I think the Bible predicts that God will destroy the world again, as He did in the time of Noah, but on the second occasion He would do so with fire, instead of with water as on the first occasion.
The physicists say that it is inevitable that the sun, which is earth’s primary source of energy, will burn itself out, whereupon human life, as we know it, will come to an end. Personally, you and I don’t have to worry about this, because we ourselves will come to an end long before this happens.
Each of us has two worlds, you know. There is our personal existence, which is our own world, so to speak. And then there is the world at large, the world out there. Most of us expect that our personal worlds will come to an end before the world at large does, but there are religious sects which, from time to time, give specific dates for the end of the world. At this point, all their believers start making preparations for the end, but it has never happened so far. So, they have to go on living, and sometimes the sects even come up with new dates, just to keep all their followers on their toes, I guess.
On Thursday last week, planet earth became a substantially more dangerous place when a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the eastern section of the Ukraine, which is under the control of pro-Russian separatist rebels. Only one of the nearly three hundred passengers and crew who perished may have been American: most of the casualties were Dutch and Malaysian, the flight having departed from Amsterdam on its way to Kuala Lumpur. But the political and military leaders of the United States are very, very angry with Russia. They had previously imposed financial sanctions on Russia because they blame Russia for the fact that a part of the Ukraine, called Crimea, broke away from Ukraine and went independent some months ago. There is now growing pressure on United States’ president, Barack Obama, their commander-in-chief, to do more than impose financial sanctions.
This is a critical situation because, while the United States is undoubtedly the most fearsome military power on earth, the Russians possess the second most powerful military. Both the U.S. and Russia own many thousands of thermonuclear warheads which are attached to missiles circling the earth, as we write, in bombers, on battleships, and in submarines, in addition to others which are protected in underground silos in their respective territories.
If at some point one nation decided to attack the other with its nuclear missiles, the targeted nation would only have 15 minutes to unleash its missiles before it would be destroyed. The defensive window is tight. This is the faceoff which was referred to as MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) by people like Stanley Kubrick back in the 1960s when such a scenario first became evident in the U.S. during the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Russia used to be officially referred to as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), until 1989 when Russian state communism appeared to begin collapsing, and several of the USSR’s component republics, such as the Ukraine, became independent.
From 1917, when communist revolutionaries overthrew the Russian monarchy and instituted state communism, there had been a philosophical rivalry between communist Russia and the United States, which was a bastion of free enterprise capitalism. This rivalry became more intense after World War II (1939-45) when the victorious troika (America, Great Britain, and Russia) divided, and it became a case of capitalist Washington and capitalist London versus communist Moscow in the rest of the world.
Once communism collapsed in Russia in 1989 and some of their republics became independent, it appeared that the competition between philosophies had been decided, once and for all, in America’s favor. But there were at least two things which began to change that paradigm. One was that communist China became the world’s industrial and manufacturing world powerhouse, even as the United States’ economy, now focused on service industries, began to decline, and the second was that a new leadership emerged in Russia, under Vladimir Putin, which reversed the Russian decline and remembered the glory days before 1989.
The biggest news on the world stage immediately preceding the shooting down of the Malaysian passenger jet, had been the formation in Brazil of a world financial institution to compete with the World Bank, which is controlled by the United States. Russia and China had come together to establish the new international bank, and their partners were Brazil, India, and South Africa. The new bank, jump high or jump low, was a direct challenge to American financial world hegemony. The question is: how dare you challenge me financially when I have more military firepower than you do?
If these world powers ever started shooting nuclear missiles at each other, the rest of us would think the Biblical prophecy was being fulfilled. Many of us would be burned alive while going about our daily business. We would be destroyed by fire. The thing is, this would not be God’s decision or God’s work. It would be the suicidal madness of human beings who, through science and technology, have become like gods.