An extensive survey of the Ellen G. White CD ROM shows the following
terms applied to the Godhead:
- "The Father, Son and Holy Spirit" — appears 97
times (some repeats of the same phrase were found in compilations
and daily readers). In context this phrase is used to mean: the
fullness of the nature of the Godhead, and a unity of purpose in the
salvation of fallen mankind.
It is used in conjunction with the following terms:
- "three-fold name"
- "eternal heavenly dignitaries"
Counsels on Health p 222— "The Godhead was stirred with
pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave
Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption."
Please note that ALL THREE "gave Themselves" for our
redemption. Our salvation was a sacrifice for ALL THREE Persons of the
Manuscript Releases, Volume 6, p 163— "These three all
cooperate in the great work of the covenant made by baptism in the
sight of the heavenly universe."
Review and Herald, January 27, 1903, paragraph 9— "The
salvation of human beings is a vast enterprise, that calls into action
every attribute of the divine nature. The Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit have pledged themselves to make God's children more than
conquerors through Him that loved them."
Are the terms "Father," "Son," and "Holy
Spirit" used to define the "attributes of the divine
nature" in language our finite minds can comprehend? One divine
Person with multiple characteristics?
- "The threefold name"— appears 7 times (all
repeats) and is used only in conjunction with the above phrase;
context is baptism and conversion of the sinner.
example: BC 6:1075— "Those who are baptized in the threefold
name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, at the very entrance of
their Christian life declare publicly that they have accepted the
invitation, 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the
Lord, and touch not the unclean thing...'" (manuscript written in
- "Three highest powers in the heavenly universe"—
found 12 times; used in context with #1 above and defines the work
of salvation and sanctification.
Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, p 51— "we are
to cooperate with the three highest powers in heaven,—the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost,—these powers will work through us,
making us workers together with God." (also found in EV 617).
Review and Herald, 08-12-1909— "The three highest powers
in the universe are pledged to labor with those who will seek to save
Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p 287— "In whose name are we
baptized? In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost,—the
three highest powers in the heavenly courts."
The word "name" is a singular noun, but EGW uses THREE
distinct NAMES to identify who she is talking about. This indicates a
unity of the Godhead even though there are three Persons in the Godhead.
- "Eternal heavenly dignitaries"— used
3 times (repeated) and always with #1 above, describes the power
available for salvation from sin.
Manuscript Releases vol. 16, p 205— "Also there
would be the eternal heavenly dignitaries—God, and Christ, and the
Holy Spirit—arming them with more than mortal energy, and would
advance with them to the work, and convince the world of sin."
- "Godhead" — an overwhelming
majority of usages—found 255 times, used many times in conjunction
with the phrase "Christ, the express image of the
Signs of the Times, 6-27-1895, paragraph 3— "The
greatness of God can not be measured or comprehended. And that
doctrine that denies the absolute Godhead of Jesus, denies also the
Godhead of the Father; for no man knoweth the Son but the
The Arian position denigrates the "absolute Godhead of
Jesus" by making Christ a "lesser god." SDA Arianism does
not go so far as to completely deny the "God-ness" of Jesus,
but does make Him something of a lesser Being, having "proceeded
forth from the Father" some time in the past. Arianism destroys the
"God-ness" of the Holy Spirit by making Him a
"force" or "influence" instead of a real, personal
Acts of the Apostles, p 50— "As in humility they
submitted to the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, they received
of the fullness of the Godhead and were fashioned in the likeness of
How could the Holy Spirit impart something of which He was NOT to the
disciples, if He is not "fully God"? By receiving the
"Holy Spirit," we receive the "fullness of the
Godhead," which has already been defined as "three
powers" and also "three divine Persons."
Desire of Ages, p 671, and Review and Herald,
05-19-1904, paragraph 3— "Sin could only be resisted and
overcome through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead,
who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of the
What power is left to our aid in overcoming sin, if we deny the Third
Person of the Godhead His rightful place in the "heavenly
trio"? The work wrought out by Christ is limited by our unbelief in
the Regenerating Power of the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Evangelism, p 615— "The Comforter that Christ
promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the
fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to
all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour."
If we deny or denigrate the Personhood of the Holy Spirit how can He
effectually work in our hearts to give us overcoming?
- "Heavenly trio"— only used one time
and that is in the context of defining the Godhead"—same
phrase repeated 5 times in different places
Evangelism, p 617; In Heavenly Places, p 336; 7BC
441; Bible Training School, 3-01-1906; Special
Testimonies Series B, vol. 7, p 63— "There are three
living persons in the heavenly trio..."
- "Three dignitaries of heaven"— used only one
6BC 1075— "When we have accepted Christ, and in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have
pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit—the
three dignitaries and powers of heaven—pledge themselves that every
facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows to
come out from among them, and be...separate."
In this one sentence EGW refers to "God" and then calls
their name—"the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," and
gives them a number—"three," with qualifying characteristics—"dignitaries
and powers." (Manuscript 85, 1901).
"Three living persons"—
used only one time and found in context with #1 and #3 above
"Three great powers"—
used 41 times (many repeats);
Manuscript Releases vol. 21, p 151, 152; Evangelism p
65; 2 SM 391; 8T 254; Review and Herald, 5-5-1903; Signs of
the Times, 5-10-1910— "In the great closing work we
shall meet with perplexities that we know not how to deal with, but
let us not forget that the three great Powers of heaven are working,
that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His
purposes to pass."
If the Holy Spirit is "only" a "power" or
"force" (as the Arians teach) which strives with our spirit to
bring about salvation, then it would appear from this statement that ALL
of the "three great Powers" are of the same nature and
characteristics—all are "only" some kind of
"force" which exerts Its divine influence upon our hearts. In
the first sentence EGW says "three great powers," then in the
next sentence she says "God" indicating an equality between
Letter 1, 1904 (In Heavenly Places, p 176)—
"Keep yourselves where the three great powers of heaven—the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—can be your efficiency."
6BC 1074— "The three great powers of heaven are
witnesses; they are invisible but present." Note the use of the
personal pronoun "they" as a "corporate" term.
"They"—ALL of "the three great powers of heaven"—"are
Manuscript Releases vol. 4, p 368— "The three
great powers of heaven pledge Themselves to furnish to the Christian
all the assistance he requires. The Spirit changes the heart of stone
to the heart of flesh. And by partaking of the word of God, eating the
flesh and drinking the blood of His Son, Christians obtain an
experience that is after the divine similitude. When Christ abides in
the heart by faith, the Christian is the temple of God."
Please note: This quote gives the activities of the three great
powers" of the Godhead" as they function corporately and
"individually" for the salvation of the sinner.
the Spirit changes the heart from stone
assimilation of the Word brings the
"divine similitude" to our characters;
God then can dwell in our hearts as His
holy temple. There is seen here a unity of purpose even though
there are different "functions" for each of the Persons
of the Godhead.
If we deny the Personhood of the Spirit, then how can the first work
of changing the stony heart to a heart of flesh be accomplished?
"eternal three"— never
used by Ellen White
"trinity"— never used by
used by Ellen White