One billion people killed before the mushroom cloud begins to blow away—an equal number doomed to slow, agonizing death by radiation.

This is the story of what some believe is coming to Planet Earth if a major atomic war is started by either of the two great powers—Russia or the United States.

“As a scientist, I tell you: There must never be another war!”—Dr. Harold C. Urey, atomic scientist, “I’m a Frightened Man,” The Saturday Review of Literature, August 7, 1948.

“Bidden or unbidden, the atomic bomb sits in on all the councils of nations; in its light all other problems of international relations are dwarfed.”—Henry L. Stimson, former U.S. Secretary of War, Harper’s Magazine, March 1946, p. 204.

Many believe that there is no power on earth—other than that of God Himself—that can save man from destroying himself within the next few decades.

And then, after the bombs have been quickly sent back and forth by the two powers—and others that may wish to join in,—the darkness of nuclear winter will settle over the planet.

A scientific conference in Washington, D.C., held the first week in November 1983, presented all this and more—as the result of a single nuclear clash between the two super powers.

“We are on our way towards removing the last barrier that prevents man from converting the earth into a planetary crematorium.”—Norman Cousins, Saturday Review of Literature, August 7, 1948, pp. 7-8.

 Man cannot save himself by armament moratoriums and test bans—for we are already loaded with thousands of nuclear warhead missiles on both sides. Only a return to God can save us—individually or as a race.

The new name coined at the Washington conference for this impenetrable darkness that will last for months, “nuclear winter,” will be brought on by the detonation of less than one-half the megatonnage in U.S. and Soviet arsenals.

Carl Sagan, well-known TV personality, and Cornell University astronomer, Paul Ehrlich, Stan­ford University bio­logist, together with a team of elite scientists from all over the world, spent two years of research—before coming up with this in-depth report on what one major atomic attack and counter­attack will bring to us all.

“What is new in the present situation is not the possibil­ity of a last generation but the possibility—sobering enough I grant—that OURS may be the last generation!”—Ernest Fre­mont Tittle, The Christian Century, May 1, 1946, p. 556.

There is no man that can stand in the breach of today’s crisis and deliver us. Only God can do it—and He will deliver those that will pray to Him for help.

The intense heat from the blasts will set off firestorms, in which the very air will become so hot that everything flam­mable will ignite. Sweeping over large areas of the world, the storms will burn both stored chemicals and those used in con­struction and manufactured products. The air will become filled with the poisonous fumes of carbon monoxide, dioxins, and cyanides—that will threaten the existence of the people who have somehow survived the initial blasts.

This Conference on the Long-term, Worldwide Biolog­ical Consequences of Nuclear War, attended by top scientists from around the world, was the outgrowth of two years of research by a cooperative team that included 100 physicists, biologists, and atmospheric scientists from several continents.

“The inexorable ‘either-or’ of the atomic bomb, upon which hangs the fate of life on this planet, leaves the pride of man no means by which to save itself. The only alternative to Armageddon is repentance and regeneration.”—Richard M. Fagley, Secretary of the Peace Commission, Federal Council of Churches, in The Chaplain, November 1945, p. 5.

 We cannot wait for others to take hold of this work. We must do it individually. We must pray for ourselves and our loved ones. We must return to God. We must read His messages to us in the Bible. We must obey those messages.

The chemicals burning in the air from the blasts will pro­duce an acid rain that will burn the skin upon contact. The intense heat will also super-heat the soils and destroy the dormant seeds within them. With the plants and trees gone and the seeds destroyed, what future will the few sur­vivors of an atomic holocaust have?

This conference, revealing the chemical and climatic effects that nuclear war would have on plants, animals, and man, was based on computer models of nuclear exchanges ranging from 100 megatons to 5,000 megatons. The examples of des­truction, described here, are based on a 5,000 megaton interchange bombing—and this is less than half the megatonnage of atomic weapons now ready for blast-off by nations around the world!

“The present level of human behavior is so low that man is more likely to use control of unlimited natural forces for destruction rather than constructive purposes . . Gadgets and machines are getting better and better, and man is getting worse and worse.”—E.A. Hooton, Har­vard University Anthro­pologist, United Press dispatch, in Washington Times-Herald, August 10, 1945.

We must individually return to God’s way of living—and that way is obedience to the Ten Commandments through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son. We cannot reclaim ourselves; we have repeatedly found this impossible. God’s way is the only way that will work. We must ask Him to forgive our sins and help us obey His Written Word. Only through self-control, by the help of God, can our planet survive.

The hundreds of nuclear fireballs would heat the sur­rounding air to a temperature of more than 3,000 degrees Fah­renheit and would, in the process, form a photochemical smog that would gradually drift around the world in the strato­sphere. It would destroy about 50 percent of the irreplac­eable ozone layer, that thin band of gas encircling the earth high in the sky that absorbs the ultraviolet light that would otherwise induce mutations and cancer.

A 5,000 megaton war is equal to the devastation that would be produced by 12,500 Pershing extra-continental bal­listic missiles. (But this is only one-half of the missiles armed with nuclear warheads that are ready for immediate action right now.)

“Against the atomic bomb there is no defense. Just below the surface lurks the diplomat’s fear. If we give away the atomic power secret we will lose our bargaining power. But there is no longer an atomic power secret! This new power is a discov­ery at least as great as man’s discovery of fire. Who can predict what will come of it?”—H.M. Davis, editorial, Chemistry, November 1945.

We have come to a time in human history when men are turning their backs on the Ten Commandments, when scientists say it cannot be obeyed and preachers say it need not be obeyed. But the Bible says it must be obeyed. By his disobedience to the laws of nature and the laws of God, man is on the verge of destroying himself.

Following the initial blasts, all will be silent, as months of twilight settle over the world and temperatures plunge 55 de­grees, killing nearly all plant life by the intense and continued cold.

The two-day conference was attended by some 600 American and foreign scientists and environmentalists, and was addressed by satellite by four Soviet scientists in Moscow (in­cluding Evgeni Velikhov, Vice President of the U.S.S.R. Acad­emy of Sciences). The Soviets said they had already completed parallel research in this field and had arrived at approximately the same conclusions as the Sagan-Ehrlich teams.

“The devastation that could be wrought by an Atomic Age war is too appalling to be fully realized. The vision stuns our imagination. But if the present trends continue it is only a question of time before such a war will come. Time is short. Looking at . . the increasing bitterness and unrest throughout the world, at the tremendous power of our latest weapons, a realist might well conclude that many of us now living will see the start of a war which will end in more dark ages.”—Charles A. Lindbergh, Reader’s Digest, September 1948, pp. 134, 138.

Jesus did not die so men could disobey God as they are doing today; He died to enable men to do all that God asks of them in His Word. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are important. Both come from God and both need to be read today by men and women who want to go to heaven. It is too late to rely on technology to save us and television to tranquilize us. We must return to Bible religion and obedience to the God of heaven.

It is amazing, but true, that some ministers of the gospel today preach from pulpits that men need no longer obey the moral law of God. But it is such teaching echoed by educators, psychologists, and scien­tists that has led us to the point in history where we are approaching the brink of destruction.

Within a week after the missile attacks, some 200 million tons of sooty smoke will blanket the earth. Stephen Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research described it as “a blacktop highway—three miles up.” This smoke will ab­sorb so much of the sun’s rays that less than 5 percent of the normal amount of light will reach the ground. This will result in a constant gloom that will make breathing difficult. It will also be ruinous to the plants still alive. Photosynthesis, that process whereby green plants convert sunshine and water into carbohydrates—food needed by animals and man—will be stopped.

—And yet all this from only a limited 5,000 megaton war! One megaton equals 1 million tons of nuclear warhead ma­terial. Russia and the United States combined already have over 12,000 megatons stockpiled. Proponents of a nuclear weapons freeze want the nuclear warheads in both super powers reduced from the present 17,000 to less than 1,000.

“Despair is creeping up on us—on the best of us most of all. The stars of promise have all but faded from our sky. We are on a road that leads to destruction, and destruction is drawing close.” —Editorial, Christian Century, November 19, 1947, p. 1391.

God has warned men, in His Word, that He would “destroy them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18—and that Word reads like tomorrow’s newspaper. How long dare you wait before taking hold of this work for yourself? God is as near as your own private room. Go alone and fall on your knees and ask Him to forgive your past. Tell Him that there is no hope or help apart from Him. Plead with Him to do for you that which you cannot do for yourself. Dedicate the remainder of your frail life to Him, to use in His service. And then begin reading the Bible every day and obeying what you find there.

If the war broke out in the spring or summer—when plants are the most vulnerable to cold snaps,—virtually all land plants in the Northern Hemisphere would be damaged or killed, said Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. And even more sobering is the fact that without the plants, every higher organism—including man himself—would face starvation. Need we add that only a novice, in the study of warfare, will not recognize that mankind for thousands of years has preferred springtime—as ideally suited for starting wars. Plant life is most vulnerable then.

Ecologist George Woodwell of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, declared that “the potential effects [of such a nuclear conflict] extend even to the extermination of Homo sapiens—man himself.”

“The splitting of the atom, which represented the fur­thest reach of the new physics into the mysteries of matter, also annihilated the last of the nineteenth-century notions of an inevitable millennium of peace on this earth.”—Fortune Magazine, October 1948, p. 112.

 God is pleading with men to return to Him before it is forever too late. Neither science nor research nor talent nor money can save us. We are nearing the final hour of man’s history. Only a return to God can now help any of us.

After the initial blasts has deafened ears, a cloud of dust and smoke weighing 1,200,­000,000 tons will rapidly encircle the Northern Hemisphere—the northern half of the world,—and then will swiftly swirl into the Southern Hemisphere as well. Ninety percent or more of the sun’s light will be blocked out. Even if the war is only fought in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, surface temperatures will plunge to an average of 13 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees below zero) and will remain below freezing for at least three months. Surface waters will freeze to a depth of three feet in what the atmos­pheric scientist, Stephen Schneider, calls “nuclear winter.”

Sagan adds that this effect will be much more severe than suggested in earlier studies; for they previously failed to take into account the great amount of smoke that will rise from burning cities, towns, and forests.

It is well-known that such a terrible drama in destruction could easily take place if one of the two super powers fired “on warning” of imminent attack—when no attack had really been made. In response to the battery of missiles, the other side would respond with thousands of its own.

Scientists expressed their fright at the picture that was presented to them in the Washington conference. The danger is vivid and it is real. As Randall Kehler commented, it “cannot be written off as the rhetoric of antinuke activists.”

“Unless something can be done to destroy the power of sin in the heart of man, his existence in a scientific world will always remain under the shadow of imminent self-destruc­tion.”—Charles Clayton Morrison.

In His Word, God promises to give you a new heart—and a peace to match it. And He will do it if you will give Him your all. Heaven is worth the best you have, for heaven is better than the best you are. Turn over your life to Him. Tell Him you are tired of trying and failing on your own.

At best, only small bands of hunters and gatherers will be left in the Southern Hemisphere—no one will be left in the Northern. But could the life renew itself, even after the darkness and bitter cold lifted? Most of the protective layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere would have been burned off by that first torrent of atomic explosions.

The National Academy of Sciences, based in Washington, D.C., is preparing an even more detailed study on what will happen if the long-feared interchange of nuclear missile blasts takes place. The report, when completed, is expected to agree closely with the research done by the Sagan-Ehrlich teams.

“A new era is upon us . . We have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system—Armageddon will be at our door.”—General Douglas Mac­Arthur, spoken on the day Japan surrendered, September 2, 1945, half a month after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, New York Times, September 2, 1945, p. 3.

 But we are seeing that the work that must be done will have to be done, alone, before God. No one can do it for us, and we cannot do it for any one else. There is only one escape route out of this world. Only a connection with God can lead us down that path.

With the ozone layer removed, the surface of the earth would be exposed to the full intensity of solar rays. Power­ful ultraviolet radiation would stream in from the sun, para­lyzing even the phytoplankton in the oceans. Those one-celled ocean plants form the base of the ocean’s food chain. Without them no animals in the ocean could survive very long.

The Washington conference carefully discussed the ozone layer problem and found no solution. If this protec­tive covering were removed by nuclear blasts—as it surely would by a 5,000 megatonnage of them—there would by no way that it could be restored within the indefinite future.

“I have lived seventy-five years . . and I know I am old because the century was once rich in utopias that are now meaningless. What has not remained anywhere is the ‘utopian’ drive and confidence in the future that sparked the early 20th century.”—Alfred Kazin, journalist and author, quoted in John Maddox, The Doomsday Syndrome (1972), p. 3.

“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”—Matthew 1:21. Christ lived and died to save us from our sins—not in our sins. And if we will let Him, He will do it. The key is cooperation. The power of God is made perfect in a weak man that is surrendered to Him. He can take your weakness and enable you to do all that He asks in His Inspired Word.

With the bursting of the big bombs from the missiles, there would result a powerful radioactive fallout pattern that would spread out with the winds and rapidly cover large areas. This fallout would be greater than earlier reports have sug­gested, for the simple reason that new “low-yield” atomic bombs have been developed. These new nuclear weapons do not throw radioactive fission debris very high in the atmos­phere; and, as a result, the fallout is not “cooled” to less dangerous radioactive levels before it begins filter­ing down from the skies and settling on the ground.

Carl Sagan, who worked on the atmospheric models for this massive report, calculates that 30 percent of North Amer­ica would be bombarded with radiation levels that would be greater than 200 rads (about half the lethal dose) within a very few months.

“I am writing at a dark moment, and it is impossible to know whether the human race will last long enough for what I write to be published, or, if published, to be read.”—Bertrand Russell, Has Man a Future (1961)? p. 120.

Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”—Matthew 5:17. “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”—John 15:10. Jesus can do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. By His enabling grace, He can help us live kindly, clean, obedient lives. —And is not this what you want, just now, in your life?

“We are now asking a narrower question than ‘can man survive?’ We are now asking ‘can scientific man survive?’ ”—Bertrand Russell, ibid, p. 70.

A powerful air turbulence would begin as a result of the explosions; most of these would take place in the Northern Hemisphere, where North Amer­ica, Europe and Asia are located. These super winds would be set into action by the enormous differences in tem­perature between the Northern Hemisphere, which has re­ceived thousands of bomb blasts, and the cooler Southern Hemisphere which has received relatively few of them.

Because of this, no region on the planet would be spared from many of the deadly effects of the nuclear explosions. Sci­entists had earlier thought that the southern portion of the globe would be immune from the worst consequences of nu­clear war, because there is normally so little mixing of air be­tween the two hemispheres. But it is now seen that the large temperature differential between the Northern and Southern Hemi­spheres would shift regular wind patterns toward the south—carrying smoke and radioactivity into the southern part of the world. A nuclear war, involving only one-half the total atomic warheads now ready for deployment, would become a total war destroying, immediately or soon after, nearly everyone living on this planet.

“After World War II—with its fifty million dead, the debut of nuclear weaponry—scientists found they no longer required God’s judgment to end history. Humankind could get the job done without any help from above.”—Richard A. Swenson, Hurtling toward Oblivion (1999), p. 22.

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Peter took a piece of parchment and, under the inspiration of Heaven, described conditions when Christ returned the second time for His faithful ones.

“Within the pages of the New Testament, one is forever stumbling upon passages, long ignored, which suddenly speak directly to the mood of the hour. From utter irrelevance they become luminous with meaning. The closing lines of 2 Peter [3:9-14] are a case in point. A year ago they were completely foreign to our thinking, but listen to them today!”—Winthrop S. Hudson, The Christian Century, January 9, 1946, p. 46.

Here are those remarkable words:

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long­suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”—2 Peter 3:9-14. 

A few months after Hiroshima, Sir Richard Gregory stepped to the podium, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and quoted 2 Peter 3:10. He was frightened (Christian Century, May 1, 1946, p. 556).

It is an old adage of sailors, “Without a destination, there is never a favorable wind.” Something to think about. Where are you headed? Do you know? You only have a few more years and, one way or another, you are going to die. 

Continue- Chapter 4