Nobel Prizes grounded in Biblical principles

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The world’s most famous and renowned awards are the Nobel Prizes, which are presented for outstanding achievement in literature, peace, economics, medicine and the sciences. They were created more than a century ago by Alfred B. Nobel (1833-1896), a man who amassed his fortune by producing explosives. Among other things, Nobel specialized in dynamite.

The creation of the Nobel Prizes came about through a chance event.

On the death of his brother, a newspaper ran a long obituary of Alfred Nobel, believing that it was he who had passed away. Thus, Nobel had an opportunity granted few people: to read his obituary while alive. What he read made him literally unhappy about how he had amassed is fortune. The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible via his inventions to kill more people quicker than anyone else who had ever lived.

Alfred Nobel is the personification of the adage “the good we do lives after us.”

Alfred Nobel changed his legacy for the common good. Generations after him havebenefited from his endowment to honor men and women who work for peace and goodwill. Nobel did not change his name — he changed his life.

Although Alfred Nobel was not thought of as being very religious, he left his old life behind to essentially re-evaluate his life, re-examine his priorities and re-established his legacy to the world. After reading his obituary, in which he was labeled a merchant of death, he decided to recreate his last will and testament. In the restructuring of his will, he gave 94 percent of his wealth ($186 million in today’s currency) to a global set of prizes called the Nobel Peace Prize. Some recipients of these prizes have been devout Christians. He signed the will in Paris, one year before his death.

It is surprising to note that Alfred Nobel considered himself a loner. As a young man he was confirmed as a Lutheran, but later in life he became an agnostic and Atheist.  He was consumed with his works and inventions. He was terribly devoted to his mother and appeared to have been unhappy for most of his life.

His wealth did not cause him happiness. Although it is a point of contention, it is believed by some theologians that Nobel, changing his life to donate his considerable fortune to benefit others who pursued peace, validates his being a man influenced by the divine intervention of God.