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Questions for discussion (from Good Word Online):

Leading Question: Why would a good and all-powerful God lead the universe through the horrors of this sinful world before making all things new?

The idea of a cosmic conflict plays an important part in Adventist thinking because it focuses on the question of the existence of sin in a world created by an omnipotent and benevolent deity. But depending on one’s view of God, the conflict can be viewed in quite different ways.  In the free-will (Wesleyan) tradition, the goodness of God is emphasized more than God’s power; it is the goodness of God that wins back his alienated world.  Such a perspective speaks openly of God’s ultimate “vindication” (justification).  Thus the conflict is a question of “theodicy,” the justification of an all-good and all-powerful God in the light of a chaotic world where sin wreaks havoc on innocent victims.

But those who see the power and sovereignty of God as dominant (e.g. in Calvinism) are often repulsed by the idea that sinful human beings could ever play a role in “vindicating” the Master of the Universe.  They have no interest in theodicy. From their perspective the conflict simply illustrates how God’s power ultimately passes judgment on sin and sinners. St. Augustine (d. 430 CE) even went so far as to say that God’s judgment on sin is the necessary counterfoil to God’s goodness and that the presence of sinners in hell is an eternal reminder to the universe of the advantages of obedient submission to God.

See Good Word Online for more…