THIS past year much attention has been drawn to the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The end of that war also ushered in a new era — the age of atomic and thermonuclear weapons.
Saved Lives in Victory, But... At the beginning of the Manhattan Project that produced the "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" bombs, American and British scientists were first driven by the knowledge that they were in a race with their counterparts in Nazi Germany.
Their worries diminished by the spring of 1945 as the "Thousand Year Reich" was collapsing in Europe. But Japan was still a stubborn and dangerous power, even in retreat.
The closer the Allied forces got to Japan the more suicidal Japanese defenses became. The battle for Okinawa alone resulted in at least 150,000 Japanese military and civilian deaths.
"In anticipation of American invasion," wrote Cathryn Donahue in the August 7, 1985, Washington Times, "... two million Japanese troops were stationed around the islands, with tons of ammunition stowed in underground caves; another 3 million were being called back from China for a last-ditch defense.... Everyone of Japan's 10 million ablebodied civilian men and women was asked to sacrifice his or her life in suicide attacks."
A "demonstration" atomic bomb would not, it is now widely believed, have convinced the Japanese military command to give up the fight. In fact, even after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, there was little immediate inclination to give in.
Even though it remains a highly sensitive issue in Japan, some Japanese have publicly admitted that, by bringing a swift end to the war, the superweapons ironically saved Japan as a nation, making possible her amazing postwar economic recovery.
... New Awesome Destruction Unforeseen Many of the scientists still alive who worked on the top-secret Manhattan Project have since become crusaders for control of atomic weapons.
These nuclear physicists had no idea at that time the world's store of atomic and nuclear weapons would soar to more than 50,000, representing 13,000 megatons deployed by the United States and the Soviet Union alone.
Nor had they any idea how awesome some of the weapons systems would become, paling the 0.01 megaton Hiroshima bomb into comparative insignificance. Just one new U.S. Trident submarine, for example, contains as much destructive power in its missiles as 25 World War IIs!
Dr. Harrison Brown, a Manhattan Project veteran, is editor in chief of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist. In his editorial in the August, 1985, issue, Dr. Brown writes that an all-out war involving between 5,000 and 10,000 megatons could result in one billion persons being killed outright, with an additional billion succumbing later to injuries from the blasts, fires and radiation.
But speculations about a resultant "nuclear winter" effect — dust and smoke hovering in the atmosphere, shutting out sunlight, producing severe temperature drops and a catastrophic decline in agricultural production — indicate the death toll could rise as high as four billion persons, or about 90 percent of the human population!
Imagine! The possibility of only a tithe of humanity left! And it could be worse if the effects of nuclear winter were transported south of the equator to where the remaining 10 percent of human beings live. (Nearly all the major population centers, including India, lie in the Northern Hemisphere.)
Thus, all mankind is threatened with the possibility of extinction, confirming the reality of Matthew 24:22 — "unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved" (Revised Authorized Version).
The beginning of a "nuclear build — down" is urgently needed, Dr. Brown contends, "paving the way for bringing some kind of order out of the international anarchy from which the whole world suffers."
The creation of, as he calls it, "truly effective peace-keeping machinery" is imperative, so that "international disputes, together with warlike actions", can be handled by means of a "global legal code backed up by the legal, military and economic machinery needed to take firm enforcement measures when required."
What Dr. Brown is describing, in secular terms, is not only what is certainly needed, but what is soon to occur to this war-ravaged planet. Yet politicians cannot bring it about.
What is coming is the government of God, to be brought to this earth by the living Jesus Christ. It will enforce the one "global legal code" that all men can live by successfully — the law of God.
It will have the "legal, military and economic machinery" and power necessary to enforce world peace (see Revelation 2:26).
Many of the great minds of this world — scientists, educators, politicians — know that world government is urgently needed. But they can't see how it will come about. "I am not so naive," said Dr. Brown, "as to suppose that a full-fledged world government can be created in the near future."
Scripture reveals that it will. In the words of Jesus Christ, the coming King of kings: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."