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Ellen White on the Humanity of Christ

A Chronological Study by Woodrow W. Whidden II



Appendix A

Ellen White on "Depravity and Sin"

In Heavenly Places, pp. 195, 196 (originally from letter 26d, 1887): "Bad habits are more easily formed than good habits, and the bad habits are given up with more difficulty. The natural depravity of the heart accounts for this well-known fact-that it takes far less labor to demoralize the youth, to corrupt their ideas of moral and religious character, than to engraft upon their character the enduring, pure, and uncorrupted habits of righteousness and truth.... In our present fallen state all that is needed is to give up the mind and character to its natural tendencies....
"The moral dangers to which all, both old and young, are exposed are daily increasing. Moral derangement, which we call depravity, finds ample room to work, and an influence is exerted by men, women, and youth professing to be Christians that is low, sensual, devilish."

Selected Messages,
book 1, p. 310: "No man inherits holiness as a birthright."

p. 15: "Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and wellnigh obliterated. Man's physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed."

pp. 28, 29: "Sin not only shuts us away from God, but destroys in the human soul both the desire and the capacity for knowing Him. All this work of evil it is Christ's mission to undo. The faculties of the soul, paralyzed by sin, the darkened mind, the perverted will, He has power to invigorate and to restore....


"Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man's experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist.... He can find help in but one power. That power is Christ."

Testimonies for the Church,
vol. 5, p. 645: "God will be better glorified if we confess the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone."

The Desire of Ages,
p. 161: "Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One."

The Desire of Ages,
p. 172: "The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure.... The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature."

Steps to Christ,
p. 62: "It was possible for Adam, before the Fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God's law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us."

Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary,
vol. 5, p. 1128 (letter 8, 1895 [this is the famous Baker letter]): "The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience."

Signs of the Times,
Nov. 15, 1883: "Christ brought His divinity to earth, veiled by humanity, in order to rescue man from his lost condition.


Human nature is vile, and man's character must be changed before it can harmonize with the pure and holy in God's immortal kingdom. This transformation is the new birth."

Review and Herald,
May 27, 1884: "There was no sin in Him that Satan could triumph over, no weakness or defect that he could use to His advantage. But we are sinful by nature, and we have a work to do to cleanse the soul-temple of every defilement."

Patriarchs and Prophets,
p. 61: "The sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world, and had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, would have plunged the race into hopeless despair.... They [Adam and Eve] were told that their nature had become depraved by sin; they had lessened their strength to resist evil and had opened the way for Satan to gain more ready access to them. In their innocence they had yielded to temptation; and now, in a state of conscious guilt, they would have less power to maintain their integrity."

Patriarchs and Prophets,
p. 306: "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." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 371: "Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they [the children of Israel at the Exodus] had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God's law, and their need of a Saviour."

Historical Sketches,
pp. 138, 139: "There is a great work to be done for many of us. Our minds and characters must become as the mind and character of Christ. Selfishness is inwrought in our very being. It has come to us as an inheritance, and has been cherished by many as a 


precious treasure. No special work for God can be accomplished until self and selfishness are overcome. To many everything connected with themselves is of great importance. Self is a center, around which everything seems to revolve."

Selected Messages,
book 1, p. 344: "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.... 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....
"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."

Faith and Works, pp. 23, 24 (taken from manuscript 36, 1890): "There must be nothing less given than duty prescribes, and there cannot be one jot more given than they have first received; and all must be laid upon the fire of Christ's righteousness to cleanse it from its earthly odor before it rises in a cloud of fragrant incense to the great Jehovah and is accepted as a sweet savor....
"If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason....
"And any works that man can render to God will be far less than nothingness. My requests are made acceptable only because they are laid upon Christ's righteousness."

In Heavenly Places, p. 146: "As a result of Adam's disobedience every human being is a transgressor of the law, sold under sin."


In Heavenly Places,
p. 163 (compare Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 544): "In order to understand the matter aright, we must remember that our hearts are naturally depraved, and we are unable of ourselves to pursue a right course. It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest effort on our part, that we can gain the victory."

That I May Know Him,
p. 136: "We should remember that our own ways are not faultless. We make mistakes again and again.... No one is perfect but Jesus."

Child Guidance,
p. 475 (taken from letter 68, 1899, and also cited in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1074): "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."

Letter 10, 1888 (cf. E. G. White Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 208): "One of the deplorable effects of the original apostasy was the loss of man's power to govern his own heart. When there is a separation from the Source of your strength, when you are lifted up in pride, you cannot but transgress the law of your moral constitution."

Manuscript 60, 1905 (cf. E. G. White Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 210): "We are not to seek to extenuate the consequences of the original apostasy. It is not possible to overstate the degree of alienation from truth and righteousness entered into by those whose souls revolt from God."

Review and Herald,
Dec. 17, 1872: "Man could not atone for man. His sinful, fallen condition would constitute him an imperfect offering, an atoning sacrifice of less value than Adam before his fall. God made man perfect and upright, and after his transgression there could be no 


sacrifice acceptable to God for him, unless the offering made should in value be superior to man as he was in his state of perfection and innocency."

Signs of the Times, May 19, 1890: "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."

Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students,
p. 20: "There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome."

Review and Herald,
Apr. 16, 1901: "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 mind to mind. Every sin committed awakens the echoes of the original sin."

Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary,
vol. 1, p. 1083 (letter 191, 1899): "In what consisted the strength of the assault made upon Adam, which caused his fall? It was not indwelling sin; for God made Adam after His own character, pure and upright. There were no corrupt principles in the first Adam, no corrupt propensities or tendencies to evil. Adam was as faultless as the angels before God's throne. These things are inexplainable."

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