I couldn’t believe it. I read it and could not believe it. Surely they cannot believe this. Nonetheless, apparently they do.
What is it I could not believe? The following statement from the Seventh Day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs page:
8. Great Controversy:
All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. ((http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html))
Let’s think about this for just a moment. . . .
What is really stated in Item 8 quoted above? If we reword it slightly to make it more readable, but with the exact same meaning, it states this:
All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan with regard to the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe.
Now, that is not much change, and “regarding” and “with regard to” mean exactly the same thing. Now, think about the reworded statement for just a moment . . . . then answer the following question:
Is there any question in the Scripture regarding the character and nature of the LORD God?
His sovereignty over all things, whithersoever they are?
It strikes me that the statement, as written and published by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, is blasphemous as it impugns the very character and nature of the LORD. Yes, there is an implicit question raised in the statement because it states the “great controversy” regards or is with regard to, the character of God.
Now, the Scripture is VERY plain — there is NO, ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION about the character of the LORD God. Moreover, the conflict between Satan and Christ isn’t about that anyway. Do not the following passages suffice?
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. (Jonah 4:1-2)
And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:5-7)
But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalm 9:7-10)
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11)
I could go on, but it would be passage after passage of Scripture that plainly state the very same things the passages above state. Hence, I cannot believe the statement of the Seventh Day Adventists — it is incredibly WRONG. If they believe the Scripture at all, I fail to understand how they could make such a statement.
One last thing, the conflict between Satan and Christ is not about the character of God. Rather, it is about the redemption of man. How can we know this? Very simple:
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:14-15)
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Hebrews 2:14-16)
To be succinct, victory for Satan would be the prevention of salvation of man, and the proof that death is stronger than life. However, the Lord Jesus Christ hath already won the war, even before the world ever began:
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)
Hence, there is no “great controversy” or even any controversy at all — the salvation provided to man is a sure thing. The defeat of Satan was and is a sure thing. These are such sure and certain things that the Lamb was “slain from the foundation of the world.”