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Ephesians Philippians Colossians. “I urge you, then---I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you.” (Ephesians 4:1 – GN) “For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison.” (Ephesians 6:20 – GN)

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“I urge you, then---I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you.” (Ephesians 4:1 – GN)
  • “For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison.” (Ephesians 6:20 – GN)
  • “As a result, the whole palace guard and all the others here know that I am in prison because I am a servant of Christ.” (Philippians 1:13 – GN)
  • “At the same time pray also for us, so that God will give us a good opportunity to preach his message about the secret of Christ. For that is why I am now in prison.” (Colossians 4:3 – GN)
cosmic conflict theology
Cosmic Conflict Theology
  • “God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.” (Ephesians 1:9-10 GNB)

“Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.” (Colossians 1:20 GNB)


“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, who fought back with his angels; but the dragon was defeated, and he and his angels were not allowed to stay in heaven any longer. The huge dragon was thrown out---that ancient serpent, named the Devil, or Satan, that deceived the whole world. He was thrown down to earth, and all his angels with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9 GNB)


“God, who is the Creator of all things, kept his secret hidden through all the past ages, in order that at the present time, by means of the church, the angelic rulers and powers in the heavenly world might learn of his wisdom in all its different forms.” (Ephesians 3:9-10 GNB)


“Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.” (Ephesians 6:11-13 GNB)

“In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world.” (Ephesians 2:6-7 – GN)
  • “We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven.” (Philippians 3:20 – GN)
“So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God.” (Ephesians 2:19-21)
cosmic conflict in the early christian church
Cosmic conflict in the early Christian church
  • “Their utter stupidity (of the Christians) can be illustrated in any number of ways, but especially with their misreading of the divine enigmas and their insistence that there exists a being opposed to God, whom they know by the name devil (in Hebrew, Satanas…” Celsus 175-177 AD

“It is blasphemy to say that when the greatest God indeed wishes to confer some benefit upon men, He has a power which is opposed to Him, and so is unable to do it.” - Celsus

origin 244 ad
Origin 244 AD
  • Validates that the early Christians viewed Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 as referring to Satan
  • “The supreme theologian of free will.”
  • “Origin not only maintains an unremitting focus on how Satan has misrepresented God, but he also expresses the thrust of the satanic activity in ways that are difficult to surpass.” - Tonstad

People, “are dragged down by this wicked daemon and are drawn away in their soul from God and the right conception of Him and from His Word.” – Origin

  • “The problem facing the human family and the core issue in cosmic conflict theology center on the character of God.” - Tonstad

“Evil arose in the context of freedom; there could not be evil in the absence of freedom. And yet freedom only provides the opportunity and is not the cause of evil. Freedom is the value that God will not surrender even the face of sin…Unlike the God envisioned by Celsus, the God who is revealed in Jesus is a God who values freedom so highly that He allows precisely the things that Celsus has declared to be logically impossible…In Celsus’ outlook freedom is not understood or imagined while in the Christian account freedom is seamlessly tied to the character of God. God has, as it were, taken upon Himself to pay the price for freedom rather than solve the problem of sin by abolishing it.” - Tonstad

cosmic conflict theology1
Cosmic conflict theology
  • 1. The central issue of issues in the cosmic conflict is the character of God

“Now the snake was the most cunning animal that the LORD God had made. The snake asked the woman, ‘Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1 – GNB)

  • “The snake replied, ‘That’s not true; you will not die. God said that because he knows that when you eat it, you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.’” Genesis 3:4,5 – GNB)

“Wherever they went, they gave me a bad name. People said, ‘These are GOD’s people, but they got kicked off his land.’ I suffered much pain over my holy reputation, which the people of Israel blackened in every country they entered. ‘Therefore, tell Israel…I’m not doing this for you, Israel. I’m doing it for me, to save my character, my holy name, which you've blackened in every country where you’ve gone. I’m going to put my great and holy name on display, the name that has been ruined in so many countries, the name that you blackened wherever you went.” (Ezekiel 36:20-23, MSG)


“No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father's side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18 GNB)

  • “And eternal life means to know you…On earth, I have fulfilled the mission you gave me to do…I revealed your name (character).” (John 17:3-6)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel…For in it the righteousness of God is revealed…” (Romans 1:16-17 ESV)


“I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ and be completely united with him. …All I want is to know Christ…” (Philippians 3:8-10)

“Daniel, don’t be afraid. God has heard your prayers ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in order to rain understanding. I have come in answer to your prayer.” (Daniel 10:1,11-13)

“The angel prince of the kingdom of Persia* opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief angels, came to help me… Now I have to go back and fight the guardian angel of Persia. After that the guardian angel of Greece will appear. There is no one to help me except Michael, Israel’s guardian angel. He is responsible for helping and defending me” (Daniel 10:13,20; 11:1 – GN).

  • *”spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia”
cosmic conflict theology3
Cosmic conflict theology
  • 3. Theodicy
  • Job, Habakkuk
  • “His disciples asked him, ‘Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?’ Jesus answered, ‘His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins.’” (John 9:2-3, GNB)
  • God’s response to Satan’s rebellion and the false accusations

“You belong to your father, Satan, and you want to carry out your father's desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar -- indeed, the inventor of the lie!” (John 8:44, CJB)


“God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but he did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan's government. The Lord's principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God's government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.”


“It does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised; what does matter is…

  • being a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

“I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. Yes, may you come to know his love---although it can never be fully known---and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)


“Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.” (Ephesians 4:2-3, GNB)


“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything--and I do mean everything--connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life--a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, MSG)


“Since you are God's dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2, GNB)


“Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another. I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:” (Philippians 2:1-5)


“He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death--- his death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)


“You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14, GNB)



  • “hypocritical”
  • “anti-homosexual”
  • “too involved in politics”
  • “insensitive to others”

“Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself.” (Romans 2:1 – The Message)


“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (Luke 6:37,38 – The Message)


“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”(John 13:34-35 – GN)