The One and Only Being in all the Universe and None But He

Posted Jul 04, 2010 by Adrian Ebens in The Son of God Hits: 9,841

At the age of 17 I read the book Steps to Christ and it was through that book that God led me to accept His Son as my Saviour. I have developed a deep appreciation for the writings of Ellen White and consequently feel frustrated when people who claim to defend her, place her in a position of contradiction with a belief in three co-eternal beings in the Godhead. There is no doubt that Ellen White expressed a belief in a heavenly trio and three powers, which I heartily accept, but it is an entirely different matter to believe in three separate co-eternal beings who work in harmony. The contradictions become immediately obvious when you consider the following:

Christ the Word, the Only Begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,--one in nature, in character, and in purpose,--the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. GC 493

The only being who was one with God lived the law in humanity, descended to the lowly life of a common laborer, and toiled at the carpenter’s bench with his earthly parent.” Signs of the Times, Oct. 14, 1897

Now if I am reading these passages correctly then Ellen White is saying that Christ is the only being in all the universe that could enter into the purposes and counsels of God and that He was the only being who was one with God. Reading these passages plainly, there is no possible way to misunderstand the words:

ONLY BEING IN ALL THE UNIVERSE

How many ways can you understand those words? How can you fit a third being into those words? I have only seen one person try and address these statements and this is what he said:

The solution would be that the Holy Spirit has the single, totally unique type of existence: He is always formless, always invisible. If we say that, then all the statements agree with one another; and, when we study Scripture, that is what we should try to do. Vance Ferrell. Defending the Godhead. Page 38

I had to read that a few times to ensure the author was serious. Does claiming that the Holy Spirit has a totally unique type of existence address the fact that Christ was the only being in all the universe to enter into the counsels of God? Further still how does this address the statement that Christ is the only Being who was one with God? It does not.

The amazing thing about accepting the Trinity is that frees you from the responsibility of logical integrity. Notice what another author says of this matter.

Some Christians question the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity because no one can explain how the three Beings of the Godhead can be one. They reason that if no one can explain this mystery, then it cannot be that important after all. Such reasoning ignores that the Christian faith is based on mysteries. The creation of the universe, the incarnation and resurrection of Christ, the final resurrection and translation of believers, are all mysteries that defy rational explanations. Yet, to reject them because they cannot be rationally explained, means to empty the Christian faith of meaning, value, and hope. The importance of a Christian doctrine is determined not by its rationality, but by its relevancy for the Christian message, mission, and lifestyle. Samuel Bacchiocchi, Endtime Newsletter 147

It reminds me of a kid’s movie trailer my son once asked me to view in hope that we would be able to watch the film. Part way through the trailer I picked up this classic one liner of a mouse that was doing it hard looking for food. He said “if you can choke back the gag reflex, limitless possibilities open up!”  We never watched the film, but that line stayed with me.

If you can choke back the illogical gag reflex of three persons being one God then limitless ways of interpreting Scripture open up. You are no longer bound to sound reason, because if you cause people to gag on your completely irrational claims, you just hit the mystery button, the nausea ceases and you don’t throw up! As the previous author just claimed, Christianity is not based on reason, but mysteries. So the demand for Christians to prove all things can be put to death with a simple press of the mystery button. Beautiful, simply beautiful!

Listed below are several statements from Adventist authors that need to find a better reason than the Spirit having a “single, totally unique type of existence” to explain what Ellen White means when she says:

ONLY BEING IN ALL THE UNIVERSE

and

The only being who was one with God

"A plan of salvation was encompassed in the covenant made by the Three Persons of the Godhead, who possessed the attributes of deity equally. In order to eradicate sin and rebellion from the universe and to restore harmony and peace, one of the divine Beings accepted, and entered into, the role of the Father, another  the role of the Son. The remaining divine Being , the Holy Spirit, was also to participate in effecting the plan of salvation." Gordon Jensen Adventist Review Oct, 31, 1996

If the Holy Spirit is a Divine Being then Ellen White was wrong when she said Christ is the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. GC 493

"This definition of the word 'Trinity' and its derivation seems to me to be correct and unambiguous, referring to a unity of three Divine Beings in 'one Godhead.'" "The only scriptural conclusion that we can come to is that there are three distinct divine Beings, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that each are co-equal and co-eternal with the others:"  (The Trinity: what has God revealed?: objections answered, 2008, Glyn Parfitt)

If there are three distinct Divine beings then how can this be true?

“No man, nor even the highest angel, can estimate the great cost [of God’s condescension in preparing the gospel feast]: it is known only to the Father and the Son.” Bible Echo, Oct 28, 1895

Wouldn’t the Holy Spirit also know this if He were a separate Divine Being?

Some Christians question the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity because no one can explain how the three Beings of the Godhead can be one. (Samuel Bacchiocchi The Importance of the Trinity, End Times Issues News Letter No. 147)

If this is true then it would be safe to assume that all three beings are involved in the work of beneficence, but that is not how Ellen White Expressed it

The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate--a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." John 1:1, 2. 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. PP 34

Why doesn’t Ellen White say that the Sovereign of the Universe had two associates, two co-workers who could appreciate His purposes? Is she still growing in understanding? Did she not get It right when she wrote it down? Is this a classic case of prophets being human?

The previous passage by Ellen White called God the Sovereign of the Universe. Read the context and it is clearly the Father speaking. Sovereign means

The quality of having supreme, independent authority over a territory – Wikipedia

Keep that in mind when you read the next statement.

Impressive and awful at times are the Holy Spirit's manifestations of His presence and power. He is sovereign in His operations. None can stand in His way. Leroy Froom. Rivers of Living Water R&H 1931 Page 34.

If the Holy Spirit is sovereign in His operations as Dr Froom claims, then He acts as a completely independent person and is completely supreme. If the Holy Spirit is sovereign, then would he not at least be present at the counsels of the Father and Son? Would he not be one with God? Would he not appreciate the cost of salvation? Why does Ellen White say that only Christ holds this position?

Many sincere people understand the Holy Spirit to be some sort of electrical current or force hooked up to the throne of God or a celestial Internet seeking to provide some impersonal phone line for God to communicate with us. Yes, the Holy Spirit is certainly a great communication tool! The overwhelming Bible evidence, however suggests that He is a person, a self-aware member of the one true Godhead. Whidden, Moon and Reeve. The Trinity RH 2002. Page 66.

If the Holy Spirit is a self-aware member of the Godhead then we would assume he is aware of the Father and Son also and if that is the case then how, how ,how could Christ be the

ONLY BEING IN ALL THE UNIVERSE THAT COULD ENTER INTO THE COUNSELS AND PURPOSES OF GOD

and

The only being who was one with God

Could someone also explain these to me?

Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. PP 36

None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. DA 37

The Son of God alone can do the great work of illuminating the soul. CE 97

Let us examine a few more examples from current Adventist scholarship that cause problems.

But imagine a situation in which the being we have come to know as God the Father came to die for us, and the one we have come to know as Jesus stayed back in heaven (we are speaking in human terms to make a point). Nothing would have changed, except that we would have been calling each by the name we now use for the other. That is what equality in the Deity means. Sabbath School Lesson April 10 2008.

According to this, the names Father and Son are completely irrelevant, only the job mattered in the end. But this is not what Ellen White said

None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with Heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin--sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and His Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery to rescue the ruined race.  PP 63

To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world's dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, "with healing in His wings." Malachi 4:2.  DA 22 

This next statement is breathtaking in its claims.

Now by the reference to the flow of rivers of living water, Jesus “spoke of the Spirit” which they that believe, on Him should receive. I am glad Jesus has made it so plain. Metaphors and figures are sometimes hard to explain. Different individuals often have differing interpretations. But here the Holy Spirit interprets the passage to be the river of His own life that flows through yours and mine. It is the Holy Spirit we need in our lives. It is the lack of this that is the secret of our spiritual failures. Leroy Froom. Rivers of Living Water R&H 1931 Page 54.

Dr Froom claims that the Holy Spirit is the source of His own river. Well that is not what I read from Inspiration.

“In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for  the universe. 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. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life.” Desire of Ages p. 21, 1898

Ellen White says plainly that the Father’s life flows out to all through the Son and that He is the great source of all. If the Father is the great source of all then how on earth (or heaven for that matter!) can the Holy Spirit be the River of His own Life? Logic of expression demands that if the Father:

IS THE GREAT SOURCE OF ALL

THEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO:

be the river of His own life

Unless of course you are not bound to the demands of logic and reason to form your conclusions. If you invoke the mysteries of the Christian religion then I guess you can opt out of the logic.

I thank the Father and His Son for the pen of Ellen White that awoke me to the spiritualistic mystery that was stopping my logical gag reflex. I am thankful for men like M.E Cornell who wrote:

Quoting Dr Clarke: “The doctrine which cannot stand the test of rational investigation, cannot be true. We have gone too far when we have said, such and such doctrines should not be subjected to rational investigation, being doctrines of pure revelation. I know of no such doctrine in the Bible. The doctrines of this book are doctrines of eternal reason, and they are revealed because they are such."   1858 M.E Cornell , Facts for the Times page 136

I thank you that through the mighty energies of the Spirit of God, my mind has been set free, knowing that:

“All communication from heaven to earth since Adam’s fall has come through Christ.” The Kress Collection p 126, 4 July (1900)

And that the illumination of my soul occurred because:

The Son of God alone can do the great work of illuminating the soul. CE 97

And I trust that:

None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. DA 37

I confess with Ellen White:

“There is a personal God, the Father; there is a personal Christ, the Son.” Review & Herald, Nov 8, 1898

“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.” Testimonies vol. 8 p. 268 1904