Sunday: The Controversy and Its Players

All throughout recorded history, people have sensed that humanity is in some sort of battle, a warfare, a struggle between competing forces.

The poet T. S. Eliot wrote,

In all of my years, one thing does not change.
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.”
-T. S. Eliot: The Complete Poems and Plays
(New York, San Diego, London: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1952), p. 98.

However common that understanding, people have radically different views regarding what the conflict is about, who’s involved, what’s at stake, and how it is going to end. As Seventh-day Adventists, however, we have a decidedly supernaturalist perspective regarding this battle, a perspective that comes from our understanding of the Bible and how the Bible depicts what we call “the great controversy between Christ and Satan.”

Study Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:1-17. Who are the key players in the controversy? While symbols are sometimes used to depict the players, why do we believe that the powers described here are real, literal beings? What would happen to our whole belief system were we to spiritualize away the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan and our role in it?

It is not unusual for people to use terms such as the devil or angels, and even God, when they mean something very different from the meaning usually attached to those words. For example, there are some whose interest in the use of the word God focuses only on the function that the word performs in human language and society; they have no interest in whether “God,” in any form, exists.

Whatever the symbols used to describe them, the Bible teaches that these figures are real entities engaged in a real conflict. That’s how we as Seventh-day Adventists understand them. Most of the doctrines studied this quarter will not make sense if the players identified in the controversy are not taken literally, which often puts us decidedly at odds with the prevailing culture.

In fact, while secularism has taken many shapes and forms over the last two centuries, nothing characterizes secularism more than the push to eliminate all “other worldly” language from human discourse. With the success of science, people in some cultures are more and more inclined to think about issues scientifically. Angels and demons do not fare well in the scientific mode of thinking. Hence, contemporary culture is witnessing a gradual demise of belief in the supernatural.

How strongly impacted is your own culture by the scientific, secular worldview? How much have you, personally, been impacted by it? Against what aspects of this worldview must we particularly guard?



Sunday: The Controversy and Its Players — 15 Comments

  1. Be careful not to equate seculrism with science, or vice versa.
    Secular thought might misuse science in an attempt to exclude God from social discourse, but rightly understood and applied, science tells more about God.

    • I strongly agree that when science is rightly applied,we would be more knowledgeable about God and His creative abilities. But the danger is that most of the renowned personallities in the scientific arena tend to be more secularistic that they use science to augment thier worldview. The point is that in the times that we live in we are to seek for knowledge under the strict guidance of the Holy Spirit who will enable us to really comprehend the true meaning of such knowledge and help us to use the knowledge in understanding fully the God that we serve.

  2. The movies we and our young ones actually shape our thinking about God and Satan. Take for instance "Vanhensly" which inculcates in our mentality that we can be very sinful and unrepentant; but ultimately, God will not have any choice but to use our capabilities via the "church" to "save" the world from Satan.

  3. To God be the glory forever and ever. AMEN. For He does nothing without warning His people. The battle line has been drawn and its time for us to be fully equiped with the word of God. There no hidden clues to who are the players, its all in our head when we contend with ourselves. Some have miscomprehended the character of God but He is the only one who loves us to be saved. Remember there is no neutral side to this war, you are to fight on God's side or Satan's, for your salvation depends on it. Keep it in your mind that this is spiritual as mentioned in Ephesians 6.

  4. Every "superhero" movie, every "super-natural" event depicted and watched by "the people of God", slowly but surely erodes our belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Guarding the "avenues to the soul", becomes another admonition we throw to the wind and we truly have a generation of young people who are confused and don't know what's real and what is unreal. We should not wonder why we are loosing our children at unbelievable rates... God please help us to wake-up before it is eternally to late!

  5. I AM A MOVIE BUFF....AM ALSO A PHOTOJOURNALIST...Daily I am seeing that the world is displaying their thoughts views and ideas upon all mankind with out fear no favour and there... they are making it seem that every thing is common place (example homosexuality) and satanic worship! Even Disney channel with their WITCH TV series targeting the young TEEAGERS... PARENTS BE CARFUL... WHAT YOR KIDS WATCH WHILE YOU ARE NOT HOME!

    • Which is why Parents need to send their children to our educational institutions (just saying)!!!! These secular "programs" are widespread...and nowadays they make it look like it is "alright" when it actually isn't!!! We should ensure that we first guide our "Christian flock" with proper sin by its right prevent ourselves from entering in these paths....these secular paths rather!!!

      • How can parents send the kids to school that are very expensive?. The church should rather make the school fees affordable enough for parents to sends their kids if it believes that doing so could save the kids.

        • I believe I saw a comparison of current school costs that gives the idea that it is not excessive compared to past years. For some, it is hard. Perhaps God has a solution--of course WE are the church. Consider this quote:

          "The churches in different localities should feel that a solemn responsibility rests upon them to train youth and educate talent to engage in missionary work. When they see those in the church who give promise of making useful workers, but who are not able to support themselves in the school, they should assume the responsibility of sending them to one of our training schools. There is excellent ability in the churches that needs to be brought into service. There are persons who would do good service in the Lord's vineyard, but many are too poor to obtain without assistance the education that they require. The churches should feel it a privilege to take a part in defraying the expenses of such." {6T 213.2}

      • The church school is no different because it has been inflicted with men and women who are not spiritual. It does not mean that we should not send them there but we have some serious issues to deal with

  6. Some try to separate science from religion, trying to be very "scientific." The basic meaning of science is knowledge. This is gained by observers of events and happenings. So, witnesses to happenings with their records that they have passed down to us are true scientists. To ignore these witnesses to the facts and try to repeat experimentally what has happened in the past is "science falsely so called." (1 Timothy 6:20) Further, if you are not God, you cannot repeat Creation or the Flood. Better believe the witnesses! "Give me the Bible. . ." (I don't know if the volume of my poem, "Pure Science" would be permitted here.) The foundation of all true science is contained in the Bible. {COL 107.2} God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world, in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. {CE 193.2}

  7. brethren "To many minds the origin of sin and the reason for its existence are a source of great perplexity..." GC 491 and this why we see so many wanting to explain the existence of good and evil let me agree indeed that "The foundation of all true science is contained in the Bible. {COL 107.2} Rightly understood, both the revelations of science and the experiences of life are in harmony with the testimony of Scripture to the constant working of God in nature. {Ed 130.3} what science needs now is the faith of a little kid to take the bible as it is

    • "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years" - Revelation 20:2 NKJV

  8. The lesson's author wrote:"...nothing characterizes secularism more than the push to eliminate all “other worldly” language from human discourse. With the success of science, people in some cultures are more and more inclined to think about issues scientifically." True enough, many scientists hold their fellow scientists who believe in God, especially a Creator, in snobbish disdain thinking they know better; and they exert pressure upon their fellow scientists to speak, write and act in accordance with "accepted" notions. (Prof. Walter Veith and others attest to this behavior.) This is also reflected in media misinformation and swallowed by a largely gullible populace.

    "...Angels and demons do not fare well in the scientific mode of thinking. Hence, contemporary culture is witnessing a gradual demise of belief in the supernatural."
    I heartily disagree with this statement. At the present time (in the USA) there is an obsession with things regarding the supernatural: psychics, Wicca, TV programs searching supposedly haunted placings, late night radio programs exploring dark phenomena, magic, demons, dark practices. Some claim to approach these topics as being studied "scientifically"... without any true and honest examination(s).
    It is so true that when we do not seek truth and rush here and there seeking anything else, we are left to our own devisings. I saw a bumper sticker recently that read simply "Don't believe everything you think." May God preserve us from these perversions, and may His truths shine in the darkness and lead many to the Light.


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