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Yesterday in Sabbath School class the question came up, " when was the plan of redemption formulated, before or after the fall"

My assignment is to review the SOP for Ellen White statements. The results have been confusing.

Or is this just an example of Progressive Adventism by Ellen White.

In 1882, Mrs. White's 1854 statement was reprinted in the book Early Writings. However, eight years later, in 1890, a much-revised version of her statement appears in the book Patriarchs and Prophets. In the revised account, there is no mention of a vision, and the account is reconstructed to make it appear there was already a plan in place:

"The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that God had made was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death. There appeared no escape for those who had transgressed the law. Angels ceased their songs of praise. Throughout the heavenly courts there was mourning for the ruin that sin had wrought. The Son of God, heaven's glorious Commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him. But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be redeemed. ... Before the Father He pleaded in the sinner's behalf, while the host of heaven awaited the result with an intensity of interest that words cannot express. Long continued was that mysterious communing--'the counsel of peace' (Zechariah 6:13) for the fallen sons of men. The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race."5

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Now this is where my confession came in.

Mrs. White relates her vision in 1854:

"Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost, and the world that God created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness and death, and there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die. I saw the lovely Jesus, and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon his countenance. Soon I saw him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, "He is in close converse with his Father." The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with his Father. Three times he was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time he came from the Father we could see his person; and his countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and trouble, and shone with loveliness, such as words cannot express. He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that he had been pleading with his Father, and had obtained his consent to give his life a ransom, to bear their sins, and take the sentence of death upon himself to open a way that man might find pardon for transgressing God's command..."

What an amazing vision! After Adam's sin, Jesus approaches the Father with an idea. Three times he "pleads" with the Father to be allowed to become the Redeemer of mankind. Finally the Father gives in and goes along with Christ's plan. Is this how the plan of redemption was formulated? Was the plan made after the fall of man? Did Jesus have to plead with the Father to get Him to accept the plan?

This quote emphasizes that Jesus did not "consent" to the plan until after the fall. The verb "consented" means "acceptance or approval of what is planned or done by another."  Mrs. White infers that Jesus did not consent (accept or approve) of the plan until after the fall of man. Does this contradicts the Bible teaching that Christ was "chosen before the creation of the world".

Or do the two statements really agree, and I'm missing the point.?


Good for you you think you have now proven that EGW is a false prophet. may God bless you. 

 He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that he had been pleading with his Father, and had obtained his consent to give his life a ransom

Would you think it was possible that the angels was not aware of the plan of Redemption? Your OP does not tell us either if it was known to the SON before it happened. 


BIBLE NO " For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish and without spot Who verily was for-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (1 Pet. 1:18-20 KJV) .
BIBLE NO " Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (2 Tim.1:9) .
BIBLE NO "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began". (Titus 1: 2 KJV)
BIBLE NO "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. (Eph.1 : 4 KJV).
EGW YES "The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race"
(GC 347 , 1888 ed; See also EW 126, 149-151)


For our first response, we will here quote from a friend of ours who could not have put it in better words. In this response, our friend is responding to another critic named Robert K. Sanders who brought forth this same allegation. Notice:


Sanders appears to have forgotten to check a few facts before arriving at his conclusions. For example, he should have checked what else the Bible has to say on this topic:

Before the Foundation of the World:

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” (Eph. 1:4)

“. . . as of a “lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” (1 Pet. 1:1920)

Since the Foundation of the World:

“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Mat. 25:34)

“. . . whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 17:8)

“. . . the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8)

Surely Sanders would not be so brash as to accuse the apostle John or our Savior of contradicting the Bible and making God a liar. And yet it is very true: While Paul has us being chosen before Creation, Christ and John have our names written and the kingdom prepared for us since Creation. And while Peter has Christ being ordained to die before Creation, John has Christ being slain since Creation. Thus we have the same apparent contradiction in Scripture that we find in Ellen White's writings.

Yet we will quickly add, such apparent contradictions in Scripture are typically only apparent, never real. For example:

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. (Acts 9:7)

And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. (Acts 22:9)

The Greek grammar in Acts 9:7 indicates that the men with Paul heard some sort of noise, while the Greek grammar of Acts 22:9indicates that they did not hear with understanding what the voice was saying. Thus these verses don't contradict each other at all: The men definitely heard something, but didn't hear with understanding.

Ellen White apparently acknowledged the very point Sanders is contending for, namely, that the plan of salvation was devised before Creation. We found a few other similar quotations that are even more plain:

“All our thoughts and imaginations will not alter in the least any part of the plan of redemption devised from all eternity.—The Signs of the Times, Feb. 5, 1894.

“. . . it was in the death of “Christ, in the cruel suffering and crucifixion, that the Son of God accomplished the very work for which he was ordained from before the foundation of the world.—Signs of the Times, Mar. 261894.

“When Christ spoke these words ["It is finished"], He addressed His Father. . . . It was the fulfillment of the covenant made between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the earth was laid.” -S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1149 (1897).

The great plan, devised before the foundations of the earth were laid, was successfully carried out.” -Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, p. 426 (1898).

“We do not sympathize with God as we should in the salvation of the human race. We do not regard it in the light in which it is viewed by the universe of Heaven, as a plan devised from eternity in the mind of God.” -Bible Training School, Sept. 1, 1908.

“But how few of us regard the salvation of sinners in the light in which it is viewed by the heavenly universe,—as a plan devised from eternity in the mind of God!” -Gospel Workers, 1915 ed., p. 116.

Yet at the same time we also found the following, similar in wording to the 1894 Signs of the Times quote above, but different in meaning:

“And, altho the plan of salvation was carried forward according to the plan ordained from the foundation of the earth, yet men and women will not be saved unless they themselves exercise faith, and build on the true foundation, unless they allow God to re-create them by His Holy Spirit.” -Signs of the Times, Feb. 14, 1900.

For some reason, Ellen White believed that the plan of salvation was devised and ordained both "before" and "from" "the foundation of the world." Some might be inclined to suggest that she grew in her understanding of this topic over the years, and thus her earlier statements tend to put the devising/ordaining after the fall while her later statements tend to place it prior to Creation. But this hypothesis appears inadequate, for after years of "before the foundation of the world" statements, we still have her placing the devising/ordaining after Creation as late as the above 1900 Signs article. And the Great Controversy statement this whole discussion started with comes from the 1911 edition of that book. Thus, we need to look for another answer.

Perhaps "devise" might have some sort of meaning that would allow it to be harmoniously used in both the contexts found in Ellen White's writings. Perhaps sometimes "devise" could refer to the original conception of the plan of redemption, while at other times it could refer to the making known, putting into effect, or elaboration of the plan already previously thought of.
We checked out a few dictionaries, and here is what we found:

de•vise (di viz'), v., -vised, -vis•ing, n. —v.t. 1. to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas: to devise a method.—Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd ed., © 2001.

e•lab•o•rate . . . —v.t. 3. to work out carefully or minutely; develop to perfection. 4. to add details to; expand. 5. to produce or develop by labor.—Ibid.

de•vise . . . 1 a : to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or prinicples : INVENT . . . c : to plan to obtain or bring about : PLOT—Merriam-Webster's Collegiate

Dictionary, 10th ed., © 2001. Devise . . . The sense-development was far advanced before the word was taken into English; O[ld]F[rench]. had the senses, '. . . form a plan or design,

express or make known one's plan or will' . . . .
† 6. a. refl. To plan, determine, resolve. Obs. . . .
† b. intr. To resolve or decide upon. Obs. . . .
† 8. trans. (or absol.) To 'contrive' successfully; to achieve, accomplish, 'manage'. Obs. . . .
† 9. To prepare with skill, make ready, provide, purvey. (Also absol.) Obs. . . .
† 13. To set forth in detail, recount, describe. . . .
† b. intr. or absol. To give an account. Obs. . . .—The Oxford English Dictionary, 1969 printing.

In all honesty, it would appear to us that our hunch is correct. "Devise" has had a breadth of meaning that allowed it in days gone by to refer to both the initial thought of a plan, and its much later elaboration, expansion, appointment, making known, or decision to put into effect.

According to Ellen White, something special took place in heaven after Adam sinned. The plan of redemption was "accepted" by the Father and "made known" to the angels:

“Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost. . . . I saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, He is in close converse with His Father. The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father, His person could be seen. . . . He then made known to the angelic host that a way of escape had been made for lost man. He told them that He had been pleading with His Father, and had offered to give His life a ransom, to take the sentence of death upon Himself, that through Him man might find pardon. . . . Jesus also told them that they would have a part to act, to be with Him and at different times strengthen Him; that He would take man's fallen nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs; that they would be witnesses of His humiliation and great sufferings; and that as they would witness His sufferings, and the hatred of men toward Him, they would be stirred with the deepest emotion, and through their love for Him would wish to rescue and deliver Him from His murderers; but that they must not interfere to prevent anything they should behold; and that they should act a part in His resurrection; that the plan of salvation was devised, and His Father had accepted the plan.” -Early Writings, p. 149-151.

We know from John 3:16 that "God so loved the world that He gave His begotten Son." Even though the plan of salvation existed in the mind of God from eternity, the manner in which Ellen White describes it being made known reveals the fathomless depths of God's self-sacrificing love for fallen man. The Father and Son could have nonchalantly told the angels, "Don't worry about it. We had this figured out long ago. It's no big deal," but the description of the three-time struggle of the Father in consenting to give His Son is far more grand.

Similarly, we have Christ beseeching the Father three times in Gethsemane to let Him not go to Calvary. The struggle was so intense that Christ sweat great drops of blood. The more intense the three-time struggle Christ had in agreeing to go to Calvary, the greater the revelation of His self-sacrificing love.

Of course, if Gethsemane had never occurred, we wouldn't have this grand display of Christ's love. Even though Christ had "accepted" the plan of salvation before the foundation of the world, He still took the time to "accept" it again in Gethsemane. Likewise, in Ellen White's view, the Father "accepted" the plan of salvation after man's fall, even though it already existed in His mind from eternity.

Probably in some similar sense Ellen White's words regarding the devising/ordaining of the plan of salvation should be understood.

For a further response to Sander’s allegation, visit Bob’s website by clicking HERE.

God foreknew the beginning from the end, why are there 3 members of God rather than 2 or 4 ? You need 3 for a universe of missing, not 2 or 1 or 4.

So the counsel to plan was for the angels benefit, to bring up matters known in eternity.....

Why three?

One must empower the universe as a source of light

Another must create a medium in which the observation is made known, magnified, diminished and virtual, so one can do missing and also be sustained despite the free will of choice.

And the other must show love's  eternal sacrifice by laying down an attribute f divinity for missing, to substitute ongoing death with the powers of ongoing living....

Hope this helps



So you feel EGW's last statement in 1890 is the correct one. A progressive view from the 1854 vision.

I understand your reasoning on the power of three.

The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race."5

I understand it in such a way, that the plan of salvation was made before mankind fall. Nevertheless it must have been a hard decision even for our God to bring that plan into action and reveal it to Adam and Eve instead of saving his beloved sons life. It makes sense to me, that the son needs to convince his father to start "Project Salvation" (as shown in your quoted vision of 1954)...what father would send his own son easily and light minded into death? 

The struggle was not whether He would save the rebellious World, but in separating from His son. The father would prefer that He suffered than His Son. An earthly Father would prefer he suffer than remain there and see His son suffer.


Yes I understand that, what I need for the class is to know which of the two versions is correct.

that he had been pleading with his Father, and had obtained his consent to give his life a ransom, to bear their.

That statement almost sounds as if consent had not been granted prior to the fall.

I personally believe the plain was in full operation long before the earth was created, and possibly would have been implemented for other worlds if necessary. But we have some in our class who feel they need to know what Ellen White teaches. Thus the question.

My favorite EGWhite book, Desire of Ages has this paragraph in the first chapter, entitled "God With Us," paragraph 9:   "The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after  the fall of Adam.  It was a revelation of "the mystery which had been kept in silence through times eternal."  Romans 16:25. R. V.  It was an unforlding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God's throne.  From the beginning, God and Christ, knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate.  God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.  So great was His love for the world that He covenanted to give His only begotten Son, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   John 3:16.    -- Pastor Oseas I. Zamora, husband of Lehcar.  

This may be a minority opinion, but this issue is difficult for us humans of limited perspective to fully understand. If God knows the future and time is not linear to him, then he would have known prior to creating the world that man would fall. Subsequently, he would have created the plan for redemption for all of humanity prior to their (or our,) existence. Prior knowledge of man is consistent with scripture (Jeremiah 1:5) So if Ellen White, or others who edited her work conjectured that redemption was a part of the plan of Earth's creation it would be consistent with the Bible.

In regard to Ellen White's shifts in theology, she had many. It is speculated that since much of her work was a group effort her writings reflect the shift in the organizations Doctrine. 



What a concession that EGW could be right. That must have hurt to write that? 


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