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The poem that inspired the naming of a nuclear bomb.

The Trinity | UNDERSTANDING OPPENHEIMER and the poem which inspired the naming of the world’s first nuclear bomb.

It is verse four of John Donne’s religious, divine poem which introduces the word TRINITY, later to be used by Oppenheimer to name the first weapon of mass destruction.


“O blessed glorious Trinity,

Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith,

Which, as wise serpents, diversely

Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath,

As you distinguish’d, undistinct,

By power, love, knowledge be,

Give me a 1 such self different instinct,

Of these let all me elemented be,

Of power, to love, to know you unnumbered three.”

Yet the series of divine poems by John Donne, although written in olde English language, can be translated to mean something else.

Pride before the fall of man.

Perhaps best encapsulated within verse 21 of the divine poems,


“When senses, which Thy soldiers are,

We arm against Thee, and they fight for sin;

When want, sent but to tame, doth war,

And work despair a breach to enter in;

When plenty, God’s image, and seal,

Makes us idolatrous,

And love it, not him, whom it should reveal;

When we are moved to seem religious

Only to vent wit; Lord, deliver us.”


John utilisies religious prose to articulate that, humankind has become so fixated on its correctness, and rightness; of the wrong that it does, that it now considers itself higher than God.

And this in my opinion, more aptly describes the advent of nuclear weapons.


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