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

"He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man."2 (Note: As Adam before the fall)

"Not possessing the passions of our human, fallen nature, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points even as we are."3

"He felt the disgrace of sin as much more keenly than it is possible for man to feel it, as his divine and sinless nature was exalted above the nature of man."4

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

"When Christ bowed His head and died, He bore the pillars of Satan's kingdom with Him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory."6 (Note: Adam had an unfallen nature in Eden when Satan defeated him)

"When Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden he was without the taint of sin.... Christ, in the wilderness of temptation, stood in Adam's place to bear the test he failed to endure."7

"Do not set him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God."8

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

"By thus taking humanity, he honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature, he showed what it might become, by accepting the ample provision he has made for it, and by becoming partaker of the divine nature."10

"It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon himself the form and nature of fallen man."11

"Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those He wished to save. In Him was no guile or sinfulness. He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He took upon Him our sinful nature. Clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might associate with fallen humanity."12

"He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who (had) triumphed over Adam."13

"He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin."14

"In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin."15

Analysis

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.

Bible's position

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)

"Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Heb. 2:17)

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)

Citations

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.

Category: Contradictions
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