What Adventists Believe About the Great Controversy

December 27, 2023

The most captivating stories have a clear hero and villain. Someone fights for good, and the other fights for evil. 

It’s easy to look at this messed-up world and believe that clearly-defined battles between good and evil only happen in stories. Everything here is so mixed up! Heroes are far from perfect. And anyone can become a villain.

It’s not uncommon to see people do horrible things for good causes. Others try their best to do the right thing, but end up making things worse. How can pure good and pure evil exist in such a confusing world?

The Bible helps make these moral struggles clear. It tells how each of us is caught in an epic battle between good and evil. 

This battle encompasses the entire world and was being fought before humanity even began. And, just like in all good stories, the Bible tells us that good eventually comes out on top. God will prevail, and evil will be destroyed.

This epic battle is sometimes referred to as the “Great Controversy,” the conflict between God and Satan. And all humanity is caught up in it due to our free will, and the fact we chose the “knowledge of good and evil” back in the Garden of Eden. 

But this isn’t a physical battle:

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, “ (ESV).

The Great Controversy is a spiritual battle, a conflict over God’s character and His right to rule the universe. If you want to learn more about how the Great Controversy began, how the earth and humanity became involved, what we are to do during this spiritual war and God’s ultimate victory over evil, we invite you to research this topic further at Adventist.org/the-great-controversy. 

All these questions can be answered in Scripture. Through the website and Bible study, you can learn exactly how this Great Controversy got started, what the stakes are, and why our own roles are so important in this great battle of the universe.

We encourage you to take a closer look at this fundamental belief on your own, with your pastor, Bible study group or online at

By Southwestern Union Communication and Adventist.org



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. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect and sustain them in the way of salvation.

(Gen. 3; 6-8; Job 1:6-12; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12-18;
Rom. 1:19-32; 3:4; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; 1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 1:14;
1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:6; Rev. 12:4-9)