Why I believe in the Invisible War
As my readers know am reading a book by the name of “The Invisible War” by Donald Grey Barnhouse. It makes the case for a Biblical doctrine which I have always known as the Angelic Conflict. The scope of the book is best captured by this quote from the preface:
Dr. Barnhouse traces the vast spiritual conflict back to the period before the beginning of Time and, step-by-step, follows its unfolding to the final battle of wills at the end of Time. In these pages, questions that have long troubled thinking people concerning the trials, sufferings and difficulties of life, are clearly answered. Here also are practical suggestions for facing life’s obstacles. Here are sane, sensible explanations for the continued existence of good and evil on earth in what appears to be a never-ending tug of war. In a brilliant manner, the author has stretched out the panorama of Time and focused upon it the illuminating light of Eternity.
Preface to “The Invisible War”
I believe that the angelic conflict exits and I also believe that in it lie the reasons for all of the suffering that this world endures. I can’t say that I have ever seen a debate between Christians where each side didn’t accuse each other of “reading their theology into the text” and I may be doing so here. In fact I want to make my reasons for belief in the Angelic Conflict crystal clear from the outset. I do believe that the Bible points to such a conflict but my reasons for believing in it go beyond that. The Angelic Conflict is the only Christian apologetic that convincingly explains the existence of evil to me. If there is anything Christianity should explain, with our just and righteous God, is the question of why evil is allowed to exist. We Christians have done a terrible job of answering that question. Most of the time you will hear or read answers such as: “God ordained everything that has happened for His own inscrutable purposes.” Which is just another way of saying: “I don’t know.” In fact there are some Christians who have begun to advocate doctrines that water down God’s omnipotence (such as Process Theology) in order to answer this question. As far as I am concerned the Invisible War (or Angelic Conflict) is the only Christian explanation of evil I have ever heard that isn’t plain old lousy. If this is reading my theology into the Bible then so be it. I make no apologies for the belief that God would provide us with a good reason for the way things are that doesn’t impugn His character.
Any Christian apologetic worth its salt should be able to answer the following questions:
Some time ago, in the midst of World War II, the writer preached a sermon in which the omnipotence of God was brought forth. The Lord Jesus Christ was quoted, saying, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). At the close of the meeting a high school boy came up with a question. With some little embarrassment, he asked: “Please tell me this. If God can do absolutely anything, why doesn’t He smack Hitler down?” That same question in a thousand forms has possessed the minds of men throughout the centuries. Why does God permit sin? Why did God create the devil? Why does God allow wars and calamities? We dare to say that we have the certain answer, and that it is not a very difficult one.
p 22 of “The Invisible War”
I had wanted to write a longer article today but events seem to have conspired against me this week. I really want to continue on this topic and have plans to post on enough of Pastor Barnhouse’s book to give anyone who is interested a good taste of what it is like.