If you have not ever heard of it, perhaps it would be wrong of me to 'enlighten' you. If you live your life with ease and comfort and pure optimistic delight (and blinded naivete), who am I to spoil, not just your day, but the rest of your life? But then again, who am I to second-guess the sober directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists from the University of Chicago? These serious men have been predicting the end of the world since 1947. Should we not harken to their doomsday warnings, and reduce our daily joys to fear and trembling?
It was during the ever present threat of nuclear devastation, pervasive throughout the 'cold war', that the original 'doomsday clock' was designed and published in the Bulletin. With 1440 minutes given us in each day, the forecasters in Chicago decided that in 1947, we were merely 7 minutes in metaphorical time from the end of life as we know it. Considering the pace of the arms race, combined with the psychological unknowns of world leaders who had push-button destruction at their fingertips, a world wide disaster appeared to be imminent.
The big hand was moved to 3 minutes to midnight already by 1949 when the Soviets tested their first atomic bomb, and to 2 minutes in 1953 when the two major powers tested new weapons within 9 months of each other. The poor minute hand might have been broken by now for all of the 19 back and forth adjustments it has gone through over the years. In 1991 it reached its most hopeful place ever at 17 minutes to midnight, and currently, after its latest move in 2010 is at 6. Perhaps an official measure of cultural optimism should be instituted; the minuto. As in: “Yes it looks like rain, but I'm at 18 minutos, so I'm not even going to take my umbrella!”
So a bunch of scientists evaluate the current political scene and try to judge how unstable the world's leaders may or may not be feeling, and then publish a big clock where the 'club' hand threatens to end it all at the assumed cursed hour of midnight! And the rest of us are supposed to accept their politically driven opinion as some sort of divine prophecy? Rest assured oh mighty professors, we little people are fully aware that our bills are due, and must be paid. Our individual deaths are coming. The birth rate may rise and fall according to whim and whimsy, and your toy clock hands will move forward and back in your 'scientific' play, but the death rate will always be 100%.
|Photo by JM Enterprises|
Sometimes I wonder how the 'I' will die. Like my Mother, after a four month onslaught of cancer? Or my Father, who died suddenly a few days after bypass surgery. Perhaps I will be horribly murdered by some kind of random maniac, or slip on a tiny patch of ice and hit my head on the one hard object in the snow. Maybe I will contract some weird disease that catches one in 3 million, or sink into the oblivion of Alzheimer’s. I might hope for a quick heart attack, in my sleep, especially, or better yet, to drown miserably after rescuing some toddlers from a raging river. I've already had my 'inevitable' fall off a roof, but it could happen again with more than a few broken ribs this time resulting.
I wonder sometimes, but I don't really care how I die. Knowing that I will is enough. And knowing that I have repented from my natural rebellious state, that my sins (and my sinfulness) are forgiven, and that my Savior, Jesus Christ, is waiting to welcome me home in heaven, is much more than enough.
If the midnight hour must be maligned by our scientists as the symbol of doom, then let me assure them that whatever form their personal end takes at that nocturnal point, time will continue after that double-handed vertical alignment. Where we spend that continuing time, whether with God by the turning of our hearts toward Him and simply abiding by His 'dress code', or away from God like someone pridefully refusing the open invitation to come, is up to us. The Midnight hour can be either enchantingly beautiful, or grotesquely dreadful. It all depends on where we stand with Christ.
... people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment …