|Our Wonderful God|
The following is dealing with some issues Martin has presented to me on the understanding of the Trinity. It begins with the supposition that since the Pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church first spoke against the Trinity, therefore it is a false doctrine, and the church has "left the truth" by believing in the trinity. Then the discussion moves into the concepts of
EGW believes that Christ is the Eternal Rock and Eternal Word
What does the phrase mean --"only begotten"
Is Christ everlasting or is He "pro-created"? For pro-created means "begotten".
And what does it really mean "From the Foundations of the earth?"
The answer to these questions underlies the whole way we interpret certain phrases in the Bible.
That is an over simplified statement to cover what actually took place.
Nor is it true that trinity doctrine was not introduced until after EGW died. As we mentioned on other pages on this website, it was EGW herself, who gently pushed the understanding of the trinity.
First, what was James writing against?
To assert that the sayings of the Son are the commandments of the Father is as wide from the truth as the old Trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and Eternal God.
We agree that Christ’s sayings did not replace the ten commandments from Sinai. But did EGW counter James’ mistaken concepts?
It is true that in 1846 James White declared that Christ was not the eternal God, but the Son of the eternal God. While EGW agrees with her husband that Christ is not the SAME PERSON as God the Father, she does NOT teach that He had a beginning but upholds that He is ETERNAL AND SELF-EXISTENT.
While the pioneers say, Christ is not eternal, all the while EGW is writing that
CHRIST IS THE ETERNAL ROCK,
1 Cor.10:4 “that Rock was Christ.”
To the astonishment of the heavenly host the eternal Word came to this world as a helpless babe. Fully prepared, He left the royal courts and mysteriously allied Himself with fallen human beings. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:14.
Wondrous combination of man and God! …What humility was this! It amazed angels. The tongue can never describe it; the imagination cannot take it in. The eternal Word consented to be made flesh! God became man! It was a wonderful humility!
That is interesting for EGW NEVER once rebuked those who taught the trinity, we just saw that she never gave support to the attack on the trinity.
NOT ONCE DID EGW DENOUNCE THE TRINITY! NOT ONCE DID SHE SAY IT WAS A DOCTRINE FROM BABYLON! On the other hand we do see that she did speak of the “three powers” and “heavenly trio” “the Holy Spirit being the third person in the Godhead” that Christ was "co-equal" with the Father with "life unborrowed, underived," that He was the "Self existent ONE".
In reading her writings one comes to see that she does not OUTRIGHT tell them they are wrong in condemning the Trinity, but she, using “different words” in consistently upholding the concept of the TRINITY.
Councils on Health p. 222
The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption.
Martin writes:. SHE (EGW) taught herself that Christ was BEGOTTEN before he was sent into the world.
The Bible and every Bible student uses the word “begotten”. Trinitarians use the word “begotten”. Therefore the fact that people quote this word and say this word, does NOT mean they belief Christ was literally pro-created and that there was a time when God was alone.
I asked Martin:*** Did Paul actually give birth in (1 Corinthians 4:15 and Philemon 1:10) for he says he has “begotten” and that they are his “sons”?
1 cor. 4.14-15
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
Yet, no one believes Paul actually “begot” these people in a literal sense.
#3439 “monogennes” (One or only begotten) is used in verses like John 3:16. This implies the concept of pre-eminence and uniqueness.--“THE CHIEF”
Isaac was called Abraham’s ONLY begotten son, but Isaac was neither the first nor the last, nor the only, of Abraham’s sons, the term shows His pre-eminent status.
Psalms 89:20-27 David is called the "first born".
2 Timothy 2:8 2.8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel."
Yes, Christ was born in Bethlehem, of the seed of David in the incarnation. Yes, He did cry to God, "You are my Father, my God," (Ps. 89:26) as He stood in His humanity, at the head of the human race, during the incarnation , as the CHIEF, the Prince, the ONE having the preeminence in all things.
Quite obviously "firstborn" is a figurative or metaphorical expression that does not necessarily imply a literal first "birthing". Paul used the word "begotten" twice in a spiritual sense. Obviously he did not use the words, “begotten’ to mean literal birth.
Also Christ is said to be the “FIRST BEGOTTEN” of the dead. Rev. 1:5 . What does that mean? Christ was not the first one raised from the dead, we have several Bible stories of people being raised from the dead.
Colossians helps us to understand this concept of "first begotten":
Does this mean Christ is literally born--given birth to, by God? Some will take these texts and the texts speaking of Christ as the "SON" of God, to say God actually gave birth.
Now read and compare the above verse with Colossians 1:18 which is just three verses down and see it in context.
“For by Him were all things created. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Christ is the resurrection and the life! John 11:25
Christ is the resurrection and the life! John 11:25
Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, "I am the resurrection, and the life." In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. "He that hath the Son hath life." 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life.
Martin tried to explain away these statements saying:
“It is a fact that a person may exist and yet have no conscious awareness or any visible appearance. This is true of all human beings who pre-existed genetically in their immediate parents and even in Adam just as Levi pre-existed in Abraham (Heb. 7:9). Likewise, Christ was still regarded as a Person while a mere embryo in the womb and even as He lay dead in the tomb although in both instances He had neither consciousness nor appearance. This raises the question: couldn’t it be possible that in some mysterious sense beyond the comprehension of finite human beings, Christ pre-existed as a Person immanent within the Father’s bosom and was subsequently begotten as the mono-genes? The Apostolic Fathers, who lived nearest to the New Testament writers, who knew them and heard them speak, saw no tension in the paradox of the eternity of Christ and the fact that He was the literal begotten Son of God the Father. They simply believed that Christ pre-existed as the thought of the Father who was made audible (begotten) as the Word, an independent Being without leaving the Father empty of His mind. ---------------------
Martin tried to explain away these statements saying:
“It is a fact that a person may exist and yet have no conscious awareness or any visible appearance. This is true of all human beings who pre-existed genetically in their immediate parents and even in Adam just as Levi pre-existed in Abraham (Heb. 7:9). Likewise, Christ was still regarded as a Person while a mere embryo in the womb and even as He lay dead in the tomb although in both instances He had neither consciousness nor appearance. This raises the question: couldn’t it be possible that in some mysterious sense beyond the comprehension of finite human beings, Christ pre-existed as a Person immanent within the Father’s bosom and was subsequently begotten as the mono-genes? The Apostolic Fathers, who lived nearest to the New Testament writers, who knew them and heard them speak, saw no tension in the paradox of the eternity of Christ and the fact that He was the literal begotten Son of God the Father. They simply believed that Christ pre-existed as the thought of the Father who was made audible (begotten) as the Word, an independent Being without leaving the Father empty of His mind.
---------------------This remark of course throws into question the whole concept of eternity.
If being in someones thoughts means "we are in existance" would this not move us into the "spiritualistic" concepts that we are also eternal?
The Lord said to Jeremiah, “
Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you. Jer. 1.5
If Christ is not eternal, and to live eternally is only a mythical unreality or concept which can mean we are only on someone's mind, how can we even be sure that there is actual everlasting life in the future---?
The reference to the everlasting fires of hell which cause annihilation that is everlasting, but do not burn everlastingly, show that the opposite of eternal life is eternal death. The fire doesn't last for eternity, but the DEATH it imposes is a REAL and FINAL death. Everlasting life, on the other hand means REAL, LIVING LIFE that lasts forever. To compare the fire itself, that brings everlasting death as the focus of the meaning of "everlasting" simple leads to a belief that there is no such thing as eternal life either. So the whole concept of everlasting life is confused, for if not even Christ was eternal; but only a thought in God’s mind, what assurance do we have that we won't just be a thought with no real existance?
Actually the above reasoning is very much in line with Greek thought. In Greek philosophy their term LOGOS, or “word” also meant “sense of reason” or “thought immanent in the supreme Godhead”. Platonic theorizing had developed quite a philosophy along these lines of the One transcended God, “Divine idea of all ideas”, the archetype of the universe, and the revelation or forthcoming, the clothing of thought, the manifestation of reason personified in the “bringing forth“ of “demiurges“. It was through these “demiurges” that the ideas from the mind of God were created into “matter” which of course the gnostics considered as “evil” and the great God could not “soil himself” with this matter, so from His mind He projected agents, the Logos, etc. to do this work for Him.
This Greek philosophy was the “in” way of thinking back in the first centuries and we see their line of reasoning emanating from the schools of higher thought, especially from Alexandria were gnosticism was strong.
John, however, begins his gospel with an emphatic declaration that Christ, The Word, is an absolute Eternal Being. In the beginning the Word was there. He does not say “in the beginning the Word was brought forth”. No, In the Beginning the Word WAS!
Before Creation, Christ was APPOINTED (not created or generated or birthed) as the ONE to unite created beings with God. The One to MANIFEST GOD to the created beings.
1 Peter 1.18-20 Rev. 13.8
So yes, before the earth was created Christ was set forth as the surety for our salvation. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth, foreordained before the foundation of the world. Who was manifested upon earth as the Son of Man and the Son of God.
Martin wrote, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9) -----------------------
Martin wrote, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9)
-----------------------We could ask some of the same questions-- the anti-Trinitarians ask:
Who is the LAMB OF GOD? Revelation pictures a LAMB in heaven.
These WORDS and titles, of course represent marvellous truths, but are we going to take them to there extreme literalness--
Thus too--the SON OF GOD-- the term is full of meaning, but are we going to take it to it’s extreme literalness and deny the eternal Godhood of Christ WHO IS ONE WITH THE FATHER?
You may think the above foolish as the meaning of “Lamb of God” seems obvious -- how can anyone not understand it-- yet why use that same senseless reasoning to deny that Christ is eternal, self-existing God, ONE WITH THE FATHER and the Holy spirit?
God the Father bears witness to Christ’s deity when He addresses Him as God.
“Unto the Son, he say, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever…and thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” Heb. 1:8-10
Genesis begins with “In the beginning GOD----
John says: In the beginning was the WORD----
Christ said HE IS THE “I AM” in John 8:58
“It is important to observe the distinction between the two verbs (was, am). Abraham’s life WAS under the conditions of time, and therefore had a temporal beginning. Hence, Abraham came into being , or was born (genes Thai) Jesus’ life was from, and to eternity. Hence the formula for absolute, timeless existence, I am (ego eimi)’ Wordsworth’s Greek Testaments says” “Before Abraham was born, I AM. It would seem that the words “ego eimi (I AM) are used by our Lord three times (v. 23,24,28) in this chapter to signify HIS OWN DIVINE PRE-existence. I AM, meaning --from everlasting, and His co-existence with the Father…Why did He not say, before Abraham I was, instead He says I AM? Because He uses this word, “I AM” as His Father uses it; for it signifies perpetual existence, independent of all time…The Deity has no past or future, but a perpetual present, and therefore He uses the present tense, and says “I AM”
God himself was crucified with Christ; for Christ was one with the Father. Those who reject Christ, those who will not have this man to rule over them, choose to place themselves under the rule of Satan, to do his work as his bond slaves. Yet for them Christ yielded up his life on Calvary.
Martine writes: ---------------------
---------------------Christ was appointed before the foundations of the earth were created to be surety for man, as we showed from scripture earlier. These texts simply affirm that Christ was God, with God, One with the Father all through the OLD TESTEMANT--
The Greek word which was translated “came out” means this: “to come forth from physically, arise from, to be born of.”* The Greek word which was translated “come” means this: “to come from one place to another.”*
The Greek word which was translated “came out” means this: “to come forth from physically, arise from, to be born of.”* The Greek word which was translated “come” means this: “to come from one place to another.”* ________________________The word is translated “go out” 82 times, “go forth” 25 times, “come out” 30 times, “depart” 30 times, “come forth” 9 times. Examples of it’s use:
I really don’t see the term used as a “birth” word, for even Matt. 1:21 where Mary “brings forth” a Son, uses #5088 not #1831.
In John 16:27 Christ came forth FROM HEAVEN--From the FATHER when He came to this world.
This was the whole issue facing the people as Christ walked those dusty roads in Israel. Would people recognize that HE CAME FORTH FROM HEAVEN ITSELF INTO THIS WORLD--THAT HE CAME FROM THE VERY THRONE OF GOD, for scripture tells us that Rev. 7.17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne. He came from the “bosom” of the Father-- that means from His embrace, not “being born”. He come forth from God into this world and He is going back to the Father. When He goes back -- He is returning to where He came from. He is not getting “unborn”.
Martin writes: ________________
________________Does this mean God literally gave birth to Christ?
As we've already pointed out, Firstborn here, does not mean God began giving birth, no, it means pre-eminence.
The context makes clear that Christ is the agent of creation, he is not created (or pro- created.)
By the way my Webster’s dictionary reads: “PRO-CREATE,--- to beget or bring forth (offspring): propagate: to beget or bring forth offspring: reproduce. So to say Christ was literally “begotten” or brought forth into existence, means He was PRO-CREATED. Yet Christ is the agent of creation, which at once places Him above it. In this case the word “first born” must be understood in the sense of “supreme” rather than in the temporal sense of “born before”. This is further verified by the word “pre-eminence. That in all things He might have the PRE-EMINENCE. Yet there is a sense in which the incarnate Christ became part of the creation over which He is sovereign.
Martin wrote: ___________________
___________________(The word #1096, is rather a common word used in a variety of ways including “to be” 249 times, “come to pass”, 83 times. “Be made” 69 times, “be ordained to be” 1 time, “arise” 16 times, “preferred” “3 times. I really don’t see how this proves anything.
__________________________Beautiful verse proclaiming the eternal existence of Christ.
“But thou, Bethlehem, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2) Martin tries desperately to get the word “origin” --meaning “had beginning” in there. But the text does not say that.
This text (in context) is contrasting the earthly kings of Israel who live for short periods of time, (the ruler of Israel is smitten on the cheek, he will be defeated and crushed) but in due time a RULER is to arise in Israel, coming forth out of Bethlehem WHO, unlike the earthly kings who are born and die, does not have His origin there in Bethlehem, but comes from everlasting. His origins are eternal not temporal, limited in time. This verse is a “contrast” verse-- contrasting the “beginnings” of kings, against the “eternal” who was there before “days” began, is the ONE who will come forth in Bethlehem.
The words “come forth” #3318, out of thee shall "come forth" mean to (appear, come forth).
Whose "goings forth" #4163 (motsaoth) “outgoings” (Youngs Concordance) “brought out,” “going forth” “proceeded out,” are from days everlasting. This shows that there was never a time when He was NOT going forth-- (from all the days of the earth, Christ was ordained to be the “lamb, slain from the foundations of the earth“-- going forth to save mankind).