As I’ve prayed about nuclear weapons and terrorism, these questions have come to me: Is there a profoundly destructive power in the universe that has lain waiting for thousands of years for an evilly motivated humanity or part thereof to discover and to use with catastrophic results? Has God somehow booby-trapped His own universe?
The answers to these questions are No and No. There isn’t a destructive power that’s been waiting for an evil mind to misuse; and God hasn’t booby-trapped His universe, setting it up to self-destruct through humanity’s willful intention. These ideas have helped me find peace and have an expectation of good regarding humanity and nuclear arms.
If we accept the premise that God is good and that His will for His creation is good, as many people of many different faiths believe, then the universe as a Pandora’s box – an accident just waiting to happen – is illogical. Such a concept of the universe can’t be reconciled with a loving, all-powerful God whose purpose is good alone.
Then if humanity has seemingly painted itself into a corner where it has the technology but not the wherewithal to eliminate a nuclear threat, there is still no reason to despair. By understanding more clearly the nature of God and His universe and ourselves as His children, we can collectively face down that threat.
How can we pray about nuclear catastrophe and nullify a terrorist nuclear attack? Rather than working toward security and peace, we can start from the premise that peace and security are already established.
Consider this promise made to the children of Israel, which because of God’s universal love is a promise that embraces all of His children: “Fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar ... and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee” (Jer. 30:10, 11).
We can’t see God’s promise of safety. But just as Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is not something visible to the eye, he also said that this kingdom reigns within us. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “We recognize this kingdom, the reign of harmony within us, by an unselfish affection or love, for this is the pledge of divine good and the insignia of heaven” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” pp. 79-80).
Having this same unselfish affection or love, we necessarily gain peace and a quiet confidence. We come to feel secure in knowing that God’s love for each of His children is real, present, and strong. This quiet confidence starts within our own thought and then radiates out to embrace, calm, and bless others.
My wife and I had an experience in which we found quiet confidence in difficult circumstances after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, two years ago. While it was not a nuclear attack, it had a profound impact on the community. We were vacationing in northern India, mostly in preparation for my giving public talks in India a few weeks later. Ten days before we were scheduled to travel by train to Mumbai, we heard of the terrorist attacks there.
At first it wasn’t clear whether the talks would go forward. A curfew was likely to be issued by the government. Further, the talks I would be giving were about Christianity, and Christians had recently been attacked in parts of India, including in areas not far from Mumbai. This, combined with all the security forces being deployed because of fear of further attacks, caused concern among the authorities.
We prayed to know that a higher sense of security, namely God’s law, was embracing the whole city, and that its inhabitants couldn’t be held hostage to fear. We were happy to contribute to peace with our prayers, together with the prayers of many others. With great resilience, the city sprang back to life. The talks went forward. And though we passed through some of the sites where there had been attacks, we were grateful just to be there to help contribute to a sense of calm and God-based security.
The Psalmist reassures us with these words: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (119:165). Humanity need not be held up by some supposed inevitability of nuclear attack or disaster. Truly, peace is within us now, and this spiritual fact is leading us to prove it.