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Questions On Doctrine


II. Questions About Christ

Deity and Eternal Pre-existence of Christ



It is frequently charged that Seventh-day Adventists deny the actual deity and eternal pre-existence of Christ, the Eternal Word. Is this contention true? Do you believe in the Trinity? Please give the Biblical basis for your beliefs.


I. Believers in Deity of Christ and Trinity

Our belief in the deity and eternal pre-existence of Christ, the second person of the Godhead, is on record in our "Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists," appearing annually in our official Yearbook and in our authoritative Church Manual (1951 ed., pp. 29-36). Moreover, those who are baptized into the Adventist Church subscribe to the "Summary of Doctrinal Beliefs" appearing on our standard Baptismal Certificate, article 2 of which reads:

Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, and the eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour from sin; and man's salvation is by grace through faith in Him.

The candidate signs this statement, in affirmation of belief, before baptism. And in Appendix A, on pp. 641-645, appears a compilation of statements on the deity and eternal pre-existence of Christ and His position in the Godhead from one of our most representative writers, Ellen G. White.


As to Christ's place in the Godhead, we believe Him to be the second person in the heavenly Trinity—comprised of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who are united not only in the Godhead but in the provisions of redemption. A series of succinct statements on the Trinity also appears in Appendix A, "Christ's Place in the Godhead," clearly presenting (1) that Christ is one with the Eternal Father—one in nature, equal in power and authority, God in the highest sense, eternal and self-existent, with life original, unborrowed, underived; and (2) that Christ existed from all eternity, distinct from, but united with, the Father, possessing the same glory, and all the divine attributes.

Seventh-day Adventists base their belief in the Trinity on the statements of Holy Scripture rather than on a historic creed. Article 2 of the statement on Fundamental Beliefs, is explicit:

That the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of redemption. Matt. 28:19.

Another representative statement appears in the "Summary of Doctrinal Beliefs" on the Certificate of Baptism

1. The true and living God, the first person of the Godhead, is our heavenly Father, and He, by His Son. Christ Jesus, created all things. (Matt. 28:18, 19; 1 Cor. 8:5, 6; Eph. 3:9; Jer. 10:10-12; Heb. 1:1-3; Acts 17:22-29; Col. 1:16-18.)


2. Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, and the eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour from sin; and man's salvation is by grace through faith in Him. (Matt. 28:18, 19; John 3:16; Micah 5:2; Matt. 1:21; 2:5, 6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:11, 12; Eph. 1:9-15; 2:4-8; Rom. 3:23-26.)

3. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, is Christ's representative on earth, and leads sinners to repentance and to obedience of all God's requirements. (Matt. 28:18, 19; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom. 8:1-10; Eph. 4:30.)

II. Biblical Basis for Belief in Deity of Christ

The deity of our Lord Jesus Christ is established by at least eleven separate lines of evidence, which, taken collectively, completely establish His deity. These are:

1. Acknowledgment of the Title "Son of God" by Christ Himself.—While here among men Christ acknowledged Himself to be the Son of God (Matt. 27:41-43; John 5:23; 9:35-37; 10:36; 17:1). He confirmed the testimony of others that He was the Son of God (Matt. 16:15-17; John 1:32-34, 48, 49; 11:27). And numerous other statements attest the fact that He was what He declared Himself to be—the Son of God (Matt. 3:16, 17; John 19:7; 20:30, 31; Acts 9:20; Rom. 1:1-4; 2 Cor. 1:19; Heb. 4:14; 2 Peter 1:16, 17).

Christ employed the title "Son of God" without the slightest reservation, and with the utmost freedom and frankness. It is the one title that embodies, in a most explicit way, His unique relationship to the Father.

2. Application to Jesus Christ of a Score of Names and Titles Restricted to Deity.—In the Old Testament some 70 names and titles are ascribed to Jesus Christ, and in the New Testament some 170 more. Those restricted exclusively to Deity include


"God" (John 1:1); "God with us" (Matt. 1:23); "the great God" (Titus 2:13); "God blessed for ever" (Rom. 9:5); "Son of God" (some 40 times); "only begotten Son" (five times); "the first and the last" (Rev. 1:17); "Alpha and Omega" (Rev. 22:13); "the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:13); "Holy One" (Acts 3:14); "Lord" (used constantly); "Lord of all" (Acts 10:36); "Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8); "King of glory" (Ps. 24:8-10); "Wonderful" (Isa. 9:6); "Everlasting Father" (Isa. 9:6); "Word of God" (Rev. 19: 13); "Word" (John 1:1); "Emmanuel" (Matt. 1:23); "mediator" (1 Tim. 2:5); and "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16).

3. Ascription to Christ of Attributes Belonging Solely to Deity.—These include omnipotence (Matt. 28:18), omniscience (Matt. 9:4), omnipresence (Matt. 18:20), immutability (Heb. 13:8)—appearing in scores of texts.

4. Ascription to Christ of Offices and Prerogative Possessed and Exercised Only by Deity.—These embrace creation of the universe (John 1:1-3); preservation of the universe (Heb. 1:3); right and power to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-12); right and power to judge all men (Acts 17:31); authority and power to raise the dead (John 5:28, 29); to transform our bodies (Phil. 3:21); to bestow immortality (1 Cor. 15:52, 53).

5. Application of the "I AM" of the Old Testament to Jesus Christ in the New.—When Christ told the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I am," (John 8:58), He was claiming deity, and His hearers
*Christ's equality with God the Father is demonstrated in many different ways in the New Testament.
1. To honor the Son is to honor the Father (John 5:23).
2. To see Christ is to see God (John 14:7-9).
3. To know Christ is to know the Father (John 14:7).
4. To believe in Jesus is to believe in God (John 12:44).
5. Christ does the same things as does the Father (John 5:19).
6. Christ raises the dead as does the Father (John 5:21).
7. Christ has life in Himself as does the Father (John 5:26).


recognized the implications of His words, for they took up "stones to cast at him"—the Jewish punishment for high-handed blasphemy. He obviously used the words of God in the Old Testament, "I AM THAT I AM" (Ex. 3:14), long recognized as the symbol of deity, applying to Himself the attribute of self-existence.

6. Identification of Jehovah of the Old Testament with Jesus in the New.—There are a number of Old Testament texts containing the name Jehovah that have been applied by New Testament writers to Jesus Christ.

The word "Lord" (Yahweh) in Psalm 102:22, and the related verses 25-28, is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 1:10-12. The same divine name (Yahweh) appears also in Habakkuk 2:2, 3, and is applied to Christ in Hebrews 10:37.

Three other instances where either Yahweh or Elohim are applied to our Lord can be seen in the following: In Jeremiah 31:31 Yahweh is used, and is referred to the work of Christ in Hebrews, chapters 8 and 10. The reference to Yahweh in Haggai 2:6 is also Messianic, and is applied to the work of  Jesus in Hebrews 12:26. The divine name Elohim in Psalm 45:6, 7, is applied to the Son of God in Hebrews 1:8, 9.


7. Name of the Son Coupled, in the New Testament, in Full Equality* with the Father.—This appears in the apostolic benediction (2 Cor. 13:14); the baptismal formula (Matt. 28:19); and in other texts where their names are united.

8. Declared Sinlessness of Jesus Christ Throughout His Life Among Men.—This was clearly foretold in the Old Testament (Ps. 45:7; Isa. 53:9; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 9:9). And it was expressly declared in the New Testament—as the "Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24), "holy thing" (Luke 1:35), "holy child Jesus" (Acts 4:27), "hath done nothing amiss" (Luke 23:41), "no unrighteousness . . . in him" (John 7:18), "Holy One and the Just" (Acts 3:14), "knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21), "without spot" (1 Peter 1:19), "without blemish" (1 Peter 1:19), "did no sin" (1 Peter 2:22), "separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26).

9. Divine Worship and Prayer to Jesus, Which Is Due Only to God..—There were many instances where Jesus Christ, as God and Creator, without hesitation accepted worship which even angels as well as good men, as creatures, declined with fear and horror (Rev. 19:10; Acts 10:25, 26). The prerogative of deity was assumed and asserted throughout Jesus' New Testament life in a score of instances (Matt. 14:33; 28:9, 17).

10. The Awareness of Christ Concerning His Divine Person and Mission.—At twelve He recognized God as His Father (Luke 2:41-52); at thirty this awareness of His divine mission was revealed at His baptism (Matt. 3:13-17); it appears in the record of the temptation (Matt. 4:1-11); in the calling of the twelve and the seventy; in claims of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 to 7).


11. Convergence of Multiple Old Testament Prophetic Specifications as Fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Constitutes the Culminating Evidence.—Quite a number of separate, specific, and minute predictions pinpoint Him as the One who was to come from God (such as Isa. 7:14; 9:6).

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