At Our Core

A refresher on who we are because of what we believe.

Wilona Karimabadi
At Our Core

When my kids expressed interest in baptism, one of the things my husband and I stressed was that taking “studies” with a pastor wasn’t just about knowing Jesus better. Especially as time marches on toward the inevitable, and our beliefs become increasingly more questioned, all Adventists need to know the “whats” and “whys.” This “primer” on the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is designed to help old and new believers alike have a more concise and even conversational way to remember our core doctrines. We hope you find it helpful.

—Wilona Karimabadi 

Refer to this link for the official wording of each fundamental belief:

1. The Holy Scriptures

Scriptural Basis: Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 30:5, 6; Isaiah 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20, 21. 

We believe the Bible is the real deal—words from God through His influence on the minds and hearts of those who were devoted to Him. Through the Bible, God guides, inspires, teaches, and regulates us. It’s the most solid guidebook for life, and we can trust it implicitly. 

2. The Trinity

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 28:19; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2. 

There is one God, and yet He is Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. He’s always with us, never going anywhere; He knows everything; and our human minds will never be able to wrap themselves around how awesome He is. Most of all, He’s the personification of love. 

3. The Father

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; Psalm 110:1, 4; John 3:16; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 15:28; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 John 4:8; Revelation 4:11. 

God is more wonderful than most can fathom. Caricatures of God as a mean, stern, and unforgiving being aren’t true. God is pure love, comfort, wisdom, compassion, joy, and so much more. 

4. The Son

Scriptural Basis: Isaiah 53:4-6; Daniel 9:25-27; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-3, 14; 5:22; 10:30; 14:1-3, 9, 13; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:17-19; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 2:9-18; 8:1, 2. 

Jesus is miraculous in every sense of the word. We believe God came to earth through Jesus Christ, who lived as a human being; therefore, there isn’t anything humanity has experienced that He doesn’t understand. Because of Him, this life isn’t all there is. And because of Him— the Lord who has saved us, redeemed us, and is rooting for us—we can be in heaven, because He’s wiped all our messes clean. 

5. The Holy Spirit

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 1:1, 2; 2 Samuel 23:2; Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 1:35; 4:18; John 14:16-18, 26; 15-26; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3; 10:38; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:21. 

The Holy Spirit is the “communicator” and “convictor,” meaning that we can’t as humans understand how He does what He does, but He does it. That conviction to do something you never imagined you could—it’s Him. That unexplainable comfort and peace in the worst situation? It’s Him. The voice that tells you which way to go when you don’t know the way? That’s Him. He’s mysterious and yet not, because for the believer the unexplained often has the Holy Spirit written all over it. 

6. Creation

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 1-2; 5; 11; Exodus 20:8-11; Psalm 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Isaiah 45:12, 18; Acts 17-24; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Revelation 10:6; 14:7. 

We believe that in six literal days God created this vast universe we live in. On the seventh day He rested. Not that He’s got the same energy limitations as humans, but in doing so, He set aside the seventh day as our day of rest and remembrance, and it’s a wonderful thing. In His creation of human beings, He made something special and—intrinsically and forever—linked to Him. Every living thing in this world tells the story of how amazing our God is. 

7. The Nature of Humanity

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7, 15; 3; Psalm 8:4-8; 51:5, 10; 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Acts 17:24-28; Romans 5:12-17; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 John 3:4; 4:7, 8, 11, 20. 

When God made human beings, they were perfection. Everything about us was connected to Him as unique people with the power to choose. Sadly, Adam and Eve’s fall rendered us as we know ourselves today—flawed, wounded people who will all die one day. But through Christ and what He did for us, we have a second chance at what God always intended for us. All that is asked of us is to love Him and one another and to take care of this great big world He made. 

8. The Great Controversy

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 3; 6-8; Job 1:6-12; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18; Romans 1:19-32; 3:4; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; 1 Corinthians 4:9; Hebrews 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:6; Revelation 12:4-9. 

A tale as old as time: that of good versus evil. Satan, once part of heaven, became the enemy of God, thus leading a good chunk of the angels into rebellion. Since then evil has existed. That’s why there is so much sickness of mind, body, character, and heart in this world. But all is not lost. God’s love has already won, and while humanity endures the assaults of evil, Jesus does not leave us defenseless. He comes through every time we call on Him, and it will remain that way until we are with Him in the very end. 

9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22:1; Isaiah 53; John 3:16; 14:30; Romans 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 19-21; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:15; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10. 

We believe that Christ came to earth to die for our sins, and His resurrection put the cap on all the evil this world could squash us with. That’s not to say we don’t go through pain, violence, and illness in our earthly lives. But through Christ and what He did for us, we have been given total victory over anything Satan has to throw at us. This is the ultimate power, and it’s ours to claim, all because of the love of Jesus Christ. We just have to accept it. 

10. The Experience of Salvation

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 45:22; 53; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 33:11; 36:25-27; Habakkuk 2:4; Mark 9:23, 24; John 3:3-8, 16; 16:8; Romans 3:21-26; 5:6-10; 8:1-4, 14-17; 10:17; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 1:4; 3:13, 14, 26; 4:4-7; Ephesians 2:4-10; Colossians 1:13, 14; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 8:7-12; 1 Peter 1:23; 2:21, 22; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Revelation 13:8. 

Salvation is as real as the nose on your face. You fall because of sin, but through Christ’s salvation, you are lifted. That is the whole mission of Christ for us. This faith in God’s grace and mercy is what will get us through, and it’s so much more than just a nice thought. Salvation because of Jesus is powerful. 

11. Growing in Christ

Scriptural Basis: 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Matthew 20:25-28; 25:31-46; Luke 10:17-20; John 20:21; Romans 8:38, 39; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; Philippians 3:7-14; Colossians 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23; Hebrews 10:25; James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 1 John 4:4. 

Life is not meant to be stagnant. Though we live in a sinful world and are likely commit our share of “infractions,” Jesus walks with us to keep us growing and moving forward. He is our example to follow in making the best life decisions that not only honor God, but benefit our lives on this earth. We don’t have to be stuck—Jesus always offers us a path of growth that in the end prepares us for eternal life with Him. 

12. The Church

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:3-7; Matthew 16:13-20; 18:18; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38-42; 7:38; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11; 5:23-27; Colossians 1:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:9. 

The church is not a building, and it’s not a weekly spot to find people on a Saturday morning. The church is the collective group of all those who believe that Jesus is the Savior. The church looks to no one but Jesus, as He is the ultimate authority on everything and thankfully, only a prayer away. The love Jesus has for the church is unfathomable—yes, it’s that deep. 

13. The Remnant and Its Mission

Scriptural Basis: Daniel 7:9-14; Isaiah 1:9; 11:11; Jeremiah 23:3; Micah 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 4:17; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Jude 3, 14; Revelation 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4. 

A lot of people today are asking if our world is about to explode—if this life as we know it is about to change forever. Our special mission is to help the world understand that this life isn’t all there is—something the book of Revelation delves deep into. Thus, as the world gets increasingly out of control, the way forward is to take the commandments seriously and hang on to Jesus with all that we have. Aligning ourselves with Jesus is the answer. 

14. Unity in the Body of Christ

Scriptural Basis: Psalm 133:1; Matthew 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 5:16, 17; Galatians 3:27-29; Ephesians 2:13-16; 4:3-6, 11-16; Colossians 3:10-15. 

In Christ we all belong together regardless of how we look, what languages we speak, how we think, and what makes us tick. And it is all right to have differences, remembering that we are part of one family headed by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we are chosen. Most important, we are loved and valued for who we are, just as we are. Thus we should impart this love to all those around us. 

15. Baptism

Scriptural Basis: Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Romans 6:1-6; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12, 13. 

While one can certainly become a follower of Christ in their heart, baptism is a public symbol that denotes a deep commitment to a new life with Jesus. The symbolism of washing away and burying all that held you down before and arising from that water fresh and renewed in Christ is so very powerful. 

16. The Lord’s Supper

Scriptural Basis: Matthew 26:17-30; John 6:48-63; 13:1-17; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Revelation 3:20. 

In this particular element of spiritual practice, the power of remembrance is especially dear. Through this act, we think about Christ lowering Himself to clean the feet of people who had many faults (just as we have), loving and caring for them regardless. Through consuming the bread and juice, we think about that precious last meal He shared before He went forward to do the bravest thing that could ever be done. Taking stock of these blessings by participating in these ordinances is good for the soul. 

17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

Scriptural Basis: Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 27, 28; Ephesians 4:8, 11-16; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Peter 4:10, 11. 

It’s easy to think we, as human beings, are here on this planet in possession of a few basic talents with which we are to live our lives. But God values us so much more than that and has given each person unique gifts with which to lovingly serve all of humanity. Gifts such as the ability to teach, be empathetic and compassionate, preach, heal, etc., are all from a loving Creator who equips everyone He calls. 

18. The Gift of Prophecy

Scriptural Basis: Numbers 12:6; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9. 

Not to be confused with fortunetelling, prophecy has been inherently featured through Scripture and, in more modern times, through the ministry of a woman called Ellen White. Through visions given to her from her youth, she has been instrumental in the shaping and guiding of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and study. Her work provides another resource by which to understand what is to come as we look forward to Christ’s return. That said, the Bible, as the definitive Word of God, will always be the number-one standard by which everything is evaluated. 

19. The Law of God

Scriptural Basis: Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 19:7-14; 40:7, 8; Matthew 5:17-20; 22:36-40; John 14:15; 15:7-10; Romans 8:3, 4; Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 8:8-10; 1 John 2:3; 5:3; Revelation 12:17; 14:12. 

We believe every last one of the Ten Commandments is meant to be taken seriously, and when we do, our lives naturally become better. Through obeying these important precepts, we grow through Christ’s example and become living witnesses to the world. But we must never forget that our salvation comes through the grace of Christ, because we certainly fall short of perfect adherence to the law. 

20. The Sabbath

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; 31:1317; Leviticus 23:32; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Isaiah 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Ezekiel 20:12, 20; Matthew 12:1-12; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:16; Hebrews 4:1-11. 

We look at the Sabbath as a gift. Not only is it a much-needed rest day from our busy lives; it renews our spirits and faith through worship and time spent with those we love. It is a special 24-hour period that shows the world our commitment to following the commandments and remaining devoted to Jesus, who is the Lord of the Sabbath. It renews us, fortifies us, and strengthens our bond to the Creator. 

21. Stewardship

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Haggai 1:3-11; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 23:23; Romans 15:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 9:9-14; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:7. 

We’ve been given many blessings from the Lord in the form of abilities, material possessions, our physical beings and relationships, and this beautiful earth we live in. Because of the Lord’s great love and generosity, we believe it’s important to take care of all He has given us and to give back through tithing and blessing others in whatever ways we can. 

22. Christian Behavior

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 7:2; Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 11:1-47; Psalm 106:3; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; 10:5; Ephesians 5:1-21; Philippians 2:4; 4:8; 1 Timothy 2:9, 10; Titus 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 John 2:6; 3 John 2. 

One of the highest ideals we can aim for in this life is to be like Jesus. He is our example in everything. So in our wanting to follow His example, healthy habits and behavior are key. Thus, since Jesus was never a drinking, smoking, drug-abusing person eating unclean foods and harming His body and spirit, neither should we. We have nothing to lose from avoiding those things, yet, as we know, a lot to lose when we indulge in them. 

23. Marriage and the Family

Scriptural Basis: Genesis 2:18-25; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Proverbs 22:6; Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 5:31, 32; 19:3-9, 12; Mark 10:11, 12; John 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 7:7, 10, 11; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4. 

We believe in marriage between a man and a woman united in the same faith for a lifetime. Marriage can be hard, and divorce rates are high; thus this union is something to take very seriously. The Lord knows the effects of sin on our relationships, but He is always there to help us. The family is a very important unit—a gift that figures into the furtherance of the gospel, and so we seek to raise our children in the faith through example and exposure to the loving nature of Jesus. All members of God’s family, regardless of whether they are married or single, are highly treasured, valued individuals. 

24. Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary

Scriptural Basis: Leviticus 16; Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6; Daniel 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Hebrews 1:3; 2:16, 17; 4:14-16; 8:1-5; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; Revelation 8:3-5; 11:19; 14:6, 7, 12; 20:12; 22:11, 12. 

Christ works in the heavenly sanctuary much like the high priest would have in the sanctuary of the Old Testament. Through this work He is making certain that those who love Him and keep the commandments will be with Him in heaven. While the word “judgment” sounds negative, in this case it’s all about the pulling together of Christ’s beloved—a labor of love, if you will. 

25. The Second Coming of Christ

Scriptural Basis: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 1:7; 14:14-20; 19:11-21. 

Life on earth is temporary, and all the pain, suffering, and sorrow will finally end with the second coming of Jesus. It won’t be a quiet incident, for every living being will see it, hear it, and feel it. All those who have loved and lived for Christ and died in the knowledge of His return will be resurrected. Broken families will be reunited, and those we have lost will be with us again. Everything prophecy has pointed to regarding this moment will be fulfilled. But because only the Father knows the time, we are told to live in readiness. 

26. Death and Resurrection

Scriptural Basis: Job 19:25-27; Psalm 146:3, 4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10; Daniel 12:2, 13; Isaiah 25:8; John 5:28, 29; 11:11-14; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Timothy 6:15, 16; Revelation 20:1-10. 

This is a belief that is filled with so much hope. Death isn’t the end of the story for those who claim Jesus as their Savior. It’s a pressing of the pause button on a life. Then, when Christ comes back for us, the play button is pressed, and a new life in Christ goes forward—better than ever to live in joy in heaven with Him. 

27. The Millennium and the End of Sin

Scriptural Basis: Jeremiah 4:23-26; Ezekiel 28:18, 19; Malachi 4:1; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; Revelation 20; 21:1-5. 

While this might sound like the plot of a major Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, no actors or special-effects gurus are involved. Here, the saved in Jesus will be safe in heaven with Him while Satan and his angels—no longer able to touch us—will be running amok on a horrible earth. But at the close of 1,000 years we will descend with Christ, where fire from God will consume evil and cleanse the earth forever. Sin and sinners? A thing of the past. 

28. The New Earth

Scriptural Basis: Isaiah 35; 65:17-25; Matthew 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 11:15; 21:1-7; 22:1-5. 

This is it. The best of the best, the peace and joy we’ve longed for, with this perfect world to enjoy, is all we will know for eternity. The earth made shiny and new will be the perfect place for God’s people to live completely free of suffering, death, and pain. There is no more battle between good and evil, for the Lord has prevailed, never to be challenged again. And everything—every last thing— will tell the story that God is, and has always been, love.

Wilona Karimabadi