Contradictory Statements on the Nature of Christ
By Brother Anderson
The human nature of Christ is a very important consideration. Mrs. White, in her writings, took two contradictory positions on the nature of Christ.
Christ took man's UNFALLEN nature
Below are quotes from Ellen White indicating Jesus assumed an unfallen human nature:
"We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ."1
Mrs. White took the unique position that in order for Jesus to defeat Satan as the second Adam, it was necessary for him to come to earth having the same nature as the first Adam, which was an unfallen nature.
"He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man."5
From these quotes it appears Ellen White believed Jesus had the same nature as Adam before the fall, a perfectly sinless human nature without "propensities" (inclination or natural tendency) to sin. That would make Jesus fundamentally unlike us, who are born with the propensity to sin.
Christ took man's FALLEN nature
Oddly enough, Mrs. White also wrote a similar number of statements where she takes the exact opposite position, that Jesus had taken human nature in its fallen condition:
"Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal."9
Because of these contradictory statements, Seventh-day Adventists have been fighting with each other about the nature of Christ for decades. It is impossible for both sets of statements to be inspired because they are diametrically opposed to each other. Furthermore, both viewpoints appear nearly simultaneously in time in Mrs. White's writings over a 30-year time frame, so it does not appear her understanding evolved over time.
For reference, the Bible indicates Jesus took the fallen nature of man, with a propensity (or tendency) to sin. This is why Scripture tells us that Jesus was a High Priest who could relate to our "infirmities" because he was "in all points tempted like as we are." (Hebrews 4:15). Here is additional Biblical evidence:
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. 8:3)
Note: It should be understood that although having the propensities of the fallen human nature, Jesus never sinned, for He was "without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
1. Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 256. Also, Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898, par. 15.
2. White, Signs of the Times, May 29, 1901, par. 11.
3. White, Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 509.
4. White, Signs of the Times, Jan. 6, 1881.
5. White, Signs of the Times, May 29, 1901.
6. White, Youth's Instructor, April 25, 1901.
7. White, Review and Herald, July 28, 1874.
8. White, Letter 8, 1895, p. 14. Found in Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, p. 18.
9. White, Desire of Ages, p. 112.
10. White, Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, p. 13.
11. White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 39.
12. White, Review and Herald, December 15, 1896.
13. White, Review and Herald, Feb. 24, 1874.
14. White, Youth's Instructor, December 20, 1900.
15. White, Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898.
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