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Theodicy of Love Pt. 2: The Cosmic Conflict (Dr. John Peckham)

If we could peel back the layers of the material world and peer into the realms of the unseen, what would we observe? On this episode of Advent Next, we are continuing our discussion with Dr. Peckham on his book, Theodicy of Love, discussing the Biblical framework of the cosmic conflict between good and evil (also known as the Great Controversy) as well as how this worldview helps to frame our understanding of the justice of God in an evil world.
 
“If you think that everything happens just the way God wants it to happen already, then why should you pray? Not only that why should you intervene to stop things like injustice?”
 
 If God is omniscient and already knows my needs, and the thoughts of my heart, what’s the point of prayer? When understanding the cosmic conflict as the Bible frames it, in which man is lawfully under the jurisdiction of Satan as the result of sin, then we also have to take into consideration the fact that there may be rules of engagement by which God must lawfully abide. It’s often said that when we pray, our prayers are simply to help us become more aware of God’s presence. But in light of the cosmic conflict, prayer just might be our legal access to heaven’s help in which God has covenanted with his people saying, “When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond.” (Isaiah 58:9). 
 
“History really matters, what we do really matters. It’s not just whatever is going to happen is what God wants to happen.” The cosmic conflict worldview helps us to understand that God does not always get what He wants. Everything in this world does not happen as He would wish and if they do not happen as He would wish then our choices matter.  
 
“Presumably, if every creature in the universe had come to the conclusion that the Devil’s allegations were false, then God could bring judgment. But until those allegations are settled at the level of our thoughts…if God were to prematurely destroy evil that would just raise another host of questions that would perpetuate the problem.”
 
God is not just interested in our obedience, but He’s interested in our love. Within the framework of the Great Controversy it is understood that a person cannot love a tyrant. It is precisely for this reason that God has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to deal with the accusative claims made by Satan through the demonstration of His character, all while patiently bringing along the minds of many in understanding His love in the light of false allegations. 
 
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