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What the Pioneers believed about the Son of God


“The Father was greater than the Son in that he was first.  The Son was equal with the Father in that he had received all things from the Father” — James White, Review and Herald, January 4, 1881, Review and Herald Articles, vol. 1, p. 244


‘‘And as to the Son of God, he could be excluded also, for he had God for His Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days. So that if we use Paul’s language in an absolute sense, it would be impossible to find but one being in the universe, and that is God the Father, who is without father, or mother, or descent, or beginning of days, or end of life. Yet probably no one for a moment contends that Melchizedek was God the Father.’’  - J.N. Andrews, Review & Herald, September 7, 1869

“You are mistaken in supposing that S. D. Adventists teach that Christ was ever created. They believe, on the contrary, that he was “begotten” of the Father, and that he can properly be called God and worshiped as such. They believe, also, that the worlds, and everything which is, was created by Christ in conjunction with the Father. They believe, however, that somewhere in the eternal ages of the past there was a point at which Christ came into existence.

They think that it is necessary that God should have antedated Christ in his being, in order that Christ could have been begotten of him, and sustain to him the relation of son. They hold to the distinct personality of the Father and Son, rejecting as absurd that feature of Trinitarianism which insists that God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit are three persons, and yet but one person.

“S. D. Adventists hold that God and Christ are one in the sense that Christ prayed that his disciples might be one; i. e., one in spirit, purpose, and labor. See “Fundamental Principles of S. D. Adventists,” published at this Office.” – W. H. Littlejohn, Review & Herald, April 17, 1883


“The angels, therefore, are created beings, necessarily of a lower order than their Creator.

Christ is the only being begotten of the Father.” - James Edson White (son of Ellen White), Past Present and Future, p. 52


"In arguing the perfect equality of the Father and the Son, and the fact that Christ is in very nature God, we do not design to be understood as teaching that the Father was not before the Son...While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that He had no beginning, while Christ's personality had a beginning." – E. J. Waggoner, October 1,1889

“And since He is the only-begotten son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God and possesses by birth all the attributes of God, for the Father was pleased that His Son should be the express image of His person, the brightness of His glory, and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead.” - E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, p. 22, 1890

“It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be.  The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7, Luke 3:38) by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated but that it is one which He has by right.” - E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, pgs. 11-13, 1890

“The Word then is Christ…. He is the only begotten of the Father.  Just how he came into existence the Bible does not inform us any more definitely; but… we may believe that Christ came into existence in a manner different from that in which other beings first appeared; That he sprang from the Father’s being in a way not necessary for us to understand.” – C.W. Stone, The Captain of our Salvation, p. 17, 1883

“Christ is the only literal son of God. “The only begotten of the Father.” John 1:14. He is God be- cause he is the Son of God; not by virtue of His resurrection. If Christ is the only begotten of the Father, then we cannot be begotten of the Father in a literal sense. It can only be in a secondary sense of the word.” - John Matteson, Review & Herald, October 12, 1869, p. 123

“In reference to his dignity, he is denominated the Son of God, before his incarnation. Hear his own language: “He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true.” John 7:18. “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God.” Chap. 10:36. “In this was manifest the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9, 10. The idea of being sent implies that he was the Son of God antecedent to his being sent. To suppose otherwise is to suppose that a father can send his son on an errand before that son has an existence, which would be manifestly absurd. “To say that God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” is equivalent to saying that the Son of God assumed our nature; he must therefore have been the Son of God before his incarnation.”

– J.M. Stephenson, Review & Herald, November 7, 1854, vol. 6, no. 13, page 99, par. 10

"I will conclude the evidence upon this point by quoting one more passage. Paul says, “And again, when he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. 1:6. He must have been his Son before he could send him into the world. In verse 2, the Father declares that he made the worlds by the same Son he is here represented as sending into the world. His Son must have existed before he created the worlds; and he must have been begotten before he existed; hence the begetting here spoken of, must refer to his Divine nature, and in reference to his order, he is the first-begotten; hence as a matter of necessity he must have been “the first born of every creature.” Col. 1:15. “The first born of every creature.”

- J. M. Stephenson, November 14, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 14, pages 105, 106

“As Christ was twice born, - once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again here in the flesh, thus uniting the divine with the human in that second birth, - so we, who have been born once already in the flesh, are to have the second birth, being born again of the Spirit, in order that our experience may be the same, - the human and the divine being joined in a life union.’’

-  W. W. Prescott, Review & Herald, April 14, 1896

“The Scriptures nowhere speak of Christ as a created being, but on the contrary plainly state that he was begotten of the Father. (See remarks on Rev. 3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while as the Son he does not possess a co-eternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands as joint creator with God. John 1:3; Heb. 1:2” – Uriah Smith, 1882, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 430

“God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be,—a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity,—appeared the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, “his [God’s] only begotten Son” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared.” - Uriah Smith, 1898, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 10

“The distinction between Christ and the true God is most clearly shown by the Saviour's own words in John 17:3: "That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Much stress is laid on Isa. 9:6, as proving a trinity, which we have before quoted, as referring to our High Priest who shed his blood for us. The advocates of that theory will say that it refers to a trinity because Christ is called the everlasting Father. But for this reason, with others, we affirm that it can have no reference to a trinity. Is Christ the Father in the trinity? If so, how is he the Son? or if he is both Father and Son, how can there be a trinity? for a trinity is three persons. To recognize a trinity, the distinction between the Father and Son must be preserved. Christ is called "the second person in the trinity;" but if this text proves a trinity, or refers to it at all, it proves that he is not the second, but the first. And if he is the first, who is the second? It is very plain that this text has no reference to such a doctrine.” - Joseph H. Waggoner, ibid, pp. 168, 169

“He is the One whom the Lord possessed “in the beginning of His way”, who was “set up from everlasting”, who” was by Him as one brought up with Him.”  Prov. 8:22, 23, 30.  He is the one “whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of Eternity.”  Micah 5:2 He is the only begotten of the Father, and is therefore in very substance of the nature of God; in Him “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”, He, therefore, by divine right of “inheritance,” bears from the Father the name of “God”.  John 3:16, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:4-8 – A. T. Jones, Spirit of Papacy

"The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, is truly God in infinity, but not in personality." - Ellen White, The Upward Look, p. 367

“Christ is one with the father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages”- Ellen White, Review & Herald,  June 1, 1905

"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.” - Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 51

“Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.

…..His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2.  And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting.... When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” Proverbs 8:22-30.  - Ellen White Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34

“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom. Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.” - Ellen White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 9, 1895, par. 13

“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.” – Ellen White, Youth Instructor, December 16, 1897, par. 5

“A complete offering has been made; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"-- not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection.”- Ellen White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895 par. 3

“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:…” (Prov. 8:22-27)  - Ellen White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 247

“They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person.  It is thus that God and Christ are one.”  - Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 269.4


“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The Father gave his Spirit without measure to His Son, and we also may partake of its fulness.” – Ellen White, Review & Herald, November 5, 1908


“The Father and the Son alone are to be exalted.” – Ellen White, Youth Instructor, July 7, 1898, p.2


“However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more.  Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.”  And he says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.”  John 10:14, 15 R.V.  What a statement is this!—the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the Man that is My fellow” (Zech. 13:7), --the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth!”

– Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 483

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