A Question of Sonship: An EGW Compilation

A Question of Sonship: An EGW compilation


A Question of Sonship:

Today in Seventh-day Adventism it is taught that the pre-incarnate Father/Son relationship between the 1st and 2nd Persons of the Godhead was just a metaphor. For example:

“The term “Son” is used metaphorically when applied to the Godhead” (Angel Rodriguez, “A Question of Sonship” BRI article)

Countless other examples of this type of statement could be given. Yet what does inspiration teach? The following quotes are a compilation from the Spirit of prophecy which reveal to us what Mrs. White’s view of His Sonship was. The headings in bold have been written by myself while the italics in quotes are Mrs. White’s actual wording. I have placed some notes underneath so as to share my understanding of the quote above and/or its implication within the larger system.

The Son in reality:

“When Christ first announced to the heavenly host His mission and work in the world, He declared that He was to leave His position of dignity and disguise His holy mission by assuming the likeness of a man, WHEN IN REALITY HE WAS THE SON OF THE INFINITE GOD…{Lt303-1903.14}

Note: Does being the Son “in reality” sound like a metaphor or a real thing? We leave it to the reader to decide.

The Son of God in an old and new sense:

IN HIS INCARNATION HE GAINED IN A NEW SENSE THE TITLE OF THE SON OF GOD. Said the angel to Mary, “The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”. While the Son of a human being, HE BECAME THE SON OF GOD IN A NEW SENSE. Thus He stood in our world—the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race. {ST August 2, 1905, par. 2}

Note: Many in Adventism today believe that He was not really God’s Son before His incarnation yet if He “gained” the title of Son of God “in a new sense” and “became the Son of God in a new sense” by means of the incarnation then this means that He was the Son of God in an old sense. This is what we are seeking to understand. How was He God’s Son “in reality” before He was begotten as a human? Let’s keep reading.

The Only Begotten Son prior to the incarnation:

"But the Lord's arrangement, made in council with HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, was to leave men free moral agents to a certain length of probation." {RH December 21, 1897, par. 4}

“BEFORE THE ENTRANCE OF EVIL there was peace and joy throughout the universe. All was in perfect harmony with the Creator’s will. Love for God was supreme, love for one another impartial. CHRIST THE WORD, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF GOD, was one with the eternal Father,—one in nature, in character, and in purpose,—THE ONLY BEING IN ALL THE UNIVERSE THAT COULD ENTER INTO ALL THE COUNSELS AND PURPOSE OF GOD… {GC 493.1}

Note: According to inspiration He was the “only begotten Son” also called “the only begotten of God” before the incarnation.

The pre-incarnate Son received the scepter from the Father’s hand:

“This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But HE CHOSE TO GIVE BACK THE SCEPTER INTO THE FATHER’S HANDS, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing. {DA 22.4}

Note: Read carefully friends. This is clearly about the Son before He came to this world. Can you “give back the scepter into” someone’s hands if it was not originally given to you by their hands?

The Father invested His Son with authority:

“The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that he might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon his Son. The Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gathered around them. The Father then made known that IT WAS ORDAINED BY HIMSELF that Christ should be equal with himself; so that wherever was the presence of his Son, it was as his own presence. His word was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son HE HAD INVESTED WITH AUTHORITY to command the heavenly host…{ST January 9, 1879, Art. B, par. 2} Note: The quote above really makes it seem like the Son’s equality with the Father is the result of the Father’s will. Supremacy had been given to Christ: BEFORE the fall of Lucifer, he aspired for THE SUPREMACY THAT HAD BEEN GIVEN TO CHRIST, who was one with the Father in the government of heaven. There was war in heaven, and Satan and all the rebellious angels he had deceived were overcome. Those who had opposed THE WILL OF GOD IN APPOINTING CHRIST AS THE CHIEF RULER were cast out of the heavenly courts, and since that time they have been warring against the Most High. {Lt24-1910.4}

The Son of God was next to the great Lawgiver in authority:

“THE SON OF GOD WAS NEXT IN AUTHORITY TO THE GREAT LAWGIVER. He knew that HIS LIFE ALONE could be sufficient to ransom fallen man…{2SP 9.1}

Satan knew that Christ had the first place next to God:

“... Satan, knowing that CHRIST HAD THE FIRST PLACE NEXT TO GOD, began to insinuate to the angels that he should be next to God. His great beauty and exalted position made him feel that he was not receiving due honor in being second to Christ. Therefore he would suggest this to the angels, and this suggestion [began] to be communicated to the heavenly angels, and finally [it was] brought before God that Lucifer was the one who should be next to God. Thus the seed was sown and the result was that angels sympathized with Lucifer; next, there was war in heaven. Lucifer’s beautiful appearance was constantly exalted and the Lord God of heaven [saw] that Lucifer and his party were very strong against Christ. {Ms90-1910.4}

The Son of God ruled under God:

“The creation of our world was brought into the councils of heaven. There the covering cherub prepared his request that he should be made prince to govern the world then in prospect. This was not accorded him. JESUS CHRIST WAS TO RULE THE EARTHLY KINGDOM; UNDER GOD He engaged to take the world with all its probabilities. The law of heaven should be the standard law for this new world, for human intelligences... {Ms43b-1891 (July 4, 1891) par. 3}

Note: I had never experienced pastors obfuscate the meaning of “under God” until I shared this quote with them.

The Son, even while sharing the Father’s glory, willingly submitted to Him:

“Christ's time to show His divine power had not yet come. HE WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE GLORY HE HAD WITH THE FATHER BEFORE THE WORLD WAS. BUT THEN HE WILLINGLY SUBMITTED TO THE DIVINE WILL, and He was unchanged now {BEcho July 23, 1900, par. 6}

Note: Again many in Adventism today do not understand (or want to accept) the hierarchy that exists within the Godhead. It would appear, when it comes to His authority, there is an “equal” yet “next” to God dichotomy that exists with the pre-incarnate Son of God. He is simultaneously equal in authority and next to Him in authority.

The Son received “all things” from His Father who was the Great Source of all. It was “the Father’s life” that flowed through Him to all created beings:

“But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father hath sent Me, and I LIVE BY THE FATHER.” “I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. 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. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of THE GREAT GIVER, the law of life. {DA 21.2}

Note: Many struggle to grasp that it is the Father’s life that was given to the Son (see John 5:26). Thus He possessed life in Himself just like the Father does and it was His own to do with as He pleased but it is still correctly called “the Father’s life” because God is the great Source of all. Thus the Son could say “I live by the Father” even in reference to His pre-incarnate existence “in the heavenly courts.”

Lucifer tried to deceive the Son of God back in heaven with his sophistry:

“…Lucifer was jealous of Christ and this jealousy worked into rebellion and he carried with him a large number of the holy angels. JESUS, THE SON OF GOD, WAS NOT DECEIVED BY LUCIFER’S SOPHISTRY. HE STOOD TRUE TO PRINCIPLE AND RESISTED EVERY LINE OF REASONING OF LUCIFER AND ALL THE ANGELS WHO HAD TAKEN SIDES WITH HIM, THUS EVIDENCING THAT AS HE STOOD, EVERY ANGEL MIGHT HAVE STOOD. {Ms43b-1891 (July 4, 1891) par. 3}

Note: Here we learn that the Son of God was a separate Being from the Father. Lucifer actually tried to convince Him, the Son, to join him in his rebellion! The Son of God was not deceived by the enemy’s sophistry. Now it is very important that we understand what this attempted deception was about. We can learn of it through what satan tried to do when Jesus was incarnated as a human on the earth.

Lucifer tried to deceive the Son of God again when on earth:

“When Satan and the Son of God first met in conflict, Christ was the commander of the heavenly hosts; and Satan, the leader of revolt in heaven, was cast out. Now their condition is apparently reversed, and Satan makes the most of his supposed advantage. ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL OF THE ANGELS, HE SAYS, HAS BEEN BANISHED FROM HEAVEN. THE APPEARANCE OF JESUS INDICATES THAT HE IS THAT FALLEN ANGEL, forsaken by God, and deserted by man. A DIVINE BEING WOULD BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN HIS CLAIM BY WORKING A MIRACLE; “IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD, command this stone that it be made bread.” SUCH AN ACT OF CREATIVE POWER, URGES THE TEMPTER, WOULD BE CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF DIVINITY. IT WOULD BRING THE CONTROVERSY TO AN END.{DA 119.2}

In taking the nature of man, Christ was not equal in appearance with the angels of Heaven, but this was one of the necessary humiliations that he willingly accepted when he became man’s Redeemer. SATAN URGED THAT IF HE WAS INDEED THE SON OF GOD he should give him some evidence of his exalted character. He suggested that God would not leave his Son in so deplorable a condition. HE DECLARED THAT ONE OF THE HEAVENLY ANGELS HAD BEEN EXILED TO EARTH, AND HIS APPEARANCE INDICATED THAT INSTEAD OF BEING THE KING OF HEAVEN, HE WAS THAT FALLEN ANGEL. He called attention to his own beautiful appearance, clothed with light and strength, and insultingly contrasted the wretchedness of Christ with his own glory. {2SP 91.1}

“He claimed direct authority from Heaven to demand proof of Christ that he was the Son of God. He taunted him with being a poor representative of the angels, much less their high Commander, the acknowledged King in the royal courts; and insinuated that his present appearance indicated that he was forsaken of God and man. HE DECLARED THAT IF HE WERE THE SON OF GOD HE WAS EQUAL WITH GOD AND SHOULD EVIDENCE THIS by working a miracle to relieve his hunger. He then urged him to change the stone at his feet to bread, and AGREED THAT IF THIS WERE DONE HE WOULD AT ONCE YIELD HIS CLAIMS TO SUPERIORITY, AND THE CONTEST BETWEEN THE TWO SHOULD BE FOREVER ENDED.{2SP 91.2}

Note: These inspired quotes help us to understand a core component of the great controversy. Lucifer tried to make the Son of God out to be a son of God like the angels were (a son by creation) instead of a Divine Son (a Son begotten). Please think about it. Did Jesus look anything like an angel here? Of course not! He looked like an emaciated human. So then why did satan say he looked like a fallen angel? It should be apparent that the enemy was going back to the original issue of the controversy! In the quotes above he tried to goad the Son of God into using His Divine power and thus break the plan of salvation, by falsely claiming that if He did so then it would end the war. Lucifer Believed That Christ Was The Son of God While In Heaven: “The statement is made that the devil believed and trembled. He believed that Christ was the Son of God while he was in heaven....{Ms5-1886.10}

Lucifer Went To War Over The Matter of Christ Being The Only Begotten:

"CHRIST WAS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, AND LUCIFER, THAT GLORIOUS ANGEL, GOT UP A WARFARE OVER THE MATTER, until he had to be thrust down to the earth. {Ms86-1910 (August 21, 1910) par. 30}

Note: Here we are told explicitly that the “matter” that Lucifer went to war over was that Christ was “the only begotten Son of God.” Therefore it behooves us to understand this matter ourselves if we would be on the right side of the great controversy.

Lucifer Claimed he Must Be Above The Son of God:

“We had for years to meet this and were always carried back to the experience of the first departure from truth in the history of the fall of Lucifer from heaven. He occupied a special, exalted position in the heavenly courts. He must have no one higher than himself. He must be next to God in efficiency. BUT CHRIST WAS ABOVE HIM, AND HE CLAIMED HE MUST BE ABOVE CHRIST. CHRIST WAS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, UNITED WITH GOD. {Lt157-1910, par. 1}

God the Father Told Lucifer This Was Impossible:

“The Lord bids me to say that there will be a most decided work done by these fallible men who claim infallibility, which is a most seductive error. I am instructed to say to you, All this holding to sentiments of infallibility is a specious device of the angel that was so exalted in the heavenly court. His beauty was so highly exalted that HE THOUGHT HE SHOULD BE AS GOD, AND CHRIST MUST BE SECOND TO HIM; BUT THE LORD INFORMED SATAN THIS COULD NOT BE POSSIBLE. CHRIST WAS HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. [Remainder missing.] {Lt157-1910, par. 7}

“At length all the angels are summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case decided. Satan unblushingly makes known to all the heavenly family, his discontent, that Christ should be preferred before him, to be in such close conference with God, and he be uninformed as to the result of their frequent consultations. GOD INFORMS SATAN THAT THIS HE CAN NEVER KNOW. THAT TO HIS SON WILL HE REVEAL HIS SECRET PURPOSES, AND THAT ALL THE FAMILY IN HEAVEN, SATAN NOT EXCEPTED, WERE REQUIRED TO YIELD IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE. Satan boldly speaks out his rebellion, and points to a large company who think God is unjust in not exalting him to be equal with God, and in not giving him command above Christ. HE DECLARES HE CANNOT SUBMIT TO BE UNDER CHRIST’S COMMAND, THAT GOD’S COMMANDS ALONE WILL HE OBEY. Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving commander. {3SG 37.3}

Satan rebels against Headship of Christ to be his own head:

"Satan is the originator of sin. In heaven he resolved to live to himself. He resolved to be leader. He determined to make himself a center of influence. If he could not be the highest authority in heaven, he would be the highest authority in rebellion against the government of heaven. HEAD HE WOULD BE, TO CONTROL, NOT TO BE CONTROLLED. {RH April 16, 1901 par. 1}

The fallen angels also tried to claim a place above the Son:

The world is becoming more and more corrupt, and we have only a little time in which to work. We have it signalized in San Francisco, in the city that was nearly destroyed. Instead of this experience making them better, it seems that Satan’s agencies have more firmly taken possession of the whole city. It is a terrible thing. It makes our work, to express the value of the truth in practical godliness, tenfold harder, yes, a hundredfold harder, because it seems next to impossible to reach the people. And what does it mean? It means that WHEN THE ANGELS CAME TO CLAIM THE HIGHEST PLACE IN HEAVEN, ABOVE THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, it was not given to them. And because they did not receive it, there was war in heaven, and those that wanted a higher place, to crowd out Christ Jesus, were cast out of heaven because they would not repent and accept the rule of God; and they may be listening to me today. {Ms84-1910 (April 23, 1910) par. 36} Prior to his full blown rebellion the Son of God told Lucifer that God Himself had established the order of heaven:

THE SON OF GOD presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law. GOD HIMSELF HAD ESTABLISHED THE ORDER OF HEAVEN; and in departing from it, Lucifer would dishonor his Maker and bring ruin upon himself. But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined. {PP 35.3}

Satan tried to divorce fidelity to God from the law of God

“While claiming for himself perfect loyalty to God, he urged that changes in the order and laws of heaven were necessary for the stability of the divine government. {PP 38.2}

The fallen angels tried to obscure that Christ was the Only Begotten Son:

“THIS FACT THE [FALLEN] ANGELS WOULD OBSCURE, THAT CHRIST WAS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, and they came to consider that they were not to consult Christ." {TDG 128.2}

Note: Sister White tells us that the fallen angels wanted to obscure the “fact” that Christ was the only begotten Son of God. Again does this sound like metaphor or reality? The next point below will show you why they had to do this. It was necessary in order to make their rebellion seem justified.

Christ is the Son Begotten while the angels are sons created:

"'God so loved the world, that he gave HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON,'-NOT A SON BY CREATION, AS WERE THE ANGELS, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but A SON BEGOTTEN IN THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE FATHER'S PERSON, AND IN ALL THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS MAJESTY AND GLORY, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." {ST May 30, 1895, par. 3}

Note 1: As we have shown previously the Son was the “only begotten” before His incarnation. The quote above proves that the word “begotten” is not synonymous with “creation” for sister White tells us God’s only-begotten Son was NOT a Son by creation BUT a Son begotten. This is contrasting language and stands as a testimony against all who argue that believing in the pre-incarnate begotten Son of God is the same as believing that He was a created being. This is not the case. Inspiration is in harmony with the early SDA pioneer position on this matter.

Note 2: According to the quote above He was a Son begotten IN ALL the brightness of the Father’s majesty and glory. This brightness of God the Father’s majesty and glory is speaking about both HIS OUTWARD RESEMBLANCE (physical features) and by His character (spirituality). After the first quote below, which shows both aspects in the pre-incarnate Son, we will show quotes focusing on His physicality or form. The Son of God in all His glory:

“The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that His life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man. He was of as much more value than man as his noble, spotless character, and exalted office as commander of all the heavenly host, were above the work of man. HE WAS IN THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS FATHER, NOT IN FEATURES ALONE, BUT IN PERFECTION OF CHARACTER.{2SP 9.1}

"The apostle Paul speaks of our Mediator, THE ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, WHO IN A STATE OF GLORY WAS IN THE FORM OF GOD, the Commander of all the heavenly hosts, and who, when He clothed His divinity with humanity, took upon Him the form of a servant." {1SM 243.2}

“BEFORE CHRIST CAME in the likeness of men, HE EXISTED IN THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS FATHER. He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Nevertheless He voluntarily emptied himself, and took the form of a servant…{YI December 20, 1900, par. 4}

“The apostle would call our attention from ourselves to the Author of our salvation. He presents before us his two natures, divine and human. HERE IS THE DESCRIPTION OF THE DIVINE “Who, BEING IN THE FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” HE WAS “THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS GLORY, AND THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON.” {RH July 5, 1887, par. 3}

“BEFORE CHRIST LEFT HEAVEN AND CAME INTO THE WORLD to die, HE WAS TALLER any of the angels. HE WAS MAJESTIC AND LOVELY. But when his ministry commenced, he was but little taller than the common size of men then living upon the earth. HAD HE COME AMONG MEN WITH HIS NOBLE, HEAVENLY FORM, HIS OUTWARD APPEARANCE would have attracted the minds of the people to himself, and he would have been received without the exercise of faith. {2SP 39.2}

Note: Many scholars argue that the ST May 1895 quote is EGW talking about the incarnation but let’s honestly ask ourselves a question. When the Son of God was begotten as an human was it “in all” the brightness of His Father’s glory and majesty? Or did He veil the outward expression, the physical aspects, of His brightness and glory? Let’s allow sister White to answer: The Son divested Himself of His physical glory when entering this world:

"In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. HIS GLORY WAS VEILED, HIS GREATNESS AND MAJESTY WERE HIDDEN, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men. {DA 23.2} Christ came, BUT NOT IN THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS DIVINE GLORY. He laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to live upon the earth as a man among men. HAD HE COME IN THE FULL POWER AND GLORY OF HIS DIVINITY, SINNERS COULD NOT HAVE STOOD IN HIS PRESENCE WITHOUT BEING DESTROYED. He came to meet humanity in its most sinful and corrupt form. Thus divine love was manifested toward erring mortals. {RH September 13, 1906, par. 5}

“…He voluntarily assumed human nature. It was His own act, and by His own consent. He clothed His divinity with humanity. He was all the while as God, but HE DID NOT APPEAR AS GOD. HE VEILED THE DEMONSTRATIONS OF DEITY, which had commanded the homage, and called forth the admiration, of the universe of God. He was God while upon earth, but HE DIVESTED HIMSELF OF THE FORM OF GOD, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man. He walked the earth as a man. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. HE LAID ASIDE HIS GLORY AND MAJESTY. He was God, but THE GLORIES OF THE FORM OF GOD HE FOR A WHILE RELINQUISHED.{5BC 1126.8}

"The Saviour of the world was the King of glory, and HE STRIPPED HIMSELF OF HIS GLORIOUS OUTWARD ADORNING, accepting poverty, that He might understand how the poor are treated in this world... {SWK 85.1}

“But although CHRIST’S DIVINE GLORY WAS FOR A TIME VEILED AND ECLIPSED BY HIS ASSUMING HUMANITY, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man…. {ST May 10, 1899, par. 11}

“This symbol, OBSCURING THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD’S GLORY, FORESHADOWED CHRIST’S APPEARANCE IN OUR WORLD, his divinity clothed with humanity…{YI December 20, 1900, par. 3}

“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…. {RH June 15, 1905, par. 12}

“HAD CHRIST COME IN HIS DIVINE FORM, HUMANITY COULD NOT HAVE ENDURED THE SIGHT. The contrast would have been too painful, THE GLORY TOO OVERWHELMING. Humanity could not have endured the presence of one of the pure, bright angels from glory; therefore Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He came in the likeness of men. {5BC 1131.1}

“Jesus Christ, the Majesty of Heaven, was not discerned in the disguise of humanity. He was the divine teacher sent from God, the glorious treasure given to humanity. He was fairer than the sons of men, but HIS MATCHLESS GLORY WAS HIDDEN under a cover of poverty and suffering. HE VEILED HIS GLORY in order that divinity might touch humanity,…(Youth Instructor, August 22, 1895 par. 4)

"The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidding were His earthly surroundings. HIS GLORY WAS VEILED, THAT THE MAJESTY OF HIS OUTWARD FORM MIGHT NOT BECOME AN OBJECT OF ATTRACTION…{CSA 5.3}

"Christ’s words and acts while He was on earth were a revelation of divine truth. They gave evidence that He had come direct from the most excellent glory; BUT THE GLORY ITSELF WAS CONCEALED.” {ST December 14, 1904, par. 1}

“Jesus Christ, the Majesty of heaven, was not discerned in the disguise of humanity. He was the divine teacher sent from God, the glorious treasure given to humanity. He was fairer than the sons of men, but HIS MATCHLESS GLORY WAS HIDDEN under a cover of poverty and suffering. HE VEILED HIS GLORY in order that divinity might touch humanity,..{YI August 22, 1895, par. 4}

“Christ made it possible when He LAID ASIDE His royal robes, His royal crown, stepped down from His royal throne, clothed His divinity with humanity that humanity might touch humanity. He could not with His glory and majesty take His position among men. The glory must be LAID ASIDE. {RH January 7, 1902, Art. B, par. 2}

“The Son of the infinite God came to this earth, and honoured it with His presence. HE EMPTIED HIMSELF OF HIS GLORY, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and reveal to fallen man the perfect love of God…{BEcho January 14, 1901, par. 9}

“…HE WOULD LEAVE ALL HIS GLORY IN HEAVEN, appear upon earth as a man, humble Himself as a man, become acquainted by His own experience with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted; and that finally, after His mission as a teacher would be accomplished, He would be delivered into the hands of men, and endure almost every cruelty and suffering that Satan and his angels could inspire wicked men to inflict; that He would die the cruelest of deaths, hung up between the heavens and the earth as a guilty sinner; that He would suffer dreadful hours of agony, which even angels could not look upon, but would veil their faces from the sight. Not merely agony of body would He suffer, but mental agony, that with which bodily suffering could in no wise be compared. The weight of the sins of the whole world would be upon Him. He told them He would die and rise again the third day, and would ascend to His Father to intercede for wayward, guilty man. {EW 149.3}

Our sufficiency is found only in the death and incarnation of the Son of God. BY VOLUNTARILY DIVESTING HIMSELF OF HIS GLORY assuming human nature that could suffer and be looked upon by the whole of the heavenly universe, He could suffer, sustained by divinity... {Ms131-1897.4}

Note: Finally we add the following quotations from early SDA pioneers. A careful reader will note the verbatim language seen in Mrs. White's ST May 30, 1895 quote. Mrs. White frequently used literary borrowing and these are the likely sources behind her quote, particularly Waggoner's quote. This is more evidence that she believed that the pre-incarnate Son of God was literally begotten. SDA pioneer quotes:

...A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as "the only begotten Son of God," has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has, to some extent, the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works; and so Christ is the "express image" of the Father's person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self-existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity.

"It is true that there are many sons of God; but Christ is the "only begotten Son of God," and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15); but Christ is the Son of God by birth. (E. J. Waggoner "Christ and His Righteousness pg 12, 1890)

"According to this, Jesus Christ is begotten of God in a sense that no other being is; else he could not be his only begotten Son. Angels are called sons of God, and so are righteous men; but Christ is his Son in a higher sense, in a closer relation, that either of these. God made men and angels out of materials already created. He is the author of their existence, their Creator, hence their Father. But Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father's own substance. He was not created out of material as the angels and other creatures were. He is truly and emphatically the "Son of God," the same as I am the son of my father. This will appear more plain as we proceed" (D.M. Canright, RH June 18, 1867)

In this post we have seen several points which demonstrate that the pre-incarnate Son was begotten. This view is not unreasonable or illogical and the weight of inspired evidence supports it.

In review:

1) Inspiration uses the word “begotten” in a way that differentiates it from “creation.” Thus it is not a contradiction to believe that the Son of God is literally begotten yet not a creation. He is begotten of the uncreated God's substance and thus has all the same attributes as His Father.

2) We have seen that Christ was God’s only-begotten Son before His incarnation and this truth was a special point of satanic obfuscation. If satan sought to obscure it then it follows that he would be working hard to keep this same truth obscured today as well. In fact that is one way in which he can divide the remnant flock as seen in the controversy over women's ordination as church overseers. Other heresies can enter in through unbegotten theology too but I cannot get into them now.

3) Before His incarnation Christ was in all the brightness of the Father’s glory and majesty in both a physical and spiritual sense. His outward resemblance and character were both the glory of His Father.

4) When the Son of God became a son of man He was not begotten in all the brightness of His Father’s glory and majesty because He veiled the physical aspect. He no longer shone with glory and majesty but looked just like other men. He was, however, still the glory of God in terms of His character. 5) EGW uses the same language as the SDA pioneers who held that the pre-incarnate Son of God was begotten. She does, however, differ them them in terms of timing but she never repudiated begotten theology. Let’s continue on with some more quotes:

The Son of God was “made” in the express image of the Father:

“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom HIM WHO WAS MADE IN THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind. {RH July 9, 1895, par. 13}

Note: When we compare this quote to the ST May 30, 1895 quote we see that “begotten” and “made” are being used as synonyms. Christ was “assimilated” to the image of God: Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in the heavenly courts next to Jesus Christ, but Christ was one with God, ASSIMILATED TO THE IMAGE OF GOD to do the will of God. Satan, knowing that Christ had the first place next to God, began to insinuate to the angels that he should be next to God.... {Ms90-1910.4} Note: This is a statement of the pre-incarnate Christ. Notice that Christ was “assimilated” to God’s image. To assimilate means “to bring to a likeness; to cause to resemble; to convert into like substance.” This appears to fit quite nicely with begotten theology. Does it fit with unbegotten theology?

It pleased the Father that all the fullness should dwell in His pre-incarnate Son:

“God is love.” His matchless love for fallen man, expressed in the gift of his beloved Son, amazed the holy angels. Christ was the heir of all things, by whom also the worlds were made. He was the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the “express image of his person.” He upheld “all things by the word of his power.” In himself he possessed divine excellence and greatness; FOR IT PLEASED THE FATHER THAT IN HIM ALL FULLNESS SHOULD DWELL. And Christ “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” YET he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” {BEcho January 1, 1887, par. 2}

Note: Read closely friends! EGW is describing the pre-incarnate Christ to us in order to help us understand why the angels were amazed that God gave Him to the human race. She tells us what He was and what He did.

1) The Heir of all things 2) The One by Who God made the worlds 3) The brightness of the Father's glory 4) The express image of His [the Father's] Person 5) Upheld all things by the word of His power 6) In Himself He possessed Divine excellence and greatness



Then sister White tells us what the pre-incarnate Christ thought of Himself.

"And Christ 'thought it not robbery to be equal with God"

YET (or despite this) what did He the pre-incarnate Christ choose to do? She tells us.

"YET He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant...." and she continues the quote to show that He took this humbling of Himself all the way even to death.

It would appear that God the Father is the One responsible for the fullness being in the Son even in His pre-existence

Christ was the first begotten of the Father:

The writer of these words plainly shows that Jesus Christ is one with the Father. Christ is called the Word. HE IS THE FIRST-BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER. By Him God has spoken unto us in these last days. {Ms111-1903.3}

Christ was the first begotten of God:

“Satan has made men and women his prisoners, and claims them as his subjects. When Christ saw that there was no human being able to be man’s intercessor, He Himself entered the fierce conflict and battled with Satan. THE FIRST BEGOTTEN OF GOD was the only One who could liberate those who by Adam’s sin had been brought in subjection to Satan. {Ms125-1901.68}

Christ was the first born of heaven:

“The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give THE FIRST-BORN OF HEAVEN to save the sinner. This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son. He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men. {DA 51.1}

The Son of God was a part of God Himself:

“Though sin had produced a gulf between man and his God, divine benevolence provided a plan to bridge that gulf. AND WHAT MATERIAL DID HE USE? A PART OF HIMSELF. The brightness of the Father’s glory came to a world all seared and marred with the curse, and in His own divine character, IN HIS OWN DIVINE BODY, bridged the gulf and opened a channel of communication between God and man. The windows of heaven were opened, and the showers of heavenly grace in healing streams came to our benighted world. O what love, what matchless, inexpressible love! {Lt36a-1890.11}

The Son claimed to be “of one substance” with His Father.

“…Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” The words of Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the claim that HE AND THE FATHER WERE OF ONE SUBSTANCE, possessing the same attributes.{ST November 27, 1893, par. 5}

The pre-incarnate Son of God was brought forth:

“Through Solomon CHRIST DECLARED “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I WAS BROUGHT FORTH; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills WAS I BROUGHT FORTH.... When He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment; when He appointed the foundations of the earth; then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” {ST August 29, 1900, par. 14}

“The Lord Jesus Christ, THE DIVINE SON OF GOD, EXISTED FROM ETERNITY, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God. “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,” HE DECLARES, “before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I WAS BROUGHT FORTH; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills WAS I BROUGHT FORTH; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.” {RH April 5, 1906, par. 7}


The quotes above demonstrate that EGW taught that the pre-incaranate Son of God was begotten of His Father. This is why 1 Person of the Godhead is the Father and the Other is the only-begotten Son. This is not role-playing, metaphor or prophecy but an ontological reality. Sister White never repudiated this belief and did not lead the church into unbegotten theology (contrary to the scholarly opinion of some today). In her theology the great controversy actually began over the matter of His Sonship and those seeking to obscure the fact that He was the only-begotten were the apostate angels. Unfortunately this same truth is now being obscured within Seventh-day Adventism. This was not always the case and I believe that the church needs to reexamine the teaching of inspiration and return to the true foundation regarding God and His Son. I will share more on these matters as I have time. Until then I am yours in Christ Jesus. Maranatha! His return is very soon!

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