Uriah Smith“In 1 Cor. 15, I find that it is not the natural man that hath immortality; yet Paul assures the Romans that by patient continuance in well doing all could obtain immortality and eternal life. The doctrine called the trinity, claiming that God is without form or parts; that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three are one person, is another. Could God be without form or parts when he “spoke unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto a friend?” [Ex. 33:11] or when the Lord said unto him, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live? And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away my hand and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen. Ex. 33:20, 22, 23. Christ is the express image of his Father’s person. Heb. 1:3.” (Uriah Smith, July 10, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 8, no. 11, page 87, par. 33)

“To the Lamb, equally with the Father who sits upon the throne, praise is ascribed in this song of adoration. Commentators, with great unanimity, have seized upon this as proof that Christ must be coeval with the Father; for otherwise, say they, here would be worship paid to the creature which belongs only to the Creator. But this does not seem to be a necessary conclusion. The Scriptures nowhere speak of Christ as a created being, but on the contrary plainly state that he was begotten of the Father. (See remarks on Rev. 3:14, where it is shown that Christ is not a created being.) But while as the Son he does not possess a co-eternity of past existence with the Father, the beginning of his existence, as the begotten of the Father, antedates the entire work of creation, in relation to which he stands as joint creator with God. John 1:3; Heb. 1:2. Could not the Father ordain that to such a being worship should be rendered equally with himself, without its being idolatry on the part of the worshiper? He has raised him to positions which make it proper that he should be worshipped, and has even commanded that worship should be rendered him, which would not have been necessary had he been equal with the Father in eternity of existence. Christ himself declares that “as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5:26. The Father has “highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Phil. 2:9. And the Father himself says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. 1:6. These testimonies show that Christ is now an object of worship equally with the Father; but they do not prove that with him he holds an eternity of past existence.” (Uriah Smith, 1882, Daniel And The Revelation, page 430)

“God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be,—a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity,—appeared the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, “his [God’s] only begotten Son” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared. And then the Holy Spirit (by an infirmity of translation called “the Holy Ghost”), the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the divine afflatus and medium of their power, representative of them both (Ps. 139:7), was in existence also.” (Uriah Smith, 1898, Looking Unto Jesus, page 10)

“When Christ left heaven to die for a lost world, he left behind, for the time being, his immortality also. but how could that be laid aside? That it was laid aside is sure, or he could not have died; but he did die, as a whole, as a divine being, as the Son of God, not in body only, while the spirit, the divinity, lived right on; for then the world would have only a human Saviour, a human sacrifice for its sins; but the prophet says that “his soul” was made “an offering for sin.” Isa. 53:10.” (Uriah Smith, 1898, Looking Unto Jesus, pages 23, 24)

“1. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Matt. 28:19. By this we express our belief in the existence of the one true God, the mediation of his Son, and the influence of the Holy Spirit.” (Uriah Smith, 1858, The Bible Students Assistant, pages 21, 22)

God The Father, And His Son Jesus Christ 

Titles of the Father 

The following titles of supremacy belong alone to Him who is from everlasting to everlasting, the only wise God:

  • “The Eternal God.” Deut. 33:27.
  • “Whose Name alone is Jehovah.” Ps. 83:18.
  • “Most High God.” Mark 5:7.
  • “The Ancient of Days.” Dan. 7:13.
  • “God Alone.” Ps. 86:10.
  • “Lord Alone.” Neh. 9:6.
  • “God of Heaven.” Dan. 2:44.
  • “The Only True God.” John 17:8.
  • “Who Only hath Immortality.” 1 Tim. 6:16.
  • “The King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible.” 1 Tim. 1:17.
  • “The Only Wise God.” 1 Tim. 1:17.
  • “Lord God Omnipotent.” Rev. 19:6.
  • “The Blessed and only Potentate.” 1 Tim. 6:15.
  • “Besides Me there is no God.” Isa. 44:6.
  • “God the Father.” 1 Cor. 8:6.
  • “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory.” Eph. 1:17.
  • “God and Father of all, who is above all.” Eph. 4:6.
  • “The Almighty God.” Gen. 17:1.
  • “I Am that I Am.” Ex. 3:14.
  • “Lord God Almighty.” Rev. 4:8.

Declarations Concerning the Son 

  • He is the beginning of the creation of God. Rev. 3:14.
  • The first born of every creature. Col. 1:15.
  • The only begotten of the Father. John 1:18; 3:18.
  • The Son of the Living God. Matt. 16:16.
  • Existed before he came into the world. John 8:58; Micah 5:2; John 17:5, 24.
  • Was made higher than the angels. Heb. 1:14.
  • He made the world and all things. John 1:1-3; Eph. 3:3, 9.
  • Was sent into the world by God. John 3:34.
  • In Him dwells all the fullness of the God-head bodily. Col. 2:9.
  • He is the resurrection and the life. John 11:25.
  • All power is given to him in heaven and earth. Matt. 28:18.
  • He is the appointed heir of all things. Heb. 1:2.
  • Anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Heb. 1:9.
  • God has ordained him to be judge of quick and dead. Acts 17:31.
  • Reveals his purposes through him. Rev. 1:1.
  • The head of Christ is God. 1 Cor. 11:3.
  • Jesus had power to lay down his life and take it again. John 10:18.
  • He received this commandment from the Father. John 10:19. God raised him from the dead. Acts 2:24, 34; 3:15; 4:10; 10:40; 13:30, 34; 17:31; Rom. 4:24: 8:11; 1 Cor. 8:14; 15:15; 2 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:21;
  • Jesus says he could do nothing of himself. John 5:19.
  • That the Father which dwelt in him did the works. John 14:10.
  • That the Father which sent him, gave him a commandment what he should say and what he should speak. John 12:49.
  • That he came not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him. John 6:38.
  • And that his doctrine was not his, but the Father’s which sent him. John 7:16; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10, 24.

With such inspired declarations before us, ought we to say that Jesus Christ is the Self-existent, Independent, Omniscient and Only True God; or the Son of God, begotten, upheld, exalted and glorified BY THE FATHER? (Uriah Smith, 1858, The Bible Students Assistant, pages 42-45, This is also found in Review & Herald, June 12, 1860, page 27, par. 3-48) [Emphasis in Original]

J. W. W. Asks: “Are we to understand that the Holy Ghost is a person, the same as the Father and the Son? Some claim that it is, others that it is not.”

Ans.—The terms “Holy Ghost”, are a harsh and repulsive translation. It should be “Holy Spirit” (hagion pneuma) in every instance. This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. Christ is a person, now officiating as priest in the sanctuary in heaven; and yet he says that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst. Mt. 18:20. How? Not personally, but by his Spirit. In one of Christ’s discoursed (John 14-16) this Spirit is personified as “the Comforter,” and as such has the personal and relative pronouns, “he,” “him,” and “whom,” applied to it. But usually it is spoken of in a way to show that it cannot be a person, like the Father and the Son. For instance, it is often said to be “poured out” and “shed abroad.” But we never read about God or Christ being poured out or shed abroad. If it was a person, it would be nothing strange for it to appear in bodily shape; and yet when it has so appeared, that fact has been noted as peculiar. Thus Luke 3:22 says: “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him.” But the shape is not always the same; for on the day of Pentecost it assumed the form of “cloven tongues like as of fire.” Acts 2:3, 4. Again we read of “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6. This is unquestionably simply a designation of the Holy Spirit, put in this form to signify its perfection and completeness. But it could hardly be so described if it was a person. We never read of the seven Gods or the seven Christs. (Uriah Smith, October 28, 1890, Review & Herald)

Five months after this article appeared in the Review & Herald, Uriah Smith delivered a sermon before the General Conference. In this sermon he comes to a place where he realizes the necessity of explaining some things about the Spirit of God.

“It may not then be out of place for us to consider for a moment what this Spirit is, what its office is, what its relation to the world and to the church, and what the Lord through this proposes to do for his people. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ. It is that divine, mysterious emanation through which they carry forward their great and infinite work. It is called the Eternal Spirit; it is a spirit that is omniscient and omnipresent; it is the spirit that moved, or brooded, upon the face of the waters in the early days when chaos reigned, and out of chaos was brought the beauty and the glory of this world. It is the agency through which life is imparted; it is the medium through which all God’s blessings and graces come to his people. It is the Comforter; it is the Spirit of Truth; it is the Spirit of Hope; it is the Spirit of Glory; it is the vital connection between us and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for the apostle tells us that if we “have not the Spirit of Christ,” we are “none of his.” It is a spirit which is tender; which can be insulted, can be grieved, can be quenched. It is the agency through which we are to be introduced, if ever we are introduced, to immortality; for Paul says that if the spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, he shall quicken also your mortal bodies by that Spirit which dwelleth in you; that is, the Spirit of Christ. Rom. 8:11.…

Uriah Smith described the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. He referred to this Spirit using the word “it”rather than “He” sixteen times in this one paragraph. Just seven paragraphs later he makes the following statement.

You will notice in these few verses the apostle brings to view the three great agencies which are concerned in this work: God, the Father; Christ, his Son; and the Holy Spirit.” (Uriah Smith, March 14, 1891, General Conference Daily Bulletin, vol. 4, pages 146, 147)

This statement is very interesting as it explains that the Pioneers understood the use of the term, “three great agencies” in a way that is in harmony with the teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a third, separate being, but rather the Spirit of the Father and His Son.

Pioneers on the Trinity

Truth about God

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  1. Christ begotten in Eternity
  2. Ellen White on the Trinity
  3. James White on the Trinity
  4. JH Waggoner on the Trinity
  5. Joseph Bates on the Trinity
  6. Merrit Cornell on the Trinity
  7. AT Jones on the Trinity
  8. JM Stephenson on the Trinity
  9. Uriah Smith on the Trinity
  10. JN Andrews on the Trinity
  11. RF Cotrell on the Trinity
  12. DW Hull on the Trinity
  13. SN Haskell on the Trinity
  14. JN Loughborough on the Trinity
  15. EJ Waggoner on the Trinity
  16. 1939 JS Washburn letter on the Trinity

 

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