in that regard. I might even help sound the alarm. The
clock is ticking. But I won’t cower in the darkness or succumb to the anguish.
My Deliverer is coming!
these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your
redemption is drawing near.”
Luke 21:28

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