One God, One
The Bible picture of God. The loving Father. The obedient Son. One in Spirit.
The Trinity, we are told, is an impenetrable, incomprehensible mystery.
The Bible, however, says that it is man's salvation through God's incarnation which is a mystery.
"Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1Tim 3:16; Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began Rom 16:25; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself Eph 1:9
This is the mystery of Christ for which Paul was in bonds, the mystery of the faith. Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: Col 4:3; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 1Tim 3:9
The union of the Church with Chirst like a husband and wife is a great mystery. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church Eph 5:31,32; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints Col 1:26,27
The knitting of hearts in union together in love is the mystery of God the Father and the Son. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ Col 2:2
The grafting of Gentiles into the Church as fellow heirs is a mystery. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Romamns 11:25; How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Eph 3:3-6
The translation of the living at Christ's return is a mystery. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed 1Cor 15:51
But those who endeavor
to fathom the mysterious Trinity are tempting the charge of blasphemy.
We are not expected to understand it; it's the great mystery of God.
It is not lawful, theologians claim, for men to breach the sacred secrets of God.
It is true that we are not able to "find out" God or discover His nature, what He is.
But it is vital for us to "know the only true God and Jesus Christ who He has sent"
to know who He is, for only thus can we obtain eternal life.
Proclaiming such a holy
taboo on the Trinity does indeed save us from the need to explain we they cannot.
Church Fathers for centuries have recognized the futility of understanding the inexplicable:
one in three and three in one, yet only one. And using new math: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.
We are told that we must simply believe that "three" persons really means "one" substance.
But who prays to a substance?
This, of course, is simply to dodge the accusation of worshipping three Gods:
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
But we are reminded that They are not three Gods but He (Father, Son and Spirit) is one God.
And to keep all three Persons
in the same God substance we are told that…
"Begotten" does not mean "born",
"firstborn" does not really mean "firstborn".
"Son" does not mean "Son",
"Father does not really mean "Father"
which allows us to believe that Father = God, and Son = God,
but Father does not equal Son.
This logically inconsistent
arrangement is explained by stating that the Trinity transcends human logic.
The Trinity uses the
biblical title "God the Father",
and two non-biblical titles: "God the Son", and "God the Holy Spirit".
The Trinity then describes these three God persons as:
One God essence, or one God substance, or one divine nature, or one eternal being,
which is indivisible yet mysteriously shared by three distinct persons
who express themselves in three different co-equal, co-eternal manifestations.
Father and Son could
qualify as two distinct manifestations of the One divine nature.
The Father is Spirit; the Son is Spirit and Flesh, both God-nature and Man-nature, divine and human.
The need for a third Spirit "person" appears to be unnecessary.
The Spirit of God which is sent from the Father through the Son
as the Spirit of Christ is already accounted for.
The Trinity doctrine
makes a distinction between "being" (what one is) and "person" (who one is).
This correlates with the shared collective single nature of human beings (what we are)
and the individual persons that comprise humanity (who we are).
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are said to have the same divine being or nature (what they are).
But each is a separate individual person (who they are).
This is very close to simply saying Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three Gods.
But that would damage the "God is one" truth and indict such a belief as guilty of polytheism,
the great error of paganism, which Islam charges against Christianity.
So the definition of Trinity must resort to metaphysics and mysticism by saying,
"There is one eternal, infinite being of God, shared fully and completely by three persons…
These persons are never identified with one another-that is they are carefully differentiated as Persons… One what, three whos."
A Brief Definition of the Trinity, James E. White, director of Alpha & Omega Ministries (not related to E.G.White).
To help understand the interdependent concepts and the errors associated with eliminating any one of them, Doctor White offers the following diagram:
The "truths" of the Trinity are positioned on the sides of the triangle, while the "errors" are at the apices.
if we don't accept that God is composed of three separate persons, we are Modalists
______as promoted by the United Pentecostal Church's Oneness theology.
If we don't accept that these three persons are the same God, we must believe in Tritheism,
______a form of pagan polytheism, like the Mormons and many Seventh-day Adventists.
If we don't accept that the three persons are equal, we accept Subordination,
______and make one or more of them into an inferior demi-god like the Arian Jehovah's Witnesses.
Trinitarianism and Arianism both
arrived at the same conclusion:
____Jesus was not truly the Son of the living God.
Both were diametrically opposed to each other;
____the defeat of Arianism became the strength of Trinitarianism,
____with which all their foes were charged, labeled, and condemned.
This is why Catholicism identifies
so strongly with the Trinity:
it was the very issue which forged their affiliation with civil powers and the state in 325 AD, and
it was the very issue that secured their independence as a church-state power in their own right in 538 AD.
So, it is reasoned, all three precepts of the Trinity must be embraced to avoid the undesirable pitfalls of modalism, subortionism, and polytheism.
But the mysterious Trinity
has its own drawbacks.
God is no longer a real Father and the Son cannot really be a son, it is assumed, without losing His divinity.
They become a What of divine essence within which a Father and Son somehow manifest themselves in these theatrical roles. The Trinity concept is thus not far removed from the pantheistic New Age ideas of eastern mysticism.
Because of its incomprehensibility, a wide range of concepts exist among individual believers. If you doubt this, just ask what people believe about the Godhead or the Trinity. The Collegiate Quarterly in 1999 relayed the following comment:
"A Jewish friend remarked, 'that means every time Adventists pray, some are praying to one God, and some to many Gods.' 'Your church sounds like confusion,' a Muslin interjected, 'I don't think that I would want to go to your church.' This incident troubled me for the entire week. I had always believed in the Trinity as stated in the twenty-seven Fundamental beliefs of Seventh Day Adventists, so it never occurred to me that some Adventists believed otherwise. The following Sabbath I went to church and asked various people about their belief about the Trinity. Amazingly I received radically different opinions. It seems clear that we do not know what we believe. If Adventists cannot agree on what is one of our fundamental beliefs, how can we then go into the entire world, and preach the gospel to every creature?" Collegiate Quarterly, March 26, 1999
Choices among Seventh-day Adventists can range from:
(1) Godhead is a better description than Trinity
(2) Trinity is a better description than Godhead
(3) Belief in the Trinity is optional, a personal matter
(4) Acceptance of the Trinity is necessary for salvation
(5) We must be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost
(6) Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and you shall be saved
(7) Eternal life comes from knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent
The Godhead is composed of three members (a Trinity)
(1) Father, Son, and Spirit are all divine
(2) Expressions or manifestations (Christ is God manifest in the flesh; Holy Ghost is God manifest in the spirit)
(3) Extensions or modes (God is sometimes Father, sometimes Son, sometimes Spirit)
(4) Distinct from each other (Father is not the Son or the Spirit, Son is not the Spirit)
(5) Father is the Source of all things, unbegotten, uncreated
(6) Son is not created, but begotten from Father once in eternity (literally emerged from the Father as the Word)
(7) Son is begotten continuously and eternally (as a Sunbeam from the Sun)
(8) Son is unbegotten, a son in title only, has always existed but not always in the son role
(9) Word became the Son at the incarnation in Bethlehem
(10) Word who was the Son of God became the Son of man at the incarnation
(11) Spirit proceeds from the Father, through the Son
(12) Spirit is an independent separate person, the third person in the Godhead
(13) Spirit is the personal presence of the Father and Son (the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ)
There is only one God
(1) Only one God the Father, who is head over the one Lord Jesus Christ, and together share one Spirit
(2) One Godhead with 3 divine Beings: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
(3) God is a single tri-personal Being (one Being with three expressions or personalities)
(4) One God, one Being, who is sometimes a Father, sometimes a Son, sometimes the Holy Spirit
(5) One in divine nature and essence (each have the same kind of nature but are separate individuals)
(6) One in substance-consubstantial (they are physically connected to each other)
(7) One in spirit, mind, purpose (harmonious unity among them)
(8) One in equality-co-equal (equal power, equal authority, equal status/position between them)
(9) One in age-co-eternal (all without beginning, all without end)
(10) One consciousness--no separate self-consciousness (all think the same thoughts at the same time)
of the Bible
The biblical understanding of God as presented in Scripture is dramatically different.
|Scriptural Doctrine of God||Trinitarian Doctrine of God|
|To us there is but one God, the Father ( But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him. 1Cor 8:6; )||There is one God, consisting of the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit|
|My Father is greater than I ( I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I. John 14:28; )||The Son is just as great as the Father|
|Who is the image of the invisible God ( In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: For by him were all things created...verses 14-16 Col 1:15; )||Who is the invisible God|
|There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ( For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. 1Tim 2:5; )||There is one God who is also Mediator between man and Himself|
|Denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ
( Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ...For there are certain men crept in unawares...denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 4; )
|Denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus who is also the only Lord God|
|God created all things by Jesus Christ
By whom also He made the worlds (Heb 1:2)
|Jesus Christ created all things
by His own independent power
|Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and signs, and wonders which God did by him (Acts 2:22)||Jesus performed His miracles by His own power|
|The Father has given to the Son to have life in himself
( For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in himself. John 5:26; )
|The Son is self-existent
without any help or gift from the Father
|I live by the Father ( As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. John 6:57; )||The Son lives by Himself|
|That they might know thee the only true God
and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent (John 17:3)
|That they might know thee the only true God and
Jesus Christ who is also the only true God
|That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11)||That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to his own glory.|
Trinitarians might object
to this characterization as presenting more of a "oneness" modal view
of the Godhead, where God is manifested in more than one way: God as Father,
God as Son, God as Spirit. Yet, a concept of three in one also invites an inevitable
blurring of identity. Complete equivalence allows for such suggestions that
the Father could have lived a human life and died on the cross and it would
have been no different, or even the Holy Spirit, for they are absolutely co-equal.
As we have seen: God loves the world and desires to save all His creatures from the disease of sin.
God's love for the world is demonstrated by giving His own Son to die for our sins.
God loves His Son because He is His very own Son, for He came out from Himself.
It is accepted that the teaching of a triune Godhead is not explicitly stated in Scripture.
It "is not explicitly taught in the New Testament" Encarta Encyclopedia, article "Trinity."
"It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, there is not even one proof text, if by proof text we mean a verse or passage that 'clearly' states that there is one God who exists in three persons" Charles C. Ryrie, "Basic Theology" p. 89
But the nature of man, created in the image of God, is said to explain the three-part nature of God.
1Thes 5:23___May your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved
Man is here described as
having three parts: spirit, soul and body.
Remember, in the New Testament, "soul" is psuche Greek for "psyche" or "mind".
Thus man's three components are spirit, mind and body.
This is considered to correspond to the Holy Spirit, the Father' Mind, and Christ's body.
(No one knows the mind of God but the Spirit "which is in him" 1Cor 2:11)
Gen 1:26 reports that God
breathed His Spirit or breath into the lifeless body of Adam
and "man became a living soul" or a living being.
Notice that Adam "became" a living soul, he wasn't given a soul.
Adam as a single person was a single being (not two or even three persons in a single being).
He was composed of two parts: God's Spirit (the breath of life) and a physical body.
Together they enable man to be a living, functioning, thinking human being or soul.
If this analogy is
to hold true for the Original of which man is an image,
then the Father as the Divine Soul or Mind of the Godhead,
is composed of His Spirit and the physical body of Christ.
Both come from Him; both are sent by Him.
It is the Mind of the Father that is in Christ Jesus and is to be in us Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus Phil 2:5
The Trinity is "implied"
by a few texts that mention Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together.
Most notable among scriptural support is the Great Commission's baptismal formula:
|Matt 28:19||Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit|
|2Cor 13:14||The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the communion of the Holy Spirit|
|Matt 3:16,17||The Spirit
of God like a dove, a voice from heaven, "This is My beloved Son"
(also in Mark 1:10,11; Luke 3:22; John 1:32)
1 John 5:7 is now known
to be a spurious addition to late
Notice that baptism is
performed in the name (singular), in one name.
Mark 16:16,17 also records the Great Commission: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved...
and these signs will follow those who believe: In My name..."
Luke 24:47 as well: "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His (Christ's) name to all nations." Peter fulfilled this on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."
Three Gospel accounts refer to the baptismal commission and that it should be performed in "the name."
But are these sufficient
to establish doctrine?
Sunday sanctity can be implied by a few texts like And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. Acts 20:7 and Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 1Cor 16:2.
Eternal hell fire can be implied by a few texts like And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:43,44 and And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Rev 14:11
But do the rest of scripture confirm these apparent implications?
Hundreds of scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments
identify the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord.
Likewise, the vast majority of Biblical texts present a single consistent scriptural truth
that the soul is not immortal, that death is a sleep,
and that the dead cannot communicate with the living.
Yet most Christians today believe the first lie (that man "shall not surely die" Gen 3:2)
because a few texts suggest that the wages of sin, just like the gift of God, is everlasting life--just in a different location.
They base an entire doctrine on one or two scriptures
in spite of the fact that these few contradict scores of others.
The first application of
Christ's Commission was on the day of Pentecost when Peter said
Acts 2:38_____Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
every recorded baptism was performed in the name of Jesus.
|Acts 8:12,16||Philip baptized in the name of the Jesus Christ and Lord Jesus|
|Acts 10:48||in the name of the Lord (to the new converts in Cornelius' household)|
|Acts 19:5||in the name of the Lord Jesus (to the converts in Ephesus)|
|Acts 22:16||baptized...calling on the name of the Lord|
|Rom 6:3||many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ|
|Gal 3:27||many of you have been baptized into Christ|
The reason we are
baptized in the name of Jesus is that we are baptized "into"
Baptism is a symbol of death, burial and resurrection.
Even if God is a trinity, only the Son, Jesus, died, was buried and rose again.
We are baptized in the name of Jesus; we become Christians.
Paul argued this very
point in 1Cor 1:13:
"Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
The obvious answer to his rhetorical question is, "No. You were baptized in the name of Christ
because He was crucified for you."
"You were...buried with Him in baptism [and] raised with Him through faith." Col 2:11
Some see in the title "Lord Jesus Christ" a triune name
(Acts 11:17; 15:10, 25; 16:31; 20:21; 28:30; Rom 5:1; 13:14; 15:6, 30; 16:18, 20, 24; 1Cor 1:3, etc, etc)
These three titles are said to represent the Father Lord, the Son Jesus, and Spirit anointed Christ.
The Greek word Christos means "anointed one" as does the Hebrew word Messiah.
I am the Lord; that is my name. Isa 42:8
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit Acts 10:38
God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ Acts 2:36
Thus the name "Lord
Jesus Christ" embodies the fullness of the Godhead
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Jesus came in His Father's name I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not John 5:43
The Father sends the Holy Spirit is Christ's name But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
There is none other name under heaven given whereby we must be saved Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
At Christ's baptism, the Spirit of God, the voice of God, and the Son of God were all identified.
The Acts of the Apostles does describe a second baptism by the Holy Spirit that brings unity.
Paul stresses that the Spirit of God is a unifying factor that insures harmony and consistency within the church.
1Cor 12:13____For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body...to drink into one Spirit.
Actually, there are indications
that Matthew's original baptismal formula
was modified to its current form in the second century:
Encyclopedia Britannia, the 11th edition vol 3, page 365-366
"The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son and Holy Ghost by the Catholic church in the second century." From page 365:
Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (James Hastings editor 1928), Volume2
"Christian baptism was administered using the words, 'in the name of Jesus'". page 377.
"The use of the trinitarian formula of any sort was not suggested in the early Church's history." page 378
"'Go ye therefore and teach all nations, in my name' ... the latter form being the more frequent.".page 380.
"Baptism was always in the name of Jesus until the time of Justin Martyr, when the triune formula was used." page 389.
Hastings Dictionary of the Bible (James Hastings 1909), page 88
"It must be acknowledged that the three fold name of Matthew 28:19 does not appear to have been used by the primitive church, but rather in the name of Jesus, Jesus Christ, or Lord Jesus."
Page 82 "Everywhere in the oldest sources it states that baptism took place in the name of Jesus Christ."
Catholic Encyclopedia, vol 2, page 377,
"Catholics acknowledge that baptism in Jesus' name was changed by the Catholic church."
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume 1 (1914) Article: Baptism.
"Jesus, however, can not have given his disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after his resurrection; for the New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts ii, 38; viii, 16; xix, 5; Gal. iii, 27; Rom. vi, 3; I Cor. i, 13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. xxviii, 19and then only again Didache vii, 1 and Justin, Apol., i, 61. It is unthinkable that the Apostolic Church thus disobeyed the express command of the Lord, which it otherwise considered the highest authority. Occurrences like those of Acts xix, 1-7 ought to have shown that the prescribed formula of baptism could not have been shortened to "the name of the Lord Jesus," if the character of baptism was to be retained as commanded. Judging from I Cor. i, 14-17, Paul did not know Matt. xxviii, 19; otherwise he could not have written that Christ had sent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel."
An Encyclopedia of Religions, (Maurice Arthur Canney, 1921) page 53
"Persons were baptized at first 'in the name of Jesus Christ' or 'in the name of the Lord Jesus'. Afterwards, with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, they were baptized 'in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost' (cp. Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 61)."
In addition to Matthew's
three-fold baptismal formula, Paul mentions three as well in a benediction:
2Cor 13:14___The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the communion of the Holy Spirit
Paul's three-part formula
is interesting in that the title God is only used once,
and then only to identify whose love it is: God's love.
Thus the three entities are: Lord, God, Spirit.
This reminds us that He loved so much He gave His Son (We never read that They loved and gave Their Son)
Also, this text does not say "communion with" the Holy Spirit but "of" or "through" to God and Jesus.
The Spirit is the medium, the channel through which God communicates with us.
"What is the nature of this refreshing? It is something that cannot come till sins are blotted out. And that which sin hinders is the full and complete communion of the Holy Spirit." R&H April 19, 1870
This affirms the role of
God's Spirit as the communications link with humanity.
But it does not necessarily prove a separate individual third person or consciousness.
The Spirit-communion is personal because there are real Persons on the other end of the line.
1Jn 1:3____Our fellowship (communion via the Spirit) is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ
Nowhere in scripture can we find a reference to worshipping the Spirit of God...but only God in our spirit.
|John 4:23,24||True worshipers shall and must worship the Father in spirit and in truth|
|Phil 3:3||We worship God in the spirit and have no confidence in the flesh|
|Rev 19:10||When John tried to worship an angel he was instructed to worship God|
John was forbidden to even worship a "ministering spirit" Heb 1:7,14; Rev 19:10.
The basic issue of the
Trinity reduces to two questions:
1. Was Jesus truly begotten from God the Father with equal divinity? Or is He equal to the Father?
2. And is the Holy Spirit equal to the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ,
....experienced by us as a separate personality?
....Or is it a separate Person from the Father and the Son?
Belief in the Trinity
demands that we deny both
1. the literal Son of God
2. and that the Holy Spirit really is the Spirit of God and His Son
in order to preserve a belief in three co-eternal persons in one divine Being.
But to deny that Jesus was really begotten, that he came forth from the Father is a serious problem.
"Angels were expelled from heaven because they would not work in harmony with God. They fell from their high estate because they wanted to be exalted. They had come to exalt themselves, and they forgot that their beauty of person and of character came from the Lord Jesus. This fact the [fallen] angels would obscure, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and they came to consider that they were not to consult Christ." EGW, TDG 128
This is describing a time
during the war in heaven,
before the creation of this world, and long before the incarnation.
Ellen White states it was a "fact" that Christ was the only begotten Son of God.
Not a theory, not a prophecy, not a metaphor, not a figurative title, but a known fact.
She also states that the angels who were expelled, the fallen angels who followed Lucifer,
"would obscure" this fact that Christ was "a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person"
Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895.
One way of obscuring the
fact that Christ was begotten in heaven from the Father
is to restrict His begetting to the incarnation, claiming only that
"Christ was begotten of Mary to become the Son of God".
"The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. [Hebrews 1:1-5 quoted] God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son." EGW, 8T p. 268.3
When was He made equal with the Father?
"The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner." EGW, DA p.51
"Christ was the Son of God; He had been one with Him before the angels were called into existence." EGW, Patriarchs and Prophets p. 38
Christ is truly the Firstborn
of heaven but not as men are born.
We are not told how, but only that he "came forth from the Father" (John 16:26), "was brought forth" (Prov 8:22).
The creation of Adam and Eve, made in the image of God, provides some faint indication of how the divine Son of God is the image of his Father.
Adam was not born or begotten; Eve was not born from a woman, but was "begotten" from Adam, built from Adam's rib, from his side, his bosom.
Likewise the Son was "born"
not from a mother but from the side of his Father, before the angels were created,
and then later He came to earth to be born again!
Finally, at His resurrection He was begotten from the dead.
When He was born on earth He became the Son of God in "a new sense".
"In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God. Said the angel to Mary, 'The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God' (Luke 1:35). While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world--the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race." EGW, 1SM 226, 227
Once again, Christ is presented
as already the Son of God (in an old sense) before His incarnation.
Then with His birth to the human race He become the Son of God "in a new sense."
Continued: Adventist Doctrinal History