There has been an unrelenting flow of discussion, disagreement, and argument regarding the nature of Christ for centuries. Since 1952, two major points of view concerning the nature of Christ arose among Seventh-day Adventist theologians. One group says that Christ physically partook the human nature of the fallen Adam; the other group says Christ partook the human nature before the fall of Adam, for He is the second Adam. The author has done a wide and deep research for both sides of the debate; finally he has found the biblical right answer for the topic. You may study this article in detail.
Christ came as a real human being to this world to save that which was lost, and then what human nature has He assumed, after or before the fall of Adam? Since 1952 the argument has raised among Adventist theologians, after more than a half century the debate is still going on without ceasing. Since both sides are according to the Bible and Ellen White’s writings, then what makes them cannot compromise, and what is the focus point of the controversial argument? Is it very important to find the right answer of this topic for our salvation? What does Scripture in Romans 8:3 means when God sent “His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh?” Did Christ incarnate with the fallen and sinful human flesh just like one of us in order for our example?
These are very interesting and important questions. Let us study the Bible as Paul said, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Through earnest study, we will find out the real meaning of the text found in Romans 8:3 and Philippians 2:7, and establish right notion regarding the nature of Christ in the Bible.
The Bible proclaims, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Besides, Paul says, “And without great controversy is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels" (1 Tim 3:16). Throughout the ages, Christians and theologians from different background held different views regarding the nature of Christ. In the Christian history, Ebionism denied that Jesus was genuinely divine, where as Docetism maintained that he was not truly human; they believed that he merely “deemed” or “appeared” to possess human nature. Similarly, controversy arose regarding His person. Nestorius and his followers taught that Christ was actually two distinct persons, one divine and the other human.3 In contrast, Cyril of Alexandria and his followers believed in one person and one nature of Christ.4 The argument did not cease until 451 A.D. when the Council of Chalcedon formulated the standard orthodox definition: fully God and fully man, Jesus was one person with two natures. It says:
Our Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same Son, the same perfect in the Godhead, the same perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, the same also of a rational soul and body; homoousios (of one substance) with the Father as to his Godhead, and the same homoousios with us as to his manhood; in all things like unto us sin only excepted.5 After the Council of Chalcedon, the emperor issued an imperial edict that any army officer who opposed the dogma should be “stripped of his rank.”6 Through the emperor’s decree, the authority of the Chalcedon Council had great influence throughout the ancient Christendom, even to the present day.
To date, most theologians interpret “incarnation” as “to take on or clothed Himself with flesh.” In other words, Christ, the Son of God, took on or clothed Himself with flesh. Edward Heppenstall, in his book The Man Who Is God, says, “This union of the divine and the human resulted in two natures in one person, Jesus Christ. Hence the term used of Jesus--the God-man.”7 Again in the same book, he says, “He [Christ] voluntarily descended from heaven and took our human nature without ceasing to be God. He is still God while becoming man. He is God who became man.”8 Carl Henry said, “The truth of the Christian religion is in the first and last analysis tied to the affirmation of Jesus Christ as the one incarnate divine Savior.”9
Ellen G. White held similar views regarding the two natures of Christ. She says, “The two natures were mysteriously blended into one person--the man Jesus Christ.”10 Again she says, “Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. Yet He was God in the flesh.”11 She thought it was necessary that Christ be fully God and fully man simultaneously to unite God and men. She states in a clearer manner that:
He [Christ] laid aside His royal crown, His royal role, clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might touch humanity. . . . He did not come to our world as an angel of glory but as a man. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and condemned sin in the flesh; with His human arm He encircled the race, and with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite, linked man with God, and earth with heaven.12
As stated in Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . ., “He did not go out of Himself to another nature, but took humanity into Himself. Thus, divinity and humanity were combined.”13 It is obvious that Christ had to take a human body to be sacrificed as a sin offering for atonement for the fallen humanity. According to Edward Heppenstall, “If there was no incarnation, then we on this planet are isolated in the universe.”14 The Son of God became human for our redemption. As the Bible states, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure” (Heb 10:5-6).
Indeed, the main reason Christ took human flesh is that He might offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. So what human flesh or body did He take, sinful flesh after Adam’s fall or sinless flesh before the fall? This extremely important point will be studied in more detail according to the biblical truth.
The Word Was Became Flesh
This chapter deals with the debate among Adventist theologians concerning the phrase "the Word was made flesh" (John 1:14) and the contradictory views about the nature of Christ's incarnation. During the fourth century, Apollinarius (C. 310-390), a supporter of Athanasius, took the Alexandrian position to an extreme. He established the belief of dualism: Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Mary. And later he developed a variety of Word-flesh Christology where the Word clothed or wrapped Himself in human flesh as an outward covering.15 On numerous accounts of Ellen G. White’s writing, she stats, "Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh clothing His divinity with humanity."16 Later, she also says, "He has clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might bear all the infirmities and endure all the temptations of humanity."17
After centuries of argument, debaters of two views came to a conclusion that it was necessary for Christ to partake human nature in order to save the world. Four reasons, found in the Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . are: (1) To be the High Priest for human race. (2) To save even the most degraded person. (3) To give up His life for the sins of the world. (4) To be humanity’s example.18
Did Christ Has Two Natures?
The Chalcedon Council affirmed that Christ has two natures: divine and human; He is “truly God and truly Man.” His pre-existence is made plain in the Bible which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Bible says before Christ was born on earth, He was the Word of God (Rev 19:13). Since it is clear that Christ was the Word of God before His incarnation. The Bible says, “[Christ] who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Heb 1:3). His divine nature we have no doubt about it, so in this paper we are going to focus on His humanity.
The Bible says, “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). What flesh did He take? Was it sinful flesh just like all human beings, or was it like Adam before the fall? There is no question regarding the pure character of Christ because the Scriptures have clearly proclaimed the sinlessness of Christ, His perfection, holiness, and goodness (1 Pet 2:22; Heb 7:26). Therefore, Christians generally agree on this area. On the contrary, there has been much dissension concerning the substance of His physical body, whether He assumed fallen or unfallen flesh.
In 1952, the editor of the Review and Herald wrote, “Adventists believe that Christ, the ‘Last Adam,’ possessed, on His human side, a nature like that of the ‘First Man Adam’”19 The view of unfallen nature of Christ contradicted the belief held by traditional Adventists since the beginning. Since then it has raised a great discussion and debate in the human nature of Christ until today.
The Fallen Nature of Christ
What view did the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventist Church hold? How did Ellen G. White and other leaders view the fallen nature of Christ. Ellen G. White uses the strong terms “sinful nature” and “fallen nature” to describe the humanity of Jesus. She says, “In Him [Christ] was no guile or sinfulness. He was even pure and undefiled; yet took upon Himself our sinful nature.”20 In the Youth's Instructor, she also says, “He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin.”21 She adds another detail, saying, “He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted.”22 Years later G.T. Ellingson says, “He condescended . . . to take upon Himself fallen human nature.”23 In addition, General Conference Bulletin says, "He [Christ] took our sinful natures, and our sinful flesh at the point of weakness to which we had brought it.”24 Also, A.T. Jones, the editor of the Signs of the Times and Review and Herald, declares, “That garment was woven in Jesus, in the same flesh that you and I have, for He took the same flesh and blood that we have.”25 And again he express, “in our flesh--it was my flesh that He had; it was your flesh that He had.”26 Jones in the Bible Echo, explains, “Do not forget that the mystery of God is not God manifest in sinless flesh but God manifest in sinful flesh. There could never be any mystery about God's manifesting Himself in sinless flesh--in one who had no connection whatever with sin.”27 In 1895, the General Conference Bulletin, W. W. Prescott, the General Conference President says, “Jesus Christ came and by taking our nature, our sinful flesh . . . He did unite Himself to sinful flesh.”28
More than three hundred clear and strong statements emphasized and re-emphasized that it was necessary for Jesus to assume our sinful flesh in order to understand and have compassion with sinners who are in the same sinful flesh. Though, Christ had a sinful flesh, the Holy Spirit kept Him from sinning in that sinful flesh. Therefore, He became our example. W. W. Prescott re-emphasizes:
“Although Jesus Christ took sinful flesh, the flesh in which we sin, God was able to keep Him from sinning in that sinful flesh, so that although He was manifested in sinful flesh, God by His Spirit and power dwelling in Him, kept Him from sinning in that sinful flesh . . . [God] made a perfect revelation of His mind in that sinful flesh."29
Also, J.H. Durland points out, “So when Jesus took up His abode in the flesh, it was not the flesh that man had before he fell, but it was the sinful that man had after he fell. . . . He came to save sinners, therefore He must take the flesh of sinners. . . . He had all the weakness of the flesh that we have. . . . the same desires that our own flesh has.”30
Again he expresses, “He must have had the same kind of flesh which we have … Jesus Christ took ‘flesh of sin.’”31
E.J. Waggoner states, “God took upon Himself sinful flesh . . . (Christ) came in fallen humanity is an evidence of God’s presence, and this presence to give life.”32 The writing of Ellen G. White and the Adventist pioneer leaders, they have re-emphasized more than three hundred times that Christ took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. By the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, He lived a sinless life, perfectly obedient to the will of God. Therefore, He has become our High Priest, and Savior who was sacrificed for sin, and has become our example that we may follow His steps.
The Unfallen Nature of Christ
The fallen nature of Christ in Adventism did not face opposition until July 1952. According to Francis D. Nichol, “Adventists believe that Christ, the ‘Last Adam,’ possessed on His human side, a nature like that of the ‘First Man Adam,’ a nature free of any defiling taint of sin, but capable of responding to sin.”33 This was the birth of a new explanation on the nature of Christ. In 1956, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary declares, “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”34 In 1957, Roy Allan Anderson wrote:
When the Eternal God become the second Adam that He might take His place as the representative of a redeemed race, He came “without sin.” When the incarnate God broke into human history and became one with the race, it is our understanding that He possessed the sinlessness nature with which Adam was created in Eden.35
In the same year, the book Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine was published; it quotes Ellen White's writing, saying, “Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, He began where the first Adam began. Willingly He passed over the ground where Adam fell, and redeemed Adam’s failure.”36
The September 1956 issue of Ministry published an article concerning Christ’s nature. It says, “He took our human nature; not our sinful propensities our sin, guilt, and punishment all imputed to Him, but not actually His.”37 This article under the subtitle “Took Sinless Nature of Adam before the Fall” which was summarized as followed:
(1) Christ took humanity as God created it.
(2) Began where Adam first began.
(3) Took human form but not corrupted sinful nature.
(4) Took Adam’s sinless human nature.
(5) Perfect sinlessness of His human nature.
(6) Inherited no evil propensities from Adam.
(7) Conquered Satan as second Adam.
(8) Guard against making Christ altogether human.
(9) Became head of the fallen race.38
The exegesis of important biblical texts will give a clearer view on the nature of Christ. The apostle John says, "The Word was made flesh" (John 1:14). Paul says, "God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim 3:16). What does the original Greek word "flesh" mean? Does it disclose whether the nature of Christ was based on sinful or sinless flesh?
The Greek word sarx (flesh) appears 147 times in the New Testament.39 Balz and Gerhard say, "The range of meaning extends from the substance flesh (both human and animal), to the human body, to the entire person, and to all humankind."40 Further they say, "Flesh is also a term--again under Old Testament influence--for the human body (1 Cor 6:16; cf. 2 Cor 7:5; Eph 5:31) and for the whole person."41 Some pointed out that the term "flesh" in the Bible always means sinful flesh. However, the translation of Greek word sarx and the Hebrew word basar as found in Gen 2:23 means sinless flesh before the fall. Nevertheless, after the fall, Adam’s sinless flesh became sinful and is passed on to his descendants. Therefore, sarx or basar always describes the flesh in the status of fallen human flesh, but does not necessarily mean “sinful” at the beginning of human beings.
Benjamin Rand quoted, “In Greek, the common word for ‘sin’ is hamartia and not sarx. Schweitzer’s theological dictionary notes that sarx may designate an earthly sphere (see 1 Cor 1:27), not necessarily ‘sinful and hostile to God, but simply . . . limited and provisional.’”42 Another Greek word of similar meaning is soma, which means body containing flesh, bone and blood. Christ proclaimed, "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me" (Heb 10:5). The question again is whether Christ assumed a sinful or a sinless human body?
The Likeness is not Sameness
Two important words for understanding this topic are “likeness” and “sinful.” Let us study the denotation of these two words in more detail:
(1) Likeness: (a) State or quality of being like; resemblance; similarity. (b) Appearance or form; guise; semblance; shape.43
(2) Sinful: Adjective is tainted with, or full of sin; wicked; involving iniquity; as, sinful men; sinful thoughts.44
It is important to note that “likeness” is not “sameness.” Obviously, the connotation of “sinful flesh” does not mean that the state of body is simply “weakened” by sin but “without sin” as some twisted and misinterpreted it. Remember the word “sinful” is the adjective of sin, and as the Dictionary states its meaning “tainted with, or full of sin.” Therefore, the term "sinful flesh" suggests a bodily taint of sin and its iniquity and evilness, loaded with evil propensities and is more than capable to generate evil thoughts. Thus, the observable sinful actions outwardly stem from the inward propensity to sin.
The biblical term “sinful” is used to describe “sinful men” (Num 32:14), “sinful nation” (Is 1:4), “sinful Kingdom” (Amos 9:8). Similarly, Jesus also used the term in phrases such as “in this adulterous and sinful generation” (Mark 8:38) and “the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men” (Luke 24:7). In addition Peter asked Jesus to depart from him for he was a “sinful man” (Luke 5:8).
Coming back to the most important text, Paul says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3). Paul describes that Jesus takes “In the likeness of sinful flesh.” Its means that Jesus’ flesh is like sinful flesh but something different. Let us have a closer look. First, it must be noted that Paul did not say, “God sent His Son in sinful flesh or sinful nature.” Paul’s teaching harmonizes with John’s writing by saying Jesus Christ is coming in the flesh (see 1 John 4:3). Paul pointed out clearly that Christ appeared “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” The key word “likeness” in Greek is homoiomati and its meaning in Joseph Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon is “in like manner” or “after the likeness.”45 Another Greek lexicon says, “homoiomati in Romans 1:23 is likewise influenced by Genesis 1:26. In these passages, homoiomati is the ‘form’ or the ‘images.’ In substance the use of homoiomati in Romans 8:3 is closely related to that of Philippians 2:7.”46 Therefore, in Romans 8:3 homoiomati means “similar,” saying His human flesh looks like sinful flesh.
Paul did not condone Jesus having the “same” sinful flesh as fallen men. Also, the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians 2:7, a parallel verse to Romans 8:3, says that Jesus “was made in the likeness [homoioma] of men.” It is exactly likeness that describes Jesus. In the same verse it says Christ “took upon him the form of a servant.” Paul, in Hebrews 2:17 remarks, “to be made like [homoioma] unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God.” Paul also declares, “As children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part the same.” Apparently, these texts are describing that Christ's flesh is human’s flesh which was before the fall, but He has a form or appearance that looks like a sinful man outwardly. In contrast, “likeness” does not mean that Christ was in “same” sinful flesh or sinful nature of humans after the fall.
All Humans Are Born in Sinful Flesh
All humans after Adam’s fall are born in sinful flesh, but Christ, the second Adam, was not; but rather “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” There is much distinction describes Christ’s nature between “in sinful flesh” (unbiblical) and “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (biblical in Rom 8:3). Its meaning is “look alike,” but not exactly the “same,” having something different--His flesh was not condemned and defiled in Adam. Remember, “likeness” is not “sameness.”
To illustrate this important point, let us take an example: the Chinatown in New York City looks like Hong Kong, but it is not Hong Kong. Part of it may be even a replica of Hong Kong. However, no matter how similar both metropolises look alike, they are not the same. Another similar example is of a person without HIV living among a group of HIV positive individuals. They look alike outwardly. They communicate and make friends with each other. The healthy person even has similar flesh and blood, except AIDS virus. Nevertheless, the one with HIV will die prematurely but not the other! The blood of the healthy one without AIDS virus is able to save and attend to the diseased one, but not vice versa.
This leads us to a question whether it is necessary for a doctor to be infected with HIV to heal an HIV positive patient. If a doctor has a sickness, he may need another doctor to heal him or her. Christ illustrates that He is the physician, the mankind is the patient, we all need His healing (see Matt 9:12). King David’s experience of his own conception was, “Behold, I was sharpened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51:5). All posterity of Adam is the same, but Christ is different. Roy Adams in the Nature of Christ says, “Psalm 51:5 (“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” [NIV]) applies to every single descendant of Adam, it did not apply to Him.”47 Edward Heppenstall said:
“Every man comes into the world in sinful flesh possessing the stain of sin, of separation from God. For Jesus Christ this was only assumed condition. If Christ had been born exactly as we are Paul would not have written ‘in the likeness’ but ‘in sinful flesh.’ Paul is very careful to make clear the sinlessness of Christ’s nature.”48
All Adam’s descendants who are under the condemnation of sin are born in sinful flesh and blood, from antecedents that also need a Savior to redeem them from sin. But Christ is not under the eternal condemnation of sin but rather He is the second Adam born as a “Holy One” from the Holy Spirit to restore what the first Adam and his descendants have lost. Christ is the Savior of the world.
Actually, humans do not inherit the responsibility of sin from Adam, but rather sinful nature that initiates propensity to sin, because all have been condemned and defiled by sin in Adam who is the head of the mankind (Rom 5:12). Hence, all men are condemned in sin in Adam rather than “inherited” guilt (see Rom 5:16). It is not necessary for us to inherit sin or guilt from Adam, then we could commit sin; actually we commit sin in sinful flesh naturally. De Haan in his book Revelation says:
“When Adam fell he did not fall alone, but fell as the head of the entire terrestrial creation. Through his sin the curse fell upon all that which had been placed under him.... First the whole race fell in Adam, and today, all are born sinners and children of wrath because of his headship. This is a fact which cannot be denied.”49
Jesus Christ proclaimed, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son .... He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already" (John 3:16, 18). All humans inherit sinful nature with propensities to sin from parents, hence, we were born sinners. The sinful nature captives us to do evil, until we know and accept Christ as our Savior who redeems us from sin, and gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin. This is similar to Paul’s own experience which is described in Romans 7:7-25.
As we know, the head or mind of a person sinned; the whole body under the head is in sin. Similarly, since Adam is the head of the whole humankind, the entire humankind was condemned in Adam when he sinned against God. As a result, all creatures other than humankind were cursed and fell to sin (see Gen 3:17-19). The animals, birds and sea creatures do not “inherit” sin from mankind; however they are wild, fighting, killing, eating each other, and attaching human beings and eat their flesh quite often. Ultimately, all creatures in this sinful world will grow old, become diseased and died. They are like the polluted water emanating from the fountain which flows through the entire river and its tributaries.
In addition, Ellen G. White says that Jesus “could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.”50
Then, what nature did Christ take? Did Christ take sinless pre-fall or sinful post-fall human flesh and blood? We will study more detail according to the Bible and the writings of SDA leaders.
The Perfection of Christ
How can it be determined whether Christ assumed sinful or sinless flesh during His incarnation? How does the Bible explain this? Seventh-day Adventists proclaim that “We have no creed, the Bible and the Bible alone.”51 Therefore, concerning this extremely important doctrine, we should back to the Bible and search the biblical truth. Here are three steps toward understanding the type of flesh which Christ assumed: (1) through the proclamation of the angel before Christ’s birth and the testimony of the Bible; (2) the typology in the sacrificial system and the Passover festival; (3) the parallelism or equality of the first and last Adam.
1. The Biblical Testimony: Before Jesus was born, an angel proclaimed to Mary, saying to her that “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, NKJV). John said, “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). And again he said, “In him [Christ] has no sin” (1 John 3:5). Paul said, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16). Peter said, “Who [Christ] did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22). Therefore, He was unique from His physical birth and through His entire life on earth. He was sinlessly guilt-free which is contrary to the nature of sinful humankind desperate and always in need of a Savior.
2. Typology in the Sacrificial System: John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In the Old Testament era, all the lambs and bulls which were offered to God as sin offerings symbolized Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The burnt offerings were “perfect” without blemish and spot. As the law says, “But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. And whosoever offereth sacrifice of Peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow . . . it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein” (Lev 22:20-21 KJV).
During the Passover festival, pure grape juice and unleaven bread were consumed because these items symbolized Christ’s precious blood and sinless body manifested by His perfect character. In contrast, the fermented wine and leaven bread symbolized sinner’s defiled blood and sinful flesh which are unacceptable as sacrifices to the Lord.
3. The Equality of First and Last Adam: God created the first Adam from His own image and likeness without even the slightest imperfection or spot. His flesh was sinless. God saw all the creatures and said, “It is very good” (Gen 1:30). Ellen G. White stated, “As man came forth from the hand of His Creator, he was of lofty stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy tint of health and glowed with the light of life and joy.”52 Paul said that Christ was the last Adam, whatever state the first Adam lost, the last Adam must restore. Thus, it seems ironic that Christ had to come in the likeness of a human being outwardly but not of the same substance inwardly, i.e., not in sinful flesh with the propensity to sin. Due to His perfection throughout his incarnation, Christ retained an unbroken relationship with God through the in dealing Holy Spirit. He remained sinless physically and spiritually throughout His life. Thus, He is the only one who can be “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). That is the meaning when Paul said, “God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3, NIV). Even if He lived a sinless life in the sinful flesh or body, He would not be fit to offer His sinful body as a “lamb without blemish [His character]” and “without spot [His body]” (1 Pet 1:19).
In Romans 5:12-21, Paul compared and contrasted the two Adams, the first versus the last Adam (Christ). The analogy between Adam and Christ here is clear. In order to save the first Adam, the last Adam must be equal in nature and character such as that before the fall. Then and only then may Christ restore what the first Adam had lost. Paul pointed out that as by the offence of one man Adam, judgment came upon all men, who are in his body, to condemnation; so by one man Christ salvation came to the whole world.
The Bible sees human beings as a whole. Therefore, since Adam has fallen, his sinless flesh (body or nature) became sinful flesh. From being a righteous man with light and glory, the first Adam became a sinner with sinful body and character after fall; his nature was degraded and defiled by sin, and he was filled with sorrow and suffering throughout his life. Also, his descendants who are in him are all condemned and born sinners. It is necessary that even prior to the very first act or thought of sin that fallen beings need a Savior. Christ claimed that He came to give His life as a ransom for every human being (Matt 20:28), for all humans have already been condemned in Adam and all the creatures of the world were cursed because of his sin (John 3:18; Rom 5:12; 3:24; Gen 3:17).
Benjamin Rand said, “If Jesus came with a sinful nature but resisted, then perhaps someone will do the same, and that person would not need Jesus to save him.”53 If he was crucified on the cross, he may possibly become a Savior! If that was indeed true, the million aborted infants yearly in United States will be counted to be sinless ones and have more blessings to heaven; the doctors who did the action will be rewarded in heaven; a baby’s sacrifice for atonement will be acceptable to God! No, absolutely not! Take for example the 144,000 who are in sinful flesh but living in sinless life; the Bible describes them, saying, “In their mouth was found no guile, for they are blameless before the throne of God” (Rev 14:5). Could one of them be a Savior as a sin offering for atonement of the world? If Christ comes in “sinful flesh,” then He is a “sinful man,” can we accept a “sinful man” as our Savior? No, God forbid! It is true that if Christ is a “sinful man” He needs a Savior to save Him from sin. Roy Adam said, “If He were altogether like us—100 percent—if He had shared in exactly the same way the inheritance of sin and guilt we all received from Adam, then He would have been crippled as a Saviour.”54 Therefore, to say that Christ possessed a sinful nature just as we do is total contradictory to the biblical doctrine.
If we agree that Christ is perfect and has no sin both in His body and character, as Ellen G. White said, “He [Christ] was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.”55 And again she said, “As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil.”56 Thus, it is logical to say that Christ in “sinless flesh” lives in sinless life, rather than in “sinful flesh” lives in sinless life.
Beside the above three biblical truth, there is the biological evidence which God has designed from the beginning of the creation of humans.
Some may argue that since Mary has sinful flesh and blood, Christ as a fetus could have been defiled and inherited the sinful flesh and blood directly from Mary’s womb. In another token, is it true that since Mary has born a “Holy Child” she must have in “immaculate conception” as Catholic claimed?
From a pure scientific view point, it is evident that every fetus or baby inherits the nature and character from his or her parents via genetic makeup of the sperm and ovum, initially an embryo, then a fetus, and finally a baby. A biology author Neil A. Campbell in his book Biology, saying:
“The placenta, a combination of maternal and fetal tissues, exchanges, oxygen, carbon dioxide, glucose, and other substances between mother and fetus. The maternal blood enters the placenta in arterioles, flows through blood pools in the endometrium, and leaves via venues. The fetal blood, which remains in vessels, enters the placenta through arteries, passes through capillaries in fingerlike villi, where oxygen and nutrients are acquired, and exits through veins leading back to the fetus. Materials are exchanged by diffusion between the fetal capillary bed and the maternal blood pools.”57
Similar to every other fetus, the physiological blood of Mary did not flow through the umbilical cord into the fetus Jesus directly. Therefore, Jesus’ sinless flesh has nothing to do with the genetic makeup of Joseph and Mary. It is not necessary for Mary to be sinless flesh, in order for her to have “immaculate conception,” because Jesus incarnation has nothing to do with Mary’s ovum. It was not necessary for the Word join Mary’s ovum to form an embryo, which then developed into a two natures of God-man fetus as many claimed. Actually, it is completely God’s wonderful miracle--the Word became flesh. To man this is impossible, but to God all things are possible. The Bible says, “She [Mary] was found with child of Holy Spirit.” The angel said to Joseph, “For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1:18, 20). Christ's body which God has prepared to Him to be a sacrifice for the atonement of sin must be sinless and perfect (see Heb 10:5).
The above figure shows that how the fetus exchange oxygen, carbon dioxide, and obtain glucose through the umbilical cord. Please note a thin membrane between the fetal capillaries and maternal blood pools. It also illustrates that a fetus "sucks" his or her mother's "nutritious liquid" inside, just like a baby sucks his or her mother's milk--nutritious liquid outside. Thus, Mary is only Christ’s “born mother” and “nurture mother.” Christ’s flesh and blood not inherit or derive from Mary’s DNA gene. You may have a closer look of a fetal how wonderful relating with material placenta.
Divinity Clothed with Humanity?
Most Christians, if not all, according to John 1:1 says, “In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Because the Word was Christ, so Christ was God. If Christ was God, then Christ was I Am that I Am, he is co-equal with God. This conclusion seems right, but it is not true.
Please note, in this text there is two Gods in a low, the first One is God the Father; the second One is God the Son, that is the Son of God. Thus God the Father and God the Son these two Gods are exist in the beginning.
John continuously said, “He (God the Son) was in the beginning with God the Father” (John 1:2). At the beginning the Gospel of John indicated that the Word was God the Son, it was identical with God the Father. Then John said, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Word is the only begotten Son of God, because God the Father never became the flesh dwelt among us.
Today most Christians are influenced unconsciously by the Chelesdon Counsel, believe that during Christ on earth He has two natures—fully God and fully Man. Because He can perform the signs and wonders, heal the sick, if Christ was not God, how can He perform such great wonders? However, we cannot find such biblical text to support this point, that Christ has two natures in His human body.
Victor Paul Wierwille in his book “Jesus Christ Is Not God,” says, “I have checked my Bible for hundred of times, I have convinced my doubt that Christ was not God. Actually He was the Son of God, if I am not completely convinced, I would not write it to my detestation.”52 It is right that the Bible said before Christ became flesh, He was the Word of God (Rev 19:3).
The Bible indicates that the Word became flesh, thus, Christ was the second Adam, equal to the first Adam in quality and subsidence, so He could offer His holy body as the atonement for Adam and the world. Before and after His baptism, He was a perfect man with flesh and blood, not in two natures—fully God and fully man, because one person has only one nature. After He was baptized and came out of water, the Holy Spirit of God descended to and filled with Him (Luke 4:1), from then onward God through His Spirit dwell in Him, then He became God in Him. That is why He was called Immanuel—God with us. This critical point we should study with very careful and humble spirit, otherwise it will be easily to misunderstand that Christ has two natures from His birth till His death, He was fully God and fully man. Jesus testified, saying, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works…. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:10-11, 24).
Pay attention the simple words “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth.” This text shows that the simple yet critical and important truth: “The Word became flesh.” In other words that the perfect Word became a perfect man. Please note that the divinity of Word became the humanity of man. Neither the divinity taking on Himself human nature, nor divinity clothed with humanity. In another words, saying, “Perfect Word became perfect man.” This is the biblical and simple truth. Just as a seed is buried into ground, then the seed grows into a big tree; it is neither the seed conceals into a big tree, nor the seed cloths with a big tree. The Bible never says that the perfect Word became “Perfect God and perfect man.” The Bible neither says Christ in His divinity clothed with humanity; nor He has two natures, united divine and human in one body, so He is fully God and fully man; nor blended or merged two natures in one person; nor combined divinity and humanity in Him. These are not biblical doctrine; we should not mislead by the Chelcedon Council. Now let us study this critical doctrine in six points below according to the Bible.
Christ Is a Perfect Man, Not a God-man
(1) Since Christ is the second or the last Adam (2 Cor 15:45-49). As the first Adam was perfect and holy, with blood and flesh, likewise He became a perfect and holy person; unless Christ has same flesh with the first Adam before his fall, then He has no qualification to save him. The first Adam is a perfect man, then the second Adam need to be a same perfect man; otherwise He has no qualification to pay his sinful dept. Though we are not perfect men, however, He wants to save us up to perfect and holy status, so He should be a perfect and holy man.
(2) God had prepared Christ’s body for atonement (Heb 10:5). God had created the first Adam a perfect man, after his fall, God sent His only begotten Son to the world, and prepared a perfect body for propitiation of the world. Since the first Adam was perfect, likewise the second Adam became the same substance and holy without spot, then He has the qualification to save him, it was not necessary to became two natures—God-man, that is fully God and fully man in order to save him.
(3) Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit when He came up from the water, God through His Spirit dwelled in Christ, and did God’s work (see Matt 3:16-17; John 14:10). Before Christ was anointed by the Power of the Holy Spirit, He was a common Jew; after He was anointed then He became the Messiah or Christ. God’s Spirit dwelled in Him, so God through Christ did His work. Christ performed many miracles, it was not the power of Christ, but God through Him expressed His divine power. Lord Jesus testified, saying, “When you life up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28). Again He said, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works…. The word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:10-11, 24).
(4) If we say since Christ could perform miracles, healed the sick, cast the devils, calmed the sea and performed many signs and wonders, then prove that He has two natures—fully God and fully man, because if He was not God, then how could He perform the miracle? But do not forget, after Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, he could perform many miracles, and commanded the dead rose (see Act 9:36-41). Is Peter has two natures—fully God and fully man? No, of course not. Actually, the rest of the apostles, and Paul the apostle of Gentiles, they all could perform miracles, but they were all common Jews. They were filled with the Holy Spirit who gave them especial gifts, so that they may do signs and wonders (1 Cor 12:4-11). If the Holy Spirit left them, at once they became a common Jew, just like the situation of Samson whose mighty power was from the Spirit of God. He became a command Israelite after God’s Spirit departed from him (Judg 14:6; 15:14-16; 16:20-21, 28-30).
(5) When Christ was nailed to the cross, someone mocked to Him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross, and we will believe you.” Has Christ the divine power come down from the cross, to prove that He is fully God and fully man? Most of Christians believe Christ who has divine power could come down from the cross, but He did not want to do it, because He wanted to die for the world. If He was fully God and fully man, He may used His divine power jumped down from the cross to prove that He was fully God and fully man, let more Jews believe in Him, the aim has reached, then He was caught and nailed again to the cross, in such way Christ could prove that He was fully God and fully man, how wonderful it was, but why Christ did not do it?
Actually, He has no divine power to do it, because the Spirit of God has departed from Him. Before Christ died, He cried with a loud voice, saying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” (Matt 27:46)? The reason is before Christ was caught, and under the judgment, He was necessity to bear the sins of the world, and was nailed to the cross, the Spirit of God departed from Him, what He had left on the cross, only a perfect human body—the second Adam who sacrificed as an atonement for the world. Thus, He had no divine power came down from the cross.
Two Natures in Christ Could Not Die
(6) Do you think this point seriously? If Christ has two natures—fully God and fully man, two natures in one body that divinity clothed with humanity, finally, Christ could not die on the cross. Even humanity die, but the divinity could not die, for God never dies. This conclusion will contradict the entire salvation doctrine. If Christ did not die, throughout all ages, there is no salvation! The Bible says, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Cor 5:7). Christ said that God has prepared a body for Him as atonement for the world (Heb 10:5). There is no validity for forgiveness of sin if the sacrificial lamb did not die, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). If Christ did not die totally and completely, Christ could not say that He died twice, now He lived again. As the Lord said, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” And again He said, “These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life” (Rev 1:18; 2:8). Peter testified, “These Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” Again he said, “Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly” (Act 2:32; 10:40). Paul also testified, “He (God) has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Act 17:31).
Jesus always said that He was raised by God, He never claimed that on the third day by His own divinity or divine power raised from the dead. Because the definition of dead is “The dead know not any thing” (Ecc 9:5). Jesus told His disciples concerning His resurrection He used passive voice. The Bible says, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matt 16:21). And also in Matthew 17:23, Mark 14:28, Luke 9:22 describe Christ’s resurrection all use passive voice. Apparently, Jesus was raised by God, not by His own divine power. In the Acts of Apostles, Peter and Paul gave their testimonies that it was God who raised Jesus from the dead (see Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 34; Rom 6:4, 9; 10:9). Many misunderstand Jesus’ word, saying, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17-18). So many claimed that Jesus has authority to lay down His life, and He has authority to take it back by His own divine power. Actually, we should see the context of Jesus’ explanation that, “This commandment have I received of my Father.” It means that Jesus through His Father’s divine power took back His life, that is on the third day, God raised Him from the dead.
If we believe Christ is dualism, just like most Christians believe man is dualism that is combined “soul and body” in a living being. When one’s body die, his/her soul goes out, the good people’s soul ascend to Heaven to enjoy eternal live; the bad man’s soul goes to hell for eternal punishment. His/her life is still alive, for soul never dies. With such concept, we Adventists have taken great effort dismiss “Soul never dies” which is an erroneous doctrine, unfortunately, we fall unconsciously into “Christ’s divinity never dies” the same erroneous doctrine, what a shock to thoughtful people! It seems biblical truth, but it is not. For the similar principle, take for instant, when a seed has grown to a big tree, where is the life of the seed? Does the seed conceal into a big tree, or the seed clothes with a big tree in two natures, when the big tree is cut down and died, is the original seed still alive? Another illustration, when a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly, whether the caterpillar clothes with a butterfly and conceals in it becomes two natures? Or a caterpillar grows completely to a beautiful butterfly? When the butterfly is nailed to die, is the original caterpillar still alive?
Pay attention, if Christ was not truly, totally and completely dead, the Bible cannot repeats and repeats many times that Christ had died, and resurrected from the dead, if it is not true, then the Bible repeats and repeats many times for false testimonies. God forbid!
Post-Fall Nature of Christ
Three aspects concern a human being: (1) form of human, (2) flesh and blood, and (3) character. These three aspects are inseparable in a living person. Christ took the pre-fall human flesh but He appeared in “the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7). From His hair style to the clothing and the shoes He wore, He appeared to be an ordinary Jew. Outwardly looked like a sinner, but He was not a sinner; His flesh outwardly looked like "sinful flesh," but He was not in sinful flesh, rather He was "in the likeness of sinful flesh." With great compassion, He lived among the suffering people as stated in Isaiah, saying, “He hath no form nor comeliness. When we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Is 53:2). That is why the Jews did not know Him for His outward appearance did not look like the first Adam, who appeared bright and glorious, before the fall. Actually, Christ covered His light when He appeared to the people, but when He went up to the mountain, He transfigured His body, the bright light shone from His face and body (see Matt 17:2). This is the viewpoint of the post-fall nature of Christ.
Pre-Fall Nature of Christ
On the second phase, concerning His flesh and blood, God prepared Christ a body for sacrifice (Heb 10:5) that was absolutely “without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet 1:19).
The third phase, His character must be perfect where “no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22). Otherwise, He may has defiled His body as first Adam did. In a nutshell, Christ is the perfect, pure, sinless and holy Savior! As Questions on Doctrine says, “Let us ever remember that our blessed Lord was sinless. ‘We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.’”58 This is the viewpoint of the pre-fall nature of Christ.
Obviously, the Bible tells us that the nature of Christ is a combination of these two viewpoints together. Concerning Christ’s sinlessness, Ellen G. White made a very clear and strong statement, saying, “Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it come upon Adam. We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”59 And again she said, “Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, He began where the first Adam began. Willingly He passed over the ground where Adam fell, and redeemed Adam’s failure.”60
Similarly, Ellen G. White said in more detail and clear manner:
“Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. 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. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness, as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden.”61
We should not misunderstand the nature of Christ, for the Bible says it plainly. He was nailed to the cross due to the sins of the world, not His own, for He is perfect, holy and without blemish. Paul said, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3). God has prepared a perfect body for Him in order to sacrifice as atonement for the world. Except He has a sinless body, and match with His perfect character, then His sacrifice will be in void.
We should understand clearly that Christ did not assume a “sinful body” or “sinful flesh” or “sinful nature” after the fall for four thousand years, rather He has assumed a “form” or “likeness” or “outlook” of a servant after the fall for four thousand years (see Rom 8:3; Phi 2:7). He was not like Adam who had a perfect form and lived in a perfect world. We should not misunderstand that Christ assumed in sinful flesh but his mind and spirit have no sin and not defiled by sin, it is not so. Some claimed that it is the same that Christ took in sinful flesh and He bore our sins on the cross. Actually, it is not the same. The big difference is just like a perfect lamb and a blemish lamb; the previous one can scarify for atonement, but not the latter one. Is it true that after Adam sinned his flesh and mind had not degraded and defiled by sin, but only physical weakness and he has rarely propensity to sin? No, it is not true. This seems a little bit different in viewpoint which makes the nature of Christ completely different.
Pay attention to the hunger, thirsting, tiredness, physical weakness of Christ, which does not prove that Christ was in sinful flesh. No, it shows that the normal physical body is weaker than the spiritual being or the power of God (see 2 Cor 13:4). Actually, before the fall, Adam had hunger, thirst, tiredness, he needed to eat and sleep to refresh his energy. This is the nature of human being which God had created. If forbid Adam eating and drinking for 40 days, he will be very weak; if forbid him to breathe, sleep, or nail him to the cross, he will die very soon too. It is the weakness of physical body by nature.
An Example or a Savior
The Bible says that Christ was born as a “Holy thing” (Luke 1:35) and grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52), until “a perfect man, unto the measure of stature of fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13). Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15). Temptation does not necessary denote the act of sinning. Even though Christ is the last Adam that might fallen just as the first Adam did, He nevertheless overcame all the temptations, yet was without sin, as Peter testifies, “Who [Christ] did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22). Therefore the Bible says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” And again says, “and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all of them that obey him” (Heb 4:15; 5:9).
Salvation is not based upon the availability of Christ’s example for two thousand years after His birth, but rather because of His sinlessness and perfect sacrifice for atonement. If he took the sinful flesh in order to be humanity’s example, how can it be possible for Him to be an example to humanity four thousand years before His birth? Even during the Old Testament area, people who lived before Moses has neither scriptural guidance nor Christ’s example for two thousand and five hundred years, how could they be saved? There is absolutely nothing but by faith they offered lambs or bulls which were symbolized Christ’s perfect sacrifice and not by His example. They were also saved by grace through faith just as we are. The thief, who was nailed to the cross, was saved because he accepted Christ’s sacrifice rather than of His example (Luke 23: 39-43).
Apparently, Christ's main purpose on earth was to be a perfect sacrificial lamb in order for mankind to receive salvation. It was not because of Christ's example but because of His sinless sacrifice by which we are saved. He died for us so that our sins may be forgiven. Many argue that if Jesus was in sinless nature, not the same as our sinful nature, then He can not be our example in victorious Christian living. Then, we may make excuse that we cannot overcome sin because of our sinful nature. Actually, Christians overcome sin not by Christ’s example, but by the indwelling Holy Spirit and a willing heart to do God's will and keep His commandments. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). If Christians committed sin, it is necessary for them to repent and confess their sin to God. Since Christ is our Mediator and High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary, He makes intercession for Christians as well as for the world (1 John 2:2; Heb 7:25). This is why His grace is always sufficient for us. It is an assurance of Christ to those who believe in Him.
However, if Christ took the sinful nature as we are in order to show us examples on how to be a victorious Christian, then how could Jesus being a male show an example to female overcomes their physical, emotional, and psychological problems? Could He shows example to the blind, deaf, dump, and the handicapped? In addition, Jesus conversed in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew to the Jews. Is it necessary for us to learn the languages in order to be saved? Of cause not! Should we follow Christ’s example to baptize in the Jordan River, in order to be saved? Is it necessary for us to follow Christ’s example in His hair style and fashion design, walking at day without “pillow to lay the head” at night, in order to be in victorious Christian living? No, it is not necessary! How could Christ show example to smokers, drunkards, drug addicts, gamblers, love affair, sexual passion, homosexuals to over come their habitual yet sinful lifestyle problems since Christ did not have such experience? How could we follow Christ's example in performing miracles, healing the sick, casting the devils, forgiving sin, resurrecting the death, walking on water, feeding five thousand with five breads and two fishes, fasting and praying for forty days without eating and drinking, and obeying God unto death without committing any sinful and evil act? Unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have the authority of God, we could not do as Christ did. Actually, Peter pointed out that Christ suffered for us, leaving us a “suffering example” so that we may follow His steps to endure sufferings in our Christian living (1 Pet 2:21).
Therefore, it is obviously that the main purpose of salvation is that Christ died for humans and had ascended to the heavenly Sanctuary serving as an Intercessor and a High Priest daily, ensuring that His grace is sufficient for the world. As the Bible says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25). Jesus Himself said, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). Apparently, His example is only a subordinate purpose, but not the main. It is so plain that we should not to twist facts and to mistake the means for the end. As Roy Adams, in his book The Nature of Christ, says:
So Jesus came as a real human being. A human being is very essential sense of the work. One with us, but not one of us. ‘In all things like unto us, sin only (experiential and inherited) excepted’—to be for us a Savior and an Example. And what really did we need more? Was it an example? Or was it a Savior? For me, it was Savior. I thank God with my whole heart for sending Him as my example. But I thank God even more for sending Him as my Savior.”62
Beware the Counterfeit of False Christ
At the end of the world, Satan wants to counterfeit Christ to deceive the whole world. As we know, Satan sins against God seriously from the beginning of the world, he wants to appear to the world as the Savior, he is 100 percent in sinful flesh, he is the false Christ, because there is only one true Christ who is the only begotten Son of God. God had prepared a holy and sinless body for Him for sacrifice as atonement. If we proclaim that we believe the Christ who is in sinful flesh, then we unconsciously believe the false Christ. It is very dangerous.
The Bible prophecies, saying, “Let not one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:3-4). Satan wants to reach his highest aim: “Sit as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Thus, he had planed and prepared long time ago to spread a counterfeit Christology and had implanted into most Christians’ hearts, in order to deceive the world, if possible ever the elects. If believers do not identify the true nature of Christ, and His humanity and his position in the Trinity, the erroneous Christology may mislead them to accept the false Christ as the true Christ. Since you have known the truth, let us make correction as soon as possible, lest we may accept an ambitious false Christ—the Satan who is in sinful flesh as Christ the Savior.
We hope those who do not know the correct Christology, need to study the Bible and make correction before God express His anger to those who obey and worship the false Christ. This is our earnest and sincere prayer.
Summary and Conclusion
An overview of all the major issues regarding the nature of Christ has shown that Christ is the last Adam. He is the Son of God who was manifested as man dwelling among humanity. He lived a sinless and perfect life on earth. Finally, He yielded His sinless breath on the cross as a lamb “without blemish and without spot” for the atonement of humankind.
It was necessary for Christ to assume a human body in the form of a servant and live among men, and offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Through the principles of typology shows that Christ assumed sinless flesh and nature. Since He is the last Adam that restores what the first Adam has lost, it is necessary that His substance and nature equate to the first Adam. The last Adam must has assumed a perfectly sinless flesh, in all aspect, to ransom the first Adam and all his descendants. The Bible says, “For as much as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself ‘likewise’ took part the same” (Heb 2:14). Thus, He came “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3).
In addition, all the lambs and bulls that were offered to God as sin offerings symbolized Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Through the sacrificial system, His body was prepared by God as sin offering should be perfect and sinlessness (Heb 10:5). During the Passover festival, the unfermented grape juice and the unleaven bread symbolized His precious blood and sinless body respectively. Thus, Christ’s atonement and His sinlessness complement each other.
Unless He is the Lamb of God “without blemish and without spot,” His atoning work will be in void. If Christ took in sinful nature like sinful humans as many claimed, then His blood can neither be the “precious blood” for atonement nor the purpose of cleansing and purifying of things in the heavenly Sanctuary (Heb 9:23). If that was true, then He would also need a Savior to save Him.
Contrary to misconceptions about the nature of Christ, the Scriptures make it absolutely clear that it was the sins of others, and never His own, that nailed Jesus to the cross. Paul said, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3). God prepared Christ’s body as a perfect gift for the sin of the world. Only a sinless Christ in both physical and character is capable of providing a perfect atonement and redemption from sin. Unless He is not from the sinful nature or has never committed any sin, there is no saving power in Christ’s atonement. Based on His sinlessness, redemption is made available for the entire sinful humankind. He came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” with His perfect righteousness. Since Christ was tempted in all points, yet without sin, He was setting an example of suffering for mankind to follow. He is a Savior and High Priest “who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Heb 7:26), entering into the heavenly Sanctuary in order to making intercession for us daily. Therefore, His grace is sufficient for us. This is the assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus. (The end).
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Johnson, Harry. The Humanity of the Savior. London: The Epworth Press, 1962.
Jones, A. T. “Ministry of God.” The Bible Echo, November 30, 1896, 370-371.
Knox, John. The Humanity and Divinity of Christ. London: Cambridge University Press, 1967.
Larson, Ralph. The Word Was Made Flesh. Cherry Valley, CA: The Cherrystone Press, 1986.
“Mark.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. Edited by Francis D. Nichol. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1956, 5:1113.
Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . .: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1988.
Nichol, Francis D. "Could Christ Have Committed Sin?" Review and Herald, July 10, 1952, 15-17.
Prescott, W. W. "The Divine-Human Family--No. 4." General Conference Bulletin, February 8, 1895, 107-111.
Rand, Benjamin. “What Human Nature Did Jesus Take? Unfallen.” Quoted in G. W. Bromiley, trans. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971. Ministry, June 1985, 10.
A Representative Group of Seventh-day Adventist Leaders, Bible Teachers, and Editors.
Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1957.
Rollard, T. E. Fullness of Humanity: Christ’s Humanness and Ours. Sheffield, England: The Almond Press, 1982.
Sallers, Robert V. The Council of Chalcedon. London and Beccles: William Clowers and Sons, Limited, 1953, 210-211.
Thayer, Joseph Henry. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. New York: America Book Co., 1886, reprint 1889.
"The Third Angel's Message--No. 10." General Conference Bulletin, February 9-10, 1893, 200-208.
Thompson, Marianne Meye. The Humanity of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.
________. The Humanity of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, 1985.
Vick, Edward W. H. Jesus The Man. Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1979.
Waggoner, E. J. "Studies in the Book of Hebrews--No. 4." General Conference Bulletin, February 16, 1897, 43-46.
Walvoord, John F. Jesus Christ our Lord. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1969.
Webster, Douglas D. A Passion for Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1987.
Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language. Edited by William Allan Neilso, Thomas A. Knott, and Paul W. Carhart. Springfield, MA: G & C Merriam Pub. Co., 1961. s.v. “Likeness,” and “sinful.”
Weinandy, Thomas. In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993.
White, Ellen G. “Christ Came to Break Sin’s Chain.” Signs of the Times, April 16, 1894, 5-8.
________. “Christ’s Humiliation.” Review and Herald. December 20, 1900, 384.
________. "Revelation of God through Christ." Signs of the Times, April 11, 1895, 227-228.
________. “Tempted In All Points Like As We Are.” Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898, 3.
________. "The Importance of Obedience." Review and Herald, December 15, 1896, 789.
________. “The Second Adam.” The Youth Instructor, June 2, 1898, 425.
________. Medical Ministry. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1932.
________. Selected Messages. Book 1. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958.
________. "The Sinner's Hope." The Bible Echo, May 21, 1900, 329-330.
________. The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1958.
Wierwille, Victor Paul. Jesus Christ Is Not God. New Knoxville, OH: The America Christian Press, 1975.
 Otherwise stated, all the Scriptures were quoted from the King James Version or New King James Version. The bold words are made for emphasized.
 Millard J. Erickson, The Word Became Flesh (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1991), 41-42.
3 Ibid., 63.
5 Robert V. Sallers, The Council of Chalcedon (London: William Clowes and Sons, Limited, 1953), 210-211.
6 Julie M. Hopkins, Towards a Feminist Christology (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994), 86.
7 Edward Heppenstall, The Man Who Is God (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977), 22.
8 Ibid., 24.
9 Carl F. Henry, The Identity of Jesus of Nazareth (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), 58.
10 Francis D. Nichol, SDA Bible Commentary, (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 5:1113.
11 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1 (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 244.
12 Ellen G. White, “Christ Came to Break Sin’s Chain,” Signs of the Times, April 16, 1894, 5.
13 Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-day Adventist Believe . . . : A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988), 51.
14 Heppenstall, 21.
15 Millard J. Erickson, The Word Became Flesh (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1995), 60-61.
16 Ellen G. White, "Revelation of God Through Christ, "Signs of the Times, April 11, 1895, 227.
17 Ellen G. White, "The Sinner's Hope," The Bible Echo, May 21, 1900, 330.
18 Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . ., 49-50.
19 Francis D. Nichol, “Could Christ Have Committed Sin?” Review and Herald, July 10, 1952, 15.
20 Ellen G. White, “The Importance of Obedience,” Review and Herald, December 15, 1896, 789.
21 Ellen G. White, “Christ’s Humiliation,” The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900, 384.
22 Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1932), 181.
23 G.T. Ellingson, “Christ, the Power of God, “Review and Herald, December 29, 1910, 6.
24 G.E. Fifield, “Sermon--No. 1," General Conference Bulletin, February 12, 1897.
25 A.T. Jones, “The Third Angel’s Message--No. 10,” General Conference Bulletin, February 9, 1893, 207.
26 Ibid., 301.
27 A.J. Jones, “Ministry of God,” The Bible Echo, November 30, 1896, 370.
28 W.W. Prescott, “the Divine-Human Family--No. 4.,” General Conference Bulletin, February 8, 1895, 108.
30 J.H. Durland, “Jesus Made Lower than the Angels, ” Signs of the Times, September 12, 1895, 5.
31 J.H. Durland, “The Word Incarnate,” Signs of the Times, September 26, 1895, 6.
32 E.J. Waggoner, “Studies in the Book of Hebrew--No.4, “General Conference Bulletin, February 16, 1897, 45- 46.
33 Francis D. Nichol, “Could Christ Have Committed Sin?” Review and Herald, July 10, 1952, 15.
34 Francis D. Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5 (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1956), 1131.
35 Roy Allan Anderson, “God with Us,” Ministry, April, 1957, 3.
36 A Representative Group of Seventh-day Adventist Leaders, Bible Teachers, and Editors, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1957), 650.
37 Roy A. Anderson, “Christ’s Nature During the Incarnation,” Ministry, September 1956, 17.
38 Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, 19-20.
39 Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider, “Sarx, flesh,” Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (1993), 3: 230-233.
40 Ibid., 230.
41 Ibid., 231.
42 Benjamin Rand, “What Human Nature Did Jesus Take? Unfallen,” quoted in G. W. Bromiley, trans. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 126; Ministry, June 1985, 10.
43 Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, ed. William Allan Nelson, Thomas A. Knott, and Paul W. Carhart (Springfield, MA: G & C Merriam Company, Publishing, 1961), s.v. “Likeness.”
44 Ibid., s.v. “Sinful.”
45 Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: America Book Company, 1886, reprint 1889), s.v. “homoiotes (homoios), likeness.”
46 Balz and Schneider, s.v. “Homoiosis, likeness, correspondence.”
47 Roy Adams, The Nature of Christ (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1994), 62.
48 Heppenstall, 137.
49 M. R. De Haan, Revelation, 35 Simple Studies in the Major Themes in Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1946), 92.
50 “John,” SDA Bible Commentary, ed. F. D. Nichol (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1956-1980), 5: 1128.
51 Seventh-day Adventist Believe . . ., viii.
52 Ellen G. White, The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1958), 45.
53 Rand, 12-13.
54 Roy Adams, 71.
55 The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, ed F. D. Nichol (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1956-1980) 7:925. Ellen G. White Comments.
56 Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 2 (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), 202.
57 Neil A. Campbell, Biology (Redwood City, CA: The Benjamin/Cummings Pub. Co., Inc., 1987, 1990, 1993), 949.
52 Victor Paul Wierwille, Jesus Christ Is Not God (New Knoxville, OH: The American Christian Press, 1975), 3-4.
58 Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, 58.
59 Ellen G. White, “Tempted In All Points Like As We Are,” Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898, 3.
60 Ellen G. White, “The Second Adam,” The Youth Instructor, June 2, 1898, 425.
61 “John,” SDA Bible Commentary, 5:1128. Quotes Ellen G. White, Letter 8, 1895.
62 Roy Adams, The Nature of Christ (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1994), 71-72.