Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence Part 2

As a follower of Christ I find it very difficult to maintain the idea of ever using nuclear weapons. In my opinion I never see where a believer could justify using such a means. Some might attempt to bunch this in with an issue such as capital punishment, but weapons of mass destruction are on a level of their own.

Personally I believe ones interpretation of the great commission in Matthew 28:16-20 will ultimately determine a believers stance on the use of nuclear weapons and deterrence. I for one take seriously the great commission and see a mandate to go to the nations with the goal of making disciples that will glorify the name of Christ. Using nuclear weapons and deterrence is basically on the opposite spectrum because it is something that would not only attack and kill terrorists for example, but also annihilate entire societies. John Piper brings out the fact that it would be participating in the killing of millions of image bearers of God that He created to worship Him.

Another way to look at this is that in general followers of Christ are adamantly against the killing of innocent lives, which is one reason that Christians oppose abortion. Just as it would not be justifiable to kill thousands to millions of innocent babies, it should not be justifiable to take thousands to millions of innocent lives in the form of a nuclear weapon, just because it would also kill the bad guys. In regard to the killing of thousands to millions of innocent lives, the two should not be inseparable, but use the same reasoning as to why neither should be encouraged in the life of a believer.

I do not believe that it takes too much convincing for most Christians to see that it is not permissible to use nuclear weapons, but this does not fully address the issue of a country obtaining nuclear weapons. The argument that is often employed is that by a country obtaining such a weapon of deterrence will be enough in itself to help protect a country from any threat of equal status from an opposing source, but does this argument hold up in the life of a believer?

In order for this argument to hold up I believe one has to belittle God because in essence you are saying that he is not fully in control. J.I. Packer points out that in the mind of man we look to our “rulers” of the leading country in the world for all the answers and fears of what will take place in the world, but it is important to remember that God is the one who is sovereign and in control, determining the outcome of everything. By trusting in God’s sovereignty we should not ultimately fear the rulers or nations with such capabilities.

Piper also points out that when looking at the Noahic covenant it suggests that God will not allow a “nuclear holocaust” leaving only a few people to start again. Although the Noahic covenant is obviously referring to the flooding of the earth, the implications in Genesis 9:21 appears to take us beyond only a flood. This is not to imply that the world will not have its own end because it will, but by being replaced with a new heavens and a new earth as described in Scripture.

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