Throwback Thursday: World Government or World Chaos?


Many are already saying that since collective security seems unattainable, our country has no choice but to make itself as impregnable as possible in a jungle world. The competitive arms race, unless stopped soon, can have but one end.

The modern world is clinging desperately to a vanishing hope in world government, like a drowning man grasping at a straw. From a human standpoint there seems to be no other solution to conditions that fill the stoutest hearts with anxiety and perplexity. Since the end of hostilities the whole world has been looking hopefully toward the headquarters of the United Nations as the last hope of the human race for peace. The frightened world does not know where else to look for security from the plague of war made a thousand times more terrible by our entrance into the atomic age.

Albert Einstein, the great scientist, in a recent interview with Raymond Gram Swing declared that “since the completion of the first atomic bomb nothing has been accomplished to make the world more safe from war, while much has been done to increase the destructiveness of war.” In other words, no progress is being made in settling the war problem that like a gigantic spectre hangs over the human family. One writer said that our flesh should creep at the thought of what would happen should the new world government fail to accomplish its mission of settling disputes between nations by arbitration and force when necessary, In the September 18, 1947, issue of the Atlantic Monthly there appeared an article by Paul Hutchinson, editor of the Christian Century, in which were the following statements: “This is a world of frightened men. Some of the most acute observers who have been in Russia tell us that our root difficulty in dealing with that nation is that we must deal with ‘the frightened men in the Kremlin.’ I am prepared to believe them. And as the anti-Russian hysteria mounts here, I become more and more apprehensive as to what will come out of America’s fright.

“Let’s be honest about this: we are all frightened. The physicists are frightened — perhaps more frightened than anyone else. The bacteriologists are frightened, as they showed when their International Congress for Microbiology, meeting in Copenhagen in July, petitioned the governments please, please, PLEASE not to resort to bacteriological warfare! The politicians are frightened. The common people everywhere are frightened. Only a handful of generals and admirals tell us they aren’t frightened—and that’s enough to frighten the rest of us. This is a world full of discouraged men.” One of the greatest foes of confidence in the success of the United Nations is the ghost of the League of Nations which hangs like a haunting phantom over the deliberations of its successor. When the ancestor of the present international government was born at Versailles, France, on November 4, 1918, the war-weary world felt that the long-hoped-for day had come when war would be treated as an outlaw against society and be controlled on the same basis as other criminals. The disillusionment that followed the tragic failure of that super-government has not been forgotten.

Because of this breakdown of international effort to solve the peace problem, the present organization started out with one strike against it. History has a way of repeating itself, and this knowledge dampened the ardour of many who were naturally skeptical of the utopian dream of the modern ambassadors of peace. The Scripture had been fulfilled that “the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.” The disappointment was heartbreaking to the noblemen and women who failed to take into account the nature of man.

In an editorial in the Christian Century of January 14 on “World Government—or Else,” the statement is made that while the delegates of the nations “flounder in futility, the destructive potential of atomic and biological weapons has been rapidly increased,” and that “the United Nations looks more and more like a madhouse rather than a center for collective action to ensure world peace,” and that “at every tension point on the map of international politics, the situation is growing more rather than less ominous.”

The editor continues to picture the present gloomy outlook because of shrinking confidence in the success of the new world venture: “Where . . . is the outlook not darker than it was a year ago? The ordinary man has ceased to place any reliance on the reassurance of his national leaders. He cannot see the world steadily or see it whole, but he can see it quite enough to convince him that he lives in a world that is going to the devil.

“What is this doing to mankind? Millions—probably enough millions to constitute a majority of all the earth’s inhabitants—are so sunk in hunger, homelessness, nakedness, poverty, a brute struggle for mere survival with no expectation of any alleviation, that they have surrendered to despair and apathy. Life has become for them a compound of lies and tragedy, and they have become quite indifferent regarding what is to happen next, or what their own parts will be, for they are fast approaching’ a state of mind in which death takes on the prospect of a blessed release. . . .

“The scientists keep shouting their warnings. . . . But they are themselves distressed by the decreasing effect of their words. . . . A dwindling company of determined optimists keep calling for sustained faith in the United Nations. . . . There are a few fools who keep talking up the idea of a preventive war” which Henry L. Stimson has called a sort of thinking that is ” ‘worse than nonsense.’ . . ,. The truth is that we are all doomed men—unless something tremendous happens to give a new direction to world affairs. Our present course is cursed with the premonition of disaster—and we all know it, even if we will not admit it to ourselves. . . . Unless what Delaware called ‘an international government, organized and acting in accordance with a world system of law,’ is established, the fate of civilization and of the majority of mankind is sealed. The road we are now traveling ends in the abyss.”

Vernon Nash, writing in the Christian Century of November 26, 1947, under the caption “Utopia or Cataclysm,” said: “With increasing clarity week by week, the United Nations demonstrates its futility as protection against war. Disillusionment and pessimism over its performance are now general. This mood, unless checked, is likely to develop into a cynical fatalism. To the unreflective the import of still another failure will be that the task itself is impossible. The deadly corollary of hopelessness will be all-out support for nationalistic militarisms. Many are already saying that since collective security seems unattainable, our country has no choice but to make itself as impregnable as possible in a jungle-world. . . . Is it humanly possible to elicit enthusiasm for something which obviously is failing? . . .If it really is utopian to hope that absolute nationalism can be ended in one consistent and coherent act, then resign yourself to a cataclysm of unimaginable fury. The competitive arms race, unless stopped soon, can have but one end. There is now no third choice possible; it is either the utopia of world government or the cataclysm of an atom-germ-poisons third world war.”—Pages 1453, 1454.

This is indeed a dark picture, but it is no darker than that depicted in Bible prophecy for the very age in which we live. Jesus, in answer to the question of the disciples as to what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the world, said: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:25-28.

The prophets of both the Old and New Testaments picture a dark outlook in the last days of human history under the reign of sin, but the uplook is always bright. Isaiah pictures hungry and fretful men who “curse their king and their God,” and as they “look unto the earth” they behold nothing but “trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” (See Isaiah 8:21, 22.) This is ever the result of the earthward look. All through the ages men have cried “peace, peace” when “there is no peace.” It is impossible for wicked men and nations to enjoy peace, for “there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

There is but one hope of peace, and that is through the Prince of Peace. When He left this earth, He said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27. This is the kind of peace that “passeth all understanding,” because it has its source outside this world where genuine peace is a stranger except in the hearts of the righteous. Those who know from experience the joy of the indwelling and abiding Prince of Peace can be calm even in the midst of turmoil and confusion.

Scientists declare that the center or heart of a cyclone, known to sailors as “the eye of the storm,” is a place of perfect calm. Thus the Christian can enjoy the calm of peace and quietness when on every side the forces of destruction swirl in circles of terrific force and death-dealing violence. Such peace is not dependent on outward circumstances as is the peace that the world gives. Because human nature is what it is, peace on the basis of human effort even on a national and international scale must fail.

I would heartily recommend the following scripture to the present-day statesmen who are endeavoring through human efforts to bring order out of chaos: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Isaiah 32:17, 18. This divine promise does not apply alone to the future redeemed state, but can be claimed by the genuine Christian here and now.

The hope for world peace is the return of Christ to take the government of this world upon His shoulders, and then we are told that “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” Men and nations have demonstrated their inability to rule. It is high time that mankind shall take seriously the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” When this prayer is fully answered there will be a peace that will be universal and eternal.

Originally published in Message Magazine’s February 1949 Edition by Taylor G. Bunch

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