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8thdaypriest

At the Creation

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The Wanderer
1 minute ago, Gustave said:

If that's all you were saying accept my apology - I welcome your challenges. I'm sorry I took it the wrong way. I thought I was pulling the quotes from the Ellen White website? You are still not seeing them there? 

 

Thank you I will also apologize. Sometimes I hurry when I post, and it can come across as a little  crusty

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Gustave

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Gregory Matthews

Earlier I stated that I would come back later with a response.  This is not that response.  I will probably make that response tomorrow after a bit of research.  But, I will reflect in a couple of  comment, both personal and about the SDA denomination.

I do not consider me to be an expert in much of anything.  but, I do consider myself to be informed on some things.  In addition I do not consider myself to be a so-called theologian.  I am simply SDA clergy who in some respects is able to translate complex doctrinal issues into the simple language of  children and lay people who do not have specialized theological training.  In addition, I have considerable background in working with Catholic and Protestant clergy due to my background as a Federal chaplain.  However, my interest in denominational history is such that I may have a bit more knowledge than many SDA pastors?  

In some of these areas I differ from the typical SDA clergy person.  In other ways, I am probably typical.  E.G.  While there are SDAs who are scholarly theologians, probably most SDA clergy are not.  Generally we do not have the background in any type of in-depth study of the various Church Councils, to include the various issues that divided Christianity in those developing years.

This is clearly similar to what existed in the developing days of the SDA denomination.  It was NOT founded by experienced clergy persons.  Yes, William Miller, who founded the Millerite Movement from which the SDA denomination came, was a Baptist clergyperson.  But, not in the  beginning.  In that beginning  he was little more, as far as theological training is concerned, than a simple farmer who began to  read his Bible, and did it without any help form any books other than a concordance--nothing.

The SDA denomination was founded by youth in their teens and 20s.  Yes, a few older, experienced people came along.  But, few to none had any theological training beyond what they might have been given as a member of another denomination.  Ellen White was born  in November of 1827.  so, during the 1844 Millerite Movement she was only 16 years of age.  James White, whom she married, was born in August of 1821, and he was in his  20s during the Millerite Movement.  The same could be said for other early SDA leaders.

Speaking as a historian, which I am not, I would say that this background has provided context for the SDA church well into the 20th cent.  There is an emphasis upon the idea that truth is not limited as to coming through clergy.   Common members can discover religious truth.  It probably provides context for my comment to the effect that common SDA clergy may not be theologians and my not be really well informed on issues that are important to some from other Backgrounds.

This also provides context for why SDAs are often misunderstood by others.  We can and do speak in confusing terms that are not well understood by others and sometimes not well understood by ourselves.  Yes, it is our own fault, but we do it.

Ellen White was a young, Methodist teen when she become involved in what became the SDA denomination.   She was clearly limited in her understanding in many areas of life.  God, who I believe used her, did not  by a magic lightening bolt clear up her understanding.  God communicated with her in human terms that a female teen, of her social background could understand.  That often included terms that she could understand.

It is clear that Ellen White did not in those early teen years understand the nature off God in a full Trinitarian sense.  I suspect that we today do not fully understand how she understood the nature of God.  I would not challenge one who stated that she probably considered God to have arms and legs.  But, I would challenge any  who built on that to say that God had a digestive system.

One thing that Ellen White did was to state that the nature of God was in some ways beyond our understanding and therefore we should not spend endless hours debating it.  Over time, Ellen White moved into a more orthodox Trinitarian position.

In this time, we as a denomination have moved into a more mature state.  We now have scholars and theologians.  There are a number of areas in which SDAs are strongly debating exactly what is God's truth for us today.  Included in this are studies into the developing days of our denomination to include  to include the nature of God and the Trinity.

 I will, as I previously stated, write more on this subject.   But, for now I think that this may add value to the discussion.

 

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The Wanderer
18 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

This is clearly similar to what existed in the developing days of the SDA denomination.  It was NOT founded by experienced clergy persons.  Yes, William Miller, who founded the Millerite Movement from which the SDA denomination came, was a Baptist clergyperson.  But, not in the  beginning.  In that beginning  he was little more, as far as theological training is concerned, than a simple farmer who began to  read his Bible, and did it without any help form any books other than a concordance--nothing.

The SDA denomination was founded by youth in their teens and 20s.

This was one of the things that first attracted me from the streets to the church. At the time of my baptism; I was a "young people" too, late twenties, and the life I was living was pretty bad, but when I saw that it was essentially founded by young people without advanced theological training, well, I could relate to that and I wanted to be a part of it.

18 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

But, for now I think that this may add value to the discussion.

Your post does indeed add value to the discussion! :)

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The Wanderer
3 hours ago, Gustave said:

Yes, I think you are correct I did enter that exact phrase and some variations thereof when I was at the link I referenced above. I will get back here asap to reply. Thank you! :)

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Gregory Matthews

It appears that this post will be my first in a series of responses that I have stated I will make.  I will say again:  I am neither a scholar nor a theologian.   I am dealing with issues which in some areas I am lightly informed.  So, if I report factual errors, or misunderstandings of the positions of people, I will be glad to be corrected, to include Gustave.   :)

Gustave has challenged us as to the "mutability" of God.  As I understand him, he has claimed that we, at least as related to our early SDA leaders, denied that God was immutable, to include Ellen White.

Christians, generally believe that God is immutable.  IOW, there are central aspects to who God is that are unchangeable.  They remain the same, forever, and under all conditions and circumstances.  An example of this might be that God is good. and God can never change and become evil.

Gustave and SDAs unite in a common agreement that Jesus was God in human flesh, I believe.  If I understand him accurately, he has taken certain statements by Ellen White and, perhaps, other early leaders, to mean that if Jesus had sinned, God would also have sinned and in effect become evil.  Such a statement is a denial of the accepted Christian doctrine that God in immutable and can never sin and become evil.  Considered from this aspect, Gustave has raised a valid and important issue.

I will suggest that the resolution lies in a better understanding of SDA belief in the nature of Jesus as God in human flesh.  First of all, we (SDAs) believe that in the incarnation, the deity present in the nature of Jesus had been "quieted" or as one might say, placed under subjection to God the Father.  In other words, Jesus was as dependent upon the Holy Spirit during his life and ministry as are we.  Of course, there is a difference in that none of us have the same role in spiritual life as did  Jesus.  So, the  Holy Spirit did lead Jesus in directions that we will not be lead.

From this perspective, we see, at the resurrection of Christ,  God the Father,  stating that salvation had been accomplished and it was now time for the God nature of Jesus to awaken and take an active role.

From this perspective, SDA teachings as to the potential for Jesus to sin, relate to that human nature and not to the God nature.  That God nature remained immutable, and incapable of sinning.  The human nature was capable.  If Jesus had sinned in his human nature, salvation would have failed.  The God nature would have    forever remained quiet, and humanity would have been eternally lost.

I do not understand either SDAs or Ellen White as teaching that the God nature of Jesus could have sinned.  However, if I am wrong, I will only say that neither EGW nor any other early SDA leaders were without doctrinal error.  Over time, the doctrinal understanding of EGW, as a young teen did both develop and change.   That can clearly be shown in a number of doctrinal areas.  This is probably true for all of us.  My doctrinal understandings have both developed and changed in the more than 50 years that have passed since I graduated from college.

Feel free to give this some thought and reaction.  I will write more on the issues in which Gustave has challenged us.

As an additional thought:  Some Christian scholars would say that God is immutable in his nature, being, character  and attributes.   But, in the incarnation, God demonstrated that he can  change   how he relates to humanity.  

 

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Gustave
24 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

It appears that this post will be my first in a series of responses that I have stated I will make.  I will say again:  I am neither a scholar nor a theologian.   I am dealing with issues which in some areas I am lightly informed.  So, if I report factual errors, or misunderstandings of the positions of people, I will be glad to be corrected, to include Gustave.   :)

Gustave has challenged us as to the "mutability" of God.  As I understand him, he has claimed that we, at least as related to our early SDA leaders, denied that God was immutable, to include Ellen White.

Christians, generally believe that God is immutable.  IOW, there are central aspects to who God is that are unchangeable.  They remain the same, forever, and under all conditions and circumstances.  An example of this might be that God is good. and God can never change and become evil.

Gustave and SDAs unite in a common agreement that Jesus was God in human flesh, I believe.  If I understand him accurately, he has taken certain statements by Ellen White and, perhaps, other early leaders, to mean that if Jesus had sinned, God would also have sinned and in effect become evil.  Such a statement is a denial of the accepted Christian doctrine that God in immutable and can never sin and become evil.  Considered from this aspect, Gustave has raised a valid and important issue.

I will suggest that the resolution lies in a better understanding of SDA belief in the nature of Jesus as God in human flesh.  First of all, we (SDAs) believe that in the incarnation, the deity present in the nature of Jesus had been "quieted" or as one might say, placed under subjection to God the Father.  In other words, Jesus was as dependent upon the Holy Spirit during his life and ministry as are we.  Of course, there is a difference in that none of us have the same role in spiritual life as did  Jesus.  So, the  Holy Spirit did lead Jesus in directions that we will not be lead.

From this perspective, we see, at the resurrection of Christ,  God the Father,  stating that salvation had been accomplished and it was now time for the God nature of Jesus to awaken and take an active role.

From this perspective, SDA teachings as to the potential for Jesus to sin, relate to that human nature and not to the God nature.  That God nature remained immutable, and incapable of sinning.  The human nature was capable.  If Jesus had sinned in his human nature, salvation would have failed.  The God nature would have    forever remained quiet, and humanity would have been eternally lost.

I do not understand either SDAs or Ellen White as teaching that the God nature of Jesus could have sinned.  However, if I am wrong, I will only say that neither EGW nor any other early SDA leaders were without doctrinal error.  Over time, the doctrinal understanding of EGW, as a young teen did both develop and change.   That can clearly be shown in a number of doctrinal areas.  This is probably true for all of us.  My doctrinal understandings have both developed and changed in the more than 50 years that have passed since I graduated from college.

Feel free to give this some thought and reaction.  I will write more on the issues in which Gustave has challenged us.

 

Thanks Gregory, 

To clarify my position & what I understand to be the position of historic Christianity I have maintained that Christ was not "peccable" (capable of mutation from God to a sinner). Without getting into impassability I have narrowed my assessment of SDA teachings to focus on Ellen White's affirmation that Jesus could have sinned and lost His salvation. I'm saying that my understanding of Scripture and Sacred Tradition shows the SDA position impossible. 

I hold that Jesus was "eternally" subject to the Father - my understanding is not the understanding of the SDA theologians that produced the Symposium on the Trinity which claim that prior to the creation event the 3 Divine persons divided up 3 roles previously alien to them and adopted those roles because humans would better understand God if those roles were adopted (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). 

My position is that because God is a Substance or Nature and God the Son eternally possesses 100% of the Divine Substance ( same as the Father & Holy Spirit ) this nature was not contaminated or "blended" with the human nature God the Son took on or added to the eternal Divine Nature. Essentially God became man without ceasing to be God. The human nature of Christ was perfectly united with the Divine Nature so that there were TWO NATURES in Christ and NOT a new nature that was a combination of the Divine and the human.

IF the SDA Church has somewhere officially stated that Ellen White was wrong about the possibility of Christ sinning and loosing His salvation then I will concede the argument to Gregory and accept that this was just a misunderstanding and an example of someone who made a theological mistake - i.e. this particular teaching spoken about many times in SDA publications and the writings of Ellen White falls outside the Charism of Spirit of Prophecy.   

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Gregory Matthews

Gustave has stated in the quote below:

I agree with the statement below.  That is what I was attempting to say in my longer post. It is what I understand SDA belief to be.

. . . .

his nature was not contaminated or "blended" with the human nature God the Son took on or added to the eternal Divine Nature. Essentially God became man without ceasing to be God. The human nature of Christ was perfectly united with the Divine Nature so that there were TWO NATURES in Christ and NOT a new nature that was a combination of the Divine and the human.

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Gregory Matthews

Ah, more stimulation of thought and discussion, Gusrave:

Peccable:  As I understand the defination of this word, it means, Liable to sin or suceptaible to temptation.

My understanding is as I have stated it, that the human nature of Jesus, which you and I seem to agree that Jesus had both a human and a devine nature, was subject to be tempted.  Neither of us seems to me to believe that the God in the nature of Jesus could have sinned.

However, I beleive that you have opened up another issue on which the SDA denominaiton has been divied to the present day and upon wich the SDA denominaiton has not made a decision as to which is correct.

*  Some SDAs beleive that the human nature of Jesus was like that of the human nature of Adam in Edon.

*  Some SDAs beleive that the human nature of Jesus was similar to the human nature of people lin the time of Christ.

I do not have much to say on this subject.

 

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The Wanderer
12 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

However, I beleive that you have opened up another issue on which the SDA denominaiton has been divied to the present day and upon wich the SDA denominaiton has not made a decision as to which is correct.

*  Some SDAs beleive that the human nature of Jesus was like that of the human nature of Adam in Edon.

*  Some SDAs beleive that the human nature of Jesus was similar to the human nature of people lin the time of Christ.

I do not have much to say on this subject.

There is a reason that scripture does not deal very much with the specific nature (as it pertains to "substance") of God/Jesus?Holy Spirit. IF we were told in scripture somewhere that this actually does matter, then I have missed something. What does matter; is the ROLE that Jesus Himself had declared for Himself:

"...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I am not saying its wrong to ask questions, but when said questions start to interfere with what Jesus HAS declared that IS important, then we are in error

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Gustave
8 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

Ah, more stimulation of thought and discussion, Gusrave:

Peccable:  As I understand the defination of this word, it means, Liable to sin or suceptaible to temptation.

My understanding is as I have stated it, that the human nature of Jesus, which you and I seem to agree that Jesus had both a human and a devine nature, was subject to be tempted.  Neither of us seems to me to believe that the God in the nature of Jesus could have sinned.

However, I beleive that you have opened up another issue on which the SDA denominaiton has been divied to the present day and upon wich the SDA denominaiton has not made a decision as to which is correct.

*  Some SDAs beleive that the human nature of Jesus was like that of the human nature of Adam in Edon.

*  Some SDAs beleive that the human nature of Jesus was similar to the human nature of people lin the time of Christ.

I do not have much to say on this subject.

 

Yes, my definition of peccable is that of yours.

I'm glad we both agree that God could not have sinned and eternally ceased to exist.

The human nature of Jesus was like us in ALL WAYS apart from sin (Hebrews 4,15 and Hebrews 2, 14 - 17).

To be crystal clear I believe that Jesus WAS tempted "by the devil" and likely "by situations", etc. What I'm saying here is that Jesus WASN'T tempted within Himself ( i.e. Christ didn't yearn or lust to sin ). In each case Jesus was tempted He was tempted EXTERNALLY but unlike us the sin didn't PULL at Him because of His desire for sin.

John 14, 29: "And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe. I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not any thing".

Contrasted with

James 1,13: "Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils, and he tempteth no man.  But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death."

This explains how a person indeed CAN BE TEMPTED externally and NOT be tempted internally.

Example: Wanderer, Gregory & Gustave  are not gay but Kyle is;

One evening after a company dinner and drinks Fred ( an attractive young gay man from work ) tries to convince Wanderer, Gregory, Gustave & Kyle to come home with him to conduct gay sex. Because Wanderer, Gregory & Gustave are not gay they are not DRAWN TOWARD Fred's offer - Kyle on the other hand is drawn toward the offer. I.E. Wanderer, Gregory and Gustave were temped by Kyle but NOT TEMPTED to go through with it. In the reverse of this lets say instead of Fred tempting the 3 non gays let's say it was Holly, a super cute 20 year old girl who was known to be wild and loose! Gustave, Wanderer and Gregory are now in the hot seat - they feel the pull and because Lucifer HAS THIS IN THEM the three straight guys have to resist their urge to go through with it. This is how sin works and how it's so easy to throw the book at Kyle because HIS SIN ISN'T OUR SIN - however, Satan doesn't care what the individuals sin is as long as he has SOMETHING in that individual ( sex, money, theft, whatever it is ).

Hope that clarifies my position a bit.

[Gustave, there are many SDAs who would agree with what you have stated in the above post.--GM.]

 

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Gustave
4 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

There is a reason that scripture does not deal very much with the specific nature (as it pertains to "substance") of God/Jesus?Holy Spirit. IF we were told in scripture somewhere that this actually does matter, then I have missed something. What does matter; is the ROLE that Jesus Himself had declared for Himself:

"...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I am not saying its wrong to ask questions, but when said questions start to interfere with what Jesus HAS declared that IS important, then we are in error

IMHO we are told in Scripture that it does matter.

Jesus was / is a Person (ONE PERSON) with two natures. Jesus did not have two minds (James 1,8).

1 John 3,7: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God".

Jesus claims to have told His disciples prior to His death on the cross that there was no possibility of His Failure. Therefore, when Ellen White repeatedly stated that Jesus could have failed & eternally ceased to exist - that would appear to interfere with what Jesus declared.

Luke 24, 25: "Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

Luke 24,44:  "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem".

John 14, 28: "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe".

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8thdaypriest

We search and search for just the right words to explain the nature of Jesus.   Can't say that I've read a perfect explanation - yet.

While doing a study recently into Paul's phrase "under the law", I read the verse in Galatians where Paul wrote that God's Son was "born of a woman, born under the law".  

I had progressed in my study to the point where I now understand "under the law" to mean:  subject to "the law of sin and death".  Essentially that law said, "you sin - you die". 

This was the law for Adam/Eve.  "If you eat of that forbidden tree - you will die."

Paul says, "the law of the spirit of life in Jesus Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death".  If we are "set from from" that law, we are NOT "under" it.  That would be my conclusion.  

Anyway - if JESUS was "born under" that "law of sin and death" - that means IF He had sinned, He would have died eternally.   

Does it also mean that He could have sinned.   I believe so.   There's no point in saying that Jesus was "born under the law (of sin and death)", if He was really not capable of sinning or dying.   He did die.  He died BECAUSE He was "made"  "to be sin".    ALL of Him - not just the human part.   

2 Corinthians 5:21 "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."  (NIV)

I can agree with Gustave, that the nature of Jesus was not "drawn" to sin.   

I believe that such will be our nature, once we are fully indwelt by God's Spirit in the kingdom to come.  And by then we also have new "spiritual bodies".   Without the tired, hungry, sexually stimulated physical bodies we now occupy,  a whopping LOT of temptations would have no pulling power.  

Jesus was born with the spiritual nature of Adam before the Fall, and the physical nature of Abraham/Mary - 4000 years after the Fall.  

Adam was fully indwelt.  So was Christ.       Adam sinned.  Christ did not.  

Jesus was  "tempted in every way, just as we are" (Heb 4:15 NIV).   His temptations were not of a different KIND, they were of a different intensity, and they were suited to fit His identity,  nature, and situation.    

Jesus was tempted to prove Himself - to Satan.  A really dumb temptation - unless the human had gone without food for 40 days, and was starving. 

He was tempted to use His position/status as "commander" of angels, or perhaps also His divine power - to benefit only Himself, by turning stones to bread for His own consumption, something that His covenant with His Father had strictly forbidden.   

He was tempted to put Himself (His flesh) in harm's way,  presuming that His Father would rescue Him - again just to prove (to Satan and his angels) that He was indeed the Son of God.  

He was tempted to avoid all the suffering - to take the easy way to power - by bowing down to Satan --  To give up His mission to save mankind.   Satan's implication was "they're not worth it."  

 

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8thdaypriest

This thread has split into several trails. 

One on Apostolic succession as appointed of God, for church authority.     

One on the history and development of Adventist doctrine on the nature of Christ (including EGW statements). 

One (related) - The nature of Christ., as understood through the Bible.

The original - concerning the Spirit of God, as seen at the creation.  - Kinda got lost.  

I need to do some studying on the topic of succession.  Not ready yet to defend a position.   When I feel more ready, I will start a thread on that subject.  

I will leave the history of Adventist doctrine - to Gregory.

On the nature of Christ, as understood through the Bible - that one I can discuss.  Maybe we can start another thread.  This one seems really cluttered/crowded.  

 

 

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