THE SAVING THORN
THE SAVING THORN
The unprecedented technological progress of the twentieth century has made possible the production of the new ABC — the atomic, biological and chemical means of destroying all living creatures. These ‘secrets long mercifully witheld from man’ (Churchill) have made many men of science regret the use (or abuse) that is now being made of their discoveries.
Einstein stated that had he known what his work would lead to, he would have chosen to be a plumber rather than a Nobel-prize-winning scientist.
An early indication of this dilemma of the progress of invention is found in Genesis (4:22-3). Lemech was the father of Tuval-Kain, who introduced the forging of metal instruments. When his wives reproached him that they might be misused for murder and warfare, he said: ‘These instruments are meant for peaceful construction. I have killed no one with them.’ Nevertheless, since then technological progress has also brought harm to humanity.
Previously, it could be argued that was a reasonable choice – for political,
war, peace, ideological, or economic objectives. Now, however, the development of weapons that can ‘overkill’ humanity many times has ended any reasonability of this choice. Today, there are 50,000 nuclear weapons, together 1,600,000 times more powerful than the
The Nuclear Solution
The radically new dilemma of man’s threat to himself can only be solved by going to the radix — the root, that is to the individual, who must train himself daily in the conquest of passions and selfishness. Every action must be weighed in the light of how far it threatens the destruction of mankind.
The nuclear threat can only be removed by a ‘nuclear’ religion that transforms all the details of life into acts of service to G-d. Only the recognition of the sacredness of human life as created in the ‘Image of G-d’, and the divine life-pattern of religious observance will allow man to control his aggressive and destructive instincts.
In his dramatic farewell to
‘I call heaven and earth to witness this day that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.Therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed: To love the Lord your G-d, to listen to His voice.” (Deut. 30:19-20)
Our technological advancement has reached such a point that spiritual consciousness is demanded to harness technology for good purposes and prevent it from being abused.
It is only a new man who can bring about a new society. A new system of moral education is needed, as is found in the Universal and National Code of the Torah.
‘Remember the Torah of Moses my servant lest I come and smite the whole earth with destruction’ were the closing words of the last prophet (Malachi 3). It seems to be a pessimistic message of doom. But perhaps it is a message of hope for our generation, which is threatened by a possible Doomsday.