The Great Controversy: Theory or Reality?

I hope not. It’s likely a fairy tale. At best it’s a counterproductive thing for Christians to focus on.


The Reality of this Theory is based on one’s understanding of the story in Eden and the resolution in Revelation.

The choice at the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil was one of TRUST in God’s expressed will. This is the same issue that arose in Heaven that led to the beginning of war.

If the cosmic conflict, which was extended to the new creation (Earth), is intended to eradicate sin from all places forever (as suggested in The Revelation of Jesus Christ), then a few things need to be resolved and understood IN THE MINDS OF EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN ETERNITY.

  1. God must have the full trust & faith of the inhabitants. The issue in the Garden was mistrust of God’s expressed will. That will was explained as life giving and it’s violation as deadly.

  2. Sin (rebellion) must never recur. Every inhabitant of eternity must be thoroughly convinced that God’s will (as expressed in expansive acceptable choices) is for their good and that rejection of or deviation from those acceptable choices leads to death.

  3. The inhabitants must be so thoroughly in love with God that they will heed their knowledge of Him and their knowledge of sin, thereby refusing to contemplate rebellion.

  4. To accomplish this goal of creating such knowledge, both about God and about sin, the character of each must be thoroughly exposed and made available for examination.

  5. In allowing sin to exist and be exposed, God Himself, along with others, must suffer the consequences of the destructive ravages of sin during the period of exposure.

  6. In expressing & demonstrating His character, God’s own character limits His means and methods to those which maintain His integrity. Because of the distortions of perceptions, either innocently or deliberately created in the minds of others, God must repeatedly work out the expression of His own character within that character. He does this while meeting each one exactly where they are in their experiences and understandings of life.

  7. Jesus’ life and death are the ultimate demonstration of both the character of God and the character of sin (rebellion). Despite that demonstration, there are still many who are blinded by the deceptions of others and so the war continues. He continues his efforts to bring everyone possible into relationship. But at some point, each will have eternally accepted or rejected His love and concern.

I’m certain other factors are involved in the resolution, but God’s ‘vindication’ is not for Himself, but for the benefit of every one who shall fill eternity. In order to have eternal peace and harmony, let every one be convinced in their own minds of the love of God and the goodness of His will.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (GEN2:16-17.KJV)

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

"And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (GEN3:1-11.KJV)

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Very interesting observation. I think that the story of Genesis carries similar motifs. We rely on God-like parents to set up direction for us until we choose to test the validity of parental wisdom and exit the protection of the walled home of the garden into the unknown territory of the world… knowing good and evil through our own experience instead of the piped-down parental warnings.

I find archetypal approach to Biblical narrative to be far more meaningful than attempting to derive some lessons from literalism which inevitably end up as a metaphor for some aspects of our modern lives.


Why does our church focus on the “vindication of God” rather than the personal Saviour who through His grace saves us, knows us, counts the hair on our heads?

There is nothing in the God-is-being-judged-in-the-universe myth that has the power to draw individuals to God. It is the powerful story of the cross and the gift of Jesus’s life, or Christ Event, that empowers the Gospel and breaks the hearts of men and women. The story of grace.

It seems to me that the Conflict focus of the Universe as the Gospel to share with the world, is a distraction from the message Jesus sent His disciples to share. I am with you. I love you. I offer peace. Take my yoke and I will give you rest. I have a place prepared for you. I gave my life for you.

Not, can you trust God to be your friend? Are you trustworthy to save?


Thank you Harppa, for your loving response to my diatribe!

I agree that the simple story of the Gospel, so compelling, and without the gobbledygook of muttiple ferocious beasts from Daniel and Revelation is a winning strategy for proselytizing.

That is why I am transitioning to Methodism, with its unadulterated Gospel message, uncluttered with 28 contentious points of dogma.

Also uncluttered by divisive, disruptive dissension — they have been ordaining their clergywomen since 1956, so no miserable malevolent misogyny., nor heretical “ headship “ hatefulness!

Also their loving outreach and inclusiveness to their LGBT members , epitomizes Christ’s loving, all embracing, acceptance and ALL.

However, try telling that to TW and the heretical Adventist hierarchy, hell bent on a witch hunt against their LGBT members ( the largest “ compliance “ committee is consumed with homophobic hate. )

In recent years, huge sums have been wasted in mass mailings of EGW’s GREAT CONTROVERSY, to millions of homes. Most copies were instantly trashed

Not to mention the pervasive anti Catholicism that permeates her book — —-very off putting to a population that is predominantly Catholic in many of those cities to which GC was mailed!

Adventism confuses and confounds the simple Gospel message, with all its extraneous dogmas.


The Great Controversy is real, tragically real…

So…we try to bring the split object together by being “perfect?”

The salvation of individuals is critically important to God - and should be to us. But the ‘salvation from’ and the ‘salvation to’ is addressed in the story of the confilct.

We are not saved (returning to relationship) to simply continue on in this sin-sick world. If this life was extended indefinitely, even being in a ‘saved’ relationship with God, would not make it a pleasant place to exist, with sin all around, assailing both good and bad, in a never-ending torrent of misery.

In addition to the conflict providing a demonstration of both God’s character and the character of sin, IT ALSO assures the ‘saved’ that there was a pre-sin environment and that there will be a future, sin-free environment in which the ‘saved’ relationship may be enjoyed.

The Gospel is about Jesus/God and His love. But the conflict is the environment in which that occurs & recurs. I agree, the cart must not be before the horse - but the goal is to have both horse and cart - discarding neither.

Embracing the reality of the Person of whom the Gospel message proclaims, does answer the questions you diminish:
Can you trust God to be your friend? __ (being interpreted as: Is God’s will best for me?)
Are you trustworthy to save? _________ (being interpreted as: Will I rebel in the future?)

Traditionally Adventist has fought against the Counsel of Trent and the Scofield Bible. When in fact it’s official view of justification and sactification is a twin sister to Trent. Moreover The Investigative Judgement and end times is a carbon copy of Scofield with minor twists. Moreover its view on WO is a mix of Hebrew-and Roman thought. Interesting enough the most popular advocate is its a cave dweller in theology. Fall Council was just a taste of the bitterness of self Rightousness.


We believe what we are told–well, most of us do or did–because of trust in our leadership and our prophet (without objective evidence).

Ellen White tells us that Satan’s name was originally Lucifer. She didn’t know that the name was coined from two Latin words. If Latin is the language they speak in heaven, maybe the original Hail Mary came from there too. NOT!

In The Great Controversy, Ellen White wrote that Isaiah was addressing Satan in the infamous “O Lucifer” passage. That contradicts Isaiah’s statement that it was addressed to the king of Babylon and his alter-ego the dazzling morning star god (the son of the morning god) we know as Venus.

After all these years, I still haven’t found any objective evidence that her spells weren’t the result of her epilepsy and nearly fatal head injury. (And remarkable cleverness).


And, after all these years, and all this grief, I’m still not convinced she hasn’t cast a spell on me, to this day.

It’s frightening.

I lose whole nights of sleep over this.

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We can only take lessons from the treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder, a rare disorder which reflects the failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory, and consciousness into a single multidimensional self. The primary treatment for DID is long-term psychotherapy with the goal of deconstructing the different personalities and uniting them into one.

The same applies to integrating and accepting the good and the bad traits of each of us.


Thanks, Elmer.

I believe this has eschatological implications, about which more later.


Many of us have experienced this to a greater or lesser degree in Adventism…especially those of us who have been among the committed and conscientious. And, especially when we began and continued to lift the curtain and have seen the great and powerful Oz for who it really is.

It’s the effects of breaking free from indoctrination. It’s a powerful gravitational force that pulls against any movement away from it.




A very powerful gravitational force, Frank.

I think John Carson has expressed the solution wisely and succinctly here:

It comes from a total misreading of Revelation 14:6-7. After scaring the pants off of people for generations about how they need to be totally sinless to pass through the IJ (supported by this passage), the whole thing was turned on its head to center on God as the one being judged. Now, it’s our job to vindicate him. Again, by achieving sinlessness.

What nonsense! Plain and simple. The text in its context supports neither of these interpretations. And the sad part is that bad interpretation and bad theology leads to bad results…that damage people’s lives who take this stuff to heart. It messed me up for quite a while…and I still feel the effects in my relationship with God.

Adventists in recovery should be established on this website.




Absolutely…and blasphemous, IMO. How did something so wrong gain such traction? The same way as LDS, JW’s, etc., I guess.


Sigve Tonstad is promoting that no less than Herb Douglass.

It’s just another fractured iteration of Last Generation Theology, in my opinion.

A horrible inversion of the Gospel.

But, unless we want to forget prophecy and eschatology altogether (hardly possible), we’re going to have to prayerfully revisit what we believe, it seems to me.

Can’t make an end run around this one. It’s a biggie.


What does the Bible say?
Does Ellen add to the Bibles text?

On the other hand and ideally after a successful development (psychoanalysis) into well adjusted mature adults, we can have a realistic intellectual and emotional understanding of our parents as well as and in spite of the great controversy about the character of God and the way He runs His universe. Good try!

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The same could be said about our displacement of our need for omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent parents onto a god with those characteristics, yet with maturity we cannot argue against His reality.

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