The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. Yet He was God in the flesh. When we approach this subject, we would do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth.

Selected Messages (1SM 244.1)

Is this a salvational issue?

We should start by acknowledging that if you believe that through surrendering our wills to God and allowing God to work in us that we can overcome sin, the nature of Christ is not an important topic to discuss… however many will argue that Jesus did not have the same nature as we do as a way to excuse themselves from not wanting to give up sin.. For them, the nature of Christ becomes a salvational issue…

How could Jesus be God and also Human?

Before coming to earth, Christ was divine only:

But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding His pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with His Father.

Selected Messages (1SM 247.2)

The divine nature in the person of Christ was not transformed in human nature and the human nature of the Son of man was not changed into the divine nature, but they were mysteriously blended in the Saviour of men.

EG White, Review and Herald, July 17, 1900

This does not diminish Jesus' divinity in any way! Selected Messages tells us that:

From all eternity Christ was united with the Father, and when He took upon Himself human nature, He was still one with God. He is the link that unites God with humanity.

Selected Messages (1SM 228.4)

Infact, we are warned not to think that Jesus lost His divinity!

...let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves; for it cannot be. The exact time when humanity blended with divinity, it is not necessary for us to know. We are to keep our feet on the Rock Christ Jesus, as God revealed in humanity.

Selected Messages (1SM 228.4)

Selected Messages tells us that while He did not access His divinity, He did not lose it!

In assuming humanity Christ took the part of every human being. He was the Head of humanity. A Being divine and human, with His long human arm He could encircle humanity, while with His divine arm He could lay hold of the throne of the Infinite.

Selected Messages (1SM 252.2)

Could Jesus be tempted?

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man

James 1:13

As God He could not be tempted: but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations. His human nature must pass through the same test and trial Adam and Eve passed through. His human nature was created; it did not even possess the angelic powers. It was human, identical with our own. He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. He was now where, if He endured the test and trial in behalf of the fallen race, He would redeem Adam's disgraceful failure and fall, in our own humanity.

Selected Messages (3SM 129.3)

Jesus did not access His divinity as man, He did not do miracles through His own power but instead through the power of God through the angels. Had He accessed His divinity when tempted by lucifer He would have altered the course of history.

All the miracles of Christ performed for the afflicted and suffering were, by the power of God, through the ministration of angels.

The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2 (2SP 67.2)

What is interesting is that when Jesus took on human nature, lucifer rejoiced thinking that he could pull Jesus down by making Him sin…

satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man's fall, pull down the Son of God from His exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man's nature, he could overpower Him and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation.

Early Writings (EW 152.2)

Did Jesus maintain a Sinless Character?

To be clear, there should be no question that Jesus maintained a perfectly sinless character.

We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice. This is essential that the soul may not be enshrouded in darkness. This holy substitute is able to save to the uttermost; for He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God.

The Signs of the Times (ST June 9, 1898, par. 15)

He took upon Him the work of mediator between God and man. In the fulness of time He was to be revealed in human form. He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.

The Signs of the Times (ST May 29, 1901, par. 11)

For this last statement to make any sense, we must recognize that there is a Nature and Character, we read this here:

With His human arm, Christ encircled the race, while with His divine arm, He grasped the throne of the Infinite, uniting finite man with the infinite God. He bridged the gulf that sin had made, and connected earth with heaven. In His human nature He maintained the purity of His divine character.

The Signs of the Times (ST August 24, 1891, par. 9)

Nature ≠ Character

Everyone with a sinful nature will have temptations, but it is only a sin if we consider or act on the temptations... If we do not act on the temptations we will not cultivate bad habits of sin… this is called a propensity...



An inclination to behave in a particular way. A cultivated desire.

The more we do something the more normal it becomes and the more we are conditioned to continue to do it... So a propensity refers to the desire we have for sin after we taste it.

Propensity Matrix

Understanding this, we are cautioned:

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.

The Baker Letter (Letter 8, 1895 in 13MR 18-20)

We learn that Jesus, when taking on human nature growing up as a human child (Luke 2:52), was able to be tempted in all points as we are. It was possible for Him to have sinned but yet “not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity”.

Jesus never for one moment indulged in the idea of sinning. While we read that "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23) we also read that Jesus was "separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26).

No Cultivated Propensity

Jesus had no propensity to sin because He never indulged for an instant any of the temptations.

...the animal propensities have been strengthened by exercise, until they have gained the ascendancy over the higher powers. Men and women lack principle. They are dying spiritually, because they have so long pampered their natural appetites that their power of self-government seems gone. The lower passions of their nature have taken the reins, and that which should be the governing power has become the servant of corrupt passion. The soul is held in lowest bondage. Sensuality has quenched the desire for holiness and withered spiritual prosperity.

18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 27

If we never consider the temptations and through prayer and character surrender we will have no propensity to sin… if we consider a temptation, think how it would feel to do it, or if we act on it we start to cultivate a propensity… if we continually act on it we create a strong propensity to sin… only through faith, prayer and constant surrendering to the leading of the Holy Spirit can we be rid of these propensities...

Danger of Cultivating Propensities

The propensities that control the natural heart must be subdued by the grace of Christ before fallen man is fitted to enter heaven and enjoy the society of the pure, holy angels.

18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 27

We must learn of Christ. We must know what He is to those He has ransomed. We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, and so escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity.

God's Amazing Grace (AG 235.4)

By taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.

Manuscript Releases (17MR 25.5)

This is a super clear statement from E.G. White confirming that Jesus took on man's fallen nature, which answers the question:

Did Jesus have a Sinful Nature?

To be clear, we are not asking if Jesus sinned, we are clear that He did not, but did He take on the nature of Adam before the fall or after the fall?

Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin.

E.G. White, SDA Bible Commentary (4BC 1147.4)

In what contrast is the second Adam as he entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ's advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that he might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him.

E.G. White, The Review and Herald (RH July 28, 1874, par. 5)

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.

The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898

Christ’s life represents a perfect manhood. Just that which you may be, He was in human nature. He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. His divine attributes were withheld from relieving His soul anguish or His bodily pains.

11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 18

The word likeness, in the Greek, hom-oy'-o-mah, means to be made like to, likeness, equality, coming from the root G36-66:

Word: omoiwma
Strongs: G3667
Origin:a form; abstractly, resemblance:--made like to, likeness, shape, similitude.
1) that which has been made after the likeness of something
1a) a figure, image, likeness, representation
1b) likeness i.e. resemblance, such as amounts almost to equality or identity Strongs Concordance
Word: omoiow
Strongs: G3666
Origin:to assimilate, i.e. compare; passively, to become similar:--be (make) like, (in the) liken(-ess), resemble.
1) to be made like
2) to liken, compare
2a) illustrate by comparisons Strongs Concordance

While this would seem very obvious that Jesus actually had the same fallen nature as we have, let's go to the Bible for answers:

The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place of fallen Adam.

The Review and Herald February (RH February 24, 1874, par. 24)

Can we prove this from the Bible?

We have many quotes which are clear on the topic:

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Matthew 8:17

For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:13

The most clear Bible verse on this topic is in Hebrews 2:16... Let's just set the context first:

Nature of Angels and of Humans

Can we agree that angels were created with a sinless nature? What about Abraham? Can we agree that Abraham, like us, was born into a sinful nature? So lets read…

Angels created with Unfallen Nature
Abraham was born with Fallen Nature

For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.

Hebrews 2:16

Do the Angels have a sinless nature? Yes. But Hebrews tells us that Jesus did not take on this nature...

What is the opposite of a sinless nature? A sinful nature…

Did Abraham have a sinful nature or a sinless nature? We are told that all since the fall of Adam have a sinful nature…

In our day, as of old, the vital truths of God's word are set aside for human theories and speculations. Many professed ministers of the gospel do not accept the whole Bible as the inspired word. One wise man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the word; and the Scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed. Thus the seeds of infidelity are sown broadcast; for the people become confused and know not what to believe. There are many beliefs that the mind has no right to entertain. In the days of Christ the rabbis put a forced, mystical construction upon many portions of Scripture. Because the plain teaching of God's word condemned their practices, they tried to destroy its force. The same thing is done today. The word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law. Christ rebuked these practices in His day. He taught that the word of God was to be understood by all. He pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the word of the infinite God, as the end of all controversy and the foundation of all faith.

Hebrews 2:16

Notice how to be very clear, Paul did not say the seed of Adam, but instead used Abraham so there would be no confusion…

Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of a sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject... ” E.J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness (CHR 26.2)

This is shown by the statement by David:

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

Romans 1:3

David had all the passions of human nature. He says of himself:

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:5

Nature vs Character

To fully understand you have to start with understanding the Roman Catholic teaching of Mariology and the Immaculate Conception taught by the Catholic Church:

Mary was conceived and born without sin, hence she is seen as having a singular dignity above the saints, receiving a higher level of veneration than all angelic spirits and blessed souls in heaven. ” Catholic Mariology via Wikipedia

During the reign of his predecessor, Pope Gregory XVI, the bishops in various countries began to press for a definition as dogma of the teaching of Mary’s immaculate conception

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. ” The Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX

Here we see the origin of this heresy and how it was carried forward by protestant churches who had not purged all false teachings.

Christ was completely untouched by sin because His mother, Mary, was preserved from all stain of original sin from the moment of her conception. Being thus sinless, the doctrine says, she could pass a sinless nature to her Son, Jesus. Thus a holy deity, combined with a sinless human nature, resulted in a holy Jesus Christ, who did not have the human weaknesses we have. He thus could not be tempted as we are tempted, and could not sin. ” The Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX

Fast forward 100 years...

The publication of Questions on Doctrine grew out of a series of conferences between a few Adventist spokespersons and Protestant representatives from 1955 to 1956. The roots of this conference originated in a series of dialogues between Pennsylvania conference president, T. E. Unruh, and evangelical Bible teacher and magazine editor Donald Grey Barnhouse. Unruh was particularly concerned because of a scathing review written by Barnhouse about Ellen White's book, Steps to Christ. Unruh had sent him a copy of the book in 1949. In the spring of 1955 Barnhouse commissioned Walter Martin to write a book about Seventh-day Adventists. Martin requested a meeting with Adventist leaders so that he could question them about their beliefs.

The first meeting between Martin and Adventist leaders occurred in March 1955. Martin was accompanied by George Cannon and met with Adventist representatives Le Roy Edwin Froom and W. E. Read. Later Roy Allan Anderson and Barnhouse joined these discussions. Review & Herald editor Francis David Nichol was also invited to participate but did not last long in the committee because of differing viewpoints. Due to ML Andreasen calling this book out for its heresy, he was treated poorly by the church.

Immediately it was perceived that the Adventists were strenuously denying certain doctrinal positions which had been previously attributed to them... The Adventists specifically repudiate any teachings by ministers or members of their faith who have believed, proclaimed, and written any matter which would classify them among Arians. ” Donald Barnhouse, Eternity magazine (September 1956)

By the summer of 1956 the small group of evangelicals became convinced that Seventh-day Adventists were sufficiently orthodox to be considered Christian. Barnhouse published his conclusions in the September 1956 issue of Eternity magazine in the article, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" In it, they concluded, "Seventh-day Adventists are a truly Christian group, rather than an anti-Christian cult." This greatly surprised its readers, and 6,000 canceled their subscriptions in protest. Following this announcement, Adventists were gradually invited to participate in Billy Graham's crusades.

We are one with our fellow Christian denominational groups in the great fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints. ” Questions on Doctrine (p. 32)

In the book, many viewpoints had changed from previously held Adventist theology namely regarding the completion of the atonement at the cross and the nature of Christ.

That Questions on Doctrine altered the long-held doctrines of the human nature of Christ and the atonement is indisputable. A massive piece of research undertaken by Dr Ralph Larson in the 1980’s discovered that in the century 1852-1952 not a single author published in our English language denominational literature had ever promoted the error that Christ possessed an unfallen human nature. To the contrary, Sister White over four hundred times upheld Christ’s fallen nature and in about eight hundred articles in the English language other writers all over the English-speaking world upheld this doctrine clearly defined in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy. It is not my commission to deviate from history to theology. I leave that to others. Clearly, until the 1950’s, these doctrines, bearing divine mandates, were widely accepted in God’s Church. ” A History of Questions on Doctrine by Russell Roland Standish

They did not follow the warnings of E.G. White:

They are to “follow after the things which make for peace” (Romans 14:19); but real peace can never be secured by compromising principle. And no man can be true to principle without exciting opposition. A Christianity that is spiritual will be opposed by the children of disobedience. But Jesus bade His disciples, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” Those who are true to God need not fear the power of men nor the enmity of Satan. In Christ their eternal life is secure. Their only fear should be lest they surrender the truth, and thus betray the trust with which God has honored them.

The Desire of Ages (DA 356.1)

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.

1 Timothy 4:1

What was the reason Jesus took on our nature?

E.G. White makes it abundantly clear that Jesus:

He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted.

Medical Ministry (MM 181.3)

So Jesus had to take on our nature so that He could know how to get us out of this state.

A little thought will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took upon Himself the likeness of man in order that He might redeem man, it must have been sinful man that He was made like, for it is sinful man that He came to redeem. Death could have no power over a sinless man, as Adam was in Eden, and it could not have had any power over Christ, if the Lord had not laid on Him the iniquity of us all. ” E.J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness (CHR 26.2)

It should be basic logic, how could He represent us if He was not like us?

Man's substitute and surety must have man's nature, a connection with the human family whom he was to represent, and, as God's ambassador, he must partake of the divine nature, have a connection with the Infinite, in order to manifest God to the world, and be a mediator between God and man.

Medical Ministry (MM 181.3)

When Jesus would uplift men to become members of the heavenly family, He humbled Himself to become a member of the earthly family, and by partaking of our nature He became the Son of man, the Son of Adam, and a Brother to every son and daughter of our fallen race.

Manuscript 58, 1896, 4 (17MR 25.3)

Yet into the world where satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.

The Desire of Ages (DA 49.1)

Not even by a thought did Jesus yield to temptation. So it may be with us..

Desire of Ages (DA 123.3)

Why is the Nature of Christ so important?

When we accept that Jesus existed exactly as we exist and overcame to show us that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can too overcome.

Christ's humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.

Manuscript Releases (17MR 25.5)

Christ has made every provision for the sanctification of His Church. He has made abundant provision for every soul to have such grace and strength that he will be more than a conqueror in the warfare against sin. The Saviour is wounded afresh and put to open shame when His people pay no heed to His word. He came to this world and lived a sinless life, that in His power His people might also live lives of sinlessness. He desires them by practicing the principles of truth to show to the world that God's grace has power to sanctify the heart.

E.G. White, Review and Herald, April 1, 1902, par. 8

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Romans 6:3-5

Jesus understands us!
Jesus understands us!

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. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16