Brother Akeem James has posted the first of what promises to be more on his view of the Adventist Trinity in The Compass Magaine. We invite you to read exactly what he has to say there. But here we will make a number of observations with additional Scriptural references which he unfortunately did not include.
Akeem states his concern (one which we also truly share) that all who identify themselves with the remnant church and hold dear the conviction of the three angel's messages will agree: there is an everlasting gospel, the good news that our God is a God of love who gave His only Son to be our Saviour, our Brother, our Sacrifice, our Redeemer, our intercessor, and High Priest-King, who has received all things from his Father (John 3:35; Matt 11:27; 28:18). We gladly agree with his choice of Ellen White quotations.
The Divinity of Christ
There are a number of statements made, however, which do not express correctly what he claims is the position of this "growing movement within Adventism." For example, "while Jesus is surely divine, His divinity was contingent on His connection with His Father." Yes, Jesus, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:16), the Son of the most High God (Mark 5:7), the Son of He who established the ends of the earth (Proverbs 30:4), the Son of God in truth (2John 3), the Son of the true and living God (1Thess 1:9,10), the only begotten Son of God who was sent into the world (1John 4:9), "the Son of God which should come into the world" John 11:27, the Son of God who inherited all things from his Father (Heb 1:2) is surely divine! He did not become the Son of God when the Word became flesh. "Unto us a Son is given" Isaiah 9:6.
“God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner.” Desire of Ages p. 51. “Christ is the pre-existent, self-existentBut, "contingent on His connection with His Father"? Yes, that 's what Jesus said. "I live by the Father" John 6:57. "As the Father has life (Greek zoe, everlasting, immortal life) in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in himself" John 5:26. That's why the Son quickens whom he will, just as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them. John 5:21. That's why He can say, "I am the resurrection and the life!" John 11:25. "Christ was invested with the right to give immortality." Youth's Instructor, Aug. 4, 1898. "All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. Desire of Ages p. 21.
Of course Christ was the Son of God from the beginning; He was the Word that was with God. "The Son of God shared the Father's throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both." Patriarchs and Prophets p. 36. "He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zechariah 6:13. This was "the glory [He] had with [the Father] before the world was" John 17:5. The context is in heaven before the creation of this world. "He is before all things" Col 1:17. "The Son of man ascend up where he was before" John 6:62.
“Christ the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,—one in nature, in character, and in purpose,—The Pre-existence of Christ
Ellen White equated the pre-existence of Christ with his divinity. "the pre-existence of Christ before He came to our world" was denied by the First-day Adventists, so she "dwelt particularly upon the divine character of Jesus Christ." Ms53-1890.62. "There are many who deny the preexistence of Christ, and therefore deny his divinity" Signs of the Times March 28, 1894. "...we are believers in Christ, that we do believe in the divinity of Christ, and in His pre-existence." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers p. 253. There was a man who "declared to the people that Seventh-day Adventstis did not believe in the divinity of Christ." Why? because they rejected the trinity. "He was informed that there is not a people on earth who hold more firmly to the truth of Christ's pre-existence than do Seventh-day Advenstists." Review & Herald Dec 5, 1893.5. While she could easily have stated at least once in all her many years and hundreds of thousands of handwritten manuscripts that Christ's life had no beginning, she never expressed it that way. Rather, "Christ's life is not a vapor; it is never-ending, a life existing before the worlds were made." Signs of the Times, June 17, 1897. "In speaking of his pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God." Signes of the Times Aug 29, 1900. Notice, she did not say, There never was a time when the eternal God was not in close fellowship with Christ. That would be quite different.
It is disappointing that Brother James continues to employ unacceptable, non-biblical alternatives to begotten: "created" or "eternally generated." These are unquestionably rejected by the "growing movement within Adventism" that he attempts to adress. He then infers that it is those who have accepted the words of Jesus — that he "came out from God" John 16:27, "came out of the Father" verse 28, "proceeded forth from God" John 8:42, "he which is of God" John 6:46; 8:47 — are repeating Lucifer's attack on the Father and "disputing the supremacy of the Son of God." This is indeed suprising, since it was Satan and his angels, when they "were expelled from heaven...this fact the angels would obscure, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God" Lt42-1910.3. The Great Controversy was started by Lucifer over his jealousy of the power, position, prerogatives and "glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son" Patriarchs & Prophets p. 35. That's why the sneering tempter thrust Jesus with those words, "If you are the Son of God." How ironic, that those who today are championing the true eternal and divine Son of God should be charged with attacking His divinity by those who deny His eternal divine Sonship.
“Christ was the Son of God; He had been one with Him before the angels were called into existence." Patriarchs & Prophets p. 38. “The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father… “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way,” He declares, “before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:” …There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid.” Review & Herald, April 5, 1906."Before the foundations of the world were laid, Christ, the Only Begotten of God" ST Aug 2, 1905
"the Lord’s arrangement, made in council with His only begotten Son" RH Dec 21, 1897
"the only-begotten Son of God must leave His high command in heaven" RH Aug 6, 1895
"If God could have changed this law to meet man in his fallen condition, would He not have done this, and retained His only begotten Son in heaven?—He certainly would." Bible Echo, Feb 8, 1897
Christ the Creator
Colossians 1 features the "Son of His love" verse 13, as the "image of the invisible God" verse 15. This echos Hebrews 1:3 where He is "the express image of His [Father's] person." Thus, Christ, the Son, "by whom also he created the worlds" Heb 1:2, is "just as much a person as God is a person." This is natural. "He has by inheritance obtained a name better than" the angels. Hebrews 1:4. That's why Jesus said, "I have come in my Father's name" John 5:43. "Jehovah is the name given to Christ." ST March 3, 1899.18. Indeed, the Father has given everything into the hands of His Son. The Father is the great Source of all things. "There is one God, the Father, of whom are all things" 1Cor 8:6. Just as David provided all the materials for building the temple, then gave the architectural plans to Solomon, his son, who then actually built the temple. So also, "there is one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things" 1Cor 8:6 again. But I really like the next verse, "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge?" It's everywhere in the Bible. "God who created all things by Jesus Christ" Eph 3:9. "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God" Heb 11:3. "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made" Psalm 33:6. "By him were all things made" John 1:2. "By him were all things created" Col 1:16. He "was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit" 1Cor 15:45. It was the Son of God who breathed into Adam the breath of life. Gen 2:7. It was the Father and Son who created mankind. "After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, “Let us make man in our image.” 3Spiritual Gifts p. 33.2. It is quite amazing to note that these references to the Father and Son are never featured in trinitarian presentations on creation. Instead, the focus is on Genesis 1:2 where "the Spirit of God" moved upon the face of the waters. But remember, "God is a spirit" John 4:24; His Son, who inherited the very same divine nature of his Father, was (and still is) also spirit, for (as he explained to Nicodemus), "that which is born of the spirit is spirit" John 3:6. This is the same law of life for the entire universe.
Christ the Incarnate Word
It was the Word that became flesh; not the God with whom the Word was with in the beginning. Only one being in all the universe has both a divine and human nature by inheritance. That's why the eternal pre-existant divine Son of God is the only mediator between God and men (1Timothy 2:5). Theologians in their efforts to make their theory of triunity work can posit that divinity must be defined by that which has no beginning, but the Word of God demonstrates two great examples of originals and images that contradict that position.
First, only He who had all the fullness of divinity (Godhood) bodily and has partook of the same flesh and blood as those He came to save, can span the great gap between heaven and earth, the Ladder upon which are "ascending and descending the angels of God" John 1:51. The stone (which the builder's rejected) cut out of the mountain without hands (a divine extraction) was exactly the same substance, the same nature, the same age as the mountain from which it came.
“...divine benevolence provided a plan to bridge that gulf. And what material did He use? A part of Himself. The brightness of the Father’s glory came to a world...in His own divine character, in His own divine body” Lt36a-1890.11.Secondly, because of Satan's disputed charges against the Son of God, his position and true Sonship, the Father and Son decided to show the universe the truth. "when God said to his Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus" 1Spiritual Gifts p. 17.1; Early Writings p. 145.1. Again! He had been jealous even before this, when "Christ, the only-begotten of God" was able to enter into the glory that surrounded the Father, but Lucifer could not. So, Christ, the Son, by whom are all things, formed man of the dust of the ground, breathed into him the breath of life, then set him to work. "Name all the animals, Adam." It wasn't long before a pattern developed: every kind had its mate; they were in pairs! But Adam couldn't find a match for himself. "Ah, I was hoping you would notice that. But wait! Boy, do I have a surprise for you!" The Son trusted in his Father's words, "The LORD has said unto me, This day have I begotten you." Psalm 2:7. And from Adam's side the Son of God brought forth one just like Adam in nature, a perfect match for him. Adam awakes and resumes his task of naming. "She shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man." Genesis 2:23.
Angels were watching. What a lesson for them! "For this cause ought a woman to have authority on her head (her husband) because of the angels" 1Cor 11:10. The creation of man and woman, in the manner and sequence in which they were formed and brought forth, one from the other, was especially for the benefit of the angels. That's why Paul begins this observation with these words: "The head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God" verse 3. So often misunderstood, this verse is not justifying male dominance or "headship"; it speaks of source and origin. "A river went out of Eden," it parted into four heads. Genesis 2:10. These were the headwaters, the source of four rivers. Christ is the head of mankind (every man) becasue He is our Creator. The head (source) of Christ is God, his Father. And the source of Eve was Adam.
"The head of the woman is the man" is explained in verse 8. "For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man." This can be true only for the first man and woman. Adam was the only man who did not come forth from a woman; and Eve is the only woman ever to come out from a man! Verse 9 focuses on the sequence. "Neither was the man made for the womn; but the woman for the man." Jesus employed the very same construct in Mark 2:27. "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." Man was formed and brought forth on the 6th day; the Sabbath was made for man on the 7th day. So also, "Adam was first formed, and then Eve" 1Timothy 2:13. Likewise, Jesus said, "My Father is greater than I." Not because the Son is inferior, but because His Father was first. That's all. "From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character." Youth’s Instructor Dec. 16, 1897. Why was the Son a little short of being identical with His Father? Surely, we would not say the Father was a little short. James White knew. "The Father is greater than the Son in that He was first; the Son is equal with the Father becasue he has received all things from Him." Review & Herald Jan 11, 1881.
We are invariably accused of making Christ "a lesser god", an inferior being, "a demi-god" and many other such blashphemous designations. No. The Son of God is "the outshining of His [Father's] glory" Heb 1:3, "equal with God" because "God is his Father" John 5:18. The Son of the most High is "equal with God" because He is "in the form of God" Phil 2:6. He is 100% divine because "he and the Father were of one substance, possessing the same attributes." Signs of the Times Nov 27, 1893.5. He didn't become the Son of God in Bethlehem's manger; the Son of God came from heaven to become the Son of man. It was the Son of God who was incarnated.
"Meditate upon the incarnation of the Son of God, who, though equal with the Father, for our sakes became poor" PH152 Special Testimonies Concerning the Work and Workers of the Pacific Press 1897 p. 42
"the incarnation of the Son of God in humanity" Review & Herald, Oct 22, 1895; Letter 43, 1895. 5BC p. 1133
"by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled." Desire of Ages p. 161
"the incarnation of the Son of God. God gave His Son" Ms76-1903; 6BC p. 904
"He clothed His divinity with humanity and thus became the Son of man” Review & Herald March 8, 1881
"by partaking of our nature He became the Son of man, the Son of Adam" Ms58-1896; 17MR p. 25
"He became flesh, even as we are. ..yet He was the blameless Son of God." Desire of Ages p. 311
"Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" 1John 1:3
Grace and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love. 2 John 3