Who spoke to Cain? The Lord or an Angel?

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The following is number 6 in Dirk Anderson’s list of contradictions between Ellen G. Whites writings and the bible:

Ellen White:

“Through an angel messenger the divine warning was conveyed: ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?'” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 74).

The Bible:

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right will you not be accepted?’ … So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence” (Genesis 4:6, 7, 10, 13, 15, 16).

His comments:


Our Response

Actually, this quote is found on page 72 of Patriarchs and Prophets, not 74 (see White Estate). Now, anyone who has read her writings knows that Ellen White frequently used the words “Lord” and “Angel” interchangeably. And most bible students recognize that the bible does the same thing. Some times, when it is “an Angel” speaking, the text tells us that it was really “the Lord.” Notice the following two verses:

Genesis 16:7
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

Genesis 16:13
And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

First we read from verses 7-12 that it is an “angel of the Lord” speaking, yet when we reach verse 13, Hagar acknowledges that this is in fact “the Lord” speaking to her. She goes so far as to say it was “God” himself (verse 13). Take a look at verse 10:

Genesis 16:10
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

Can an angel really multiply her seed? Or was it rather the “Lord?”

In the bible we often find the Lord being referred to as an angel:

Genesis 22:15-16
And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son

Exodus 3:2-4
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed… And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush.

1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Ellen White did often, as does the bible, refer to the Lord as an angel. This should really have not come as a surprise to our critics… if they read their bibles, of course.

An angel in the bible means a messenger, because angels bear messages. We find that most instances in the scriptures where the Lord is referred to as an angel is when he is giving a message to a certain person or group. In a general sense, the bible teaches that God has a message for humanity, and he came in the flesh as a “messenger” to proclaim it.

But, all this could have been avoided… had our critic read her in context:

“Notwithstanding Cain’s disregard of the divine command, God did not leave him to himself; but He condescended to reason with the man who had shown himself so unreasonable. And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?’ Through an angel messenger the divine warning was conveyed: ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.’ ” -Patriarchs and Prophets, page 72.

For further study, see:

Who is Michael the Archangel?


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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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