Atomic Power

Banner Image Article Atomic Power

* November 17, 1945

Scarcely a soul remained unmoved by the initial news of the advent of the atomic bomb, and although many weeks have slipped by since Hiroshima became the guinea pig for this two billion-dollar experiment, the subject, because of its tremendous possibilities in war and peace, promises to be front page news for many a day to come.

There is little point in discussing the morality or lack of it involved in the use of the atomic bomb. Much has been said pro and con, but at what point we become unmoral in the use of explosive power—who is to say? Certainly many American and Japanese lives were saved by the shortening of the onslaught against the Nipponese islands and while the previous process carried out by the super-fortresses was more prolonged, who will say it was less painful? We know that many nations were in the race for the secret and even though American genius together with other minds won out, we still gave adequate warning to the enemy.

In considering atomic power many would say it is something really new, and to this generation, its destructive force is surely an eye opener. But is it really new? We have no less an authority than the wisest human mind of all time, that it is not. We read in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” In checking this assertion with other sacred references there is every indication, that after all, it is but a rediscovery of a force of nature not entirely unknown to previous inhabitants.

World leaders today state very positively that unless atomic power is kept under control we stand in danger of annihilation. That is exactly what happened in a previous time. Between the first and second verses of the Bible (Gen. 1:1, 2), there is revealed such an explosion that the world which God had created was made a total wreck along with the people who brought it about. “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the earth.” Scientists who attempt to span the elapsed time between these two verses place it around one and three-quarter billion years. But the time element is not as important as the event itself.

Jeremiah, in trying to exhort Israel to repentance refers them back to a time when the fierce anger of God brought about a scene of complete desolation on the earth. “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger.” And lest we become too indignant at such events let us remember that God is still “Top Man” to do as He will with His own (Rev. 18:6). Other references to this force are found in Psalms 97: 1-4; 18: 13-15; Job 4: 9, and elsewhere.

The splitting of the atom is filling men’s hearts with fear (Luke 21: 26), instead of bringing sweet contemplation of what might be done in a useful way to make life really worthwhile for all peoples of the earth. Just imagine having heat, light and power at practically no cost to the consumer! When Paul quoted “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2: 9), He was but reminding us of the very limited vision that our finite minds have of the future.

Another sidelight on the use of nature’s power is shown in the story of Elijah in his “battle” with the prophets of Baal. After the futile efforts of the false prophets to bring down fire to consume the sacrifice, Elijah challenged God to make Himself known in no unmistakable manner. The Heavenly fire sent in response to the prayer of Elijah consumed not only the sacrifice and the wood and water, but the very stones themselves.

God’s wonderful provisions for the happiness of mankind can be used or abused, with consequent blessing or confusion, joy or woe. The Christian world today wishes to use the great forces of nature for the benefit of all mankind, but there are other forces at work in human hearts, which, if allowed to assume leadership, will rob us of the intended blessings and bring about the ruin of all nations. May the wisdom of God predominate in our hearts and those of our leaders everywhere.

By Major Victor Dimond

*As The Salvation Army has continued for 152 years to reach the goals set by William Booth, the pages of the “War Cry” have faithfully represented the Army’s mission. This special Heritage edition emulates the “War Cry” during the era of World War II. Annual “Heritage” editions encapsulate the look, feel and content of the “War Cry” by decade. This special July issue is drawn from primary source material and is made possible by the efforts of the National Archives and Research Department and its Director Mrs. Susan Mitchem and Archivist Tyler Boenecke. May you be strengthened by the reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, in this great salvation war.