William Branham's View of Creation
On September 12, 2020, the first-ever English language debate between a message pastor (Jesse Smith of Akron, OH) and an ex-message Christian (Rod Bergen from the Off The Shelf podcast) took place. The discussion was moderated by Jay Cox and Tim Kraus.
William Branham believed that man was created first as a spirit and then God put that "spirit being" into a body. But is that what the Bible teaches?
The Creation of Man
William Branham's view of the "spirit man" being created first was apparently held by some Jews at the time of Christ, notably Philo. Philo held that God created a ‘heavenly man’ after his own image (Gen. 1:27), and only later an ‘earthly one’ (Gen. 2:7)
Philo of Alexandria was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt, who married Jewish theology with Stoic philosophy. While it is unlikely that William Branham read Philo's works, we do know that he was familiar with Mormon teaching. Mormons teach that " Man is first spiritual, then temporal."
However, we understand that William Branham's teaching is false since, Paul states clearly in 1 Corinthians 15 that the "spirit being" did not come first:
- If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.
Paul rejects Philo's (and William Branham's) teaching about a "spirit" original man with his argument in 1 Corinthians 15:46. He accepts the order revealed by scripture and redemptive history, which according to Gen 2:7, is that the first man is from the earth, whereas the second man is from heaven”. Each “imprints his likeness on those under his headship (1 Cor 15:48).
Quotes of William Branham
It is clear that William Branham taught that Adam was first created as a "spirit being":
- And then, first, man was made, he was a spirit man, in the image of God. Which, “God is a Spirit,” Saint John 4. Now, “He is a—a Spirit. And they that worship Him, worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. And Thy Word is the Truth.” Now, we worship Him in Spirit and Truth. He is a—a Spirit Being.
- Then there was no man to till the soil, and then God formed man out of the dust of the earth.
- For, when God separated Adam, he was both. We find out, Adam was spirit, to begin with. “He made man in His Own image, created He male and female.” And then, Genesis 2 and on, He created man in…out of the dust of the earth. Man was created in God’s image (God is a Spirit), so he’s a spirit man. Then when he become flesh man, animal flesh on the earth, He is—He is showing, portraying here the Bride. He never taken and made another being, but He took part of Adam, the original creation, took from him, a rib from his side; and took the feminish spirit out of Adam, left the masculine spirit in there, and placed it in the feminish part. Therefore, part of his spirit, part of his body; flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone; Word of His Word, Life of His Life, and that’s the way the Bride is to Christ!
- Charles Duke Yonge with Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 19.
- Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 7, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 219.
- Ed Decker, Decker’s Complete Handbook on Mormonism (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1995), 24.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1 Co 15:44–47.
- Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 1283.
- William Branham, 63-1110M - Souls That Are In Prison Now, para. 38-40
- William Branham, 65-0429B - The Seed Shall Not Be Heir With The Shuck, para. 51