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Eph 3:14 ¶ For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

This is the only verse in Scripture that defines Elohiym  or Theos or GOD as a simple English word.

This word is the word "family".

What do other SDA people think of this verse?

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Yes as we understand the Trinity Family of God is a good word for it. The Complete Jewish Bible puts it like this:

Eph 3:14  For this reason, I fall on my knees before the Father, 15  from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its character. 16  I pray that from the treasures of his glory he will empower you with inner strength by his Spirit,   

Thanks for the reply Elijah.

The CJB writes "every family in heaven" the KJV writes "whole family in heaven", what does this mean?

Does this text mean the Godhead itself is a family, or that the angels and adopted believers become a family with GOD, or does both pictures apply?


Indeed Rob I have seen some versions putting it in similar fashion as “Family”. Now I am sorry to say I have not made an extensive study on the subject. One time when my wife was alive because she had some problems with the SDA church, she went to the WWCOG and I did go with her at times and there were some tapes you could loan on the subject of “The Nature of God” that I found very interesting. This goes back some 20 years ago. The WWCOG of Herbert W Armstrong fame, has disbanded and some splinter groups has developed. They was keeping Sabbath that was the main thing that attracted my wife to them as she did understand that Sabbath was the true day to keep holy.

To my amazement, the splinter group that my wife followed did not think the Sabbath was of any great importance. Even my wife did lose interest in the group.

Now I am getting away from the subject the nature of God the man that was doing the lectures was a Dr on theology so that carried some importance to me. What he said as I remember it was that somewhere in the Bible it said we should not study the Nature of God. I was not at the time able to verify if this statement was correct. Never the less he made several lectures on the subject that I found very interesting I am sorry that I have forgotten most of what he said.

The point I do want to make though is that understanding the nature of God is not of salvific importance. Of cause we find it challenging because God has not left a lot of information about the nature of himself in the Bible. Just as we need to scratch around quite a bit to find any substantial information about the Devil.

I find the 28 fundamentals quite informative on the subject. I know some find the fundamentals distasteful because the writer was suspected to be a Jesuit plant. Whereas he was or not I do not know but the heading of the Fundamentals was not written by him but by the early bible students that was hammering them out while EGW was sitting in on these meetings she did not understand much of what they were saying. It was only when they got stuck God gave her a vision and with that, they were able to continue. So to me, those Fundamentals are inspired by God, something that those critics seem to forget.


Wow Elijah so many things you write about, and thank you ever so much for your reply.

I trust you wife remains true to the light we all live by.

But you did not answer my question, does this verse actually say GOD, as the whole Godhead, is a picture of family, after all in the passage, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all mentioned?

You write such things are a mystery? Perhaps

Mr 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Doesn't the follower of GOD come to learn the mysteries of GOD? Does this verse and others like it suggest this?

Some parts of your reply, I will not respond to, off the topic at hand, as we need to journey line upon line, here a little, there a little, seeking command upon command, the truth of Jesus. This is how Scripture says Scripture should be studied.

Sure many things of GOD we will never know:

Ps 131:1  LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
 2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

I like to keep my theology simple, but not simplistic, so a child can understand, and stay with matters Scripture shows us, leaving the rest too high for us.

Perhaps you are unwilling to see this picture? Fair enough, does Ellen White use the term GOD, and make reference to family? How does her inspired writings see these things?

There are 8017 hits that in EGW that use "God " "family".

Confrontation, p. 32.1 (Ellen G. White) (69%)

... from the presence of God, the human family had been departing,

Notice EGW writes "human family" in context with God

"There, through the divine sacrifice, man may be reconciled to God. In contemplating the love of Christ, your heart will be softened to deal with the youth as with younger members of the Lord's family. You will remember that they are Christ's property,"

Notice EGW writes "Lord's family" in context with God.  What does this mean?

18. Ms 235, 1902, par. 12 (69%)

... become members of His royal family, children of the heavenly King ... 1:13-19

Notice EGW writes "royal family" in context with God.  What does this mean?

34. Conflict and Courage, p. 21.5 (Ellen G. White) (67%)

God created man for His own glory, that after test and trial the human family might become one with the heavenly family. It was God's purpose to re-populate heaven with the human family, if they would show themselves obedient to His every word.22The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 1:1082.

Here EGW uses the term "heavenly family" and humans to re-populate the "heavenly family" with "human family". Is this what EGW means? Or does the term  mean GOD and angels are His family?

Which reference is it?

49. Radiant Religion, p. 6.5 (Ellen G. White) (66%)

From that scene of heavenly joy, there comes back to us on earth the echo of Christ’s own wonderful words, “I ascend to My Father, and your Father; and to My God and your God.” The family of heaven and the family of earth are one. For us our Lord ascended, and for us He lives.—The Desire of Ages, 832-835.

I have looked at only 50 references of the possible 8,000. Perhaps you might find something different?

EGW does not shrink from using the term "God" "family", so what does this mean?


Thanks for your reply Rob

I am sorry to say my wife passed away 3 years ago from the worst cancer you can have Pancreatic cancer that is incurable I was told.

Yes sorry for not being specific in my answer, if you are looking for my personal opinion I believe you can term the Godhead as the family of God. But that is not Family as we understand human family as all members of the Godhead is eternal and has existed always, as the Bible puts it “before the foundation of the earth.”

I note you are quoting Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Yes, we may well know the mystery of the kingdom of God. I would venture to say that we may well do that but only as far as our capacity allows, I believe there are things we will never understand. As EGW puts it we will study the atonement for eternity to come.

Isaiah puts it this way Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

Going by this we have some limits

Shalom and Happy Sabbath

And in Romans Apostle Paul puts it this way 

Romans 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?

Love talking with you Elijah. Shalom and Sabbath greetings.

"I believe you can term the Godhead as the family of God. But that is not Family as we understand human family as all members of the Godhead is eternal and has existed always, as the Bible puts it “before the foundation of the earth.”

I am glad you accept the only Scripture reference that says GOD is a simile of FAMILY.

Now of course, GOD is not of matter, time or space, and is eternal and uncaused.

Some SDA faiths suggest Jesus had an origin, called forth back in time, but this cannot be so, as GOD is uncaused and without origin, including Jesus before He became human as well, along with His eternal divine.

I would agree with you our understanding of things can be limited, especially if we read the WORD in a translation such as English.

The Bible often uses poetry to show us pictures of GOD, so we can understand what GOD is like. Since Scripture says GOD is love. Scripture also says GOD is light. These are two very different qualities of GOD.

The first glimpse we have of this Family Picture of GOD is the creation of mankind, and other animals as kinds.

Ge 1:26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

Ge 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Why did GOD gender male and gender female, into human families? What does this tell us about light? What does this tell us about love?

There is not a single evolutionist who can answer this question. I would like your ideas on this on this question?

Thanks for your reply Rob I trust you had a wonderful Sabbath In my Church we have a Christmas tree not that I am particularly pleased about it but I have decided not to make any fuss about it.

Rob said:

“Some SDA faiths suggest Jesus had an origin, called forth back in time, but this cannot be so, as GOD is uncaused and without origin, including Jesus before He became human as well, along with His eternal divine.”

Like you, Rob, I like to come to my own conclusion based on the Bible and not on someone's say so. Now I can understand to some extent that some SDA faiths may have that idea, it would most likely be based on Isaiah “9:6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7  There is no end of the increase of His government and peace on the throne of David, and on His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will do this.”

But clearly, if you read other passages this understanding is not in keeping with the rest of the Bible where we find Jesus is the Creator Himself “Colossians 1:16  For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. 17  And He is before all things, and by Him, all things consist.”

Rob said

“Why did GOD gender male and gender female, into human families? What does this tell us about light? What does this tell us about love?”

Yes, a good question indeed I only wish I had just as a good answer, as your text shows we are created in the image of God. Male and female the building blocks of a family as we know it. And I guess the Ideal is like Apostle Paul says Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24  Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 

And that is the Christian Ideal and sadly we see the word-lings, by and large, has left this ideal as they file for divorce in ever-increasing numbers. Some do not even bother to marry at all.

Yes, Elijah;  we had Pastor Ray do a Xmas treat, short and sweet, saying the Greek word "inn" was actually a "guest room" so Jesus should have been in a guest room, but too many people arrived for the census, so the outhouse for animals was all there was.

In Scripture there are two words for "love", in Hebrew these are "Ahab" and "ahabuh". I found this strange indeed, two words for love, why two?

Some confuse people saying the Greek has eros, but this is not found in the OT or NT, so its best to stick with Hebrew.

Notice what Ellen White in EGW says in search. (I will not confuse you with Hebrew, only English. )

Does EGW know of these two words for love? yes she does

From Trials to Triumph, Page 286

John could talk of the Father's love as no other of the disciples could. The beauty of holiness which had transformed him shone with Christlike radiance from his countenance, and fellowship with Christ became his one desire.

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2.

12. Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ in The Wilderness, p. 39.2 ... (73%)

... insinuate doubts as to his Father's love, which would find a lodgment ... single moment doubt his Heavenly Father's love, although he was bowed down ...

First EGW speaks of the Father's Love.

10. The General Conference Bulletin July 1, 1900, Art. A paragraph 9 (E... (67%)

... bear the fruit of brotherly love. They will realize that as ... cultivate, cherish, and perpetuate Christian love and fellowship, in spirit, words, and


2. From Trials to Triumph, p. 288.3 (Ellen G. White) (99%)

John realized that brotherly love was waning in the church.


3. Testimony for the Church. — No. 31, p. 44.1 (Ellen G. White) (99%)

... . You are sadly lacking in brotherly love. You are a backslidden church

6. Testimony for the Church. — No. 31, p. 167.2 (Ellen G. White) (99%)

... affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another

The other Bible love EGW calls "brotherly love".

Now I combine these two kinds of love into the best passage I could find:

The General Conference Bulletin

July 1, 1900

The union between Christ and his people is to be living, true, and unfailing, resembling the union that exists between the Father and the Son. This union is the fruit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All true children of God will reveal to the world their union with Christ and with their brethren. Those in whose hearts Christ abides will bear the fruit of brotherly love. They will realize that as members of God's family they are pledged to cultivate, cherish, and perpetuate Christian love and fellowship, in spirit, words, and action.

To be children of God, members of the royal family, means more than many suppose. Those who are accounted by God as his children will reveal Christlike love for one another. They will live and work for one object,—the proper representation of Christ to the world. By their love and unity they will show to the world that they bear the divine credentials. By the nobility of love and self-denial, they will show those around them that they are true followers of the Saviour. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

In the Old Testament are recorded the laws which God gave for the guidance of his people. He would have his people today study these laws. "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.... When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.

The passage shows the royal family of GOD, we have to have this Jesus-Love,

and thus show the Father's Love and the Brotherly love.

From this passage where does brotherly love come from?

I was looking in my cross-reference and came up with this

Isa 58:7  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8  Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.  9  Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;  10  And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11  And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (KJV)

There is no clear reference to brotherly love but we can see where this points

Mat 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (KJV)

So as I understand it Brotherly Love would be how you are looking after your fellow human beings I hope that would be a reasonable answer.


Ah brother Elijah, nice presentation and good research.

So you want to explore brotherly love among humans:

Certainly I agree with you

In the Bible there are personality traits for maleness love and femaleness love. Some of these traits are listed and contrasted here:-


Maleness-love (Father's Love)


Ge 24:67 "relational" (2)

Ge 27:4 "loves meat" (4)

De 7:13 "physically productive" (22)

Ge 22:2 "living sacrifce" (1)

Ge 29:18 "works hard" (7)

Ex 20:6 loves rules or commandments (14)

Ex 21:5 "fiercely loyal" (15)

De 10:15 "delights" (24)

Le 19:18 "self-driven" (16)

De 10:18 "helps strangers" (25)

De 11:22 "mateship" (29)

De 23:5 "lemonade effect" (35)

De 30:6 "reprogrammed by circumcision" (36)

De 30:20 "obeys" (38)

Pr 3:12 "corrects" or "disciplies" (115)

Song 3:1 is "expressed sexually in bed" (143)

Eph 5:25 "loves thy wife" (259)

Isa 1:23 "loves to give gifts" (147)

1Jo 4:18 is "brave", does not fear (401)

2Co 9:7 "gives generously" (251)

1Pe 4:8 "forgives" (386)

Joh 15:12 "loves as Jesus loved" (233)

Pr 12:1 "desires knowledge" (121)

2Ch 26:10 loves "building" (67)

Es 2:17 "loves character" (70)

Ps 34:12 "desires life" (82)

Ps 37:28 "desires justice" (83)

Ps 40:16 "desires salvation" (85)

Ps 45:7 "desires righteousness" (86)

Pr 8:17 "loves mateship" (117)

Pr 8:21 does "future planning" (118)

Pr 17:17 shows "neighbourly-love" (127)

Pr 20:13 "hard-working" not "lazy" (132)

Lu 6:27 "befriends enemies" (207)

Lu 11:43 "desires pride-status" (214)

Ro 9:25 "loves even the unworthy" (246)

1Jo 4:8 1Co 13:4 "suffers long" (326)

1Jo 4:8 "comes from GOD" (289)


Femaleness-love (brotherly love)


Song 2:4 "flags emotions" (19)

Zep 3:17 "joyous, with singing" (37)

Ho 9:15 "has limits" (34)

Mt 26:48 "kisses" (41)

Joh 11:36 "cries" (47)

Lu 20:46 "attention and flattery" (43)

Song 2:7 "arouses slowly" (21)

Pr 5:19 "emotionally loves" (12)

Re 3:19 "disciplines" (57)

Jer 31:3 "eternal" (32)

Mic 6:8 "mercy, and humility" (36)

Ho 11:4 "overlooks the bad" (35)

Song 2:5 "love-sick" (20)

Pr 10:12 "forgives transgressions"(13)

Isa 63:9 "redemptive" or "caring" (29)

Song 7:6 "delightful to behold" (25)

Joh 21:17 "deeply loyal" (54)

De 7:8 "networks" (2)

Song 8:6 "loyal and zealous"(27)

Song 8:7 "faithful" (28)

1Sa 18:3 "passionately emotional" (3)

Pr 15:17 "cooks meals" (14)

Ge 29:20 "relational" (1)

In the Bible there are dysfunctional personality traits for maleness love and femaleness love, when "things go wrong". Some of these traits are listed and contrasted here:-



MALENESS-LOVE gone wrong

Ge 34:3 "defiles" "rapes" (18)

Ge 37:3 "can be biased" (11)

Ge 37:4 "can be jealous" (12)

2Sa 13:15 "violent mood swings" (58)

1Ki 11:1 "eye-candy" for lust (62)

Es 5:14 "peer group pressure" (72)

Job 19:19 can "turn against thee" (74)

Ps 52:3 "desires evil" (88)

Pr 1:22 likes "pleasure" (114)

Pr 17:19 "desires transgression" (128)

Pr 21:17 "alcohol and power-status" (133)

Ec 5:10 "desires money" (138)

Isa 57:8 "fornicates in bed" (153)

Ho 2:5 "desires adultery (175)

Ho 12:7 "loves to oppress" (186)

Joh 3:19 "loves darkness" (217)

1Jo 2:15 "desires the world (282)

Mt 24:12 "waxes cold" (305)





Ec 9:6 "emotions that vanish (18)

Pr 27:5 "does secret-love" (16)

Mt 6:5 "shows off" (38)

2Sa 13:15 "anger, hate, abuse" (6)

Mt 23:6 "shows pride" (40)

Interesting these broad categories of love, isn't it? Could it be that "personality traits of love" are somehow wired into our genetics or hormonal balance? The Scriptures does not answer these questions.

The Scriptures does however, show that love has categories or differences between them. The Hebrew words show the full spectrum range from functional love to dysfunctional love, or from good to bad. Many scholars try to be biased with, for example, with the Greek word "agape" to replace the Hebrew "ahab" in the New Testament, thus making "agape-love" into a supreme godly aspect for "love". But this is NOT the case. Since both functional and dysfunctional aspects of "love" exist in this world, we should expect the Hebrew, to correspond with broad ranges of meaning also, from the "holy" to the "wicked", or from aspects of "goodness" to aspects of "badness".

Let's look at some contexts of these two love words, with gender humans:

Ge 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved "maleness-loved" her:

Ge 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love "femaleness-love" he had to her.

What is the difference between these love words, from gender male towards the gender female?

Another famous example in the NT :

(54) Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon , son of Jonas , lovest (ahabah) thou me ? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest (ahabah) thou me ? And he said unto him , Lord , thou knowest all things ; thou knowest that I love (ahabah) thee . Jesus saith unto him , Feed my sheep .

He saith unto him the third time, Simon , son of Jonas , femaleness-loveth thou me ?

Notice when Jesus asks Peter the first and second time He asks do you maleness-love me ? And Peter answers yes you know I femaleness-love you. Notice the relational way femaleness-love is used, it is a relationship kind of love, fellowship love that is more like one responding to one giving.

But when Jesus asks Peter, do you femaleness-love me? Peter is grieved because the depth of loving has changed much...the kind of loving two lovers would experience, and for two gender males, this kind of love is rare. The only Bible example of gender male femaleness-loving another gender male, was David and Jonathon. Jesus wanted the male ego of Peter to feel the emotional deep love he would have to have for his sheep, and so he was troubled by the question.

Femaleness-love is "deeply-loyal" and "relational"

Its a fascinating subject, studying these two types of love.



This mean that God is the Source of all creation; the beginning and the end of that which is in heaven and that which is on earth. The word family means lineage.

STRONGS NT 3965: πατριά

πατριά, πατριᾶς, ἡ (from πατήρ);

  1. lineage running back to some progenitor, ancestry:

All in heaven and on earth have our existence from the one Source of all life.

…27All creatures look to You to give them their food in due season. 28When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to dust.… (PS. 104:27-29)

Psalm 147:15

He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs swiftly…

These pronouns are used for our consumption; the Eternal is eternal and is not a he or she.

22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it…

The light in which of the Eternal is far greater the light of the sun and the moon.


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