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Desire of Ages Book Report

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Ellen White’s Desire of Ages in 1898 became the continental divide for the Adventist comprehension of the Trinity. In the very first paragraph of the book, she called into question the prevalent opinion of early Adventists concerning the relationship of Christ to the Father. Her third sentence in chapter 1 stated, From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father” (expressiveness supplied). Though even this was not definite enough  to clarify her position concerning the divinity of Jesus, because as we have seen, others had spoken similar language without trusting in Christ’s boundlessly eternal preexistence.

Further in the book, writing on the revival of Lazarus, she cited the words of Christ, “I am the resurrection and the life, “and accompanied them with a seven-word remark that would begin to rise the tide of antitrinitarian divinity among Adventists: “In Christ is life, real, unborrowed, underived” (expressiveness supplied).[39] Christ didn’t basically gain his divine life from the Father. As a human on earth, he subjugated his will to the will of the Father (John 5:19, 30), but as essential God, he had the ability to give away his life and take it back again. Thus in ramark on Christ’s resurrection, Ellen White again affirmed his full divinity and parity with the Father, stating “The Savior came forward from the grave by the life that was in Himself.”[40]

These assertions came as a thunder to the theological supervision of the church. M. L. Andreasen, who had converted as an Adventist only four years earlier at the age of eighteen, and who would ultimately teach at the church ‘s North American theological seminary, considered that the new idea was so in controversy  with the previous comprehension that some outstanding leaders suspected whether Ellen White had written it all by herself. After Andreasen entered the ministry in 1902, he made a particular trip to Ellen White’s California home to explore the issue for himself. Ellen White greeted him and gave him “access to the manuscripts.” He had brought with him ” a number of citings,” to “see if they were in the original in her own handwriting.” He remembers: I was certain Sister White had never written, ‘In Christ is life, real, unborrowed, underived. But now I saw it in her handwriting the way it had been published. It was the same with other assertions. As I continued investigation, I found that they were Sister White’s own phrases.”[41]

Desire of Ages contained equally uncompromising assertions about the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Often it used the personal pronoun “he” in referring to the Holy Spirit, culminating with the expressive assertion, “The Spirit was to be given as a restoring agent, and without this, the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no use…. Sin could be opposed and handled only through the strong assistance of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no special energy, but in the completeness of divine power (expressiveness supplied).[42]

These and alike assertions drove some to a fresh revision of the biblical clearness about the Godhead. Others, unwilling, to believe that they could have been mistaken for so many years, studied to uphold the old reasoning. Ellen White’s evidence, nevertheless, by pulling attention to Scriptures whose importance had been missed,[43] created a paradigm change that could not be opposed. As Adventists turned to the Scriptures to find out “whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11), they finally came to an increasing consensus that the main idea of the Trinity was a biblical fact to be accepted and supported…”


Drewry, J. E. (1945). Book Reviewing. Boston: Writer. Retrieved September 9, 2008,

Washing of the Feet Reveals Jesus at His Most Humble. (2001, December 31). The Washington Times, p. 2. Retrieved September 9, 2008,

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