Did Ms. White contradict 1 Timothy 4:1-4?

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In an article addressing supposed contradictions between Ellen G. White and the bible, one author gathers a quote by Ellen White that says that meat eating will eventually be done away with among God’s people. Here is how he put it:


Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith … commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:1-4)

EGW: Yes
Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away. (CDF 380)

Is Paul saying that in the latter days some will command other to abstain from flesh meats, as in pork, cow, etc? Below is a short analysis of 1 Timothy 4:1-4 taken from another article at this site with some added comments:

1 Timothy 4:1-5: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”

Let’s examine each verse one by one:

(verse 1)
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

(verse 2)
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

(verse 3)
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Some have felt that this is speaking about the Adventist church, but note that Paul is saying that the individuals teaching to abstain from meats also teach not to marry. The Adventist church does not forbid to marriage. The Roman Catholic church does however forbid eating foods on certain of its holiday celebrations and does forbid marriage through its institutions of the nuns and priests.

Notice also that the Greek word translated “meats” in this verse is “broma” which simply means “foods.” When the bible is speaking about flesh foods, it translates it “flesh” – see for example Romans 14:21. This is not speaking about meat as food, but of non-meat foods. Further evidence of this is seen in the rest of this verse which reads… “which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving.” What did God create to be received (or eaten) with thanksgiving? It was natural foods, not flesh meat (Genesis 1:29). Flesh meat was merely “allowed” either because circumstances made it impossible to eat vegetables, like with Noah’s case after the flood when all vegetation was destroyed, or because of the ignorance of the children of Israel who complained so much that God allowed clean meats to be eating, yet with the warning that they would die, and they did (Numbers 11:33). Thayer’s Greek Definition defines “broma” as “that which is eaten, food.” Normally this word is used in general of foods (plural). But here we have added information about this broma, that God created it to be received with thanksgiving. Animals were not created to be eaten, but natural foods were.

(verse 4)
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

Notice first, that it says “creature” and not “animal” or “beasts.” There are three other Greek words that are translated “beasts” that literally mean an “animal.” These Greek words are ktenos, therion and zoon. None of these are used in this verse. According to Strong’s Greek definition, the word translated “creature” here simply means “a formation, a produce.” Thayer’s Greek Definition has two meanings for this word:

Thayers Definition:

1) thing founded
2) created thing

We learned with verse 3 that that “thing founded” that God created to be received, or eaten was natural foods, and not animal meat.

If our critics interpret this word to mean flesh, they will run into the following two problems:

(a) It will include all types of insects!

If “creature” hear means anything other then natural products of plants, they will be forced to include insects in their reasoning. But, we’re sure they wouldn’t dare say that a spider was created to be eaten; that it is “good and not to be refused.” Shall we add some worm to that plate as well?

(b) It will include them!

This word “creature” can also include human being. Notice the following verses:

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” -Mark 16:15.

“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

Would our critics suggest that Paul was advocating cannibalism?

The only logical conclusion is that Paul is talking about those who would forbid the eating of foods that God originally created for our diet.

(verse 5)
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

This word “sanctified” in the Greek means to “make holy.” Notice that it says it is sanctified by “the word of God” and by “prayer,” not just prayer. This means that the prayer will have to agree with what the word of God says in regards to that food! Where in the word of God does it teach pork can be made holy for food? Or humans for food? In other words, we are not to just pray over a, lets say, a venomous spider to then then eat it, because eating a venomous spider, mosquito or any type of forbidden insect is condemned “by the word of God” – Leviticus 11:23. Our prayer should rather be that God sanctify the “broma” of natural foods which is in accordance with the proper diet God wants us to have.

God does in fact want his people to return to the original plan he had for mankind with Adam and Eve. He wants our entire being to be changed, not just mentally, but physically as well.

Eating foods that we should not be eating has been shown to affect the mind in such a way that it can dilute even our decision making. This is why Paul says to protect the body, because it is “the temple of the Holy Spirit” -1 Cor. 3:16-17. The Holy Spirit is the one helping us make right decisions, and by mistreating our bodies with unhealthy foods, we can end up closing our understandings to truths the Spirit might want to show us. Furthermore, the bible states that all who do not go along with the Mark of the Beast will not be able to “buy or sell” -Revelation 13:17. But if one does not know how to servive on raw foods, or if he is addicted to certian medications, how will he ever be able to eat or get their medications without getting the Mark? They’ll need to get the Mark of the Beast in order to “buy” the foods they have long been used to eating. This proves how serious the Health Message actually is.

Who can deny that it is more difficult for a sick person to study and rightly divide the word of God then for a healthy person? Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were children, “in whom was no blemish.” They were, “skillful in wisdom, and cussing in knowledge.” –Daniel 1:4. What did they eat? Natural foods. They refused to eat the filth upon the king’s plate, but told him to prove them for ten days as they eat only vegetables. The result? “Their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh then all the children which did eat the portion of the kings meat.” -Daniel 1:15.

Ellen White did not contradict Paul. In fact she did a good job in reminding us that God is concerned not only with our spiritual need, but also with our physical need as well.

For more on this diet that is well pleasing to both the Lord and the body, read our study The Call to Return to Eden: The Health Message.


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About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With over 13 years of experience in apologetics, evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries both in English and Spanish. Having had the opportunity to travel to various states in the USA, and also to Venezuela and Mexico, he has enjoyed the privilege of conducting evangelistic meetings and apologetics seminars. His education includes training in the Medical Field, Adult Education at Valencia College, Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and Evangelism with Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is furthering his academic studies in theology while also working as a bible worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ordained as an elder, Edwin's passion for ministry begins first at home with his wife and kids.

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