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The Laws of Heredity

 T H E    L A W S    O F    H E R E D I T Y

 The transgression and fall of Adam and Eve brought sin and wretchedness upon the human race, and man followed his own carnal desires, and changed God’s order.[1]

 Every one should seek to understand the great truths of the plan of salvation, that he may be ready to give an answer to every one who asks the reason of his hope. You should know what caused the fall of Adam, so that you may not commit the same error, and lose heaven as he lost paradise. You should study the lives of patriarchs and prophets, and the history of God’s dealing with men in the past; for these things were “written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” We should study the divine precepts, and seek to comprehend their depth. We should meditate upon them until we discern their importance and immutability. We should study the life of our Redeemer, for he is the only perfect example for men. We should contemplate the infinite sacrifice of Calvary, and behold the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the righteousness of the law. You will come from a concentrated study of the theme of redemption strengthened and ennobled. Your comprehension of the character of God will be deepened; and with the whole plan of salvation clearly defined in your mind, you will be better able to fulfill your divine commission. From a sense of thorough conviction, you can then testify to men of the immutable character of the law manifested by the death of Christ on the cross, the malignant nature of sin, and the righteousness of God in justifying the believer in Jesus, on condition of his future obedience to the statutes of God’s government in heaven and earth.[2]


The true introduction is the paragraph above. The paragraph provides the aim of the paper, limits its scope, explains its significance. It promises strength and nobility on condition of concentrated study of the paper’s themes. Then do not read quickly. Do not hurry over the more difficult thoughts. May the “whole plan of salvation” be “clearly defined in your mind.”

Certain questions will be addressed in the paper. But to answer them is not the mission statement of this document. The mission statement is in the true introduction. Nevertheless, being aware of the questions will, for some, trigger one’s attention when he stumbles over a hint or an answer.

Here are some of the questions.

Why do we sin? How has Adam’s sin affected us? What is the relation of depravity to guilt?  Was Luther right when he alleged that even his righteous deeds were sin? Can sin be well defined as “essentially a broken relationship with God”? What is the difference between sin and iniquity? Is there a difference between the meaning of sin and the definition of its plural form “sins”? To what extent was Jesus like us in his moral nature? In what manner was He incarnated differently?

Advancing on an inferior force tends to excite soldiers loving plunder and to bore soldiers loving war. Both classes, however, approach an entrenched and better-armed enemy with fear.

Many view the contest between Christ and Satan in terms of a strong man binding a weaker one. Even Jesus used this metaphor. He, the strong man, would bind Satan. Illustrating His own work, Jesus spoke of himself as breaking into the enemy’s home. Christ would spoil Satan’s goods. Unashamed of portraying himself as a mighty thief, the Savior challenged the evil one to defend his property.

The apparently fearless Jesus engaged his foe on earth after expelling him from heaven. Satan trembled. But the plausibility of victory by some dark plot kept Satan from calling a truce or asking for terms of surrender.

The Devil cherished scant hope that he could meet and overcome the Divine Son of God. But four thousand years after Adam’s fall, the human Jesus appeared in a more helpless form than wicked beings had ever imagined he would. Could it be that the Commander of Heaven had so far humbled himself that he might fall prey to temptations?

What about Jesus? Did Jesus fear for the outcome of the controversy? Our gut reaction is “of course not.”

But at Calvary Jesus did, indeed, feel a crushing fear. As we undertake a study that involves a consideration of his human nature we pause here to solemnly meditate on the following statement.

As he felt his unity with the Father broken up, he feared that his human nature would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the prince of the power of darkness; and in that case the human race would be irrecoverably lost, Satan would be victor, and the earth would be his kingdom.[3]

The prospect of such a victory on Satan’s part appeared to evil angels thousands of years earlier. The leader in rebellion inflamed them with his spirit and rallied them to earnest warfare against Christ.

But in the first days of rebellion, in quiet moments, the recently fallen one shuddered. He nearly backed away from the battle on earth before it had started. The decision of other angels to follow his leading moved him to finally brave the consequences.

 Satan cast off his feelings of despair and weakness, and, as their leader, fortified himself to brave out the matter, and do all in his power to defy the authority of God and his Son.[4]

 His courage failed him briefly during the flood when he feared for his own existence. But a greater dread haunted him long before the fountains of the great deep were broken up.

 “When Satan heard that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, he knew that though he had succeeded in depraving human nature and assimilating it to his own, yet by some mysterious process, God would restore to man his lost power.”[5]

 That had been the source of his earlier indecision. He “feared that his purposes might be defeated.”[6] He counted on the depravity now pervading the human race to secure to his wicked self the kingdom of earth.

But what does the statement mean that human nature had been “assimilating” to the nature of Satan? Is the nature of man now satanic?

The Fall and Its Consequences

 Keeping secrets from the All-Knowing God is pointless. When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden,

 Satan announced his purpose to conform to his own nature the father and mother of all humanity, and to unite them with his own ranks of rebellion. He was determined to efface the image of God from the human posterity, and to trace his own image upon the soul in place of the divine image.[7]

 The deceiver understood the malignant nature of sin. If only we did.

 When the sinner realizes the aggravated character of sin, the transgression of the law, he will cease to sin.[8]

 From the Bible we find several direct results from the sin of Adam. Externally, the ground was cursed “for man’s sake.” Eve was placed in subjection to her husband. Man’s diet expanded to include vegetables. Man was expelled from the garden and so barred from the Tree of Life. It seems that the latter of these consequences was the most significant to Satan. He did not expect, as we might, that sin would lead to a natural death regardless of access to the special plant.

 Had man after his fall been allowed free access to the tree of life, he would have lived forever, and thus sin would have been immortalized. But cherubim and a flaming sword kept “the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24), and not one of the family of Adam has been permitted to pass that barrier and partake of the life-giving fruit. Therefore there is not an immortal sinner.[9]

 Internally the fall had immediate effects on the nature of Adam. Admitted by all, this fact is yet little understood. Did the five-minutes-since-the-deadly-bite Adam have an evil temper? Was he likely to get sick that evening? Did he overeat that evening? Did he hate God? Love Satan? Was he proud? Was his bodily system beginning to decay? Was his memory weaker than it had been ten minutes earlier? Did God work a miracle, as a punishment for sin, to make his nature corrupt? Did sin work a miracle to make him that way? If corruption was natural, what natural law determined how far and to what extent it would act?

Some results of the fall were natural. Other effects, if they can be called that, were the results of supernatural intervention. The latter will be discussed when we approach the topic of God’s promise to put enmity between the seed of Satan and the seed of Adam.

Adam’s indulgence of appetite brought one change that led to a chain reaction of disasters. Man’s mind was created with two sets of mental organs. The first system, or set of organs, might be called the Will Guidance System. From moment to moment these mental organs would work together to discover and execute God’s will. Ellen White called this system the “Higher Powers” of the mind.

The second system, or set of organs, might be called the Motive and Gratification System. These organs, our desires, appetites, and passions, were created to inform the Will of the needs of the being, and to give man the capacity for enjoying the gratification of those needs. This system has been dubbed the “Lower Powers” of the mind. This has led some to conclude that the system is itself a result of the fall. Not so.

The appetites of our physical nature were given us for important purposes. Kept, as they were at first created, in subjection to reason and to the laws that God made for their regulation, they would have worked only for good.[10]

Eve would have been prompted by per passions to draw nearer to Adam. This motive, a source of thought in the mind, would have been addressed to the higher powers and the will. Conscience, one of the higher organs, would answer “God said man should not be alone.” Reason would concede that two were better than one. The Will, deferring always to the claims of the higher powers, would have moved Eve’s body to approach the man.

God’s order in the nature of man was the essence of God’s image. Reversing this order placed the powers of the mind in a relation to each other that, in practice, rather imitated the mind of Satan than the mind of God. The lower powers were intended, not to subdue the will, but to initiate thought and reasoning. The brief quote that follows the title of this article is a reference to how the fall affected this order.

 The transgression and fall of Adam and Eve brought sin and wretchedness upon the human race, and man followed his own carnal desires, and changed God’s order.[11]

 When used aright these desires would preserve man’s physical nature by reminding the higher powers to meet physical needs—i.e. to eat from the tree of life. Spiritual desires would have, in a similar fashion, have tended to the development of spiritual health.

 Their legitimate action would have prompted health and happiness; but the Creator’s benevolent purpose has been interfered with. By the fall, man was brought into bondage to sin. He lost his moral uprightness and his physical perfection. The appetites and passions that were given to him as blessings were perverted, and became warring lusts, the ministers of death. And so man passed under the dominion of the grave. Sin is the cause of physical degeneration; sin has blighted the race, and introduced disease, misery, and death.[12]

 Connected with the reordering of the human nature, with our enslavement to our own desires, are the primary internal results of the fall. The reordering led to:


  • Bondage to Sin
  • Moral Degeneration
  • Death
  • Physical Degeneration
  • Disease

This list is not comprehensive. Myriads of miseries might be added. We will explore, in turn, each of these points and its bearing on our moral nature. God placed a limit to the effects of sin. The method required to place that limit is the object of universal wonder.


Jesus Gains for Us the Advantages Possessed by Adam

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented a great gift from heaven. Its presence in the garden informed the holy pair of God’s confidence in them. Trusted to leave it alone, their human natures longed to prove themselves worthy of the trust. Love forbade transgression.

More than a revelation of confidence, the tree was a gift of probation. Before receiving access to unfallen worlds and to the gift of immortality, man’s loyalty was to be tested.

 Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. God made them free moral agents, capable of appreciating the wisdom and benevolence of His character and the justice of His requirements, and with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience. They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested.[13]

 The test chosen was not selected arbitrarily. Man’s freedom, to serve God by following the Spirit or serve self by following passion, determined the nature of the test.

 At the very beginning of man’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall. The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our parents . . .. They were also to be exposed to the temptations of Satan; but if they endured the trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy perpetual favor with God.[14]

Adam’s sin forfeited probation. His own case became so miserable, so hopeless. At that moment of his greatest need God announced the plan of Christ’s sacrifice. We, Adam’s children, may thank Jesus for not taking our first parents’ advice during that meeting.

 “In their remorse and anguish they pleaded that the penalty might not fall upon Him whose love had been the source of all their joy.”[15] “they pleaded to die themselves, or to let them and their posterity endure the penalty of their transgression, rather than that the beloved Son of God should make this great sacrifice. The anguish of Adam was increased. He saw that his sins were of so great magnitude as to involve fearful consequences. And must it be that heaven’s honored Commander, who had walked with him and talked with him while in his holy innocence, whom angels honored and worshiped, must be brought down from His exalted position to die because of his transgression?”[16]

 Though Adam protested the plan of salvation, he stood in dire need of the rescue. Before the fall he had great advantages over men living today. With Jesus on the throne of his heart, the unfallen Adam could have answered the claims of the law for perfect holiness. His moral strength, when empowered by the Spirit of God, rendered him invincible except where he could be induced to yield. This is not the condition of the fallen man.

Adam and Eve, when faced with the prospect that they were about to be driven from Eden, pledged to faithfully obey and asked only that they be given a second chance. Angels explained to them why a second trial would be much more difficult than the first.

 They entreated to be permitted to remain, although they acknowledged that they had forfeited all right to blissful Eden. They promised that they would in the future yield implicit obedience to God. They were informed that in their fall from innocence to guilt, they had gained no strength, but great weakness. They had not preserved their integrity while they were in a state of holy, happy innocence, and they would have far less strength to remain true and loyal in a state of conscious guilt. At these words the unhappy pair were filled with keenest anguish and remorse. They now realized that the penalty of sin was death.[17]

 Analysis of this passage reveals two changes that made obedience so much the more difficult. The first of these was “great weakness.” As this had to be announced to them, it is not reason to suppose that the weakness was physical in nature. The nature of the weakness was the derangement of the faculties of the mind. Without conscience at the helm of the will, man was incapable of resisting temptations.

And though they might choose loyalty again, their “conscious guilt” would sap their steadfastness. While aware of their condemnation and its justice, hope could present no reason to remain true to their commitment. Choosing to do right in face of hopelessness was more than could be expected from re-ordered faculties of the fallen human mind.

Here intelligent beings might ponder well that forgiveness alone, however costly it might be, could not undo the mess that Adam inaugurated. The reclamation of his offspring would require simultaneous solutions to the four-fold problem of forfeiture, guilt, weakness, and derangement.

In the first case, God granted Adam and his posterity a second probation.[18] This required a promise that the death of Jesus would satisfy justice. The consciousness of condemnation, otherwise expressed as guilt, and its incumbent hopelessness, was a more complex problem.

 Saving man from weakness, derangement, and hopelessness involved perilous risk. The method of this grace will occupy the remainder of this essay. In summary, Jesus came as a second Adam and placed mankind on “vantage ground.”[19] His life stood as more than a guarantee to justice.

 Jesus came as Hope.

But to be Hope, Jesus had to be like man in ways that seemed to make holy living hopeless. More than that, He had to overcome while under the crushing disadvantage of conscious guilt. On the first point we read:

 Because man fallen could not overcome Satan with his human strength, Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden with his superior advantages might have withstood the temptations of Satan and conquered him.[20]

 The advantages of Adam included divine power operating in his system. He was built for that. It also included access to the light and love of God that, manifested throughout the garden of Eden, warmed the heart and motivating man to devotion. It included personal moral strength derived from the health and right action of the mental faculties.

 [Christ] also knew that it was not possible for man out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength. In order to bring hope to man, and save him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man’s nature, that with His divine power combined with the human He might reach man where he is. He obtained for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His name they might overcome the temptations of Satan.[21]


The Definition of “Sins” and “Sin.”

In its plural form, sin is rather easy to define. Sins are transgressions of the law. Stealing, Lying, Murder are examples of active sins. Hating, Coveting, Lusting are examples of passive sins, violations of commandments 6, 10, and 7 respectively. Not witnessing, not working, not honoring one’s parents are examples of transgression by omission of commandments 6, 4, and 5 respectively.

Exceeding broad in its scope, the law extends its jurisdiction far beyond the bounds of what we call “behavior.” Thoughts and intents (Heb. 4:12) and “every secret thing” among those thoughts will be compared to the law of the Ten Commandments. A question that must be addressed next is whether the law condemns the quality of a man’s moral nature, condemns his poverty of moral worth. These items can not be plural and consequently “sins” are easier to define than “sin.”

Closely related to the idea of sin is the idea of guilt. Most Christian bodies speak of Adam’s sin and its impact on all his children as “original sin.” With most of these, this original sin involves guilt. Perhaps all significant parties confess that we receive guilt from Adam. Because of his sin we are barred from the tree of life. We are appointed to die before the judgement. Such a death, manifestly, can not be the execution of a judgment that has not yet occurred. We die because Adam sinned.

But how have this guilt and its attendant death been passed down? One class maintains that it was a corrupting of the inward soul, and that the creation of each soul at conception involves an inheritance of this rebellion. In this view, the rebellion is itself sinful even before a thought has been formed. The nature is, itself, enmity against God. So man is condemned first, not for thoughts and intentions, but for his relation to Adam.

Adventists, despising dualism, can not buy Calvin’s version of this thought. For decades they bought no version of it at all. But recently the notion has received an Adventist following with the abstract soul being replaced with an equally abstract relationship. Sin, in this mode of thinking, is essentially “a broken relationship.”

There is some evidence that Ellen White viewed sin this way. Guilt follows sin. If we inherit guilt from Adam, it stands to reason that we inherited sin from him in some way. We can not inherit acts of transgression. But we certainly can, and did, inherit an antipathy toward God.

A third class suggests that we receive sin and guilt from Adam in a two-step process. We inherited weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Before we could say “mama” demons had targeted those infirmities and led us to transgression. We were speaking lies at a very early age, perhaps even prenatally.[22] For our transgressions, we suffer as guilty with Adam in choosing rebellion.  The two steps are: 1. Inherit weaknesses  2. Commit sins and experience guilt.

Before progression to the arguments urged in favor of the latter two views, we will spend some time considering arguments made by Satan himself. The answers God has arranged lighten our steps as we approach nearer to truth regarding the nature of sin.


Satan’s Arguments

 Satan expected more from the fall than reality delivered. Reasoning from Adam’s position as ruler of the world, the deceiver calculated that Adam’s master was, by virtue of that relationship, master of the planet as well. At least this reasoning was the basis of Christ’s third temptation in the wilderness. Jesus contests, not the flow of logic, but the supposition that Adam was the world’s ruler.

 When Satan declared to Christ, The kingdom and the glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it, he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception. Satan’s dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands, Christ still remained the rightful king.[23]

 Satan’s tends to take partial truths and to work them into apparently logical expressions – expressions of falsehoods. Unhappily, the consistency of Adam’s children demonstrated their moral weakness. Men, the fallen angel argued, were fully depraved.

 After tempting man to sin, Satan claimed the earth as his, and styled himself the prince of this world. Having conformed to his own nature the father and mother of our race, he thought to establish here his empire. He declared that men had chosen him as their sovereign. Through his control of men, he held dominion over the world. Christ had come to disprove Satan’s claim.[24]

 So in one partially true sense, Satan did rule the world. Christ attacked Satan’s claim to be sovereign by showing that men had chosen rebellion and had thus forfeited their delegated authority. If man was fully depraved and incapable of perfect loyalty, who could contest the practical truth in Satan’s claim to rule the intelligences of earth?

 As the Son of man, Christ would stand loyal to God. Thus it would be shown that Satan had not gained complete control of the human race, and that his claim to the world was false. All who desired deliverance from his power would be set free. The dominion that Adam had lost through sin would be recovered. [25]

 God had, Satan alleged, designed a self-serving law. The nature of the law had prompted sinless Adam and Eve to disobey. Their children could do nothing else but disobey. To hold them accountable was cruel. Yet God held them accountable, the devil complained.  God was responsible for the curse, for if man’s resources were not sufficient to make perfect obedience possible how could God enforce death as the penalty of sin? Had God created men to judge them for doing what they could not but do?

 Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Heb. 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Heb. 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God.[26]

 Ironically, Satan’s accusations placed Satan as the would-be-benefactor of the race.

 He had been leading them astray by his false representations of God’s character. Claiming for himself the attributes of mercy, goodness, and truth, he had attributed his own character to God. These misrepresentations Christ knew he must meet in human nature, and prove to be false.[27]

 Satan finds promoters for the idea that man is totally depraved. Christ’s sinful human nature provides the key to answering each of these claims. Not recognizing the falleness of Christ’s humanity, false teachers are blinded to heaven’s refutation of Satan’s arguments.

 There are persons professing to be ministers of Christ, who declare with the utmost assurance that no man ever did or ever can keep the law of God. But, according to the Scriptures, Christ “took upon himself our nature,” he “was made in fashion as a man.” He was man’s example, man’s representative, and he declares of himself, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” The beloved disciple urges that every follower of Christ “ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.”[28]


Four Fascinating Statements

When reading the four following statements, one must ask the question, “How could Jesus come in the fallen nature of man and not need a Savior himself?”

 Adam sinned, and the children of Adam share his guilt and its consequences[29]

 As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death.[30]

 Human nature is depraved, and is justly condemned by a holy God.[31]

 The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption.[32]

 My own first exposure to these four statements brought surprise. Having been exposed to faulty quotations previously, I actually doubted the veracity of one of them. But they are real and exist as you read them above. My suspicion to the contrary arose from a familiarity with so many statements apparently contrary to these. This larger body of statements and their bearing on understanding the truth in these four will be the subject of the next few sections.


Corruption as Result of Past Personal Sins

God addressed a string of interesting questions to the Jew’s. If a man that is clean touches an unclean item, does the unclean item become clean? They answered “no.” What if an unclean man touches a clean item? Does the item become unclean? They answered “yes.” Corruption is a one-way street. No volume of cleanliness is sufficient to be combined with a small amount of corruption and to produce purity.

 In like manner, when a man has once broken the law his life is hopelessly corrupted. No amount of subsequent right-doing can suffice to purge away the single wrong. He could never approach God with an offering without a covering for his past record.[33]

 The corruption caused by sin is, however, more than a record in heaven. The sins we commit are, Jeremiah says, written with a pen of iron. They are represented as engraved in the horns of the altar of the sanctuary. In Daniel we find that the sanctuary does contain a record of sins, and this record is in books. Just as the presence of blood on the altars determined the fate of the sinner, so the judgment evaluates sinners in relation to the covering of their sins with Christ’s blood.

Beyond the record in heaven, cleansed in the ongoing course of end-time events, Jeremiah speaks of a record closer to home. They are engraved in “tables of their hearts.” It is “sins” that are written there, as opposed to an original “sin.” Perhaps the most remarkable thing about our experience of corruption is how God has made provision for cleaning the table of the heart.

Cleaning away the defilement of sin was the work of the Hebrew sanctuary. The Levitical laws were established to remove varieties of guilt. The sacrifice of Jesus was prefigured by many symbols, and not one was without significance. Without shedding of blood there was no remission of sins, even in type. Sacrifices in Leviticus were established for sins of ignorance, and some for sins of not-thinking. Sins of omission and commission were disposed of through the system.

But there was no sacrifice to atone for a parent’s sin. No rite required the confession of Adam’s fall. Selah.

While Ellen White writes several times about corruption in terms that apply to men in general– men that at some time in the past have been at enmity with heaven– most of her statements reserve the various forms of the word for a narrower purpose. She uses it much as we would in the sentence “that man is corrupt.” In this wider context corruption can be avoided and reversed, inherited and cultivated.

The statements on inherited corruption shed light on the nature of the first fall. They point out a modern analogue or model that can help us understand the change that came to man’s nature through sin.

 As a rule, every intemperate man who rears children transmits his inclinations and evil tendencies to his offspring; he gives them disease from his own inflamed and corrupted blood. Licentiousness, disease, and imbecility are transmitted as an inheritance of woe from father to son and from generation to generation, and this brings anguish and suffering into the world and is no less than a repetition of the fall of man.[34]

 What does the intemperate man pass on to his children? Inclinations and evil tendencies. This model, Ellen White reveals, is not some lesser legacy than that passed on by Adam.

But an inheritance of inclinations and tendencies is not, itself, “corruption” under either of the definitions Ellen White uses for the word. Such an inheritance would need to be acted on, nourished if you will, before becoming “corruption.” The inheritance only tends to corruption. A stamp of character constitutes the genetic gift.

 Parents give the stamp of character to their children. Children that are born of these parents inherit qualities of mind from them which are of a low and base order. Satan nourishes anything tending to corruption.[35]

 By this formula, a man that has been changed by the grace of God and has been a partaker of the Divine nature, is no longer corrupt. He possesses the graces of God’s Spirit. His corrupt nature has been uprooted. To secure such a man Satan would be at pains to plant that corrupt nature anew.

 Will you permit him to steal from you the graces of the Spirit of God, and plant in you his own corrupt nature? or will you accept the great provision of salvation, and through the merits of the Infinite Sacrifice made in your behalf, become a partaker of the divine nature?[36]

 The two definitions of corruption found in Ellen White’s writings might be summarized as debtor corruption and nature corruption. A concrete understanding of both will smooth our sailing into the next section.

Once we have sinned we are debtors to the law. Were our characters ever so pure, our natures ever so elevated, were we raised incorruptible, yet it would remain true that, without the covering of Christ’s righteousness, that one sin would forever bar our entrance into heaven. Debtor corruption is illustrated by the records of our life made in the books of heaven.

A man that has submitted to the control of his tendencies to evil and has thus cultivated a propensity for sin has corrupted his life. The disorganized faculties of his mind, with the will serving the appetites and passions, constitute a corrupt nature.

This corruption can grow to horrible proportions. Unlike debtor corruption, it is transmitted from generation to generation as an inheritance of tendencies that soon bloom, by consent of the will, into new harvest of corrupt natures.

This latter definition, nature corruption (by inheritance of character), may well be called “depravity.” In the following passage we find how Ellen White understood the relation between these words. In short, when corruption has not been expelled, human depravity remains.

      Those who are enamoured of this religion of fancy[37] do not relish the idea of destroying the old man with his deeds, and bringing into subjection every rebellious thought to the dominion of Christ. They do not desire to submit themselves to the control of the Spirit of God, which works in the human heart to expel every corruption and to establish vital principles of virtue, temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and Christlike love.

     Yet those who receive the Spirit of God, though they were dead in trespasses and sins, will experience the active working of that power which raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The vital power of the Holy Spirit will raise up those who realize their helplessness, and who come confessing their sins and believing in Jesus.

     All the faculties are to be brought under the control of the Spirit of God . . .. When all the wisdom of the schools, all the accumulations of human ability, are brought to bear upon those who are dead in trespasses and sins, they avail nothing for the reformation of character. Human selfishness remains in all its depravity. The Spirit of God alone can make and keep men pure. Its work upon the soul is represented as bringing life to the dead, and freeing the soul from the slavery of sin, which has brought it under the condemnation of the law, where wrath and tribulation fall upon every evil doer.[38]


Depravity and Corruption as Unregenerate Activity

Ellen White’s use of the word depravity differs significantly from the use of the word by Calvinists. Non-Calvinists do not tend to speak much about depravity. As a result, the Calvinistic use of the word dominates the theological world.

This means that when an old lady says “that man is depraved” she means something somewhat different by the word than her recently graduated parson. To her, only the unconverted lust-serving man is depraved. To him, saints and sinners share human depravity.

Ellen White used the common man’s definition rather than that of the school men.

 Self is difficult to conquer. Human depravity in every form is not easily brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. But all should be impressed with the fact that unless this victory is gained through Christ, there is no hope for them . . .. By His assisting grace, all evil temper, all human depravity, may be overcome.[39]

 [Christians] will not bring human depravity into things small or great. They will do nothing to perpetuate division in the church.[40]

 One thing I wish you to understand, that I have not been in harmony with the expelling of students from the school, unless human depravity and gross licentiousness make it necessary, that others shall not be corrupted.[41]

 We read earlier that Satan has worked to plant his nature in men. Jesus had something to say about what he would do about that implanted depravity.

 Jesus said “I will summon every heavenly power. Angels that excel in strength shall unite with humanity, sanctified to my service to uproot evil. The depravity of man requires all this expenditure of heavenly power, that man may be sanctified through the grace of God. Jesus said, “I will redeem my people from the earth. The perishing shall be rescued.”[42]

 Ironically, the depravity that theologians consider to be universal in its scope is limited by the prophet to working in the personal experience of those “that remain voluntarily and fearfully in the dark.”

 When you see your great spiritual lack you will realize the fact that human depravity, specified in the word of God, is true in your experience. You are both pharisaical, and are in danger of remaining voluntarily and fearfully in the dark in regard to your dangers and your true standing before God.[43]

 Depravity, when allowed to bear sway over little things, deepens. When allowed full liberty it comes to despise restraint. It is the force of the corrupt nature and becomes a predictor of what will happen in a time of testing.

 You are so situated in your responsible position that you must necessarily meet all classes of people with all kinds of characters. It is any wonder that you shall very often meet professed Christians who are inconsistent in practice? The force of a corrupt nature, allowed full liberty over the little things, shall, when brought to the point of decision against inclination, disdain all restraint, and claim entire independence.[44]

 The whole world is verily condemned. Is it because they are transgressors? Or because they are the children of transgressors? They lost Eden for the latter reason and heaven for the former.

 It is by grace that the sinner is saved, being justified freely by the blood of Christ. But Christ did not die to save the sinner in his sins. The whole world is condemned as guilty before God, for they are transgressors of his holy law; and they will certainly perish unless they repent, turn from their disobedience, and through faith in Christ claim the merits of his precious blood. The sin of Adam and Eve lost holy Eden for themselves and their posterity, and those who continue to live in the transgression of God’s law will never regain the lost paradise. But through the grace of Christ man may render acceptable obedience, and gain a home in the beautiful Eden restored.[45]

 Another evidence of the nature of guilt, that it follows sin rather than heritage, is found in the judgement against Jesus. He suffered, not for the nature of man, but in the nature of man; not for the bent of men’s hearts, but for their evil thoughts, evil deeds, and evil words.

 The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man’s substitute.[46]


Laws of Heredity

Deep in the Ten Commandments are gems of thought that illumine today’s controversies. An example can be found in the second commandment where we read of “mercy shown to thousands of them that love [God] and keep [His] commandments.”

Examining the sentence, a searching soul would find, to the following questions, the following answers: Do commandment keepers deserve heaven? No, they need mercy. Do lovers of God receive mercy? Yes, if they keep the commandments. Do commandment keepers receive mercy? Not if they have a formal or legal religion. Love is essential.

So as soon as there was a written law there was a written presentation of the saved-by-grace-through-an-obedient-and-loving-faith gospel.

In the same commandment we find the first Biblical enunciation of the laws of heredity. Briefly yet comprehensively the sentence answers questions regarding the impact of transgressions on future generations.

 “For the Lord thy God is a jealous God visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me and showing mercy to thousands [of generations][47] of them that love me and keep my commandments.”

 God’s jealousy, in hereditary law, signifies that entire obedience is required.[48] God will not bless double-mindedness. Neither the mercy promised to the loving and obedient, nor any other good gift, should be expected by that class.

The laws of heredity play a key roll in answering the questions addressed in this paper. I will adduce one of the most comprehensive of Ellen White statements on the subject.

 Yet this [becoming human] was but the beginning of [Christ’s] wonderful condescension. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.[49]

 We want to plumb the depths of this paragraph, and to do so by studying the “great law of heredity.” But before broadening our search, let us take a moment to glean something about the law from this statement’s immediate context.

We know that the “results” of this great law can be seen in the earthly ancestors of Jesus. In a simplified note, the results of the law are something that can be seen in history. The law has a visible impact on human life to such an extent that by studying history one may learn to trace effects of the law.


A brief survey of Christ’s human ancestry is informative. David had a moral weakness and took more than one wife. His son Solomon had greater weakness and took a greater number of wives. Solomon, when unconverted, was an exacting king. His son, Rehoboam, inaugurated his brief reign with an announcement that he would be a great deal more exacting than his father.

Abraham lied about his relationship to his wife. His son Isaac did the same, and for the same reason. But more than that, he gave birth to a son whose lying reached the point of deceiving his own father. Jacob tried to turn the order of the birthright by fraud. His son, Joseph, resisted the order of the blessing chosen by his father at the blessing of Ephraim and Manessah.[50]

 Upon fathers as well as mothers rests a responsibility for the child’s earlier as well as its later training, and for both parents the demand for careful and thorough preparation is most urgent. Before taking upon themselves the possibilities of fatherhood and motherhood, men and women should become acquainted with the laws of physical development–with physiology and hygiene, with the bearing of prenatal influences, with the laws of heredity, sanitation, dress, exercise, and the treatment of disease; they should also understand the laws of mental development and moral training.[51]

 Take encouragement. If the millions of not-yet-parents are here called to understand the laws of heredity, and if they can be understood from examining history, these laws can not be very complex in their operation. Bible history, because it is so concise and so focussed on morality, seems written to aid the study of heredity.

Secular history, which covers either a nation or a war or an era, passes by the likenesses of son to father as expressed in their similarity of moral weaknesses. In the scriptures, these similarities seem to form the basis of inclusion for many of the stories of the patriarchs. Some might see in this interesting circumstantial evidence for the theory that God intended that even young and inexperienced students of scripture understand these things.

Inheritance is an abstraction to most of us. What to our parents give us? Inclinations? Bad habits? Guilt? Weaknesses? A certain human hatred of God? Iniquities or sins?

The law of heredity in the Second Commandment indicates that we receive the iniquities of our fathers, and guilt for those iniquities, and death as a result of that guilt.[52] How iniquities are passed on genetically (or metaphysically) is the subject of hereditary law.

If the nature of heredity allows strong tendencies to be passed on, and if these tendencies were the content of the degeneracy that parents give to their children, we might expect that some would resist and remain unsullied by the inheritance they had received. On the other hand, if actual guilt was passed on despite the compliance of the children, then degeneracy would be unavoidable. In the first case, the cause of future degeneracy would be continued disobedience and transgression. In the latter, it would be the hopeless destiny of the naturally degenerating posterity.

 Adam was carried down through successive generations, and saw the increase of crime, of guilt and defilement, because man would yield to his naturally strong inclinations to transgress the holy law of God. He was shown the curse of God resting more and more heavily upon the human race, upon the cattle, and upon the earth, because of man’s continued transgression. He was shown that iniquity and violence would steadily increase; yet amid all the tide of human misery and woe, there would ever be a few who would preserve the knowledge of God, and would remain unsullied amid the prevailing moral degeneracy. Adam was made to comprehend what sin is–the transgression of the law. He was shown that moral, mental, and physical degeneracy would result to the race, from transgression, until the world would be filled with human misery of every type.[53]

 Again, if the guilt we inherit from Adam is the guilt of his transgression, then the laws of heredity would have corrupted Jesus. On the other hand, if we share the guilt of Adam because we share with him the personal experience of transgression, then Jesus could have submitted to the laws of heredity without accruing personal guilt.

In the latter case everything depends on the action of the will. By our will we chose to join Adam in transgression and by our will choose to flee to Christ for freedom from transgression.

 We have reason for ceaseless gratitude to God that Christ, by his perfect obedience, has won back the heaven that Adam lost through disobedience. Adam sinned, and the children of Adam share his guilt and its consequences; but Jesus bore the guilt of Adam, and all the children of Adam that will flee to Christ, the second Adam, may escape the penalty of transgression. Jesus regained heaven for man by bearing the test that Adam failed to endure; for he obeyed the law perfectly, and all who have a right conception of the plan of redemption will see that they cannot be saved while in transgression of God’s holy precepts. They must cease to transgress the law, and lay hold on the promises of God that are available for us through the merits of Christ.[54]

 By the theory being advocated in this paper, our inheritance from Adam includes wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy in cases where the parents are not loving and obeying God. The law of heredity speaks of the hatefully disobedient particularly.

 “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ guilt, except as they participate in their sins. It is usually the case, however, that children walk in the steps of their parents. By inheritance and example the sons become partakers of the father’s sin. Wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy, are transmitted as a legacy from father to son, to the third and fourth generation. This fearful truth should have a solemn power to restrain men from following a course of sin.[55]

 Why do children suffer for the consequences of their parent’s sins? In other words, why do we suffer for Adam’s sin? Because “it is inevitable.” Here we find an insight into the nature of God’s law. God did not mean, in the threatening of the second commandment, that he would arbitrarily curse children for their parent’s sins. But while parents pass on a deranged moral system (with the lower powers in ascendency) it is inevitable that unconverted children will imitate the example of their parents.[56]

 “This fearful truth should have a solemn power to restrain men from following a course of sin.” I have witnessed the truthfulness of this inspired assertion. And this statement is not the only one of its kind. A grasp of this part of the commandments should move men to obey the rest.[57]

 As noted in the last quotation, wickedness is passed from generation to generation by “inheritance and example.” Do not underestimate the power of example in enforcing the law of heredity. Children grow up from infancy, nay, from times prenatal, forming characters under the shadow of their parents. They watch their parents daily year after year and it can be no wonder that the law of beholding (as found is 2 Cor. 3:18) would mold their minds.

God did not mean in this threatening [of the Second Commandment] that the children should be compelled to suffer for their parents’ sins, but that the example of the parents would be imitated by the children. If the children of wicked parents should serve God and do righteousness, he would reward their right-doing.

But the effects of a sinful life are often inherited by the children. They follow in the footsteps of their parents. Sinful example has its influence from father to son, to the third and fourth generations. If parents indulge in depraved appetites, they will, in almost every case, see the same acted over in their children. The children will develop characters similar to those of their parents; and unless they are renewed by grace, and overcome, they are truly unfortunate. If parents are continually rebellious, and inclined to disobey God, their children will generally imitate their example.

     Godly parents, who instruct their children by precept and example in the ways of righteousness, will generally see their children following in their footsteps. The example of God-fearing parents will be imitated by their children, and their children’s children will imitate the right example their parents have set before them; and thus the influence is seen from generation to generation.[58]

 When the children of rebellious parents are brought into the world, the curse mentioned in the Second Commandment works three ways.


  1. Children are born with their passions in a position to overpower their conscience
  2. Children are born into a family where example leads them astray
  3. Children make their own choices based on items one and two, and these react on their character.

The second and third points extend the curse beyond the realms of heredity, for our neighbors will also behold our example.

 Their neglect to cultivate their children in righteous ways will not only be the ruin of their own families, but the wrong principles they inculcated in them, bear fruit in other lives, and are transmitted from parent to child to the third and fourth generation. There will be a harvest to be gathered that will be hard to be reaped. The irreligious practices of the children produced effects in their own characters and in the characters of others, and instead of being a blessing in the world, they became a curse.[59]

 Cultivating a debased character requires neither thought nor attention. It is very natural. To cultivate a righteous character, either in one’s self or in his children, requires all the effort men can make. Each child requires individual attention. If we have more children than we have time and energy to train in righteousness, we break the spirit of the Second Commandment.[60] Our lack of training affects our own neglected children, and their character affects the family’s associates.

By injuring our neighbor we break the last six commandments. Having children who, by our neglect, will be a drain on the race is unchristian. These parents break the law.[61] The same could be said for parents with particularly weak morals or with debilitating mental or physical diseases that are likely to be passed on genetically. Can these have children without being unkind?

 Those who increase their number of children, when if they consulted reason, they must know that physical and mental weakness must be their inheritance, are transgressors of the last six precepts of God’s law. . . . They do their part in increasing the degeneracy of the race and in sinking society lower, thus injuring their neighbor. If God thus regards the rights of neighbors, has He no care in regard to closer and more sacred relationship? If not a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice, will He be unmindful of the children born into the world, diseased physically and mentally, suffering in a greater or less degree, all their lives? Will He not call parents to an account, to whom He has given reasoning powers, for putting these higher faculties in the background and becoming slaves to passion, when, as the result, generations must bear the mark of their physical, mental, and moral deficiencies?[62]

 Realizing the impact of our family government on our neighbors, Christians should study. We should concern ourselves with all that can be known about raising righteous children. To quiet their consciences some might object that even the children of godly parents are wayward. If they can not raise an upright son, how can anyone else be expected to? They excuse their deficiency.

Those who realize their deficiency in a matter which concerns the happiness and usefulness of future generations, should make the subject of family government their most diligent study. As an objection to this, many point to the children of ministers, teachers, and other men of high repute for learning and piety, and urge that if these men, with their superior advantages, fail in family government, those who are less favorably situated need not hope to succeed.

     The question to be settled is, Have these men given to their children that which is their right–a good example, faithful instruction, and proper restraint? It is by a neglect of these essentials that such parents give to society children who are unbalanced in mind, impatient of restraint, and ignorant of the duties of practical life. In this they are doing the world an injury which outweighs all the good that their labors accomplish.[63]

 Intemperance in sexual (sensual) activity costs something. Not only does it increase the likelihood of an unplanned pregnancy, but it leads to a hereditary gift of sensual intemperance.[64]


Heredity and the Degeneration of the Race

Earlier we considered an interesting modern analogue to the fall of man—the effects of intemperance in the laws of heredity. Here is the statement again.

 As a rule, every intemperate man who rears children transmits his inclinations and evil tendencies to his offspring; he gives them disease from his own inflamed and corrupted blood. Licentiousness, disease, and imbecility are transmitted as an inheritance of woe from father to son and from generation to generation, and this brings anguish and suffering into the world and is no less than a repetition of the fall of man.[65]

 In 1878 the Health Reformer printed at article giving a more detailed description of the same analogue. In the following extract from the article Ellen White explains the means by which the race degenerates. She comments on how tendencies practiced become propensities, or bad habits. And these propensities, passed on as stamps of character, become “second nature” to those who continue indulging them. In the unconverted the race is fearfully weakened from one generation to another. Emphasis below is supplied.

      Parents who freely use wine and liquor leave to their children the legacy of a feeble constitution, mental, and moral debility, unnatural appetites, irritable temper, and an inclination to vice. Parents should feel that they are responsible to God, and to society, to bring into existence beings whose physical, mental and moral characters shall enable them to make a proper use of life, be a blessing to the world, and an honor to their Creator.

     The indulgence of perverted appetite is the great cause of the deterioration of the human race. The child of the drunkard or the tobacco inebriate usually has the depraved appetites and passions of the father intensified, and at the same time inherits less of his self-control, and strength of mind. Men who are naturally calm and strong-minded not infrequently lose control of themselves while under the influence of liquor, and, though they may not commit crime, still have an inclination to do so, which might result in the act if a fair opportunity offered.

    Continued dissipation makes these propensities a second nature. Their children often receive this stamp of character before their birth; for the appetites of the parents are often intensified in the children. Thus unborn generations are afflicted by the use of tobacco and liquor. Intellectual decay is entailed upon them, and their moral perceptions are blunted.

    Thus the world is being filled with paupers, lunatics, thieves, and murderers. Disease, imbecility, and crime, with private and public corruptions of every sort, are making the world a second Sodom. For the sake of that high charity and sympathy for the souls of tempted men for whom Christ died, Christians should come out from the popular customs and evils of the age, and be forever separated from them.

     But we find in the clergy themselves the most insurmountable obstacle to the promotion of temperance. Many are addicted to the use of the filthy weed, tobacco, which perverts the appetite, and creates the desire for some stronger stimulant.[66]

 When we learn how the race degenerates and falls in the scale of moral worth, we will have a tool for evaluating the nature of the impact Adam’s sin had on his children. The fact is that we have learned something about this already. But the data on degeneration throws even more light on the subject.

The facts in this case reveal something of the content of Christ’s condescension. What degeneration did to mankind, its plague did the same to Jesus.

 What a contrast the second Adam presented as He entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall, the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ’s advent to the earth. In order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He humiliated Himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that He might be qualified to reach man and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him.[67]

 Not all that Cain and Seth received from Adam was negative. There was a reason for the longevity that characterized the race for the millennium following Adam’s death. The antedeluvian lifespan contrasts sharply with that of the race in Christ’s time. The Spirit of Prophecy explains that if Adam had not passed on such a vibrant constitution, one so full of life, that disease would have, ere this, brought mankind to extinction.

In Christ’s day, and ours, the dissolution of the human body has progressed so far that even infants are plagued and subject to mortality. There is no record of any such event as a natural infant death during the first half of earth’s history. By the time of Christ’s appearance, paediatrics had joined the list of needed medical specialities. Children were sick.[68]

 Still more deplorable is the condition of the human family at the present time. Diseases of every type have been developed. Thousands of poor mortals with deformed, sickly bodies and shattered nerves, are dragging out a miserable existence. The infirmities of the body affect the mind, and lead to gloom, doubt, and despair. Even infants in the cradle suffer from diseases resulting from the sins of their parents.[69]

 The cause of this “deplorable” “condition of the human family”, as pointed out by the prophet, confirms the thesis of this paper. The indulgence of appetite has been both the origin and the continued source of moral pollution in the world. Our Father in heaven made choice of a fruit tree as the medium of choice for testing our parents. He had given our parents every fruit tree as a source of food. Meditate a few moments on the fact that the whole test was designed, before the fall, on the ground of the relation of the higher to the lower powers.

The holy desires of Adam and Eve, for food, for human companionship, for intellectual growth, were placed in contradiction to the higher powers of their nature. Their belly and their conscience were to collide over their relation to the tree. The nature of the contest exalts the power of temperance to prevent moral decline. Self-indulgence degrades.

 It was through the temptation to indulge appetite, that Adam and Eve fell from their holy and happy estate. It seemed a small matter to our first parents to transgress the command of God in that one act–the eating from a tree that was so beautiful to the sight, and so pleasant to the taste; but it broke their allegiance to God, and opened the gates to a flood of guilt and woe. And it is through the same temptation that the race have become enfeebled. Since the first surrender to appetite, mankind have been growing more and more self-indulgent, until health has been sacrificed on the altar of appetite. The inhabitants of the antediluvian world ate and drank till the indulgence of depraved appetite knew no bounds, and they became so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. They filled up the cup of their iniquity, and by a flood He cleansed the earth of its moral pollution.[70]

 When appetite bears sway over reason, men underestimate their danger. They flatter themselves that such a trifling sin as eating could not be punished with much severity. Their moral senses are blunted. They fail to discern in disease and misery an effect that has followed hard on the cause. Indulgence is the cause and decay—the result.

 Yet the fruit of the forbidden tree appeared more desirable to her than the fruit of all the other trees in the garden of which she could freely eat. She was intemperate in her desires. She ate, and through her influence, her husband ate also, and a curse rested upon them both. The earth also was cursed because of their sin. And since the fall, intemperance in almost every form has existed. The appetite has controlled reason. The human family have followed in a course of disobedience, and, like Eve, have been beguiled by Satan to disregard the prohibitions God has made, flattering themselves that the consequences would not be as fearful as had been apprehended. The human family have violated the laws of health, and have run to excess in almost everything. Disease has been steadily increasing. The cause has been followed by the effect.[71]


Discounting the Degradation

“Man can not obey.” That has been Satan’s theme. To bolster that claim he developed the arguments mentioned earlier in this paper. His work has been to make these prominent—especially the argument that the race is so depraved that they can not possibly be expected to obey.

Christ has taken the lead in discounting the degradation of the race. Through his own life, and by that of his faithful followers in the last crisis, He shows that men weakened as they are, and loaded with feelings of guilt and worthlessness, may be men still. They may yield to the claims of conscience and bring their appetites back into subjection.

The stigma resting on human nature Jesus removed by representing that nature in the theatre of the universe. Men and angels may see that humanity, combined with Divinity, conquers temptations.

Ellen White addressed these issues in a letter to the captain of Adventism’s missionary boat—the Pitcairn:

 Christ is the Son of God in deed and in truth and in love and is the representative of the Father as well as the representative of the human race. His arm brought salvation. He took humanity, was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and submitted to all the temptations wherewith man would be beset. He showed in the great controversy with Satan that He was fully able to remove the stigma and discount the degradation of sin which Satan had placed upon the human family. By taking humanity and combining it with divinity, He was able to meet every demand of the law of God, to overcome every objection which Satan had made prominent, as standing in the way of man’s obedience to God’s commandments.[72]

 The objections that stand “in the way of man’s obedience” men may inadvertently revive. To make an issue of the fact that Christ was divinity clothed with humanity, as if His divine nature helped him in some way that it can not help us, undermines the work of Christ. To speak of his person as though he was not crippled by the ailments, the habiliments, that rest on other men, echoes Satan’s prominent theory.

 Who would dare present the case in such a way as to remove the objection to sin because Christ clothed His divinity with humanity! Christ spoke in human nature. The divine and the human were united. Those who are following the will of Christ will have messages condemning sin and exalting righteousness, but always condemning sin.[73]

 Never was the Son of God more beloved by his Father, by the heavenly family, and by the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds, than when he humbled himself to bear disgrace, humiliation, shame, and abuse. By becoming the sin-bearer, he lifted from the human race the curse of sin. In his own body he paid the penalty of that on which the power of Satan over humanity is founded–sin.[74]

 Perhaps many have clouded the issue of Christ’s nature by advocating something very near the truth. To say that Christ had not advantage over men born today is vague. Even men have advantages over men, depending on the circumstances of their birth. These differences are no mean triviality. We have seen already that children may inherit almost unimaginably strong and perverted appetites. They may inherit very little power of self-control. The worst cases are so mentally or morally ill as to be closer to the “brutes” than to their fellow men.

The truth would better be stated “Christ accepted no advantage that men may not gain by partaking of the Divine nature.” Never was it the work of Jesus to prove that men alone could do something well. Rather, he showed what they, with the faculties heaven has provided them, might accomplish by the power of God.

 After the fall of man, Satan declared that human beings were proved to be incapable of keeping the law of God, and he sought to carry the universe with him in this belief. Satan’s words appeared to be true, and Christ came to unmask the deceiver. The Majesty of heaven undertook the cause of man, and with the same facilities that man may obtain, withstood the temptations of Satan as man must withstand them. This was the only way in which fallen man could become a partaker of the divine nature.[75]

 The book of Hebrews describes the nature of Jesus in words like these, “took on him the seed of Abraham,” [Heb. 2:14-] .. [“took flesh and blood, he likewise took part in the same.”]

Our bodies are corruptible. They will never enter heaven without an extreme change.[76] They die and turn to dust…rather than burn and turn to ashes. This was the curse that came upon Adam as a result of sin and Jesus bore that curse in his body. His corpse was spared from rotting only by his self-resurrection. “You will not suffer your Holy one to see corruption,” David prophesied. Yet the corruptible flesh and blood of Jesus carried with it no guilt of its own.


Arguments from Reversal

The truth regarding human nature differs from most evangelical positions. By way of contrast, the latter hold that human depravity and corruption to be intrinsic to man in his unglorified state. The former proclaims that much of what sin has done to degrade the race may be undone by the gospel even now.

If this assertion be proved, it demonstrates that Christ may indeed have come just as we may become. He may have taken our nature without partaking in the depravity and corruption that need not be part of it.

Sin degraded men physically, mentally, and morally. Marriage was given to ennoble man in the very ways that sin degraded him.

 “Marriage is honourable”; it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.[77]

 The first step in reversing the damage done by sin includes making man aware of his corruption.

 Christ must be brought into your life. He alone can cure you of envy, of evil surmising against your brethren; He alone can take away from you the self-sufficient spirit that some of you cherish to your own spiritual detriment. Jesus alone can make you feel your weakness, your ignorance, your corrupt nature. He alone can make you pure, refine you, fit you for the mansions of the blessed.[78]

 Our bodies are the root of our problems. Their desires and passions cry for indulgence. The thoughts of self-gratification they urge upon our mind are to be expelled. This can be done. Done repeatedly, it is the undoing of the work of corruption.

 The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words “flesh” or “fleshly” or “carnal lusts” embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.[79]

 The position of those that return to commandment-keeping in the future will reveal tendencies wholly at conflict with humanities deep-seated hatred against God. The contrast will prompt men to accuse the faithful among their brethren as traitors against the government of earth.

 The hostility to heaven will go on to still greater lengths. War, bloodshed, rebellion against God’s law, will reach an aggravating pass that many do not think possible. So deep and increasingly strong is the infernal enmity and hatred to God, which has struck deep its roots into human depraved hearts throughout the mass of humanity, that anyone who shall show any inclination to return to God and keep His commandments, will be denounced as treacherous to the governments of earth.[80]

 These have escaped the corruption that was in the world. Peter revealed that it was appetite, “lust,” that brought the corruption. And the same apostle pointed to promises as the means by which we might partake of the Divine nature and escape the power of those lusts and the corruption that it brings.

 When we are securely anchored in Christ, we have a power that no human being can take from us. Why in this?–Because we are partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,–partakers of the nature of Him who came to this earth clothed with the habiliments of humanity, that He might stand at the head of the human race, and develop a character that was without spot or stain of sin.[81]

 There is wonderful meaning in the words “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, all things are become new.” We have moral tastes, preferences for rebellion or loyalty, that when perverted gravely endanger the soul. Conversion changes these tastes. It makes man into a “good tree” that can be seen by its fruits.

Our experience of regeneration should reflect how we have “learned Christ.” We hear Jesus and are taught by Him to rid ourselves of the “old man” descended from Adam. That old man is corrupt. When renewed in the Spirit of our mind, we are created again in the image of God. The old man was born in sin. The new is “created in righteousness and true holiness.” The heart is changed and from its abundance is to come  nothing corrupt.

 “But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. . . . Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.[82]

Pride, selfishness, passionate temper, these corrupt fruits grow on the “evil tree.” Man may be transformed into a “good tree” and this itself is high-quality evidence that depravity need not be retained.

The question to ask the soul is, “Am I a partaker of the divine nature, represented as being born again? Has a new moral taste been created? If not, the soul is in deadly peril. He who is born of God is a new man. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The old imperious will is gone. The pride is cleansed from the soul. Selfishness is uprooted. The quick, passionate temper no longer masters the man; for Jesus Christ has brought the thoughts into captivity to himself.

     “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let no arrogancy come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.[83]

 This change is paramount to removing both inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil. Think of it. What would it mean if God would remove inherited tendencies to evil? It meant a great deal to brother McCullagh.

 The Lord loves Brother McCullagh because his soul is precious, but He will never excuse sin. If Brother McCullagh will accept of the working of the Holy Spirit, the Lord will pardon him, He will take away his natural and hereditary tendencies. But God will not compel obedience from any soul. The Lord will work with him, if he will repent and be converted, and will give him His Holy Spirit, which will enable him to overcome and receive the overcomer’s reward.[84]

 Our trouble in understanding why Christ had to win the right to live inside of us rests partially on the narrowness of our thinking. We tend to regard the merits of Christ in only legal terms. But the moral value of our Savior’s life is more than a legal credit to cover a man’s sin. Far more than this, his merits infused the race with moral power. Those that depend on his strength may have it. The weakness inherited from our fathers is undone in Christ.

 There is help for us only in God. We should not flatter ourselves that we have any strength in wisdom of our own, for our strength is weakness, our judgment foolishness. Christ conquered the foe in our behalf because He pitied our weakness and knew that we would be overcome and would perish if He did not come to our help. He clothed His divinity with humanity, and thus was qualified to reach man with His human arm while with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite. The merits of Christ elevate and ennoble humanity, and through the name and grace of Christ it is possible for man to overcome the degradation caused by the Fall, and through the exalted, divine nature of Christ to be linked to the Infinite.[85]

 Satan understood his situation well. If Christ would withstand his temptations, his tyranny over the race would be doomed to failure and fallen angels doomed to destruction. If he failed to defeat Christ, the example of Christ’s obedience would add power to the race Satan would be too feeble to oppose.

 Satan knew that the plan of salvation would be carried out to its fulfillment, that his power would be taken away, that his destruction would be certain, if Christ bore the test that Adam failed to endure. The temptations of Satan were most effective in degrading human nature, for man could not stand against their powerful influence; but Christ in man’s behalf, as man’s representative, resting wholly upon the power of God, endured the severe conflict, in order that he might be a perfect example to us.[86]

 Through his transgression Adam lost far more than innocence. His power to control self was forfeited and his natural love for God perished from his heart. This was the work of the fall. By it the image of God was nearly obliterated in man. Our question in this section is whether such damage to our nature can be undone here in this earth.

 God said in the beginning, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;” but sin has almost obliterated the moral image of God in man. This lamentable condition would have known no change or hope if Jesus had not come down to our world to be man’s Saviour and Example. In the midst of a world’s moral degradation he stands, a beautiful and spotless character, the one model for man’s imitation. We must study, and copy, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ; then we shall bring the loveliness of his character into our own life, and weave his beauty into our daily words and actions. Thus we shall stand before God with acceptance, and win back by conflict with the principalities of darkness, the power of self-control, and the love of God that Adam lost in the fall. Through Christ we may possess the spirit of love and obedience to the commands of God. Through his merits it may be restored in our fallen natures; and when the Judgment shall sit and the books be opened, we may be the recipients of God’s approval.[87]

 If self control may be restored to our fallen nature, then the lusts of that nature may be subdued. But that is not all the same as purifying the nature. Spiritual leaders have perceived something of the depth of our nature’s defilement. Simple reasoning has led them to conclusions that we must partially share. “We see and are compelled to acknowledge human depravity, but we do not need to stop at this conclusion, for through faith in Christ life and immortality are brought to light.”[88] When we neglect to consider the power  of the Holy Spirit in the life, we may grossly underestimate the kind of victorious experience available to us. We may fatally misrepresent what man must be and do to be saved.

 All human ambition, all boasting, is to be laid in the dust. Self, sinful self, is to be abased, not exalted. By holiness to God in the daily life here below, we are to manifest the Christ-life. The corrupt nature is to become pure and undefiled, subdued, not exalted. We are to be humble, faithful men and women. Never are we to sit upon the judgment seat. God demands that His representatives shall be pure vessels, revealing the beauty of sanctified character. The channel is always to remain unobstructed, that the Holy Spirit may have free course; otherwise, spiritual leaders will gloss over the work that must be done in the natural heart in order to perfect Christian character, and they will present their own imperfections in such a way that they make of none effect God’s truth, which is as steadfast as the eternal throne. And while God calls upon all His watchmen to lift the danger signal, at the same time He presents before them the life of the Saviour as an example of what they must be and do in order to be saved.[89]

 Here we may approach another one of our “fascinating statements.” The word “nature” as used in the last several passages refers to elements in man that may be changed—degraded or purified. The word “depraved” as used in paragraphs earlier in the study connotes unregenerate man. “Human nature” when not qualified by “united with Divinity” is code for man in his morally deranged state, his higher powers serving the lower. The words “a new nature” in the next paragraph show that it is man’s personal rebellion apart from Christ that is “justly condemned” rather than his blood relationship to fallen Adam.

 Human nature is depraved, and is justly condemned by a holy God. But provision is made for the repenting sinner, so that by faith in the atonement of the only begotten Son of God, he may receive forgiveness of sin, find justification, receive adoption into the heavenly family, and become an inheritor of the kingdom of God. Transformation of character is wrought through the operation of the Holy Spirit, which works upon the human agent, implanting in him, according to his desire and consent to have it done, a new nature. The image of God is restored to the soul, and day by day he is strengthened and renewed by grace, and is enabled more and more perfectly to reflect the character of Christ in righteousness and true holiness.[90]

 The nature of human depravity could be summed up this way: It is too weak to obey. That is Paul’s summary. “For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh…” Ro. 8:2.[91] God’s intention was that this might be remedied by providing that nature with “renovating energy.” This is done by a miracle.

 Unless man is given the converting grace of heaven, he will have no disposition to oppose Satan’s counsels, and will become the enemy’s willing dupe. It is God alone who puts enmity to sin in the human heart. The Lord gives man a new mind. He causes the conflict that will not submit to Satan’s deceptive reasoning. It is God who makes a conflict where heretofore there has been unity of action. It is the Lord’s purpose that depraved human nature should, through His divine power, be provided with a renovating energy.[92]


The Miracle of Enmity

Lucifer’s statements would have been close to correct regarding the nature of man had the race been left alone to reap their natural harvest. But God promised Satan that the human family would not be abandoned to their vices. Enmity would characterize both camps in the human family, those that served God and those that served their bellies. Jesus reiterated this promise as the purpose of his mission to earth. “I came not send peace, but a sword.”

Without the miracle of Christ’s mission of division, we would be, as a race, thoroughly united in our opposition to God and His throne. The very wording of the promise of enmity against Satan proves that not every member of the race would receive it. The blessings that it brings are reserved for those that accept the gift of enmity personally.

 God declares, “I will put enmity.” This enmity is supernaturally put, and not naturally entertained. When man sinned, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. The lofty usurper, having succeeded in seducing our first parents as he had seduced angels, counted on securing their allegiance and cooperation in all his enterprises against the government of Heaven. . . . But when Satan heard that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, he knew that though he had succeeded in depraving human nature and assimilating it to his own, yet by some mysterious process, God would restore to man his lost power, and enable him to resist and overcome his conqueror.[93]

      It is the grace that Christ implants in the soul that creates the enmity against Satan. Without this grace, man would continue the captive of Satan, a servant ever ready to do his bidding. The new principle in the soul creates conflict where hitherto had been peace. The power which Christ imparts, enables man to resist the tyrant and usurper. Whenever a man is seen to abhor sin instead of loving it, when he resists and conquers those passions that have held sway within, there is seen the operation of a principle wholly from above. The Holy Spirit must be constantly imparted to man, or he has no disposition to contend against the powers of darkness.

     Shall we not accept the enmity which Christ has placed between man and the serpent? . . . We have a right to say, In the strength of Jesus Christ I will be a conqueror.[94]

 I find it interesting that the thorough development of Calvin’s view of human nature leads to carnal security. Calvin’s view was Satan’s early view. The evil one was so certain of man’s entire depravity that it led him to the original carnal security. He was sure that he could win the controversy. That faulty feeling of assurance that the Devil persuades men to accept, he felt himself for a brief time. Until he heard the promise of enmity.

 When Satan heard the word, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,” he knew that man would be given power to resist his temptations. He realized that his claim to the position of prince of the newly created world was to be contested, that One would come whose work would be fatal to his evil purposes, that he and his angels would be forever defeated. His assurance of certain power, his sense of security, was gone. Adam and Eve had yielded to his temptations, and their posterity would feel the strength of his assaults. But they would not be left without a helper. The Son of God was to come to the world, to be tempted in our behalf, and in our behalf to overcome.[95]


Division under Adam and Noah – Enmity at Work

Two Righteous men with fallen characters gave birth to three sons each.[96] In each case there were two that grew up to inherit the blessings available through faith in Christ. In each case division was the natural result of the varied choices of the will.

And in none of the cases was the difference in the choices of the will a result of varied inheritance…with some sons inheriting more natural goodness than the rest. In each case the posterity of the three sons, Abel obviously excepted, demonstrated the power of example and inherited tendencies.

 Seth was of more noble stature than Cain or Abel, and resembled Adam more closely than did his other sons. He was a worthy character, following in the steps of Abel. Yet he inherited no more natural goodness than did Cain. Concerning the creation of Adam it is said, “In the likeness of God made He him;” but man, after the Fall, “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image.” While Adam was created sinless, in the likeness of God, Seth, like Cain, inherited the fallen nature of his parents.[97] But he received also the knowledge of the Redeemer and instruction in righteousness. By divine grace he served and honored God; and he labored, as Abel would have done, had he lived, to turn the minds of sinful men to revere and obey their Creator.[98]

 Cain’s fall involved his will at every step. I have italicized verbs in the following paragraph to highlight Cain’s complicity in his own demoralization.

 Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, differed widely in character. Abel had a spirit of loyalty to God; he saw justice and mercy in the Creator’s dealings with the fallen race, and gratefully accepted the hope of redemption. But Cain cherished feelings of rebellion, and murmured against God because of the curse pronounced upon the earth and upon the human race for Adam’s sin. He permitted his mind to run in the same channel that led to Satan’s fall–indulging the desire for self-exaltation and questioning the divine justice and authority.[99]

 God cursed Cain after the murder of his brother and Canaan after the sin of Ham. Both curses took in their posterity. In the case of Cain and Seth, one might have expected that their children would be known, Biblically, as Cainites and Sethites. But the record of those early centuries names the children in harmony with the developments in the plan of salvation. Those that inherited the depravity of Adam, that were made in “his image” were appropriately named the sons or “daughters of men.” Those that accepted the miracle of enmity and permitted God to renovate their natures into His image where with equal propriety called “sons of God.”[100]

 The prophecy of Noah [regarding his children and their descendants] was no arbitrary denunciation of wrath or declaration of favor. It did not fix the character and destiny of his sons. But it showed what would be the result of the course of life they had severally chosen and the character they had developed. It was an expression of God’s purpose toward them and their posterity in view of their own character and conduct. As a rule, children inherit the dispositions and tendencies of their parents, and imitate their example; so that the sins of the parents are practiced by the children from generation to generation. Thus the vileness and irreverence of Ham were reproduced in his posterity, bringing a curse upon them for many generations. “One sinner destroyeth much good.” Ecclesiastes 9:18.[101]

 The promise of enmity made a statement not only regarding the repentant woman Eve, but regarding her seed. The miracle of enmity and the uplift that it brings to humanity tends to lift descendents of the righteous. The children of holy men are miraculously blessed. This is the counter-working of God against the work initiated by Satan to deprave the race. David speaks of the blessing of the chosen seed in the 37th Psalm.

 “How richly rewarded,” in contrast to Ham’s deserts, “was Shem’s respect for his father; and what an illustrious line of holy men appears in his posterity! “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright,” “and his seed is blessed.” Psalm 37:18, 26. “Know therefore that the Lord thy God He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9.[102]

 This is the crowing principle in our study of the Laws of Heredity. Enmity against Satan and power to do right may be inherited through miracle by those that love God and their descendants that chose the same. This law of heredity, embedded in the Second Commandment, required an immense risk on the part of Christ to secure. It is, itself, grace abounding.


How Christ Secured the Gift of Inherited Righteousness for His Children


The relation of Christ’s humanity to his divinity can be but partially understood. The Jews were expecting a divine man to overawe them into belief. Jesus understood this and his love for them made it a “difficult task” for him to “maintain the level of humanity.” “The Jews utterly failed to understand the spiritual connection which identified Christ with both the human and the divine, and gave fallen man a presentation of what he should strive to become.”[103]

 The sons of God and the sons of man both trace their lineage to God. The former trace their genealogy directly to heaven. They have been “born” again “not of corruptible seed” but of the Word of God. The latter are the sons “of Adam, who was a son of God.”

If Adam had died immediately for his sin, the hope of his posterity would have died with him. A dead man has no children. Eve’s bite placed mankind on the endangered species list. Adam’s could have brought extinction. Being unborn we would be unsaved. In this sense we were “all dead.” We were doomed to not have life.

When the fallen pair were granted a second chance, it opened a door of hope for their children. In the gift of probation, it was the race that was saved from immediate death.

 Adam and Eve were given a probation in which to return to their allegiance; and in this plan of benevolence all their posterity were embraced. After the Fall, Christ became Adam’s instructor. He acted in God’s stead toward humanity, saving the race from immediate death. He took upon Him the work of mediator between God and man. In the fullness of time He was to be revealed in human form. He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.[104]

 Paul spoke of the universal work of Christ in granting life to the race. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall men be made alive.” Someone might ask “how is the resurrection related to probation?” In the case of those that are righteous it is easy to reason that they need to be resurrected…although some might question “why do they need to die in the first place?”

The resurrection of the wicked is even more perplexing. A fuller treatment of this question may be found in an article titled “Authority” found in a collection of my articles online.[105] For the purpose of this paper I would suggest that life is not appropriate for sinners. When a sinless being is granted probation, they may live justly until they sin, and then they may die justly.

But when a sinful being is granted probation, the moments that he spends serving his passions accumulate a weight of guilt that his mortality will not atone for. The pain he inflicts on others must come on him. Were this justice to be executed at the event of the transgression, the mortal body would cease to existence before the gospel would have a chance to win the heart.

 So in mercy God appointed that men should die a death of results before facing a death of justice. “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.” Do the justified need to die? Apparently the death of the just is not a moral requirement in the Great Controversy, for there are notable exceptions. On the other hand, those exceptions are few. Human life apart from the tree of knowledge does not carry on forever.[106]

 Jesus is the only human that has access to the tree of life. He alone has immortality. He alone has passed the test that acted as a gulf between Adam and eternal life.

Jesus Christ is the only member of the Godhead that has been incarnate as man. He alone can accurately represent man in the judgement. He alone can add to a condemnation and equitable judgement that takes into account the weaknesses and frailties of human nature.

These qualifications combine with a greater one yet to make Him the Mediator. Only by virtue of his sacrifice can man escape immediate death. When heaven relates to a man as though he is not hopelessly doomed to burn, that relation is based solely on Calvary. Christ’s intercession has formed the basis of all communication between heaven and earth.

 Christ is the Ladder; the foot on the earth in His human nature, the top in heaven in His divine nature. His human arm encircles the race while His divine arm lays hold upon the Infinite. All the intercourse between heaven and earth since the fall is by the Ladder.[107]

 Christ laid aside His crown and royal robe, stepped down from His high command, clothed His divinity with humanity, and for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty might inherit the heavenly treasure. He placed Himself at the head of humanity. If we walk in His footsteps, we are accepted by God. By His sacrifice we are “accepted in the Beloved.”[108]

 We accept Christ and become partakers of the Divine nature. That is the new birth. In our first birth, from Adam, we inherited evil things by two avenues: Example and natural tendencies.

When we become connected with God through Christ we are changed in like manner. Jesus becomes our parent. And he takes our training solemnly. For our inherited tendencies He has been given grace to give to us. We have already learned how grace undoes the damage tendencies have done. Christ’s example is no less efficacious.

 But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man’s behalf. He redeems Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall by coming forth from the trial untarnished. This places man on vantage ground with God. It places him where through accepting Christ as His Saviour, he becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Thus he becomes connected with God and Christ. Christ’s perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God.[109]

 The Law of Heredity that describes the power of example to change later generations is not limited to the example of Jesus. It, rather than genetics, is the basis of the gift of mercy that is shown to “thousands” of generations. Those that understand this law of heredity will strive to gather up the treasures of faithfulness that have been left to us by holy men of old.

 God expects the youth to think soberly and intelligently of how those of past generations toiled and sacrificed to leave to future generations a heritage of light. The patriarchs and prophets and the disciples of Christ received impressions from the Great Teacher, and this light and knowledge they bequeathed to those who live in this age. The youth now have the privilege of improving all the treasures that have been acquired by past generations. The Lord expects these hereditary trusts to be gathered up as golden treasures, and imparted to others.[110]

 For those that would like to see the words “objective gospel” and “subjective gospel” in any article like this, here is your paragraph. Jesus saved us from doom and saves us from sin. He saved the race from doom and can be said, in that sense, to have saved “the world” or “all” or “mankind.” This is the objective gospel and is certainly good news of the highest quality. As a balance to that thought I should add that there is quite some difference between a news headline and the news itself. Were the objective gospel to be presented in too brief terms men might entirely misunderstand. Hope is not security. The subjective gospel is what Christ, by virtue of his sacrifice, does in our experience to fit us for heaven.

The saving of the whole world from doom required more of our Savior than many would guess.

 Christ was tempted by Satan in a hundredfold severer manner than was Adam, and under circumstances in every way more trying. The deceiver presented himself as an angel of light, but Christ withstood his temptations. He redeemed Adam’s disgraceful fall, and saved the world.[111]


A Character to Share

Against fallen men the threefold current of degenerate tendencies, evil example, and conscious guilt repressed courage. During the wilderness temptation, as an inauguration to His ministry, Jesus bore even the last of these three in every way as truly as he did at Gethsemane.

 It was not merely the gnawing pangs of hunger which made His sufferings inexpressibly severe, but it was the guilt of the sins of the world which pressed so heavily upon Him. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. With this terrible weight of guilt upon Him because of our sins He withstood the fearful test upon appetite, and upon love of the world and of honor, and pride of display which leads to presumption. Christ endured these three great leading temptations and overcame in behalf of man, working out for him a righteous character, because He knew man could not do this of himself. He knew that upon these three points Satan was to assail the race. He had overcome Adam, and he designed to carry forward his work till he completed the ruin of man.[112]

 The character that Jesus worked out, under the pressure of our sins, is the righteousness that He share with us. The circumstances under which he worked out the character are as essential to its effectual power as the purity he maintained. It is the circumstances that motivate us to stop sinning. They are integral to the example phase of our moral inheritance.

 No one can fully enter into or understand the suffering of Christ, the Son of the infinite God. Proportionate to His majesty, His purity, His innocence, His exalted character, was the depth of His suffering as a substitute and surety for the human race. When the sinner realizes the aggravated character of sin, the transgression of the law, he will cease to sin.[113]

 Unity with the Father constitutes the Christian’s strength. That was no less true of Christ. During his life, under the power of that unity, he chose right, disciplined self, gained victories over the impulses of his lower nature. He “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” and “was perfected.”  The end of this struggle was that the human Jesus had developed a righteous character, one like Adam could have developed in the garden by resisting the temptations of the knowledge tree.

But he had not the advantages of Adam. The thought of what those final moments of struggle, when separated from the Father, might bring filled Jesus with fear. Fear of failure is one of the crushing weights that men bare in the struggle of life. It was a point in which Christ was tempted like as we are.

 He must not call his divinity to his aid, but as a man, he must bear the consequences of man’s sin and the Creator’s displeasure toward his disobedient subjects. As he felt his unity with the Father broken up, he feared that his human nature would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the prince of the power of darkness; and in that case the human race would be irrecoverably lost, Satan would be victor, and the earth would be his kingdom. The sins of the world weighed heavily upon the Saviour, and bowed him to the earth; and the Father’s anger in consequence of that sin seemed crushing out his life.[114]

 Christ’s righteousness stands, not only in contrast to Adam’s fall, but to Satan’s. In order to reconcile the race, the world, our Lord took the sins of all. Again, this was essential even to open the door of communication between Heaven and earth. It was a one-way reconciliation that paved the way for angels to work and God to empower humans. So eager are the angels to do evangelism that they recruit us to win our fellow fallen brethren.

 Now it was seen that for the salvation of a fallen and sinful race, the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make; for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. It was seen, also, that while Lucifer had opened the door for the entrance of sin by his desire for honor and supremacy, Christ had, in order to destroy sin, humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.[115]

 The very angels who, when Satan was seeking the supremacy, fought the battle in the heavenly courts, and triumphed on the side of God; the very angels who from their exalted position shouted for joy over the creation of our world, and over the creation of our first parents, who were to inhabit the earth; the angels who witnessed the fall of man and his expulsion from his Eden home, are most intensely interested to work in union with the fallen, redeemed race in the development of that power which God gives to help every man who will unite with heavenly intelligences to seek and save human beings who are perishing in their sins. If men will become partakers of the divine nature, and separate selfishness from their lives, special talents for helping one another will be granted them.[116] If all will love as Christ has loved, that perishing men may be saved from ruin, O, what a change would come to our world![117]

 Probably there are readers that have already felt frustrated at the repetition in this article. How often must one writer say that “we can’t do anything by ourselves”? We know we need Christ’s righteousness, but why so much repetition about the need for a holy life? Why the focus on “righteousness,” as if men don’t know what it means?

 Of the Comforter which he was to send to his disciples, he says, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The natural heart does not enjoy this constant reproving of sin and continual exalting of righteousness. Men feel disgusted when they are represented as helpless to do good; yet Jesus declares, “Without me ye can do nothing.” The word of God requires humility and practical godliness, and the picture of man’s dependence upon God is mortifying to the selfish independence of man, to his grand ideas of eloquence and finery and parade, which he esteems as essential for the conversion of the world.[118]

 Add somewhere: Rom. 16:18 and the following:

 You may obtain strength from Christ to stand unsullied amid the pollutions of this corrupt age. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Keep the eye steadily fixed upon Christ, upon the divine image. Imitate His spotless life, and you will be a partaker of His glory, and with Him inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. {2T 49.2}

 Insert somewhere the issue of “iniquities” and “sins” from the article “Iniquity, the data.”

 Not one in twenty of those who have a good standing with Seventh-day Adventists is living out the self-sacrificing principles of the word of God. But let not their enemies, who are destitute of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, take advantage of the fact that they are reproved. This is evidence that they are the children of the Lord. Those who are without chastisement, says the apostle, are bastards and not sons. Then let not these illegitimate children boast over the lawful sons and daughters of the Almighty.  {1T 632.2}


[1] CC 36.3

[2] RH, April 24, 1888 par. 15

[3] 5Red 15.3

[4] ST, January 16, 1879 par. 16

[5] RH, July 18, 1882 par. 4

[6] ST, January 16, 1879 par. 15. The context of this statement reads as a tragedy.

[7] RH, April 14, 1896 par. 4. The battle lines, over time, were drawn openly. Jesus also announced his intentions. “For this, he, the Commander of all heaven, one with God, clothed his divinity with humanity. He humbled himself, taking up his abode on the earth, that he might become acquainted with the temptations and trials wherewith man is beset. Before the heavenly universe he unfolded to men the great salvation that his righteousness would bring to all who accept it,–an inheritance among the saints and angels in the presence of God.” YI, June 2, 1898 par. 6

[8] 10MR 290.2

[9] GC 533.3

[10] PHJ, February 1, 1902 par. 3

[11] CC 36.3

[12] Ibid.

[13] PP 48.4

[14] PP 48.4. Just as Adam would only pass the test by a habitual obedience that developed a righteous character, even so he could not pass the test by a solitary act of obedience. And how could we, his descendants, fail the test given us and forfeit our probation? Not by an act of disobedience, but by habitual self-corruption that produces a hopeless character. “Our world is fast approaching the boundary line when probation will no longer be granted. A long-suffering God bore with the inhabitants of the world in the time of Noah; but at last he declared to his servant saying, ‘My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.’ ‘And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ ‘And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth; and God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.’  The condition of society today is similar to what it was in the time of Noah; and if Jesus was among us, he would say, ‘Can ye not discern the signs of the times?’ ‘And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.’” ST, June 4, 1894 par. 7-9. “‘And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.’ Here the faithful historian with an inspired pen draws the portrait of Noah’s day, when we are told that the heart of man was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  The nature of man unrenewed by grace is not changed in our day from what it was in Noah’s time. Christ has said a similar state of things would be prior to his second coming as existed before the flood. In the days of Noah men followed the imagination of their own hearts, and the result was unrestrained crime and wickedness. The same state of things will exist in this age of the world.” ST, January 3, 1878 par. 1-2. Carefully observe that corruption, in these passages, develops from the choices of man. They “corrupt their way” until “every imagination is only evil continually.”

[15] PP 66.3. It appears that the clause following this one should read “Rather, let it descend on them and their posterity.” In place of “posterity” I read (on my edition of the CD ROM) “prosperity.” The next statement bears out that, at the least, my suggested reading would be factually accurate.

[16] LHU 23.5

[17] ST, January 23, 1879 par. 12

[18] “Adam and Eve were given a probation in which to return to their allegiance; and in this plan of benevolence all their posterity were embraced.” 7BC 912.8. We will return to the remainder of this statement later.

[19] 9MR 236.1

[20] Con 45.2

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ps. 58:3. “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” KJV. The NIV reads “from the womb” for “as soon as they be born.”

[23] AG 41.4

[24] DA 114.3

[25] Ibid.

[26] DA 24.2

[27] YI, June 2, 1898 par. 5

[28] This statement is preceded by a sentence that indicates that, had it not been for Christ’s promise to take man’s sin, Satan’s second argument about obedience would have been true. Man without hope and without an indwelling Spirit could never obey. Here is the preceding statement: “After the fall, it had been impossible for man with his sinful nature to render obedience to the law of God, had not Christ, by the offer of his own life, purchased the right to lift up the race where they could once more work in harmony with its requirements.” RH, September 27, 1881 par. 11 (here) and 12 (in the document)

[29] FW 88.3

[30] CG 475.3

[31] RH, September 17, 1895 par. 7

[32] 1SM 344.2

[33] “And so even Christians should think of self as fallen and sinful. “Reverence should be shown also for the name of God. Never should that name be spoken lightly or thoughtlessly. Even in prayer its frequent or needless repetition should be avoided. “Holy and reverend is his name.” Psalm 111:9. Angels, as they speak it, veil their faces. With what reverence should we, who are fallen and sinful, take it upon our lips!” “Many know so little of faith that when they have asked God for his help and blessing, they look to themselves to see if their prayer is answered; and if they have a happy flight of feeling, they are satisfied. This is not faith, but unbelief. We should trust God, whether we experience any change of feeling or not. We cannot expect to be very joyful and hopeful while we look to ourselves; for we must think of self as sinful. A large class of the professed Christian world are watching their feelings; but feeling is an unsafe guide, and those who depend upon it are in danger of imbibing heresy. Satan can move upon our feelings, and he can so arrange surrounding circumstances as to make our feelings changeable. Victory in God is not feeling, but faith. It is the faith that will not yield although there are seeming impossibilities to be encountered.” CG 538.5, ST, May 22, 1884 par. 4. Emphasis supplied in both passages. The fourth of our four fascinating statements illumines these simple principles in practical light. Our very best deeds and truest praise would be rejected as homage from a rebel were it not for Christ’s ministration. The sentences following the fourth statement read: “He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned. Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience, in penitence, in praise and thanksgiving, must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. The fragrance of this righteousness ascends like a cloud around the mercy seat.” 1SM 344.2-3

[34] AH 173.1 Emphasis supplied.

[35] SA 174.2. In one of her strongest statements on corruption Ellen White writes of the case of a man debased by continual masturbation. – “Children born to parents who are controlled by corrupt passions are worthless. What can be expected of such children, but that they will sink lower in the scale than their parents? What can be expected of the rising generation? Thousands are devoid of principle. These very ones are transmitting to their offspring their own miserable, corrupt passions. What a legacy! Thousands drag out their unprincipled lives, tainting their associates and perpetuating their debased passions by transmitting them to their children. They take the responsibility of giving to them the stamp of their own characters.” CH 621.1

[36] TFG 175.2. This paragraph is introduced “Satan is determined to enslave every soul if he can; for he is playing a desperate game to win the souls of men from Christ and eternal life.”

[37] “religion of fancy” –Ellen White’s phrase for the idea that man with his eloquence and greatness need not be represented as “helpless” to do any good thing.

[38] ST, November 5, 1894 par. 8. Emphasis and paragraph divisions supplied. This passage is one paragraph in the original article.

[39] 4T 349.1

[40] 6T 238.5. Other documents bear out the conclusions. “Human depravity will surely overcome” those that do God’s work without personal devotion. You should be careful “that human depravity shall not neutralize your work. For professed Christians that do not take heed, “what human depravity will come to light” in the judgment. TM 169.1; TSA 12.1; RH, January 10, 1893 par. 11. In every case, depravity is revealed in the life of the unconsecrated.

[41] FE 277.1

[42] GH, May 1, 1898 par. 2

[43] 3T 321.1. Depravity, in these paragraphs, is acting out the impulses that come from our corrupt nature. These impulses can be and should be resisted. Speaking of the injured Samaritan, “Had those who injured him, respected and obeyed the law of God, they would have loved their neighbor as themselves. They could not have treated him as they did. But acting out the impulses of their sinful, corrupt nature, as though there were no law to forbid their cruelty, they cared neither for God nor for their neighbor, and left the wounded man to die by the wayside.” RH, January 1, 1895 par. 3.  Jesus, like the Samaritan, suffered at the hands of those that could have relieved him. “The depravity of the human heart, the guilt of transgression, the ruin of sin, are all made plain by the cross where Christ has made for us a way of escape.” FW 96.2

[44] 19MR 96.1

[45] ST, July 29, 1886 par. 3

[46] FLB 101.3

[47] The insertion of the words “of generations” is warranted by parallelism in the sentence itself, and by comparison with a parallel passage in Deuteronomy 7:9. A look at Deuteronomy 34:7 shows that the phrase “to the third and fourth generation” is found in the original without the word “generation.” The translators supplied it there as they could see its need. And It is also unreasonable to assume that the words “of men” would be better, as if God’s mercy is limited to some certain number of “thousands” of individuals. Finally, Ellen White’s use of the verse, conforming to the data presented here, is compelling. “‘Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.’ In prohibiting the worship of false gods, the second commandment by implication enjoins the worship of the true God. And to those who are faithful in His service, mercy is promised, not merely to the third and fourth generation as is the wrath threatened against those who hate Him, but to thousands of generations.’”  PP 306.4

[48] “‘I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,’ was thundered from Sinai. No partial obedience, no divided interest, is accepted by him who declares that the iniquities of the fathers shall be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him and that he will show mercy unto thousands of generations of them that love him, and keep his commandments.” ST, July 29, 1897 par. 9

[49] DA 48.5

[50] Joseph is listed here as an example of how the law works, though he was not part of the lineage of Jesus.

[51] Ed 276.1

[52] This idea was referenced earlier under the subtitle “Four Fascinating Statements.” A fuller statement of the same may be found in 9MR 236.1. It reads “Parents have a more serious charge than they imagine. The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death.” The fact that parents have a “charge” in this matter belies the reality their choice has something to do with what they pass on. A third edition of the idea can be located in 13MR zz.z. Notice in the statement that “sin” in the 9MR statement becomes “disobedience” in the statement below. This squares nicely with the idea that sin is not some intangible antipathy to God, but rather, actual breaking of the law. Then consider that the statement below is buried between two statements about the value of the converted mother. Her work is contrasted with that of Adam’s. He gave guilt and death and disobedience. What does she give? She teaches. She works to restore the image of God in her children. She reshapes the character. These hints point to Adam’s work as passing on poor example (as instruction) and undoing the image of God by misshaping the character. “If one mother has been turned from her disloyalty to obedience, you may rejoice. The mother who follows on to know the Lord will teach her children to follow in her footsteps. The promise is to fathers, mothers and their children. (Acts 2:39) These dear children received from Adam an inheritance of disobedience, of guilt and death. The Lord has given to the world Jesus Christ, and His work was to restore to the world the moral image of God in man, and to reshape the character.”13MR 14.1

[53] 1SP 52.1

[54] ST, May 19, 1890 par. 8. A nearly identical statement in Faith and Works was referenced in the section “Four Fascinating Statements.”

[55] PP 306.3

[56] The connection between ill-bred children and unconverted parents is most natural. The nature of unconsecration is an unrestrained passion. Those that will not restrain their own passions can not be expected to restrain those of their progeny. “The minds of the young left unrestrained are directed in a channel to suit their own corrupt nature.” HP 218.5

[57] “Habits of strict temperance always have been and always must be the only safeguard for our youth. Let old and young remember that for every violation of the laws of life, nature will utter her protest. The penalty will fall upon the mental as well as the physical powers. And it does not end with the guilty trifler. The effects of his misdemeanors are seen in his offspring, and thus hereditary evils are passed down, even to the third or fourth generation. Think of this, fathers, when indulging in the soul and brain benumbing narcotic, tobacco. Where will this practice leave you? Whom will it affect besides yourself?” ST, March 2, 1882 par. 10-11. 121. “Will he not call parents to an account, to whom he has given reasoning powers, for putting these higher faculties in the background, and becoming slaves to passion, when, as the result, generations must bear the mark of their physical, mental, and moral deficiencies?” 2SM 424.2-3

[58] 1SP 257.2

[59] RH, March 13, 1894 par. 7

[60] “In addition to the suffering they entail upon their children, they have no portion but poverty to leave to their pitiful flock. They cannot educate them, and many do not see the necessity, neither could they if they did, find time to train them, and instruct them, and lessen, as much as possible, the wretched inheritance transmitted to them. Parents should not increase their families any faster than they know that their children can be well cared for, and educated.” 2SM 424.2-3. In this case the Testimonies urge that the unkindness is not alone done to society. The mother suffers. Husbands that neglect to guard the happiness of their wives ‘violates the marriage vow.’ “A child in the mother’s arms from year to year is great injustice to her. It lessens, and often destroys, social enjoyment, and increases domestic wretchedness. It robs their children of that care, education, and happiness, which parents should feel it their duty to bestow upon them. The husband violates the marriage vow, and the duties enjoined upon him in the word of God, when he disregards the health and happiness of the wife, by increasing her burdens and cares by numerous offspring.” Ibid. This violation of the marriage vow can not be considered as absolving the wife from its claims on her. It can not justify divorce. I have written in a different article on the grounds for divorce. See

[61] The section of the article is borrowed largely from a section in 2SM on the topic. The reader is referred to this section for more information. “We see this holy injunction almost wholly disregarded, even by professed Christians. Everywhere you may look, you will see pale, sickly, careworn, broken-down, dispirited, discouraged women. They are generally over-worked, and their vital energies exhausted by frequent child-bearing. The world is filled with images of human beings who are of no worth to society. Many are deficient in intellect, and many who possess natural talents do not use them for any beneficial purposes. They are not cultivated, and the one great reason is, children have been multiplied faster than they could be well trained, and have been left to come up much like the brutes.” 2SM 425.2

[62] 1MCP 136.4 quoted from HL (Part 2) 30, 1865. A few pages later in the same 1865 publication, Ellen White wrote: “In past generations, if mothers had informed themselves in regard to the laws of their being, they would have understood that their constitutional strength, as well as the tone of their morals and their

mental faculties, would in a great measure be represented in their offspring. Their ignorance upon this subject, where so much is involved, is criminal.” 1MCP 142.4, quoted from HL (Part 2) 37, 1865.

[63] PaM 88.1. Does this idea, that the faulty family government of an otherwise faithful worker for God does more harm than his labor did good, seem extreme? Ellen White defends it reasonableness thus, “Those children transmit their own perversity of character as an inheritance to their offspring, and at the same time their evil example and influence corrupt society and make havoc in the church. We cannot think that any man, however great his ability and usefulness, is best serving God or the world while his time is given to other pursuits, to the neglect of his own children.” Ibid.

[64] “The physical and mental condition of parents is perpetuated in their offspring. This is a matter that is not duly considered. Wherever the habits of the parents are contrary to physical law, the injury done to themselves will be repeated in future generations. Satan knows this very well, and it is through this hereditary transmission that he is perpetuating his work. Those who indulge the animal passions and gratify lust will surely stamp upon their offspring the effects of their debasing practises, and the grossness of their own physical and moral defilement. Let the husband and wife in their married life prove a help and a blessing to each other. Let them consider the cost of every indulgence in intemperance and sensualism. These indulgences do not increase love, they do not ennoble and elevate. By physical, mental, and moral culture, all may become co-workers with Christ. Very much depends upon the parents. It lies with them to decide whether they will bring into the world children who will be a blessing or a curse. The father and mother who know no higher rule of life than selfish indulgence of lustful passions are not Christians. They are lowering the standard of intellectual and moral character, and are descending toward the brute creation, rather than ascending to work in harmony with Jesus Christ to restore the moral image of God in man. GosHealth, May 1, 1898 par. 3. An extreme position that sexual expression of love is, itself, intemperate can not be gathered from this sentence. Temperance is moderation in the good and abstinence from the evil. As the “bed is holy and undefiled,” moderation is the answer for those parents who would be a blessing to their spouses.

[65] AH 173.1 Emphasis supplied

[66] HR, August 1, 1878 par. 9-10

[67] Con 32.3

[68] “Since the fall the tendency of the race has been continually downward, the effects of sin becoming more marked with every successive generation. But so great was the vitality with which man was endowed that the patriarchs from Adam to Noah, with a few exceptions, lived nearly a thousand years.

Moses, the first historian, gives an account of social and individual life in the early days of the world’s history; but we find no record that an infant was born blind, deaf, crippled, or imbecile. Not an instance is recorded of a death in infancy, childhood, or early manhood.

Obituary notices in the book of Genesis run thus: “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.” “And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.” Concerning another, the record states, “He died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years.” It was so rare for a son to die before his father that such an occurrence was thought worthy of record: “Haran died before his father Terah.”

Since the flood, the average length of life has been decreasing. Had Adam possessed no greater physical force than men now have, the race would before this have become extinct.

At the time of Christ’s first advent, humanity had so degenerated that many endured a terrible weight of misery; and not only the old but the middle-aged and the young were brought to the Saviour from all the country around, to be healed of their diseases.” PHJ, February 1, 1902 par. 4-6

[69] Ibid., par. 7. Emphasis supplied.

[70] ST, December 1, 1914 par. 2

[71] CD 145.2

[72] Letter 11a, 1894, pp. 7-8. (To Captain Christiansen of the Pitcairn, Jan. 2, 1894.)

[73] 20MR 68.2

[74] YI, June 28, 1900 par. 5

[75] 1SM 252.1. Emphasis supplied. The paragraph continues with a comment about why this was the “only way.” “In taking human nature, Christ was fitted to understand man’s trials and sorrows and all the temptations wherewith he is beset. Angels who were unacquainted with sin could not sympathize with man in his peculiar trials. Christ condescended to take man’s nature, and was tempted in all points like as we, that He might know how to succor all who should be tempted.”

[76] “We have seen by the scriptures just given that when the Son of man comes, the dead are raised incorruptible, and the living are changed. By this great change they are prepared to receive the kingdom; for Paul says, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 COR. 15:50. Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore man in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” GC 322.2

[77] AH 25.4. Marriage not only promotes holistic health, but it provides a morally correct fulfillment of man’s sexual desires. By this action it serves as a barrier against the immoral fulfillment of the same. This power should not be underestimated. Ellen White pointed out the depravity of a man that was given to masturbation even after matrimony. “This is not a solitary case. Even the marriage relation was not sufficient to preserve this man from the corrupt habits of his youth. I wish I could be convinced that such cases as the one I have presented are rare; but I know they are frequent.” CH 621.1

[78] 5T 486.2

[79] AH 127.2

[80] 6MR 392.2

[81] SpTB04 22.2. The reference is to 2Pt 1:4.

[82] From Paul, see also YI, August 24, 1893 par. 8

[83] ST, September 26, 1892 par. 4. Some have taken this principle too far. They have concluded that if God is truly working in the soul, if Divine love is bubbling out of the heart spring, that selfishness will be no more. An error of this nature may lead to ill timed and ill mannered corrections. The gospel makes the tree good and cleanses the heart from evil, but the latter is not an instantaneous process. “Jesus bears tenderly with them, not rebuking their selfishness in seeking preference above their brethren. He reads their hearts, He knows the depth of their attachment to Him. Their love is not a mere human affection; though defiled by the earthliness of its human channel, it is an outflowing from the fountain of His own redeeming love. He will not rebuke, but deepen and purify. He said, “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They recall His mysterious words, pointing to trial and suffering, yet answer confidently, “We are able.” They would count it highest honor to prove their loyalty by sharing all that is to befall their Lord.” DA 548.6. Our service need not, however, be defiled by its channel. James and John profited later from a more consistent, and thus more telling, look at Jesus. “

The eye should not be so constantly looking to man, studying the plans which men devise; but rather seeking for a knowledge of the plans which are determined by the Source of all wisdom. Then there will be no danger of having plans for work contaminated by flowing through impure human channels.” RH, July 23, 1895 par. 9

[84] 9MR 354.2

[85] TMK 269.4

[86] RH, February 5, 1895 par. 4

[87] ST, December 22, 1887 par. 2. Emphasis supplied.

[88] ST, November 5, 1894 par. 9

[89] 12MR 70.1

[90] RH, September 17, 1895 par. 7

[91] “The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the new covenant. He says: ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.’ ‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh’–it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law –‘God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’” (Rom. 5:1; 3:31; 8:3, 4).  AG 140.4

[92] Manuscript 5, 1904

[93] RH, July 18, 1882 par. 4

[94] TMK 16.4-5

[95] RH, May 3, 1906 par. 4

[96] I speak of those that are named

[97] An earlier edition of this same statement seems to hark to Psalms 51. Where this statement says “Seth, like Cain, inherited the fallen nature of his parents” the earlier edition reads “He was born in sin.” 1SP 60.2. The wording of the later edition suggests Ellen’s interpretation of her own earlier words.

[98] PP 80.1

[99] CC 24.2

[100] This is the manifest meaning of Genesis 4:26 Unless we believe that Abel was educated enough to offer sacrifices but not enough to talk to God, the reading “began to call the name of the Lord” can not be correct. The marginal reading is much preferable. “began to be called by the name of the Lord” as opposed to being called by the name of their earthly ancestor Seth. As further evidence of this I would suggest that this verse is the only antecedent for the phrases found in Genesis 6:4. And only the marginal reading would provide a clue as the meaning of “the daughters of men.” Cohabitation with angels is certainly not the meaning supported by Jesus who said angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. Finnaly, the reading suggested here unites the passage to the chain of Bible truths about what it means to be a child of God.

[101] PP 118.2

[102] PP 118.3

[103] 6Red 77.2,1.  The first paragraph has something to say regarding false ideas of masculinity. “Christ was God in the flesh. As the son of David, he stood forth a perfect type of true manhood, bold in doing his duty, and of the strictest integrity, yet full of love, compassion, and tender sympathy.”

[104] ST May 29, 1901; 7BC 912.8


[106] I am aware that I have neglected to well answer the question “why do most righteous die.” Write and ask if you are interested in more on this topic.

[107] 19MR 338.4; In Christ were united the divine and the human–the Creator and the creature. The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus–the Son of God, and the Son of man. And having with His own blood paid the price of redemption, having passed through man’s experience, having in man’s behalf met and conquered temptation, having, though Himself sinless, borne the shame and guilt and burden of sin, He becomes man’s Advocate and Intercessor. What an assurance here to the tempted and struggling soul, what an assurance to the witnessing universe, that Christ will be “a merciful and faithful high priest”! 7BC 925-926.

[108] 7MR 125.3. This paragraph carries an almost surprising appraisel of the extent to which the life of Jesus is a model for us. Some parts of his life seemed to be for Him alone. We, for example, do not expect to have a dove land on us and to hear a voice that says “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased. But should we expect it? “The same glory which flashed from the threshold of heaven at the time of Christ’s baptism, is revealed to every earnest seeker of Christ.” Ibid.

[109] 9MR 236.1. “. . . Christ’s perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God. It is by teaching them, line upon line, precept upon precept, how to give the heart and will up to Christ that Satan’s power is broken.” CG 475.3

[110] YI, June 29, 1899 par. 2

[111] YI, June 2, 1898 par. 7. The paragraph following this is more subjective. “With his human arm, Christ encircled the race, while with his divine arm, he grasped the throne of the Infinite, uniting finite man with the infinite God. He bridged the gulf that sin had made, and connected earth with heaven. In his human nature he maintained the purity of his divine character. He lived the law of God, and honored it in a world of transgression, revealing to the heavenly universe, to Satan, and to all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, that through his grace, humanity can keep the law of God. He came to impart his own divine nature, his own image, to the repentant, believing soul.”

[112] 3T 372.1

[113] 10MR 290.2

[114] 5Red 15.3

[115] GC 502.2

[116] These powers, of course, are not granted by the angels. At times Ellen White, in vision, heard Jesus speak and was directed to quote him. These statements are most precious. One of them concisely says much of what this paper is intended to teach. “‘Where stands the throne of Satan shall stand my cross.’ Satan shall be cast out, and I will become the center of attraction in a redeemed world. I will engage every holy agency in the universe to cooperate with Me in the plan of salvation. I will summon every heavenly power. Angels that excel in strength shall unite with humanity, sanctified to my service to uproot evil. The depravity of man requires all this expenditure of heavenly power, that man may be sanctified through the grace of God. Jesus said, ‘I will redeem my people from the earth. The perishing shall be rescued.’”  GH, May 1, 1898 par. 2

[117] PH008 9.2

[118] ST, November 5, 1894 par. 7. Much of the debate does, indeed, boil down to what is essential to salvation. Here Ellen White insightfully remarks that those that would belittle the necessity for God’s inner working and personal holiness are the same that exalt human show and rhetoric, plans and evangelistic schemes, as essential to the salvation of a lost world. In words this class cries correctly that the essential element is a “saving knowledge” of Jesus. But loving words do not, in the judgement, weigh as much as loving deeds. “The time is at hand when the judgment will sit, and the books will be opened, and every one will be judged according to the deeds that have been done in the body. What an hour that will be! What human depravity will come to light even among those who claim to be Christians, but whose practical life has testified that they had not a saving knowledge of Christ!” RH, January 10, 1893 par. 11. Emphasis supplied. Those that make their fallenness an excuse for sin fail in attaining a saving knowledge, or understanding, of the love of God. “God is love. He has shown that love in the gift of His only begotten Son. Yet the love of God does not excuse sin. God does not excuse sin in Satan, in Adam, or in Cain, nor will He excuse sin in any of the children of men. The perverted nature of man may distort the love of God into an attribute of weakness; but light is shining from the cross of Calvary, that man may have correct views and hold theories that are not perverted.” LHU 158.4

For the Word Document, click here: Laws_of_Heredity SOP version

(2) Comments

  1. This article was very helpful in several ways (and I probably have not identified all the ways it will be helpful yet). I found it when lookin for a discussion of the difference between iniquity, transgression, and sin, and at the very end it has a note to the author to add into from a document about that very topic (or so I deduced). But I cannot find said document on the site. If you have it, could you send it to me, please?

  2. My brother,

    I have to make a correction on [47]:
    “A look at Deuteronomy 34:7…” should be “…Exodus 34:7…”

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts, I’m blessed in my “battles” with our theologians…

    God bless,

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