Some Adventists do not think the Father suffered, after all, Christ is the one who went through the horror of the cross. But this is a mistake.
“Said the angel, ‘Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, No.’ It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them.” Early Writings p127.
These words are not speaking of three co-equal God-beings/persons struggling that one of them would become a Son and take the sins of guilty man. An unbiased reading will see immediately that the God of heaven really struggled to give up His real Son.
To say there were three co-eternal and co-equal divine persons who make up the one God prior to the incarnation, means there was no real Father and no real Son. It would therefore be necessary for the three God-persons to choose among themselves who would be the Father and who would be the Son.
If there is no Son in heaven prior to the incarnation, then there is no Father either. This makes the words of our prophet meaningless. Even using the words ‘darling Son’ should say something about the love between a real Father and a real Son.
In eternity, the Father and Son had covenanted to save mankind should the race fall into sin. Of course, it was known that this would take place through the omniscience of God, however, in eternity it had not yet taken place. God’s Son volunteered to give His life as a ransom for man, and the Father agreed. They covenanted with a binding embrace that it would take place when the need arose.
And of course, the need did arise. Adam and Eve were afraid and hid themselves. However, God was not angry. At that very time, God’s Son was pleading before His Father that the covenant they had made in eternity should now be put in operation.
Our prophet revealed the scene portraying how difficult it was for the Father to allow His Son to fulfil their pledge.
“Sorrow filled heaven as it was realized that man was lost and that the world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and that there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die.
I then saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, ‘He is in close converse with his Father.’
The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father we could see His person.
His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and trouble, and shone with a loveliness which words cannot describe. He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that He had obtained permission to give His own life as a ransom for the race, to bear their sins, and take the sentence of death upon Himself, thus opening a way whereby they might, through the merits of His blood, find pardon for past transgressions, and by obedience be brought back to the garden from which they were driven. Then they could again have access to the glorious, immortal fruit of the tree of life to which they had now forfeited all right.
Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven, and the heavenly choir sang a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sang a note higher than they had done before, because of the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up His dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels.
Then praise and adoration was poured forth for the self-denial and sacrifice of Jesus, in consenting to leave the bosom of His Father, and choosing a life of suffering and anguish, and an ignominious death, that He might give life to others.” Early Writings p126.127.
Is this passage all metaphoric? Or is it an account of reality?
Yes, Sister White used the name ‘Jesus’, which at that time was not His name, but it clearly identifies of whom she is speaking. The One she called Jesus is God’s Son who offered to die for us. “Nothing but the death and intercession of God’s Son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery.” Ibid p127.
Our prophet closes this chapter with the words, “I saw that it was impossible for God to change His law in order to save lost, perishing man; therefore He suffered His darling Son to die for man’s transgressions.” Ibid p127.
If we do not want to accept these words as reality, then do we believe the Spirit of Prophecy?
Our prophet said the death of Christ would “answer the question as to whether the Father and the Son had sufficient love for man to exercise self-denial and a spirit of sacrifice.” Patriarchs and Prophets p70.
It is not a triune God exercising self-denial, but a Father willing to give up His beloved first-born Son.
A mind that is biased with the doctrine of the Trinity will either refuse to accept the prophet’s old books as truth, not read them, or turn the other way. Some will even reject the Spirit of Prophecy altogether.
It was passages like the above that caused Walter Martin, during the 1956/57 era of church leader discussions, to accuse Seventh-day Adventists of being Arian. He was wrong to call us Arian, however, he was right to say they were not Trinitarian.
It caused a panic among church leaders and they immediately began to give excuses – Ellen White matured over the years; you are not reading them correctly; we will do something about it.
Thankfully they did not – could not – eliminate the statements from Spirit of Prophecy books. There was little they could change in the writings of the prophet, but they could update the pioneer writings. And they did, dramatically.
But not all. Our pioneers and many who came after them were faithful in printing books and taking notes. Church records reveal the truth. Books of the pioneers are still available today, and any unbiased reader will see that they were not Trinitarians.
Sadly, some of the Spirit of Prophecy books coming out today have been changed. Not overtly, but subtlely; the result serves their purpose. The little word ‘it’ changed to ‘He’ makes a huge difference to a mind already convinced of the Trinity, as does the use of capital letters.
Most Adventists have no idea of the changes; only those who know the truth and have checked the original writings.
It all comes down to whether we believe the prophet or not. Did the Father suffer in giving permission to His Son to leave heaven and come to this earth?
Did our heavenly Father have a Son to give?
Our prophet said YES.
What do you say?
The Father's Struggle