Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Adventist Studies PhD

First Advisor

Jerry Moon

Second Advisor

Denis Fortin

Third Advisor

Martin Hanna

Abstract

The human nature of Christ is one of the more controverted topics within Seventh-day Adventism. This dissertation analyzes the works of two influential writers on this topic—Herbert Douglass and Woodrow Whidden—comparing their use of Ellen White's writings on the human nature of Christ. The purpose of this study is to discover the hermeneutical principles they each employed in interpreting Ellen White's writing on Christ's humanity. The research utilizes primary source materials from all three authors, as well as secondary source materials, including books, journals, magazines, papers, and course notes.

The author concludes that there are statements in the writings of Ellen White that can be interpreted in a postlapsarian manner. There are also statements that can be interpreted in a prelapsarian manner. Postlapsarian-leaning statements tend to emphasize Christ's role as Example to humanity whereas prelapsarian statements tend to emphasize His role as Savior of humanity. Within the writings of Ellen White, then, there exists a balanced tension in regards to the human nature of Christ, in that she needed elements from both categories to fully describe her teaching on the human nature of Christ.

The analysis of the respective hermeneutics of Douglass and Whidden reveals a subtle difference between them. Both Douglass and Whidden recognized the twin emphasis within Ellen White's missives on the humanity of Christ—her need to use some elements of both prelapsarian and postlapsarian categories to express her complete thought. Although Douglass recognized this twin emphasis in principle, he did not emphasize it in practice. Whidden, on the other hand, recognized and emphasized the twin emphasis both in principle and in practice. Thus Douglass's emphasis on White's postlapsarian statements, and his lack of emphasis on her prelapsarian statements, led him to opposite conclusions from Whidden on the human nature of Christ.

Subject Area

White, Ellen G., 1827-2015--Views on the nature of Christ; Jesus Christ--Humanity; Douglass, Herbert E.--Contributions in Christology; Whidden, Woodrow W. (Woodrow Wilson), 1944- --Contributions in Christology

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