Cosmic Conflict

 
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We live in a world where evil exists. Think of the barbaric atrocities of terrorist group ISIS as it seeks to expand its territory. Having established a caliphate, it insists that believers observe all sharia laws and in theory, those who don’t live in ISIS-controlled territory should emigrate there. Rejected by most Muslims, ISIS, in its interpretation of early Islam, is committed to purifying the world by killing any number of people. It views itself as a harbinger of the imminent apocalyptic end of the world and the day of judgement. It believes that it has an obligation to terrorise its enemies with beheadings, crucifixions and enslavement of women and children, because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict. Why is there such evil in the world?

1. How did God view His new creation when He made this world? Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

2. Who did God place in charge of this new creation? Genesis 1:26, 27 “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule . . . over all the earth.’ . . . Male and female he created them.” He put them “in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).

3. What rebellion took place in heaven? Revelation 12:7-9 “And there was war in heaven. Michael [Jesus] and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down— that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Satan means “adversary” and devil means “slanderer.” He led “the whole world astray” when he misrepresented God and led Adam and Eve to sin (Genesis 3).

4. What position did Satan have in heaven? Ezekiel 28:14“You were anointed as a guardian cherub.” Satan, as an anointed cherub, had a place next to God before he rebelled.

5. What position did Satan want? Isaiah 14:12–14 “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star [“Lucifer” in Latin]. . . . You have been cast down to the earth. . . . You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven. . . . I will make myself like the Most High.’” Pride led Satan to want God’s position, which is impossible, because God alone is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16). He didn’t destroy Satan immediately. Love cannot force allegiance.

6. What was accomplished by Jesus’ death? Hebrews 2:14 “By his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.” As the tail of a snake still lashes after its head is crushed, so Satan, though defeated at Calvary, still holds sway over many because of their unbelief.

7. What is now our condition because of sin? Romans 3:10, 23 “There is no one righteous, not even one.”“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The consequence of sin for the human race is death (Romans 5:12; 6:23).

8. What is the good news of the gospel that saves us from death? Romans 5:8; John 3:36 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”

Believers gain the victory over Satan “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,” and they aren’t afraid to die for their faith (Revelation 12:11).

This world will not end and a new one begin through ISIS’s brutality. Jesus— God the Son—will come to earth again and take His followers to be with Him in heaven (John 14:1–3). A thousand years later He will make a new earth, where God will dwell with His people, and in that world there will be no evil, nor will there be “death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).