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Life, Original, Unborrowed, Underived

Life, Original, Unborrowed, Underived

By Paul Chung

The Inspired phrase, “In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived“, which can be found in the book, The Desire of Ages, p. 530 (also in Evangelism p. 616) is commonly used to argue that the life of the pre-incarnate Christ is ingenerate, without origin and therefore not begotten. Some (Adventist trinitarians) have also assumed an incompatibility between the above statement and Jesus’ own words: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)

They reason that if the Son received His life from God the Father, then that would make Son’s life derived from His Father and thus violate Christ having an “underived” life. According to how Trinity envisions God, God is made up of three co-equal, co-eternal persons whereby each of the three persons have a distinct, original, unborrowed, underived source of life. Moreover, the Trinitarian argument contends that if only one member of the Trinity (Father) was the source, then the other two would be inferior to Him for that would make their life a derivative of the Father’s life. For this reason, John 5:26 is often explained away as referring only to Jesus’ incarnate life and not to His pre-existent, divine life.

Let’s take a closer look again the statement that is most often quoted (we will refer to this statement as "Desire of Ages quote" in this article):

“Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” IN CHRIST IS LIFE, ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED. “He that hath the Son hath life.” The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.–The Desire of Ages, p. 530 (1898)” {Evangelism, p. 616}

Notice the Scripture references:

John 11:25 “I am the resurrection, and the life.”

1John 5:12 “He that hath the Son hath life.”

Looking at the Scripture references

It is critical that we don't divorce Ellen White’s writings from the Bible and not allow our theological bias to determine what she had said independent of the Scripture references.

Note: In this Desire of Ages quote, Ellen White used the expression, "IN CHRIST IS LIFE, ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED." But with respect to this expression, she references 1 John 5:12 (“He that hath the Son hath life."). But in 1 John 5, this passage is preceded by “And this is the record, THAT GOD HATH GIVEN TO US eternal life, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON.” ( 1 John 5:11 ).

What is significant here in 1 John 5:11, 12 is that it describes God (Father) as the source of this life. But we are told that we may obtain this life by having the Son, for this LIFE which God has given to us is IN His Son.

The same author in a few chapters previous (1 John 1:2) echoes the same thought, “(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER, and was manifested unto us;)”

Again, what is noteworthy in this text is that the LIFE which is manifested unto us by Christ was the very “eternal life, which was WITH the Father.”

In the Selected Messages statement below, you will find a similar variation of the Desire of Ages quote, using the same expressions, with a slightly different context with additional references to the Gospel of John (we will refer this statement as the "1SM quote"):

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). It is not physical life that is here specified, but immortality, the life which is exclusively the property of God. The Word, who was with God, and who was God, HAD THIS LIFE. Physical life is something which each individual receives. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life. But the life of Christ was unborrowed. No one can take this life from Him. "I lay it down of myself" (John 10:18), He said. IN HIM WAS LIFE, ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED. THIS LIFE IS NOT INHERENT IN MAN. HE CAN POSSESS IT ONLY THROUGH CHRIST. HE CANNOT EARN IT; IT IS GIVEN HIM AS A FREE GIFT if he will believe in Christ as His personal Saviour.” {1SM, p 296-297}

Scripture references:

John 1:1 ("The Word, who was with God, and who was God HAD THIS LIFE")

John 1:4 (“IN him was life; and the life was the light of men")

John 10:18 ("lay it down of myself")

In this 1SM quote above, Ellen White used almost exact expression, “IN HIM WAS LIFE, ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED.” But this time, the quote references John 1:4, where John says, “IN HIM WAS LIFE; and the life was the light of men.”

Furthermore, 1SM quote also references John 1:1, where it states, "The Word, who was with God, and who was God, HAD THIS LIFE." showing that "this life" which Christ possessed was IN HIM prior to His incarnation. And YET we learned that this life comes from the Father (1Jn 5:11,12) and was given to Him as we shall see.

Now, notice also how the same author (John) states the following with respect to this life that was IN HIM in John chapter 5:

“For AS THE FATHER HATH LIFE IN HIMSELF; SO HATH HE GIVEN TO THE SON TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” — John 5:26

Note: Did you catch that? Not unlike 1 John 5:11, 12 as we have seen earlier; the LIFE which was IN Christ in Jn 5:26 was also GIVEN TO CHRIST BY THE FATHER. But to get a better understanding of the context of this "life", let's take a closer look at its preceding passages (John 5: 21-25):

"21 For AS the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; EVEN SO the Son quickeneth whom he will.

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."

Note: This preceding context reveals that the LIFE which Christ received in Jn 5:26 is not referring to His human, mortal life but rather the immortal life which He will bestow unto the redeemed as a gift. This is clearly describing Christ, exercising an attribute of His divinity, not His humanity, reaching its climax in the last days at the resurrection of the saints and yet we’re told that it is a present reality (vs 25 "and now is") for the believers. Moreover this is the same divine LIFE which no one can take from Christ but that He would "lay it down" (Jn 10:18-referenced in 1SM quote) voluntarily at the cross.

Elsewhere, Apostle John also wrote,

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM POWER OVER ALL FLESH, THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM. — John 17:1,2

Again, John affirms the same idea that the source of LIFE which Christ had to resurrect the redeemed was given to Him by His Father.

“CHRIST WAS INVESTED WITH THE RIGHT TO GIVE IMMORTALITY. The life which He had laid down in humanity, HE AGAIN TOOK UP and gave to humanity. ‘I am come,’ He says, ‘that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10). ‘Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:54). ‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’ (John 4:14). All who are one with Christ through faith in Him gain an experience which is life unto eternal life. ‘As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me’ (John 6:57). He ‘dwelleth in me, and I in him’ (John 6:56). ‘I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:54). ‘Because I live, ye shall live also.”’ (John 14:19) {1SM 302.2,3}

Note: To "invest" is to provide or endow someone or something with (a particular quality or attribute). And we have learned in John 5:21-26 that it was the Father who invested Christ "with the right to give immortality."

Again, the QUALITY of this divine life as described in John 5:21-25 is such that Christ in His own right can quicken the dead "EVEN AS the Father" to "raiseth up the dead" (vs. 21) for Christ had received this LIFE from His Father "TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF" (vs. 26). And this, we are told, is "the believer’s assurance of eternal life." (DA 530) 

So far, we learned that

  • John 1:1 (The Word, who was with God, and who was God, HAD THIS LIFE.)

  • John 1:4 (“IN him was life")

  • John 10:18 (Christ would "lay IT down" of Himself)

  • John 11:25 ("I am the resurrection and the LIFE")

  • 1 John 5:12 ("life is IN his son")

are all directly referenced from both the Desire of Ages quote and the 1SM quote. And as we have seen, the context (including Jn 5:21-26, 1 Jn 5:11) of these referenced texts provides us with a clear view that they are all talking about the same life with respect to the expression, "ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED" LIFE that is IN Christ. The fact that all of these Bible texts are written by the same author (John) and that these texts are used to reference the same expressions found in the two statements under consideration, further strengthens this conclusion.

GOD has sent his Son to communicate HIS OWN LIFE to humanity. Christ declares, “I LIVE BY THE FATHER,” MY LIFE AND HIS BEING ONE.
— The Home Missionary {HM June 1, 1897, Art. A, par. 11}

Therefore, we can also conclude that all the noted Bible references (Jn 1:4, Jn 10:18, Jn 12:25; 1 Jn 5:12) cited in each of the aforementioned statements above (DA 530, 1SM, p 296-297) can also rightly be applied to John 5:26 and 1 John 5:11.

The quote in context

The context of the statement declaring Christ’s life to be “original, unborrowed, underived (The Desire of Ages p. 530) was the raising of Lazarus. Jesus was not talking about His former life, but of His present Power to give life at that very moment as He proclaimed, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” It was the amplification of that declaration that the servant of the Lord, wrote, “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” Jesus, standing before the sepulcher of Lazarus, had IN Him life, original, unborrowed, underived.

Having looked at all the Scripture references thus far, the source of the Life that was IN Christ was the Father’s Life, which the Father gave to bestow upon others. The Life of the Father flowed through the Son.

Also, keep in mind that in the same book, The Desire of Ages, The Lord’s Servant also wrote,

"Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was." {DA 664.4}

Hence, if Christ, in his perfect humanity revealed "no qualities, and exercised no powers” of His own “that men may not have through faith in Him" then, we would have to concede that the Power and the Life that raised Lazarus could not have come from Jesus’ own but from the Father.

Consider the following quote by W. W. Prescott,

“This is the testimony which Nicodemus bore to the work of Christ: ‘There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.’ Christ, referring to the works which he had wrought, presents it in this way: ‘Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me.’ [Jn 14:10,11] CHRIST’S LIFE WAS SIMPLY THE LIFE OF THE INDWELLING FATHER, NOT HIS OWN; THE WORKS THAT HE WROUGHT WERE NOT HIS OWN WORKS, BUT THE WORKS OF THE FATHER THAT DWELT IN HIM. ‘The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”’  W. W. Prescott, GCB December 1895, p. 632.2 (emphasis in caps and bracket supplied)

Prescott continues,

“How this experience was accomplished is made plain by the scripture, ‘For he whom God has sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.’ [Jn 3:34] The Spirit was not given by measure; IT WAS THE FULNESS OF THE INDWELLING FATHER. ‘For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.’ [Col 1:19] ‘For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’ [Col 2:9] That is to say, GOD WAS IN CHRIST, WORKING IN HIM, reconciling the world unto himself, and he dwelt in him in his fulness by giving the Spirit to him without measure. That was the Father dwelling in him, and the Father dwelling in him was the working power in him. NOT THAT CHRIST HAD NO POWER OF HIMSELF, AND COULD NOT HAVE WORKED HIMSELF, BUT WE MUST KEEP BEFORE OUR MINDS CONTINUALLY THAT CHRIST VOLUNTARILY TOOK A POSITION THAT HIS OWN CHARACTER DID NOT REQUIRE HIM TO TAKE, in order to help us out of the position that we are in, where we cannot help ourselves. He consented to this experience of living wholly by the life of another, keeping his own self in abeyance, in order that another’s self might appear in him, to be an example for us, and further, in order that this experience might be possible for us.” — ibid (emphasis in caps and brackets supplied)

It is true that when Christ was here, he could have wrought works in his own power, but it is also true that he did not work his works in his own power, but became wholly an example unto us in allowing God’s power through the Spirit to rest upon him, and to work through him. I am not here to repudiate the fact that Christ always retained His divinity even in His incarnation (because He did and volumes of Inspired evidence supports it), but the Inspiration makes it clear that Christ voluntarily submitted to His Father and never exercised His own divinity (Power/Life) while He lived on earth, thus the most logical conclusion, based on the context, would be that the authority or the source of the "original, unborrowed, underived Life which was IN Christ in raising of Lazarus was the very Life of the Father manifested in Christ.

Just what kind of LIFE was IN Christ.

Again, John 5:26 reveals to us that the quality of this life is such that the Son should “HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF” Just like the “THE FATHER HATH LIFE IN HIMSELF” whereby Christ is both the channel of Father's original life and yet also the fountain of life unto Himself.

What kind of life would that be according to Ellen White?

The evidence is pretty clear. The kind of life John spoke of in Jn 1:1, Jn 1:4, Jn 10:18; Jn 5:21-26 and 1 John 5:11, 12; is the very same life which Ellen White is referring to when she said, that “IN HIM WAS LIFE, ORIGINAL, UNBORROWED, UNDERIVED.”

For anyone, who insists that the expression,"life, original, unborrowed, underived" is referring to Christ's pre-existent, ingenerate, unbegotten life, would do well to concede that it is actually the very same life which Christ RECEIVED from the Father in John 5:26 and all the aforementioned passages in the book of John.

Consider the following statements by Ellen White,

“ALL THINGS COME OF GOD. From the smallest benefits up to the largest blessing, ALL FLOW THROUGH THE ONE CHANNEL — a superhuman mediation sprinkled with the blood that is of value beyond estimate because IT WAS THE LIFE OF GOD IN HIS SON.” — FW 22

“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John 6:57 “God has sent His Son TO COMMUNICATE HIS OWN LIFE TO HUMANITY. Christ declares, ‘I live by the Father,’ MY LIFE AND HIS BEING ONE.” — The Home Missionary, June 1, 1897

“In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. ALL THINGS CHRIST RECEIVED FROM GOD, BUT HE TOOK TO GIVE. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: THROUGH THE BELOVED SON, THE FATHER’S LIFE FLOWS OUT TO ALL; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.” — DA 21

John 5:26 clearly reveals to us that the same quality of life, which the Father has, He gave it to His Son. Christ, being the Son of God, received this life by the virtue of His divine begetting and inheritance; I would contend that Christ was begotten with that life IN Him. Therefore, the quality of life that is IN Christ is the Father’s very own “original, unborrowed, underived” life.

Therefore it is evident that Ellen White, in stating this expression, is not necessarily repudiating that Christ was begotten from the Father in His pre-existence nor is it saying that Christ had this life inherently and independently (without origin), but rather, it is referring to the QUALITY of life which Christ possessed which is the same quality of life as the Father’s.


And yet, we are told that in John 5:26 that this life was GIVEN to Christ by the Father.

While many may argue that "original, unborrowed, underived cannot be compatible with John 5:26, but it is made clear that sister White apparently correlates what is seemingly incompatible statements. 

The redeemed can also receive "original, unborrowed, underived" life

Notice how this SAME “original, unborrowed, underived” life can ALSO BE POSSESSED BY A MAN, AS A FREE GIFT, “if he will believe in Christ as His personal Saviour.” — 1SM, p 296-297

The QUALITY of this LIFE, which is different from the power to bestow it, is, however, identical whether it is ingenerate [unbegotten] as in the case of the Father, inherited [begotten] by His Son, or conferred as a conditional, permanent gift to His creatures. Take a look at the following statement:

"What a song that will be when the ransomed of the Lord meet at the gate of the Holy City, which is thrown back on its glittering hinges and the nations that have kept His word—His commandments—enter into the city, the crown of the overcomer is placed upon their heads, and the golden harps are placed in their hands! All heaven is filled with rich music, and with songs of praise to the Lamb. Saved, everlastingly saved, in the kingdom of glory! To have A LIFE THAT MEASURES WITH THE LIFE OF GOD—THAT IS THE REWARD." — Manuscript 92, 1908; 7BC 982.2

A few Questions, if you believe in the trinity

If Jesus had always existed alongside the Father as Trinitarians claim, then how is it that God had GIVEN this life to His Son as Christ would have always had this life inherently as an independent, ingenerate co-eternal God?

The fact that we are talking about an immortal life and not Christ's incarnate, mortal life, would it also not be much more reasonable for Christ to derive its life, vitality, and power from His own divine nature, (to resurrect Lazarus or to resurrect the redeemed to give them eternal life) instead of receiving it from the Father? 

If Christ received this "immortal life" in His humanity (as some claim), then at which point did He lose it, only to receive it again?  For even as a Man Christ, He always maintained this life in His divinity along with His humanity.

“Christ could not have come to this earth with the glory that He had in the heavenly courts. Sinful human beings could not have borne the sight. He veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity, but HE DID NOT PART WITH HIS DIVINITY.” — Review and Herald, June 15, 1905

“CHRIST HAD NOT EXCHANGED HIS DIVINITY FOR HUMANITY; but He had clothed His divinity in humanity.” — Review and Herald, Oct. 29, 1895

"...The two expressions human and divine were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, AND YET THEY HAD A DISTINCT INDIVIDUALITY...” — ST May 10, 1899, par. 11

Where in Scripture did Christ ever relinquish this "life" in His incarnation only to be re-invested again?

To suggest that Christ received this life in His incarnation, you would have to conclude that Christ at some point DID NOT possess this life. This is simply not supported either from the Scripture or Inspiration and it denies that Christ always retained His divinity even in His incarnation.


Following notes on "underived" was adopted from Jason Smith.

The word "derive" in Ellen White's day carried a nuanced meaning that modern readers tend to miss. They think it only means to be given something but it can also convey "to draw from, AS IN A REGULAR COURSE OR CHANNEL; to receive from a source BY A REGULAR CONVEYANCE." (1828 Webster's Dictionary "derive")

This is like how a stream is derived from a fountain. The stream is DEPENDENT upon the fountain for its existence. It is drawing from the fountain as in a regular course. If that ever stops then the stream no longer exists. It is a regular conveyance. Quoting now the servant of the Lord let's see if her usage matches this definition: 

"In Jesus is our life DERIVED. In Him is life, that is original, unborrowed, underived life. In us there is A STREAMLET FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. In Him is the fountain of life. Our life is something that we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to Himself. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall, when Christ shall appear, also appear with Him in glory. And while in this world we will give to God, in sanctified service, all the capabilities He has given us. — Letter 309, 1905

Did you catch it? In Jesus our life is derived. Why? Because we are like "a streamlet from the fountain of life." Thus our life is something we receive that the Giver takes back again unto Himself (if the Giver so chooses). We are dependent upon Him and the second that stops we no longer exist. This is just like a stream derived from a fountain. The Son of God, however, is actually a fountain unto Himself. Thus He is not derived but actually has self-perpetuating life in Himself. 

"We become partakers of the life of Christ, which is eternal. We derive immortality from God by receiving the life of Christ for in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This life is the mystical union and cooperation of the divine with the human. — ST June 17, 1897, par. 14

You see we "derive" immortality from God by receiving the life of Christ. It is actually His own life but remember, at the same time, Christ Himself says "I live by the Father" and it is the Father's life that flows through Him, what is communicated is the life of God in His Son. This seeming contradiction makes sense when we remember the truth of John 5:26.

“All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.”
— The Desire of Ages p. 21

Now lest anyone stumble here let us share even some more. Notice in the quote below that created beings who "derive" their life from God have "daily dependence" upon Him. 

"All created beings must DERIVE their life from God. Not one can be, or do, good only as he lives in DAILY DEPENDENCE upon God. And not a soul is righteous any longer than he is in vital relation to God, the source of all virtue, of life, of love, of power. — Lt7-1894.27

Again we read: 

“All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are DEPENDENT RECIPIENTS of the life of God. From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are REPLENISHED from the Source of life. Only He who is one with God could say, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. — DA 785.3

Are you catching it? Sister White is clearly using "derive" to mean a "dependence." Thus the dictionary definition of drawing from "as in a regular course or channel" or receiving from a source "by a regular conveyance" is her meaning here. So angels and men are dependent recipients. 

"Satan WAS DEPENDENT on God for his life. He resolved to ignore this dependence, but he could not destroy the fact. He could cease to be loyal and true, cease to be the means of communicating hallowed influences, but he could never be that which he told his companions he would be,—the center of influence. — RH April 16, 1901, par. 3

“No one of the angels could become a substitute and surety for the human race, FOR THEIR LIFE IS GOD’S; THEY COULD NOT SURRENDER IT. On Christ alone the human family depended for their existence. HE IS THE ETERNAL, SELF-EXISTENT SON, on whom no yoke had come. When God asked, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Christ alone of the angelic host could reply, ‘Here am I; send Me.’ He alone had covenanted before the foundation of the world to become a surety for man. He could say that which not the highest angel could say — ‘I have power over my own life. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”’ — Ms101-1897.28


The very life of God the Father is in His Son, whether we are talking about Christ’s pre-incarnation or incarnation. Christ has said, "I LIVE BY THE FATHER, MY LIFE AND HIS BEING ONE." It is life original because it is God's very own life, not a newly created life. Christ was begotten by God wherein He has the same, equal attributes as the Father. Thus, by the virtue of His inheritance, God's original life was given Him "to have life in Himself." It is life unborrowed because if you give someone something to borrow they are obligated to return it but the life of God which Christ received was given to Him permanently as His own to keep, to do with it as He pleases, and by extension, could confer it unto the redeemed. Finally, Christ's life is underived for Christ is "self-existent"; His life is not dependent by the Father to sustain it but is self-sustaining. In other words, Christ's present existence (which was originally given by the Father) doesn't need to draw from the Father continually, but that doesn't mean it wasn't set in motion to begin with.

For a related topic, click HERE for the "Self Existent" article

Additional notes:

“That God is the fountain and source of immortality is plain from the statement of Paul. HE SPEAKS THUS OF GOD THE FATHER: ‘Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.’ 1 Tim. 6:16. This text is evidently designed to teach that the SELF EXISTENT GOD IS THE ONLY BEING THO, OF HIMSELF, POSSESSES THIS WONDERFUL NATURE. Others may possess it as derived from him, but he alone is the fountain of immortality. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF THIS LIFE TO US. ‘For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.’ John 5:26. ‘As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.’ John 6:57. THE FATHER GIVES US THIS LIFE IN HIS SON. ‘And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’ 1 John 5:11,12. These scriptures do clearly indicate that CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF ENDLESS LIFE, and that those only have this who have Christ.” — J. N. Andrews, Advent Review and Herald of the Sabbath, January 27, 1874, pg. 52 ; published again, Signs of the Times December 12, 1878, Vol. 04 - No. 47 pg. 372 (see copies of the original articles below; click to enlarge).

Mrs. S. N. Haskell
BTS September 1905 Vol. 4 - No. 4 ST January 15, 1906 Vol. 21 - No. 2

“Are we immortal ? is a question often asked. The Bible says that only one being naturally possesses immortality. ‘In His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.’ 1 Tim 6:15,16. The only one possessing immortality is the Father, the one whose person no man hath seen. THE FATHER HATH GIVEN THIS SAME LIFE TO THE SON. ‘As THE FATHER HATH LIFE in Himself; SO HATH HE GIVEN TO THE SON TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF.’” John 5:26.

“From this last text we find there are TWO BEINGS THAT HAVE LIFE IN THEMSELVES. The same life the Father hath, and that is immortality,—eternal life. God calls man mortal, not immortal. Job 4:17. Man does not of himself possess immortality; but ‘thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,’ there is a way by which ‘mortal man’ may finally be clad in the glorious robes of immortality, and even in this life have within him eternal life. ‘This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON. He that hath the Son hath life; and HE THAT HATH NOT THE SON OF GOD HATH NOT LIFE.’” 1 John 5:11,12.

“None but the righteous have the promise of eternal life, and they possess it just as long as they have Christ within them the hope of glory. Col. 1:27. If they reject Christ and turn from Him they have no eternal life; for no one that cherishes sin has eternal life. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." 1 John 3:15.”

How can we become Immortal?
George W. Rine
Signs of the Times - March 30, 1926, Pg. 10

“That Life is in His Son”
Read the inspired and inspiring assurance given us in verse II, chapter 5, of I John: "This is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." Observe, please, that eternal life is not in us, but IN HIS SON. The reader is aware that most persons,—many of whom love and revere Jesus,—believe that they themselves are deathless, that they possess an immortal personality, or soul. This belief is, however, in flat contradiction to the plain, uniform teaching of Christ through His word. Recall the inspired assertion, "THAT LIFE IS IN HIS SON." How naturally and logically the statements of verse 12 follow, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life"! If I, by faith, have Jesus, I have everything that He has; for in giving His Son, God has, with Him, freely given us all things. (Romans 8:32.) Concerning Jesus, John testifies: "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." John I:4. In receiving Christ, I RECEIVE THE LIFE THAT IS IN HIM, and, as noted above, HIS LIFE IS TIMELESS, ETERNAL. Inevitably, "he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Jesus died for the sins of the whole world in order "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. No words could express more clearly and pointedly the tragic fact that whosoever does not believe in Him will perish, and simply can not have everlasting life. It is evident, therefore, that Jesus is not only the believer's righteousness and justification, but also his life—his immortality.

In chapter I, verse 17, of I Timothy, the Holy Spirit applies the epithets "eternal" and "immortal" to God; but not once in the whole sweep of the Scriptures are those descriptive terms applied to man. In truth, in 1 Timothy 6:16 we are expressly told that GOD ONLY HAS IMMORTALITY. God inhabits eternity, declares Isaiah; hence, all His attributes are timeless, eternal. He is life, He is immortality. Therefore if I ever possess immortality, I must receive it from God through Christ, WHO IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. Of course, Jesus is THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE FATHER, so that He could say, in a very real sense, "I and My Father are one." John 10:30. Now they are one in respect to life, or immortality. Here we are not left to inference. Jesus Himself testifies as follows: As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." John 5:26. Ah. we have a Saviour to whom eternal life—immortality— is ORIGINAL, NATIVE, INHERENT! How fittingly, then, does the Holy Spirit, through Peter, refer to Jesus as "the Prince of life"! That is, Jesus, in God, is the Lord of life— the Author of life, as the margin expresses it. (Acts 3:15.)

Life and Its Origin
George F. Enoch
The Oriental Watchmen and Herald of Health - November 1937

“Jesus, our Lord, while in this world said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." "For as the Father has life in Himself ; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." John 14:6; 5:26. The Father and the Son alone in all the universe have original, underived life. Every living thing, including man, derives life from God.

A noted writer [Ellen White] on religious topics has said: "Christ, who created the world and all things that are therein, is the life and light of every living thing. In Jesus our life is derived. In Him is life that is original, unborrowed, underived life. In us there is a streamlet from the fountain of life. In Him is the fountain of life. Our life is something that we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to Himself. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall, when Christ appears, also appear with Him in glory. And while in this world we will give to God in sanctified service all the capabilities He has given us." [Lt309-1905.7] (bracket supplied by me)

What a wonderful picture! The great invisible God and Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, making His Son the Mediator between Himself and His living universe. He is the "fountain of life." From Jesus Christ life flows out throughout the entire creation, first bringing all things into being and then sustaining them all with His life-giving power.”


The Oriental Watchmen and Herald of Health - November 1937


The Oriental Watchmen and Herald of Health was an Adventist public outreach magazine in India that started around 1910. It was evangelistic in its purposes. The author quotes Ellen White but does not give proper reference but merely states, “A noted writer on religious topics.” The author may have followed EGW's counsel of not making her writings prominent (especially for non-believers).

Above article openly asserts the following: "The Father and the Son alone in all the universe have original, underived life." Yet if we read another article from the same author we see the following: 

“In our text in Hebrews we find revealed our Lord's unique relation to God, the Father, and also His unique mode of DERIVATION from the Father. In another place Paul calls Jesus, "His own Son (Rom. 8:8 )," thus SEPARATING HIM FROM ALL THE CREATED INTELLIGENCES BY AN INFINITE GULF.” — G. F. Enoch [editor], Eastern Tidings, June 1st 1934, ‘This day have I begotten thee’

Here we see yet more evidence that the SDA pioneers and later contemporaries of EGW did not understand the Son of God having original, underived life as teaching unbegottenism.

"The mightiest human being, whatever may be his claim, is not infinite. He cannot understand infinity. Christ plainly stated, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father.” A teacher was once endeavoring to present the exaltation of God, when a voice was heard, saying, “We cannot as yet understand who He is.” The teacher nobly replied, “Were I able fully to set forth God, I should either be a God myself, or God Himself would cease to be God.” — Ellen White {7BC 913.8}

"Connected with God, every instructor will exert an influence to lead his pupils to study God’s word, and to obey his law. He will direct their minds to the contemplation of eternal interests, and open before them vast fields for thought; grand and ennobling themes, which the most vigorous intellect may put forth all its powers to grasp, and yet feel that there is an infinity beyond." — Ellen White {CE 40.3}