Though one can find writers through the centuries touching on the theme of the great controversy, and though some evangelicals today are looking at the idea more closely-no one has a deeply developed great- controversy worldview as does the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A literal, physical, moral, and spiritual conflict between Christ and Satan is, indeed, a crucial hallmark of Adventist thought. And no wonder.
All through the Bible there is what one evangelical writer has called “the cosmic warfare theme,” and sometimes-such as in this week’s lesson on the temptations in the wilderness-that theme appears in a very stark and open manner. The idea of a battle between good and evil can be seen even outside a distinctly religious context. Poet T. S. Eliot wrote: “The world turns and the world changes / But one thing does not change. / In all of my years, one thing does not change, . . . / The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.”-The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1952), p. 98. German atheist Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote: “Let us conclude. The two opposing values ‘good and bad,’ ‘good and evil’ have been engaged in a fearful struggle on earth for thousands of years.”-On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo (Vantage Books Edition: Random House, Inc., 1967), p. 52. Scripture, aided by the Spirit of Prophecy, reveals as nothing else does, the true nature of this conflict and the eternal issues at stake in it.
- In class, go over your answers to Wednesday’s question about the line, the boundary, between trusting in God’s promises for the miraculous and that of being presumptuous. How do we know the difference?
- Temptation comes in many forms and shapes and sizes and colors and modes, all carefully designed to reach each of us where we are. And, of course, some things that tempt one person don’t tempt another. Besides the obvious sins, what are the more subtle ways in which we can be tempted?
- Read over the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness and the humiliation that He was subjected to. As you do, think about the fact that this same Jesus was, indeed, “God with us.” He was the one through whom “all things were made” (John 1:3). How can we grasp the incredible concept here, that of God-God!-enduring this fearful struggle in our behalf? Considering this truth, what else matters?