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
It should be noted 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.14
Because of these contradictory statements, Seventh-day Adventists have been arguing 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. How could Christ take the nature of Adam both before and after the fall? How could he not possess human passions while at the same time having "all the strength of the passions of humanity?" Even more unsettling, 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.
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). He could not have been tempted in all points like us if he was not like us, having the nature of humanity after the fall of Adam. 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).
Finally, It must be emphasized 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, Review and Herald, Sep. 11, 1888.
10. White, Testimonies vol. 2, p. 509. Same quote is also found in Review and Herald, August 17, 1886.
11. White, Letter 97, 1898, (published in 7BC 926).
12. White, Testimonies vol. 2, p. 201.
13. White, Review and Herald, December 17, 1872.
14. White, Desire of Ages, p. 112.
15. White, Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, p. 13.
16. White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 39.
17. White, Review and Herald, December 15, 1896.
18. White, Review and Herald, Feb. 24, 1874.
19. White, Youth's Instructor, December 20, 1900.
20. White, Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898 (also in 1SM 256). See also Manuscript 93, 1893: Christ took "the nature of man in his fallen condition."
21. White, Spiritual Gifts vol. 1, (1858), p. 25.
22. White, Review and Herald, July 28, 1874, par. 3.
23. White, Spiritual Gifts vol. 4a, (1864), p. 115. This quote was reprinted in Spirit of Prophecy vol. 2 (1877), p. 39. Also in Review and Herald, Dec. 31, 1872.
24. White, Signs of the Times, Nov. 21, 1892, par. 8.
25. White, Manuscript 57, 1890. Released in 1990 (16MR 182).
26. White, Desire of Ages, p. 49.
27. White, Letter 67, 1902. Released in 1932 in Medical Ministry, 181.
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