The Biblical Lifestyle
 
 

Preparing men and women for the soon Advent of Jesus by obedience to God's Word and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Articles on the Gospel
The Gospel According to the Bible, not man, Part 1 The Creation by Michael Snyder, MD
The Gospel According to the Bible, not man, Part 2 The Creation by Michael Snyder, MD

 

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The Perfect Creation

Gen 1:1   In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

This is indisputable to Christians. I do not know a Seventh-day Adventist or Fundamentalist who would argue with this point.  Yet, from that point on, Evangelical or Fundamental Christianity has very little in common with Bible Truth.  I am, over the next pages, going to explore with you the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it was known by our Pioneers.

Why do I want to explore this topic according to how our Pioneers knew it? Because the Prophet said that we should do so.

Ellen White said,

We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. . . The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. . . There is truth and power in them. Men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people.   RH, May 25, 1905

Our Pioneers were men of God and, while some of them had a few mistaken ideas most of those ideas were of little importance.  When it comes to the pillars of God these men and women were in unity and were right on.  Further, God wants to hear them speak again today.  What are the Pillars of our Faith? The pillars of our faith consist of Creation, the fall of man, the Atonement, the Perpetuity of God’s Law, the Sabbath, the Sanctuary, the State of the Dead, and the Personality of God.  Ellen White discusses the personality of God or in another place the nature of God.  Of the this she says, “the Nature of God is the only foundation that we should build our faith upon.”  There is a good deal if emphasis placed upon our doctrinal pillars for a reason.  God desires to lead a people into Truth and He wants to keep them there.  Deviation from our doctrinal heritage or past, will lead us backwards to the place from where God led us out from in the first place.  Why would we want to return to roots of Evangelical misunderstanding on the themes of salvation? What we should want is to return to the our roots of humanity before sin corrupted our natures.

Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world. GC 582

In this study, we will explore the Creation of Man and we will start at Genesis.  

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

As SDA’s we are very familiar with the idea of the non-immortality of the soul.  The typical Evangelistic presentation goes something like this: 

Living Soul = Body + Breath. 

This teaching is found in the very heart of the formation of man and the Nature of Man.  God formed the body out of the dirt. He did it with His own hands and He planned to make man Reflect Him.  That is to say that God wanted man to relect his image, that is why God proposed to make man in His image.

Gen 1:26-28   And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. God wanted to make Man and make Him in His image.

The next natural question to answer is, What is the image of God?  We probably can’t fully answer that question, as man is not capable of fully grasping God.  He is too emense, too powerful, too intelligent for our puny minds to fully comprehend.  But, we can ask questions and we can understand the things that are presented to us in scripture about the nature of God.  Let’s start with a real basic idea, What is the image of anything?  It is a likeness, a representation of that which it reflects. According to Noah Webster image means

IMAGE, n. [Fr. image; L. imago; Sp. imagen; It. image, immagine; Ir. iomaigh.] 1. A representation or similitude of any person or thing, formed; . . . 5. Any copy, representation or likeness.

I want you to remember image because when we get to the incarnation topics, it will be important.  Jesus was not incarnated in the image of God but in the likeness or image of man and we will discuss this more completely in the future.

So God made man to reflect Himself.  Did that make man God? No, man was the image of God, but not God, he was a created being and certainly does not have the ability to create.  He was made to reflect the image of God, not be God.  As man reflects God from the Maker’s hand he reflects the image, the nature, or the very essence of God.  The Bible says,

1 John 4:8   He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.

Further, if God is love, then He created out of an act of love. He created man and woman as acts of love, made in His image.  We were made in the image of love and One could conclude that Man was made to love.  He was to be like God in nature, God is love therefore man was created in God’s loving image. An image of love from the Bible reveals Christ. The Bible offers only one definition for the love of God, it is found in 1 John

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

When I travel to other churches across our great country, I realize that SDA’s fully understand the Bible definition of sin.  When I ask them for where it is found in the scripture they will overwhelmingly answer that the definition of sin is found in 1 John 3:4 where it is defined as the transgression of the law.  We will expound this idea more fully as we talk about the nature of sin, but I want you to catch something here.  Sin is transgression of God’s law while love is keeping God’s law.  They are opposites.  We will keep this principle in mind when we explore many subjects in the future.  Because God’s nature is love, the fallen nature is sinful.

Holiness

Let’s look at the Story of the Burning Bush.

Gen 3:4-6   And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground.  Moreover he said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.  

Moses was afraid. We could talk about the fact that since man has fallen he no longer has the love of God. And, perfect love cast out all fear.  But, we haven’t gotten to the fall yet so, let’s just take the point I want to take here and that is that God is Holy.

The ground upon where Moses stood was ground occupied by the Living God, the Creator and as such was Holy Ground. Holiness represents something that man is not since sin entered into this world.  Holiness and sinfulness is not compatible.  Since God is Holy then, so was man when he was made in the image of God.  Man was made holy at his creation because creation was an act of perfect holiness.  And Adam, when he came from His Creator’s hand, was in a state of perfect holiness.  Yet, man would be able to continue to grow in holiness and in the image of God forever and never reaching the state of actually being God.  This is well beyond my ability to comprehend.  Man will continue to develop perfection of character forever and never be God. 

When man was created, he had no taint of sin on Him.  His mind was in perfect harmony with the mind of Christ.  Even today, it is God’s will to make man in His image, unto holiness. 

God did not act alone in Creation.  He had a holy co-worker, an associate who could appreciate His purposes. 

John 1:1-3   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus is the Word, verse 14 tells us that this Word was made flesh. The only part of God that was made flesh was the Son, Jesus Christ.  John reveals that Jesus is our Creator.  He is the One who was to come and redeem us.  He was the One who created us.  The Father wrought by His Son all heavenly beings, the entirety of Creation.

Paul reveals the same thing in Colossians.

Col 1:16   For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

So, Let’s sum up, God is Love, Jesus is God, Jesus is Love, He made Adam and Eve after the image of His Father and Himself and That made them loving beings.  They reflected the will and character of God.  They reflected Holiness they were made love and they were in love. There love was a holy love and there was no taint of sin on them.

A Perfect Work

God did not stop there;

Gen 1:29   And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Gen 2:15-16   And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

One thing stands out to me as a health worker, there was no need of physicians in the Garden of Eden. There will be no need for physicians in the Garden when it is restored, and there certainly will be no need for a physician in heaven.  As a physician, you might think that this is sad news to me, but on the contrary, I love gardening and wish I had a lot more time to do it, I also hate to witness human suffering and though I am moved with great compassion to help those who are suffering, I would rather not be needed.  God gave Adam and Eve perfect work, which I imagine as not even being really hard work, more of a pleasure.  Think of it, no weeds, no chemicals, no pests, no mess, no waste, this is not real work, this is pleasure, and anyone who has ever done any gardening knows exactly what I am talking about.  He placed Adam and Eve in the garden to dress it and keep it.  The work of dressing and keeping the garden is the perfect exercise.  God gave us a Perfect Diet for a Perfect Creation and then God gave man the perfect exercise as well.  This combination was calculated by God to last an eternity when connected to the tree of life.

So, God made man perfect, holy and gave him a perfect diet, perfect food and perfect exercise which Adam enjoyed. There were no complaints of needing cheese or fish or any other creeping thing that creeps upon the earth to eat. There were no analog meats either.

The Father and the Son worked together in creation and when Jesus was finished God said it was “very good.” Gen 1:31

In Patriarchs and Prophets, Ellen White discusses this very matter.

The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love--service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service. {PP 34.3}

Ps 95:6   O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

Some Evangelicals may not fully appreciate the depth of the Creation, but, we don’t get a huge departure from the Truth until we hit this point of free will.

Free will

God created man with Free will, in

Josh 24:15   And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Free Choice is the basis of Godly love.  Calvin was a great man of God. Yet, according to Ellen White and our pioneers he was wrong on this issue of Free will.  Calvin believed that God not only predestined the saved to be saved but also predestined the lost to be lost.  If this were so, then some of us may be lost without a chance.  Conversely, some who have no interest in spiritual things may be saved, even though there may be no love in them.  In Fairness to Calvin, he argued that because the saved obeyed that this is evidence that they were predestined to be saved.  But, you could see how this thinking may lead a soul to think that they could continue on without change in their lives and think that they are still to be saved.  This leads to a “Cheap Grace” or “Once saved, always saved” theology.  It also leads to the false assumption that men and women are born sinners.  Since sin came into our world, we are not born sinners.  We are born with a fallen nature and then sin comes naturally to man from that state.

When was Man Placed under the Law? 1) When he sinned, 2) When he was created,  3)  When Satan sinned, 4)  None of the above. 

God placed man under law, as an indispensable condition of his very existence. He was a subject of the divine government, and there can be no government without law. God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God's plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan's charge of God's arbitrary rule.  {PP 49.1}

Many Evangelicals and SDA’s alike falsely assume that “made under the law” means that they are guilty of sin.  It is clear that Ellen White and many of our pioneers did not take that position.  They clearly accepted the position that man was created under the law.  The Law is the moral parameter that man was to live by, as we recall that was love.  So long as Adam lived in the bounds of love he was reflecting the image of God.  When he broke that bond of character, as we will discuss in future presentations, he was still under law.  But, now that law was condemning him because he is no longer in harmony with the love of God.  We will discuss the effects of sin on humanity in more detail in the near future.

 For now, let’s go back a moment to before the creation. Before the creation occurred a decision was made. This decision was not without consequence.  As there was one who felt he should have been in on the planning of this crowning act and was not.  Lucifer was his name and he was the highest angel, a created being who himself sat at the left hand of God and was heavens minister of music, a leader among angels.  He wanted to participate in the plans of God.  But, the Decision planning was left with the Godhead, that is, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  This decision did not include Lucifer, the highest ranking angel in heaven.  This upset Lucifer and pride was found in his heart.  This pride in his heart led him to sin.  Let’s read in Ezekiel the prophet’s account of what happened.

Eze 28:14-17 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee [so]: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

And he was cast out, there was war in heaven.

Rev 12:7-9   And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Because of the war, he and the angel’s that sided with him were thrown out of heaven.  Look, there’s More,

Isa 14:12-14   How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

To where was he cast out? Let’s pick up the story in Gen 3

Gen 3:1   Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 

We will finish this story next time.  But, I want to emphasize that Lucifer had sinned because of the pride found in his heart.  He was the first created being recorded in scripture to have sinned.  He developed a fallen nature.  That nature was not the cause of his fall but rather the result.  That nature changed the nature of Lucifer to the nature of Satan.  He changed.  Instead of now doing things that were right and good naturally, he was more likely to do evil.  In fact, evil now comes naturally to those who have a fallen nature like him.  Without the divine nature, or image of God, as part of his character, he was more likely to do evil rather than good.

I am a lover of history.  I especially love ancient Christian history and Protestant history.  So, before we continue in our systematic doctrinal development, I want to see what we can glean from history.  I will continue to weave the historical theme into future presentations as well.

A Historical Side Trip

Augustine, born in AD 354 in a small north African town Tagaste to a Christian mother and pagan Father.  He read a book that got him interested in a search for Truth. The book was called Cicero’s Hortensius.  One source tells the story this way, Cicero’s “text is heavily fragmented and we can determine little more than its broad outline. It is written in order to praise philosophy, which alone can bring true happiness through the development of reason and the overcoming of passions. In antiquity it was widely read and very popular; it was instrumental in converting St. Augustine to Christianity.

According to Justo Gonzales “This search for truth, however, led young Augustine not to the orthodox Christian faith, but rather to Manichaeism.” History of Christian Thought, vol 2 page 17.

Manichaeism

Augustine adopted the ideas of Manichaeism, a type of Gnosticism, a pagan belief system that believed that knowledge is God.  Manichees gained adherents by ridiculing the orthodox Christian faith as early as 216 AD, almost all Christians were still Sabbath Keepers then.  “Augustine had never been able to accept the crassness of the Jewish scriptures” which the Christians followed. Justo Gonzales, History of Christian Thought, vol 2 p 19.  Augustine was Manichaean for 9 years.

What attracted him was their “rational explanation of the Universe” ibid.  After Manichaeanism he became a reader of Platonius, Porphyry, and other Neoplatonists.  He was then led to Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, a Sabbatarian.  He went to learn, not the nature of what Ambrose taught, but how he taught.  His conversion to “Christianity” soon followed.  Augustine’s writing career as a “Christian” may be divided into 3 parts.

“In the first, he was mainly concerned with attacking and refuting the Manichees.  During the second, he was preoccupied with the Donatist schismatics; while in the third, he was concerned with the Pelagians.” Bonner, St Augustine p 133.  The reason I mention this part of Augustine’s life is that he persecuted and wrote against those who had been persecuted by Diocletian in 303-305, as a “Christian,” which leaves his conversion in question.

The Donatists were very faithful Sabbatarians.  They are considered by some to be some of the earliest to flee to the wilderness, Vadois, but only of Northern Africa where Ellen White confirms in her day that there were still faithful followers of the Sabbath.  Benedict, D. History of the Donatists.  

They were called people of the Word.  The Donatists were persecuted by Diocletian because when he ordered an imperial edict to hand over all copies of the Christian scriptures, they refused to do so.  They did not give up their scriptures, believing that every Christian should be ready to give up life rather than faith.

In our home church in Southern California, we once sent a couple of our elders to Togo on the continent of Africa.  This is one of the poorest countries in the world.  They were so welcomed in that country that people came from all over the land to hear the stirring messages.  They gave health, nutrition, and doctrinal lectures.  The night they gave the lecture on the Sabbath, a pair of young men from a far off village was in attendance.  They came and spoke with our two elders and expressed their appreciation for the message.  They noted however, that in their village they had been keeping the seventh day Sabbath for 2000 years.  I mention this story not to just illustrate that there have been Christians keeping Sabbath since the time of Christ, but to reveal the truth that Christians have been keeping the Sabbath on the continent of Africa since the time of Christ.  Are these young men descendants of the Donatists of North Africa?

After the Diocletian persecutions, of the Donatists by Diocletian, many Ecclesiastical councils were called throughout the Roman Empire.  Pagans scourned Christians, stating that the roads of the empire were jammed by bishops hastening to and from these councils, trying to decide what they believed.  You mean to tell me that Jesus and the disciples did not properly ground the early church?  There was a great deal of change that had come to the Christian belief system over the past few hundred years since Christ.  It is still hard to imagine that they were not well grounded in the Truth.

The net result of these councils was the introduction of many pagan errors and practices that led to the development of the papacy.  Augustine spoke against the People of God.  Anyone who speaks against the people of God are on Dangerous ground.  I suspect that these people do not tell the Truth.  Augustine, for his part, was not a true believer.  He taught much heresy.  In fact, most Catholic doctrine is based on Augustinian theology either directly or indirectly.  Augustine believed the allegorical accounts of scriptures as written by Origin.  Origin once wrote that the scriptures were of little use as they were written.  So, Origin rewrote the scriptures from a Gnostic perspective.  He allegorized the scriptures according to Gnostic tradition.  Augustine agreed with this perversion of the Word of God and believed the allegorical account of creation and of the pagan concept of Good and Evil.  As he understood it from his Gnostic perspective, this good and evil were viewed as an almost “ying and yang” type of paganism much the way he did as a Manichaean. 

Augustine saw the creation as it existed eternally in the mind of God because He was eternal.  He adopted the Stoic and Neoplatonic position that creation happened in seminal steps. That on any given Creation day, the creatures that were said to be created developed with time.  The literal account existed only in God’s mind and creation actually developed later.  I suspect through some type evolution, perhaps this is from where Darwin got his theory ideas.

Ellen White taught,

There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man's narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin.  PP 44.

Augustine also believed that there is no such thing as naturally evil beings.  All beings are created by God and are good.  His Ying and a Yang type of Good vs Evil as man was created, naturally would infer that God is the creator of evil as well as good.  Further, he taught that evil is a corruption of the nature, and those that are “better” are such only because they enjoy these attributes to a greater degree and those that are “worse” to a lesser degree. From this he logically concluded that man contained something called “Original sin.” 

Now, you may ask, why are you telling me all this mumbo jumbo.  I am telling you this because it lays a foundation for the error that is commonly accepted in Protestantism today about the nature of sin and the nature of Christ.  I care about my church and I am afraid that recent history reveals that this very same error has infiltrated into our own denomination.  I believe that we have entertained this error because we are either afraid to stand up and confront it, fearing the consequences of this action or two, we are are confused about what we believe.  Either way, poses a problem as Adventist belief dictates that a people be ready in the last days for the sanctifying message and loud cry of the three angels.  If not ready, we are in danger of being rejected as the remnant people.  So, we either change SDA beliefs or we are faced with the inevitability of having to reform.

Augustine started the very problems we face with this Gnostic nonsense and Christianity as a whole has embraced a whole system that corrupts Bible Truth.  In an attempt to be more accepted by mainstream Christianity who have been preoccupied with this erroneous teaching for centuries, some of our more recent leadership have felt compelled to change our Pioneer teachings.  Our pioneers never embraced such teachings.  Augustine is the man who invented Purgatory made the soul a floaty thing popular in Christianity.  If we are not careful, we will be embracing these same teachings soon.  It is unavoidable if we change the pillars of our faith to accommodate the likes Walter Martin and George Barnhouse.

Over the several chapters, I plan to unveil this system of Truth vs error so that it is as plain as the nose on your face as to why you may believe what you believe today.  You may not agree with me, but you will at least know why you believe what you believe.  There have been more than one SDA who tried to introduce Augustinian theology into Adventism in our past like AF Ballenger, Louis Conradi, William Fletcher, Robert Grieve.  All of them had been disfellowshipped. 

Until recently, the church had disfellowshipped any leader who espoused the strange New Theology, which is actually old Baptist Error based on Augustinian theology.  Now, it is en vogue to establish a new idea based on Augustinian doctrine.  Now so we can establish what we believe, we appoint councils to sort it out.  I wonder if pagan ideas are being introduced into what we Seventh-day Adventists believe?

Ellen White predicted the enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.  {1SM 204.2}

Even the North American Division of the GC of SDA’s acknowledges this fact;

“There is grave danger that the precious Adventist message will not be passed on to the next generation.”  San Diego Covenant of the North American Division, published in the Adventist Review, March 7, 1991

Remember that,

Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us.  3 SM 338

Nature of Man

What is the Nature of Man? Paul addressed this issue that is completely at odds with the ideas of Augustine.  Paul had mentioned that the mystery of iniquity was already at work in his day, is this was he was talking about?  Anyway, let us examine the scriptural accounts,

Heb 2:6-7   But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  Thou made him a little lower than the angels; thou crowned him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

Verse 7 says,

A little lower than the angels or as the marginal reading says, “a little while inferior to.”  It is very apparent that man is certainly lower than angels at our point in history.  That he is potentially greater is equally clear.  

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. 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. While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. 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.  {PP 48.4}

In his creation, God made man a little while inferior to the angel’s with free will.  They were made perfect in holiness, stature, nobility, character, with perfect love.  God provided perfectly for man.  He gave him a home, a diet, an occupation that provided perfect exercise.  He possessed no taint of sin as God was in no way the creator of anything evil.  Evil was found in the heart of Lucifer.  Lucifer developed the fallen nature through coveting the things of God.  He had become proud and this led him to sin.  Last we saw Lucifer, he had been thrown out of heaven with angels that are faithful to him and he was last seen in the garden of Eden.  We will pick up the story in the next chapter.


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'width' is a duplicate attribute name. Line 1, position 37.The Fall and the Nature of Sin

Before I became an SDA I had no idea what sin was I was a member of the Disciples of Christ and the First Christian Church.  I was a sinner and I knew I was a sinner, but I had no idea why I was a sinner, what made me a sinner.  And, the only hope I was given as a sinner was Jesus Christ.  The problem was that I could believe in Jesus Christ, but nothing changed.  I was still a sinner, acting and behaving as I always had.  I was a legalist, you may find this hard to understand. 

But, it was true, almost all of Sunday keeping Christianity are legalists.  Why?  Because it wasn’t until I became as SDA that my sin was revealed to me.  And, it was only when sin was revealed to me, that Jesus Christ could do anything for me.

Finally, the grace of Christ could work, finally, His mercy and justice made sense and finally, by the power and working of Christ through His Spirit, I could have victory.  There is no other way to Victory, everything else is man-made legalism. 

As we return to the Garden of Eden we find Satan was there after he was thrown out of Heaven.

Gen 3:6-7   And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

The Fall of Man

Man decided to not obey God, but rather obeyed Satan and joined Satan in rebellion against God.  Adam chose a new leader.  He decided for whatever reason, he was not going to do what God asked him.  He fell for a lie, he believed that the soul would be immortal and that he could become as God.  Notice that this is the very same aspiration that Lucifer had.  Adam fell morally, he sinned.  The first sin committed by human beings happened when Adam decided to disobey God.

What did man lose when he fell? In terms of his love, he lost it.  Remember, love was the keeping of God’s commandments, 1 John 5:3.  He became disobedient to the law of God, love was no longer written on the tables of his heart.  He was no longer in the image of God.  He no longer reflected the character of God. 

He lost eternal life the warning given to our first parents--"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17)--did not imply that they were to die on the very day when they partook of the forbidden fruit. But on that day the irrevocable sentence would be pronounced. Immortality was promised them on condition of obedience; by transgression they would forfeit eternal life. That very day they would be doomed to death.  {PP 60.2}

He also lost his Edenic Home.  He was cast out of the garden.

In Gen 3 it goes on to tell us that he realized that he lost his heavenly glory, his heavenly clothes, if you will.  He had to sew fig leaves for garments.  He lost face to face communion with Christ and angels who used to meet with them in the garden every day.  What did he gain by Sin?  He gained a knowledge of evil. He gained death, as the “wages of sin is death.”  He gained a curse. He gained the fallen nature developed by Satan.  This nature has become his inheritance to his posterity.  Some think that God was furious with Adam and cursed the ground for his evil action as a way to get back at Adam.  But, I want to suggest that as you read this text, think of a Father who is greatly disappointed, but has already put a plan into effect to bring you back home to Him.

Gen 3:17-19. “cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out if it were you taken . . .”

It is true that man now had to perform real work.  God is love, He is not the angry vengeful God that so many religions make Him out to be.  Man was and still is greatly beloved by God, as evidenced by the fact that He gave up His Son to die for someone who hated Him.  The Bible says that this happened at the very moment man sinned, God had a plan,

Rev 13:8   And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

But, man still has consequences of his sin.  Real work means real sweat, labor, trials, suffering and problems.  But, he still has the freedom to choose.  He could still choose to follow God rather than Satan.  God designed that man’s rebellion would be put in check upon his indulgence.

And the life of toil and care which was henceforth to be man's lot was appointed in love. It was a discipline rendered needful by his sin, to place a check upon the indulgence of appetite and passion, to develop habits of self-control. It was a part of God's great plan of man's recovery from the ruin and degradation of sin.  {PP 60.1}

Notice that it refers to Adam’s sin as the indulgence of Appetite.  This is the ground that a Saviour would have to walk over to redeem the error of Adam and many that have followed Adam in indulgence of appetite and passion.  The Bible teaches that this was the case, and we will discuss this more when we discuss the temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness in talks on the Nature of Christ. 

The health message

Health reform was instituted in the very moment of the plan of salvation as a tool to aid man in his redemption.

Rev 13:8 “of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.”

God’s plan includes humans putting a check on their indulgence of harmful foods and allowing the passions to dictate reason.  Man sinned when he transgressed the law of God.  It was neither a state of being, nor did it originate with him.  It is a mystery found in the heart of Satan. 

Augustine the great Catholic theologian, on the other hand, wrote that sin was created as evil and good, a sort of Ying and Yang state in creation by God.  He wrote that it is a state of being and that it was passed from parent to child. 

The Bible teaches no such error. It teaches that sin is something that we do, just as when Adam decided not to obey God and join Satan in rebellion.  He wasn’t born with “Original sin” built into him.  He adopted the same fallen nature that Lucifer had developed.  He chose to rebel.  He acted on a temptation and it became sin by action, not by an act of creation or genetics.

1 John 3:4 says “Sin is transgression of the law”

No where in scripture does it say that sin is something you are, an inherited condition.  EGW says that this is the only definition of sin, “transgression of the law.”

When the prophet of God says it is the only definition of sin, how dare we try to add words to the scripture when the Bible says there is a curse for adding to the words of this book.  When we do such things we put ourselves above the prophet, claiming that we are smarter than the prophet and privy to inside information that God only reveals to His prophets.

Amos 3:7   Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. 

 When we add to the Word of God we are actually denying that the Creator is our God, which is exactly what Satan did.  We must answer the questions, was sin, as Augustine asserts, passed on from parents to child?  Are children born guilty of the sin of Adam as this assertion would imply?  Or, do we get our heritage from the Protestant stream of Bible interpretation and take the position of Jacobus Arminius and John Wesley on the Nature of Sin?

Sin is defined as an action in this definition, not a state of being and it is the only definition offered to us by God.  Let’s look at our Heritage from the pen of inspiration. 

Cain and Abel

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.  {PP 71.1}

A quick review:

Abel had a spirit of loyalty which is an action not a state of being.  Abel allowed him to appreciate the justice and mercy of God which was also an action.  Abel gratefully accepted the hope of salvation, an action not a condition and he also practiced freedom of choice, and in no way had inherited guilt.  He was loyal to God freedom of choice in action. 

Cain cherished feelings of rebellion also an action.  Cain murmured against God, an action not a condition.  He permitted his mind to run in the same channel as Satan’s also exercise of freedom of choice and an action.  He did not inherit guilt from Adam, he chose to be disloyal also an action.  

In both cases, Cain and Abel had a freedom to choose salvation or eternal loss.  They were not held accountable for Adam’s sin, They each were held accountable for their own actions.  They were not forced to sin by genetics, they chose to sin because they had a fallen nature with a tendency to do evil rather than good.  They were not sin when they were born.  They did not sin so much that they became sin.  Neither were guilty of the sin of Adam.  But both, inherited a fallen nature that caused them to be predisposed to sin rather than obey.

Never does Ellen White or any of our faithful pioneers indicate that Cain or Abel had received the taint of Original Sin from Adam.  Our pioneers and EGW taught ONLY that Cain or Abel received ONLY a fallen nature.  They never taught such Augustinian heresy.  The only ones who did were disfellowshipped by the faithful leadership of their time.

Let’s look at another soul, Seth.

Seth was a worthy character, and was to take the place of Abel in right doing. Yet he was a son of Adam like sinful Cain, and inherited from the nature of Adam no more natural goodness than did Cain. He was born in sin; but by the grace of God, in receiving the faithful instructions of his father Adam, he honored God in doing his will. He separated himself from the corrupt descendants of Cain, and labored, as Abel would have done had he lived, to turn the minds of sinful men to revere and obey God.  {1SP 60.2}

Summary:

Seth was a worthy character because of his actions.  He, like Cain, had freedom to choose but had inherited no more goodness than did Cain, which goes directly against Augustinian thought which says that you are born a sinner and sin itself.

Born in sin

What does it mean to be born in sin?  Does it mean that we are born sin?  Does it mean that we sin so much that we become sin?  Does it mean that we are guilty of the sin of those who conceived us?

Some modern day SDA theologians have quoted this statement to mean such things.  But, you will never find that teaching among faithful SDA pioneers.  Volume 1 of the Spirit of Prophecy was an early version of Patriarchs and Prophets and if we look in the corresponding chapter in PP we find a little more detail added,

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. 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.  {PP 80.1}

It starts with the same language as 1SP.  But instead of saying “born in sin” it says that he inherited the fallen nature of his parents.  Born in Sin does not mean that we are born sin or sin so much that we become sin.  It does not mean that we are guilty of our parent’s sin.  It means that we receive the fallen nature and have a natural tendency to do evil rather than good and that by choice and divine grace we can obey and be loyal to God.  We can, as Peter describes, become partakers of the divine nature once again.

The idea that we are not guilty of our parent’s sin is brought home forcibly in Ezekiel

Eze 18:19   Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, [and] hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.

The bible addresses the very question we are going to address in this section.  Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? According to the Word of God,

Eze 18:20   The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Some use Psalms 51 to justify their Augustinian position

Ps 51:5   Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

The usual thought concerning this text is that the “I” in this text means “everyone.” And, “shapen in iniquity” proves that we are all born sin or guilty of sin.  But, I will challenge you that our pioneers did not look at this text this way.

We could develop thought questions  regarding Ps. 51 based on Exegesis, that is getting meaning out of text, vs Eisegesis, putting meaning into the text.                      

1)  Who is speaking?                    
Answer by Exegesis  1)  David                                             
Answer by Eisegesis 1)  All men

2)  Who is he talking about?        
Answer by Exegesis  2)  His mother and himself                
Answer by Eisegesis 2)  All mothers and all men

3)  What act is he talking about? 
Answer by Exegesis  3)  His own conception                       Answer by Eisegesis 3)  The conception of all men

4)  What does he say about it?    
Answer by Exegesis  4)  It was done in sin                          
Answer by Eisegesis 
4)  It is always done in sin

5)  Whose sin was it?                   
Answer by Exegesis  5)  His mother’s                                  Answer by Eisegesis 5)  All mothers

6)  What was its nature?  
Answer by Exegesis  6)  We are not told                            
Answer by Eisegesis 
6)  Original sin and guilt

7)  What are the possibilities?     
Answer by Exegesis  7)  Adultery, concubinage, an evil mother,    
Answer by Eisegesis 7)  Original sin and guilt

8)  Who was his mother? 
Answer by Exegesis  8)  We are not told                             Answer by Eisegesis 8)  The wife of Jesse

9)  Was she Jesse’s lawful wife?  
Answer by Exegesis  9)  We are not told                             Answer by Eisegesis 9)  Yes, she was

10)  Was she a concubine?          
Answer by Exegesis  10)  We are not told                          
Answer by Eisegesis 
10)  No, she was not

11)  Was she an adulteress?        
Answer by Exegesis  11)  We are not told                           Answer by Eisegesis 11)  No, she was not

12)  Was her union with Jesse lawful?    
Answer by Exegesis  12)  We are not told                           
Answer by Eisegesis
12)  Yes, it was

13)  What can we conclude?       
Answer by Exegesis  13)  Any of #7 would be possible       
Answer by Eisegesis 13)  This proves the doctrine  of original sin and guilt

How does exegesis compare with Eisegesis? 
Answer by Exegesis 14)  Every statement above is fact    
Answer by Eisegesis 14)  Every statement above an assumption.
(Ralph Larson, The Word was made Flesh)

Just because some theologians use eisogesis does that make their assumptions truth?  What can we conclude?  The doctrine of original sin is based on numerous assumptions and not a single fact. 

To a large degree Satan has succeeded in the execution of his plans. Through the medium of influence, taking advantage of the action of mind on mind, he prevailed on Adam to sin. Thus at its very source human nature was corrupted. And ever since then sin has continued its hateful work, reaching from mind to mind. Every sin committed awakens the echoes of the original sin.  {RH, April 16, 1901 par. 5} 

Remember EGW used the same term “in Sin” that was found in Ps 51.  That use of the term, as we found out meant that one inherits a fallen nature not born a sinner.  We do not become sinners until we sin.  The Hebrew text in my Lexicon says that the word “in” can mean: in, on, among, or even without depending on the context.  It is apparent that such a word would be inadequate to build an entire theology such as Original Sin.

EGW never referred to the doctrine of “Original Sin” by name, but it is very apparent in her writings that she understands its concepts and it is equally clear that she never taught Augustinian doctrine.

There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, "We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections." They find fault with God's requirements, and complain that he demands what they have no power to give. Satan made the same complaint in heaven, but such thoughts dishonor God. ST 8-29-92

Some look to the Sermon on the Mount.

Matt 5:27-28   Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

That this somehow undoes all the rest of Scripture to say that sin is our nature.  But let us apply the rules we have established already.  Sin is action—The thought of lusting is an action of the mind, it is not what we are.  There is a difference between temptation and sin.  Just because we may be tempted to lust does not mean we did, this is not what Jesus was teaching here.  Jesus was teaching that if you go beyond the temptation and entertain the sin in your mind, you have already committed the action because you have thought this through to it’s logical conclusion.

Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome.  GC 489

Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life. The impossibility lies in your own will. If you will not, then you can not overcome. The real difficulty arises from the corruption of an unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the control of God.  {COL 331.2}

Our Pioneers traditionally taught the fallen man was born with inherited weakness, not inherited guilt.  And, that by Divine Grace, we can overcome all sin in our lives now, not at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

What about Enoch?

To Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah." The faithful had worshiped God before; but as men increased, the distinction between the two classes became more marked. There was an open profession of loyalty to God on the part of one, as there was of contempt and disobedience on the part of the other.  {PP 80.2}

Enoch was a holy man. He served God with singleness of heart. He realized the corruptions of the human family, and separated himself from the descendants of Cain, and reproved them for their great wickedness. There were those upon the earth who acknowledged God, who feared and worshiped him. Yet righteous Enoch was so distressed with the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, that he would not daily associate with them, fearing that he should be affected by their infidelity, and that his thoughts might not ever regard God with that holy reverence which was due his exalted character. His soul was vexed as he daily witnessed their trampling upon the authority of God. He chose to be separate from them, and spent much of his time in solitude, which he devoted to reflection and prayer. He waited before God, and prayed to know his will more perfectly, that he might perform it. God communed with Enoch through his angels, and gave him divine instruction. He made known to him that he would not always bear with man in his rebellion--that his purpose was to destroy the sinful race by bringing a flood of waters upon the earth.  {1SP 60.3}

These were free to choose Adam, Cain, Abel, Seth, Enoch did not inherit guilt and sin.  Only Adam was guilty of his sin and Cain was guilty of his sin.  None of the children of Adam were guilty of any of the sins Adam committed.  The only thing they were born guilty of is a fallen nature, this is what the Bible and our pioneers taught.

In Chapter one, we learned that Augustine upon his conversion did not accept the scriptures the way they were written.  He accepted the Origin Bible versions which were allegories of the original.  He intermingled in his teachings the Gnostic and pagan ideas he had prior to “conversion.”

Augustine was the originator of nearly all Catholic doctrine, either directly or indirectly including Purgatory, the immortality of the soul and the doctrine of Original Sin.  While he said that he believed in the idea of freedom of choice, he believed that man was created with good and evil innately, as a part of their nature.  Men are good because they innately were created with more good than evil and those that are evil were created with more evil than good.

Augustine’s conversion is questionable at best when we learned how he attacked Sabbatarian’s called Donatists in Northern Africa and called, along with the Emperor, for them to give up their scriptures.  And we remember that the Donatists stood firm against Augustine and the Emperor feeling that it was better to die than give up their faith.

Augustinian Theology is error.  What he taught is not founded on scripture.  It was based entirely on gnostic thought where knowledge is equated to God.  The Jesuit Professor, Dr Peter de Rosa writes when referring to Pope Gregory VI,

“In Adam all have sinned.” This means from the first moment of a person’s existence there is guilt. This is not a personal taint, but a taint of nature and so unavoidable.  The nature derives from the parents.  From the beginning the baby’s soul is polluted by this original, this inherited sin.”

Gregory was not blind to the problems this raised. He went on to reason, “that this is why parents were cleansed from original sin in baptism. . . Though holy themselves, they handed on corrupt nature by sex, desire galvanized by lust.  Babies are born as the damned fruit of the lust of their redeemed parents.”

This is sharply contrasted with Jacobus Arminius and John Wesley.

A DECLARATION OF THE SENTIMENTS OF ARMINIUS

ON Predestination, Divine Providence, the freedom of the will, the grace of God, the Divinity of the Son of God, and the justification of man before God.  Delivered before the states of Holland, at the Hague, on the thirtieth of October, 1608.

In his primitive condition as he came out of the hands of his creator, man was endowed with such a portion of knowledge, holiness and power, as enabled him to understand, esteem, consider, will, and to perform the true good, according to the commandment delivered to him. Yet none of these acts could he do, except through the assistance of Divine Grace. But in his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin, he is capable of thinking, willing and doing that which is good, but yet not without the continued aids of Divine Grace. A DECLARATION OF THE SENTIMENTS OF ARMINIUS vol I p 228-9

NINE QUESTIONS Exhibited, by the Deputies of the Synod, to Their Lordships the Curators of the University of Leyden, for the Purpose of Obtaining an Answer to each of them from the Professors of Divinity; and the Replies which James Arminius Gave to them, in November, 1605. With Other Nine Opposite Questions

2. If it be said, "that God, by his eternal decree, has determined and governs all things and every thing, even the depraved wills of men, to appointed good ends," does it follow from this, that God is the author of sin?

2. Is "to determine or direct all things and every thing, even the depraved wills of men, to appointed good ends," the same thing as "to determine that man be made corrupt, by which a way may be opened for executing God’s absolute decree concerning damning some men through wrath, and saving others through mercy?"

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

Sin is the transgression of the law; therefore, God will be the author of sin, if He cause any man to transgress the law. This is done by denying or taking away what is necessary for fulfilling the law, or by impelling men to sin. But if this "determination" be that of a will which is already depraved, since it does not signify the denying or the removing of grace nor a corrupt impelling to sin, it follows, that the consequence of this cannot be that God is the author of sin. But if this "determination" denote the decree of God by which He resolved that the will should become depraved, and that man should commit sin, then it follows from this that God is the author of sin. 

This could have just as easily come from the pen of Ellen White.  Although different stylistically, it contains the exact same sentiments.  We will combine thoughts from a few different sources here, but it is quite easy to see that Ellen White and Jacobus Arminius come from the same mold when it comes to theology.

When Adam came from the Creator's hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. "God created man in His own image" (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image--the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. {Ed 15.1}

We ourselves owe everything to God's free grace. Grace in the covenant ordained our adoption. Grace in the Saviour effected our redemption, our regeneration, and our exaltation to heirship with Christ. Let this grace be revealed to others.  {COL 250.1}

But if the sinner will partake of the bread of life, he will, regenerated and restored, become a living soul. The bread sent down from heaven will infuse new life into his weakened energies. The Holy Spirit will take of the things of God, and show them to him; and if he will receive them, his character will be cleansed from all selfishness, and refined and purified for heaven.  {YI, November 11, 1897 par. 4}

These are the exact same sentiments expressed by Jacobus Arminius not Augustine

About Sin:

12. It states sin to be a real disobedience, and the meritorious cause of condemnation; and on this account, it is in the most perfect agreement with the fall and with sin. A DECLARATION OF THE SENTIMENTS OF ARMINIUS vol I p 228-9

[he] commonly take it for that sin which man commits, through the corruption of his nature, from the time where he knows how to use reason; and they define it thus: "Something thought, spoken or done against the law of God; or the omission of something which has been commanded by that law to be thought, spoken or done." Or, with more brevity, "Sin is the transgression of the law;" which St. John has explained in this compound word anomia, "anomy." (1 John 3:4.)  The Works of Jacobus Arminius Vol 1 Declaration 8.

John Wesley was a student of Jacobius Arminius.   If not, he was a student of the Bible.  Interestingly, they both come to the same conclusion.  When we read from John Wesley Comments on 1 John 3 we find consistency with what Ellen White expressed.

Verse 4 Whosoever committeth sin - Thereby transgresseth the holy, just, and good law of God, and so sets his authority at nought; for this is implied in the very nature of sin.

Further, John Wesley comments on Romans 14:23,

Comments on Rom 14:23: Because it is not of faith - He does not believe it lawful and, in all these cases, whatsoever is not of faith is sin - Whatever a man does without a full persuasion of its lawfulness, it is sin to him.

Our Seventh-day Adventist Pioneer’s Definitions of Sin

“The law will condemn the guilty; ‘for sin is the transgression of the law.’” SN Haskell in The Cross and Its Shadow p 49

“The law and the gospel are intimately connected.  They are closely associated.  If the divine law had never been transgressed [sin], there would have been no need of the gospel.  Since the basis of Gods government and authority is the immutable law, when this divine code was violated, a remedy for sin was essential.  The saving grace of God is the only remedy.”  FC Gilbert [Messiah in His Sanctuary p 14

In the 1888 edition of Bible Readings for the Home Circle we find perfect agreement as well.

How is sin defined by the Apostle? Whosoever commits sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. 1Jn 3:4

Now, Ellen White tells us a little more

It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence. Yet enough may be understood concerning both the origin and the final disposition of sin to make fully manifest the justice and benevolence of God in all His dealings with evil. Nothing is more plainly taught in Scripture than that God was in no wise responsible for the entrance of sin; that there was no arbitrary withdrawal of divine grace, no deficiency in the divine government, that gave occasion for the uprising of rebellion. Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is "the transgression of the law;" it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government.  {GC 492.2}

This principle, “sin,” is at war with the great principle of love. Sin is expressed as a behavior in that it violates the law of God, it is an action against the love of God, against God, a violation of the character of God.  This defilement of character is the result of action against the very nature of God. These principles are at the very heart of the Great Controversy.  It is a mystery as to how sin was found in Lucifer’s heart.  Sin has led to the rebellion of angels and men against God.  Sin is opposite of love and is at war with the principle of love which is the foundation of God’s government.  

We will conclude this section with a basic idea, according to our pioneers, Ellen G. White and the Bible, Sin is defined as Transgression of the law.  There is no other definition for sin.  This follows after the tradition of Jacobus Arminius and John Wesley, Ellen White and the Pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist movement, not Augustine and John Calvin.

We are not finished, before we move on, I cannot leave you without the call of the Master.  Our Creator loves us.  Jesus is our Creator.  He loves us as much as the Father.  We rejected them and chose another master, Lucifer.  In spite of this, Jesus, is spending every moment of every day to save His lost children, and to attempt to restore the image of God back in humanity.  He wants us to understand these things.

He wants to change us back into His image.  We are either going to fulfill our commission of the Three Angels by this, or we are going to throw in the towel and go to Babylon.  Babylonian ideas have made strong inroads into our movement, we stand at a cross roads and we can choose to do the right thing.  We were made with freedom of choice to either sin or obey.  By the perfect grace of God, which we will discuss more in future discourse, He gives us the strength necessary to cooperate with Him fully to accomplish His greatest desire for humanity.  To restore His image in us.

And, while we are burdened with the fallen nature that we received from Adam, we are not sin, we are not so sinful that we cannot be saved, we are not born guilty of Adam’s sin.  We are going to take up the topic of Salvation in more detail later, so, be it enough for us to understand today.  Jesus loves you and is calling you home.  He is looking for a people who love Him and want to keep His commandments.  Shall we be that people?


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Michael Snyder, MD, President
Biblical Lifestyle Seminars
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