Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John V. G. Matthews

Second Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Third Advisor

Jerry A. Moon


Problem. Ellen White’s educational philosophy and its application to the aims of education have not been systematically or thoroughly addressed within the parameters and demands of a graduate thesis. The present dissertation explores the aims of education, especially the ultimate aims of education, in the writings of Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and could be of value in assessing the present Seventh-day Adventist educational enterprise.

Method. This dissertation is a description and an analysis of Ellen White’s concept of education as revealed by her understanding of the aims of education. It is a documentary study, an attempt to identify, describe, analyze, and evaluate White’s statements on the aims of education on the basis of her general philosophy, with a special emphasis on epistemology. For a selected context, the educational ideas of Herbert Spencer, John Dewey, and the Manual Education movements were examined.

Conclusions. The study reveals that the ultimate aims of education in the thinking of Spencer and Dewey were focused on the “complete living” and the maximum development and growth of the individual and society. These were based on their ultimate epistemological aim, namely, science, that is, scientific knowledge obtained by the scientific method. White’s ultimate aim of education is the restoration of the image of God in the human being. The chief elements in her concept of the image of God are freedom of choice, dignity, individuality, and a character of love expressed in unselfish service to God and fellow human beings. Such character includes the development of the whole being for service. The ultimate epistemological aim of education, a personal and experiential knowledge of God, is indispensable to the ultimate metaphysical and axiological educational aim, the restoration of the image of God in the human being. This ultimate aim of education is not static, but dynamic. The human being will reflect this image, the glory of God, more and more fully throughout eternity.

Subject Area

Education--Aims and objectives.


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