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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Understand John 1:1 to Read, "...and the Word Was a god"?

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Understand John 1:1 to Read, "...and the Word Was a god"?

This Bible verse is often misused. In the King James Version, this Scripture reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [Greek, ton the·on′], and the Word was God [the·os′].” This verse contains two forms of the Greek noun the·os′ (god). The first is preceded by ton (the), a form of the Greek definite article, and in this case the word the·on′ refers to Almighty God. In the second instance, however, the·os′ has no definite article.

In the New World Translation Bible (produced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society - a legal organization in use by Jehovah’s Witnesses), John 1:1 reads: “In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Some other translations render the last part of the verse to convey the thought that the Word was “divine,” or something similar. (A New Translation of the Bible, by James Moffatt; The New English Bible) Many translations, however, render the last part of John 1:1: “And the Word was God.”—The Holy BibleNew International Version; The Jerusalem Bible. So which is the correct translation of this verse?

Greek Grammar and Context Provide the Answer

Greek grammar and the context strongly indicate that the New World Translation rendering is correct and that “the Word” should not be identified as the “God” referred to earlier in the verse. (See John 1:1c Primer (Examining the Trinity). Also see the w09 4/1 pp. 18-19 article: A Text That Teaches the Trinity?)

Bible verses in the Greek language that have a construction similar to that of John 1:1 use the expression “a god.” For example, when referring to Herod Agrippa I, the crowds shouted: ‘It is a god speaking.’ And when Paul survived a bite by a poisonous snake, the people said: “He is a god.” (Acts 12:22; 28:3-6) It is in harmony with both Greek grammar and Bible teaching to speak of the Word as, not God, but “a god.”—John 1:1.

For instance, consider that John states that the Word was “with God.” But how can an individual be with someone and at the same time be that person? John 1:1 clearly phrases God as a separate person from the Word (Jesus). And since Jesus is written and identified in John 1:1 as a separate person from God (not just the Father), then that would positively exclude him as being God!

Commenting on this, Count Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian novelist and religious philosopher, said:

"If it says that in the beginning was the...Word, and that the Word was...WITH God, it is impossible to go on and say that it was God. If it was God, it could stand in no relation to God." - The Four Gospels Harmonized and Translated, p. 30.

Moreover, as recorded at John 17:3, Jesus makes a clear distinction between himself and his heavenly Father. He calls his Father “the only true God.” And toward the end of his Gospel, John sums up matters by saying: “These have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.” (John 20:31) Notice that Jesus is called, not God, but the Son of God. This additional information provided in the Gospel of John shows how John 1:1 should be understood. Jesus, the Word, is “a god” in the sense that he has a high position but is not the same as Almighty God.

Other Bibles That Render John 1:1c "a god"

The NWT is not the only Bible to render John 1:1c as "a god". Actually, there are many Bibles that render John 1:1 as "a God" or it's equivalent:

1808: “and the word was a god.” The New Testament in an Improved Version, Upon the Basis of Archbishop Newcome’s New Translation: With a Corrected Text.

1864: “and a god was the word.” The Emphatic Diaglott, interlinear reading, by Benjamin Wilson.

1928: “and the Word was a divine being.” La Bible du Centenaire, L’Evangile selon Jean, by Maurice Goguel.

1935: “and the Word was divine.” The Bible—An American Translation, by J. M. P. Smith and E. J. Goodspeed.

1946: “and of a divine kind was the Word.” Das Neue Testament, by Ludwig Thimme.

1958: “and the Word was a God.” The New Testament, by James L. Tomanek.

1975: “and a god (or, of a divine kind) was the Word.” Das Evangelium nach Johannes, by Siegfried Schulz.

1978: “and godlike kind was the Logos.” Das Evangelium nach Johannes, by Johannes Schneider.

Trinitarian Scholars Have Even Admitted That "the Word was *a* god"

Even a number of respected trinitarian scholars have admitted that "the Word was *a* god" is the literal translation at John 1:1c.

In addition to their comments below, W. E. Vine, Prof. C. H. Dodd (Director of the New English Bible project), and Murray J. Harris admit that this ("the Word was a god") is the literal translation, but, being trinitarians, they insist that it be interpreted and translated as "and the Word was God." Why? Because of a trinitarian bias only!

W. E. Vine - "a god was the Word" - p. 490, An Expository Dictionary of the New Testament.

C. H. Dodd - "The Word was a god" - Technical Papers for the Bible Translator, Jan., 1977.

Murray J. Harris - "the Word was a god" - p. 60, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.

Robert Young - "and a God (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word" - Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary.

Even Origen, the most knowledgeable of the early Christian Greek-speaking scholars, tells us that John 1:1c actually means "the Word [logos] was a god". - "Origen's Commentary on John," Book I, ch. 42 - Bk II, ch.3.

Origen's Commentary on John is "the first great work of Christian interpretation." Origen was certainly the most knowledgeable about NT (koine) Greek of any scholar. He studied it from early childhood and even taught it professionally from his teens onward. And this was during a time when it was a living language and, of course, well understood. - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, pp. 291-294, vol. X, Eerdmans Publ., 1990 printing.

The Sahidic Coptic Translation Reads John 1:1 as, "And the Word was *a* god."

It is also interesting to note that the Coptic language was spoken in Egypt in the centuries immediately following Jesus' earthly ministry, and the Sahidic dialect was an early literary form of the language. A significant fact concerning the Coptic language is that, unlike the Greek, it used an indefinite article ("a" or "an" in English).

The Sahidic Coptic translation DOES USE an indefinite article with the word 'god' in the final part of John 1:1 and when rendered into modern English, the translation reads: 'And the Word was a god.' (Coptic Translation of John 1:1-14)

The fact is that the New World Translation is not wrong in translating John 1:1 the way it does as some critics propose. In fact, these critics have it completely turned around. The absence of the indefinite article (a) at John 1:1c has been purposely mistranslated in most Trinitarian-produced Bibles to fit THEIR doctrine that Jesus is God.

For much more, see:

Was the Word “God” or “a god”? (w08 11/1 pp. 24-25; Watchtower Online Library)

"The Word Was God" (bh p. 201-p. 204 par. 2; Watchtower Online Library)

“Those Who Are Called ‘Gods’” (g05 4/22 pp. 8-9; Watchtower Online Library)

John 1:1 - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)



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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Really Have a "Higher Turnover Rate" Compared to Other Religions?

Anyone who believes that [Jehovah's] Witnesses have a higher rate of “turnover” has been misled by “phone
polls” which are notoriously flawed. .... We need to beware of using figures which claim the JWs have a large turnover to draw any conclusions.

First, the fact is that losing members in any quantity has absolutely no relevancy on whether a religion is truly Christian. This is simply a distractive Logical Fallacy called a "Red Herring."

Further, these figures do not take in the fact that, unlike other religions, JWs only count *active* members. We don't even count those who regularly attend meetings but don't go out in the public ministry. That is unlike other Churches who continue to count as members EVERYONE regardless of whether they even attend services!

Also, JWs do not have a problem with such a number leaving their organization because this very situation was indicated by Christ in his parables of the Christian Congregation. Christ likened the gathering of followers to a dragnet. The bad would have to be separated out and thrown away (Mt.13:47-50).

Christ also illustrated those who become disciples to four types of soil. All types "hear," "receive" and even "believe" the Word, but only one type does not "fall away" or get "carried away." The majority do not "bear fruit with endurance" (Lk 8:11-15; cf. Mt.7:13,14, 21)

Also, the Bible records that "many" who had become Christ's disciples left his fellowship because they didn't like what he taught (Jn. 6:60-69). Since this happened to Christ who was a perfect teacher and even performed miracles, why would we think in wouldn’t happen to the Christian congregation now?

Also, we can get a better perspective of such figures when we place them alongside the figures of other religions. Facts show that around 1960 seventy-five percent of the "Christian" world attended church regularly. Yet in 2002, research showed that in most countries only 3-10 percent of the population are regular churchgoers. The highest figures are in the U.S. and Canada where head counts show only 20 percent attend church regularly.

This means that religions have lost between 55 and 72 percent of their attendees.

Even more important are the figures of how many church members even agree with their churches' teachings. One newspaper report showed that a majority of church members, 57 percent, disagree with the official teachings of their church regarding matters of morality.

This certainly shows that no one can criticize the Witnesses for their turnover rate. Especially when you see that we are still growing.

Jesus didn't say you would identify the true religion because they would never lose members, nor because they always would grow. He said that you would identify the true Christian Organization "by their fruits," or the results of their Biblical teaching (Mat.7:16,20).

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.



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Friday, June 20, 2014

The Universe — Did It Come About by Chance or by Design?

Some people say: 'Yes, our universe is all a matter of chance.' Others, especially those who are religious, disagree. Still others are just not sure.

Whatever your view, you will no doubt agree that our Universe is a marvel. And it is clear to anyone who seriously studies astronomy that Earth seems tailor-made for life to exist. Some scientists admit to believing in God because of their observations of what appears to be a fine-tuning of our Universe in general. It is equipped with fixed physical laws and with natural constants that are precisely and ideally suited to support a planet like ours and all the life on it. (See links below.) 

Examining Entropy - The Universe Had to Have Been Born in a Highly Ordered State

Consider entropy. What is entropy? One dictionary describes cosmolgoical entropy as the "tendency for the Universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature". The following is a list of additional definitions of entropy from a collection of textbooks:

"A measure of energy dispersal at a specific temperature." [Atkins, Peter; Julio De Paula (2006). Physical Chemistry, 8th ed.. Oxford University Press.]

"A measure of disorder in the universe." [Gribbin's Encyclopedia of Particle Physics, 2000] 

In order to illustrate, consider a sandcastle. If there are a million different ways of arranging a handful of sand grains, with 999,999 of the ways producing disordered sand piles but only 1 producing a beautifully ordered castle, then if you keep throwing the sand grains up in the air, they will usually land in the form of a disordered pile. So, over time, if there is a force like the wind that acts to rearrange things, things will get more messy or disordered than ordered. This means that there is a difference between the past and the future: the past was more ordered and the future will be less ordered because this is the most likely way for things to play out. This is what Eddington meant by his statement that the future is more random than the past, and his description of the arrow of time as the thing that points in the direction of increasing randomness. And this is why entropy always increases. 

If you take a university physics degree this is what you will learn about entropy and the arrow of time - the past had a lower entropy than the future; ordered things become disordered as time ticks by, but one might legitimately ask where all the order in the universe came from in the first place. In the case of our sandcastle, it's obvious - a person made it - but how did the person get here? A person is very ordered. How did the Earth get here? It's very ordered too. And how did the Milky Way appear if it is composed of billions of ordered worlds orbiting around billions of ordered stars? There must have been some reason why the universe began in such a highly ordered state, such that it can gradually fall into place this way. The Universe began with sufficient order in the bank to allow planets, stars and galaxies to appear. We understand how gravity can create local order in the form of solar systems and stars, but this must be at the expense of creating more disorder somewhere else. So there must have been a lot of order to begin with. In other words, the Universe was born in a highly ordered state, and there should be a reason for that. It is unlikely to have been chance, because by definition a highly ordered state is less likely to pop into existence than a less ordered one; a sandcastle is less likely to be formed by the desert winds than a pile of sand. Since the Universe is far less ordered today than it was 13.75 billion years ago, this means it is far more likely that our universe popped into existence a billionth of a second ago, fully formed with planets, stars, galaxies and people, than it is that the Universe popped into existence at the Big Bang in a highly ordered state.

In summary, something had to have always existed in order for the physical universe to be here at all, whether it is God or an always-cycling Universe (which, in the case of the latter, does not seem to be possible because of entropy). But because the design of the Universe is so ordered and had to have begun in such a precise fashion, this lends significant evidence of a Designer. As the Bible stated the obvious millenia ago:

"Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God." (Heb. 3:4)

Additional Reading:

The "Impossible" Universe (Search For Bible Truths)


Why Do Some Scientists Believe in God? (Search For Bible Truths)

Is It Unscientific to Believe in God? (g04 6/22 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Our Awesome UNIVERSE - A Product of Chance? (g00 10/8 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Did the ELEMENTS Come About by Chance? (g00 10/8 pp. 5-7; Watchtower Online Library)

THE EARTH - Was it “Founded” by Chance? (g00 10/8 pp. 8-11; Watchtower Online Library)




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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Truth About Blood Transfusions - The Protection Jehovah's Witnesses Receive Because of Their Refusal Far Outweighs Any Risk

There is a lot of ignorance promoted by many regarding blood transfusions. Then you have the religious clergy and other FANATICS who purposely disseminate false and prejudicial information designed to emotionally alienate people. In this day and age it is extremely surprising when we find anyone in the medical field who adamantly defends blood transfusions. In fact, such a person would find themselves arguing against 'enlightened' medical experts who are up on the latest information regarding blood transfusions.

You will always find some biased individuals who claim that people [are] dying because they refused a blood transfusion, but the facts show that it cannot be proven that anyone ever died because of refusing a blood transfusion. Critics usually resort to citing these news stories which are just opinionated hearsay.

These opinions are flawed because they ignore the fact that avoiding blood transfusions does not mean that someone is going to lose his life. In fact, when you look at the facts regarding the dangers involved in accepting blood, the hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of serious injuries which have been caused by blood transfusions, then you can only conclude that the protection Jehovah's Witnesses have received because of their obedience far outweighs any risk. Notice the comments of three experts:

Dr. Aryeh Shander: "To say that one has died because of refusal of blood, I think is a very general misleading statement."

Dr. Peter Carmel: "It's rarely, if ever, the case that a patient refused a blood transfusion and therefore died."

One doctor by the name of Shadman said: "In performing upwards of 20,000 surgical operations, I never gave a blood transfusion and never had a patient die from lack of it..."

Witnesses do accept non-blood transfusions and any other medical procedure that have proven benefits. We do not accept for ourselves or our children medical procedures that have been proven to be at the very least ineffective, and often dangerous.

Though presented as lifesaving, blood transfusions are fraught with risks. They have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of serious injuries! EDUCATED medical personnel know that there have been repeated studies that show the death rate and recurrence of cancers etc. is often three times worse when a patient receives a blood transfusion when compared with those who refused blood.

"The Center for Disease Control estimates that as many as 35,000 deaths and 500,000 illnesses a year may be due to the presence of serum hepatitis in blood for transfusions." This is the result of just one complication from blood transfusion. However, there are others which are mentioned in the book Complications in Surgery Management. This book then adds: "In terms of disability and loss of life . . . blood transfusions rival some of our major health problems."

"The bloodletting of yore has been superseded by blood transfusion. Of all the ridiculous medical practices of the past and present times, this present blood craze is the worst." - -Dr. G. Boni and Dr. P.Lafarge, "Let's Live", March 1970

"If blood was a new drug it wouldn't receive a product licence."--Tom Lennard, Royal Victoria Infirmary

God has said "I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself" (Isa 48:17). His laws are always for our good. While the main reason Christians do not accept blood transfusions is because it is one of God's moral laws, time has proven that true Christians have truly have been protected from death and injury caused by human ignorance.

....

[Additional]

First, even when the accepted “gold standard” therapies are transfusions of major components, there are still alternatives. And there is ongoing research into viable alternatives to plasma exchange for TTP. Witnesses have been successfully treated for TTP without blood, one case which has been widely reported:

http://www.noblood.org/medical-articles-abstracts/3633-thrombotic-thrombocytopenic-purpura-induced-trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole-jeh/#.UtS2Y55dUuc

Second, it is highly illogical to argue for the safety and benefits of blood transfusions by appealing to an extremely rare condition (TTP) which is treated with plasma. This type of logic is like arguing for the benefits of the medieval medical practice of Blood-letting because bleeding someone will save their life if they have Polycythemia vera. The fact remains: As a rule, blood-letting is archaic and bad medicine and so is [a] blood transfusion.

[Opposers who] desperately cite such an extremely rare condition do not change the fact that blood transfusions are fraught with risks and so are considered to be bad medicine and avoided by enlightened medical experts.

Third and even more important, while [opposers] choose to blatantly ignore and even deny the clear and undeniable Scriptural command to “abstain from blood,” true Christians do not.

Christians do not accept a treatment which breaks God’s Laws simply because it may be the “best” treatment that humans can give. Such reasoning is purely human thinking and a rejection of God’s thinking on the matter. Such reasoning would also condemn the early Christians who died at the hands of the Romans because they refused to save their lives by simply performing a simple act of devotion to the Emperors. The reasoning of Anti-Christians would be exactly like [opposers']: Rejecting God’s laws is “in your best interest,” and “is appropriate by all human logic.”

True Christians would not save their lives by committing fornication or idolatry which are listed with blood as equally forbidden. Likewise, Christian do not save their lives by accepting blood but rather do all they can to save their life while continuing to obey God’s explicit laws.

Additionally, [opposers who] reference “bleeding to death” is so overly simple as to be laughable. If you don’t stop the bleeding, no amount of blood transfusions will save you either. When someone refuses a blood transfusion, the premise is that someone is being treated. There is a limit to the amount of blood that can be lost by any individual, and then with or without a blood transfusion you are going to die.

However, the medical facts are that studies have proved that the mortality rate for people with surprisingly low blood counts is no worse for those who choose non-blood treatment in comparison to those who chose blood. These studies are the reason that it cannot be proven that anyone ever died because of refusing a blood transfusion. However, it is irrefutable that hundreds of thousands of people have died as a direct result of receiving blood transfusions. And transfusions continue to kill and injure tens of thousands each year.

“One way to avert the risks and costs of blood transfusion is simply to avoid the procedure whenever possible. Avoidance is usually fairly safe and well tolerated even for patients with a low hemoglobin level, stated Aryeh Shander, MD, Chief of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey.

Acutely low hemoglobin value has no central nervous system effects and is associated with acceptable cardiac outcomes as long as the patient is euvolemic, closely monitored, and not tachycardic. Furthermore, said Dr. Shander, it is possible to maintain tissue oxygen tension even after a 60% drop in hemoglobin, as long as the patient is perfused with a high viscosity fluid or colloid. He added that healthy individuals have been shown not to develop oxygen supply dependency when their hemoglobin falls from 13 g/dL to 4.5 or 5 g/dL.”

[Opposers] hear only what they want to from the experts and ignore anything that disagrees with [their] personal opinion.

Dr. Aryeh Shander has also said: "Everything in health care can be done without blood (transfusions)."

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

For more, see:

Blood / Blood Transfusions (Category)

Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses accept blood transfusions? (JW.ORG)

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Refuse Blood Transfusions? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Blood Transfusions - Jehovah's Witnesses Do Not Choose to "Let Their Children Die" as Some Opposers Claim (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses "Abstain From Blood"? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Is it Scripturally Acceptable for a Christian to Accept a Bone Marrow Transplant? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Eat Red Meat Since it May Contain a Trace of Blood? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Articles, Websites and Videos Concerning Bloodless Surgery and Medicine (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)




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Monday, June 9, 2014

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Father's Day?

Jehovah's Witnesses treat Father's Day as any other, and will love their Fathers just as much that day as any other day.

Jehovah's Witnesses base all of their beliefs, their standards for conduct, and organizational procedures on the Bible. Yes, the Bible does command children to honor, obey and respect their parents. (Eph. 6:1, 2) But nowhere does it advocate the commemoration of a special "Father’s Day".

True Christians follow Jesus Christ as their Exemplar and realize that to Jesus, every day was Father's Day. He did not set aside only one particular day out of the year to bring praise to his Father. He did so every day.

It is also worthy to note that the main purpose for the creation of Father's Day was to complement Mother's Day. Jehovah's Witnesses do not formally celebrate Mother's Day - mostly for the same reasons as stated for Father's Day above. But they also do not celebrate it because Jehovah's Witnesses avoid participating in any celebrations with non-Christian religious origins. Some may counter that by saying that Mother's Day does not have roots in ancient paganism and that it is presently considered a largely secular event. But the earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. The Bible makes it clear that if a holiday or custom is being deliberately participated in by a Christian, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations. (Exodus 20:3; Luke 4:8; 2 Cor. 6:17)  (See: Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Formally Celebrate Mother's Day?)

Also see:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Holidays - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


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Friday, June 6, 2014

Is Gen. 1:26 Really "Proof" of the Trinity? ("Let US make man in OUR image.")

"Let us make man in our image." (Gen. 1:26) NWT

Some trintiarians may point to this Scripture as 'proof' of a trinity. Yet, the bible throughout overwhelmingly identifies God by the singular person pronouns "I," and "Me," and "He," and "Him". Trinitarians themselves commonly do not refer to their own Triune God as "They," and "Them". This would not be consistent if God really were a trinity.

When God said "Let us make man in our image" at Gen. 1:26, Jehovah God was speaking to His Son Jesus, His Master Worker, the first-born of all creation (and, possibly, to the rest of the angels also), who were also made in God's image. (Pr 8:30, 31; also compare John 1:1-3; Col 1:15-17)

Also consider, if the Trinity really is correct and God really is composed of three persons, then why does Man (who was created in God's image) not display any kind of a tri-nature about him whatsoever? Certainly if God possessed such a tri-nature, and such a fundamental tri-nature aspect is conspicuously absent in Man, how then could it be said that Man was made in God's image?

We know, however, that the man created by God to be in God's image and likeness (Adam), the son of God (Luke 3:38), was a single person. He could have easily been created with three personalities. But God expressly made him in His image with one mind, one personality: one person.

How Christ Being in God's Image Shows That He is NOT God

2 Cor. 4:4 - "Christ, who is the image [eikon] of God".

Notice, this is no longer the fleshly Jesus on earth. This is the resurrected, glorious, heavenly Christ. But he still is not God. He is the image of God. He is seated (or standing) beside God (Acts 2:33-36; Ro. 8:34; Heb. 10:12, 13; 1 Pet. 3:22). He is not God. The Father alone, beside whom Jesus is seated, is Jehovah God (Eph. 1:17, 20; Rev. 3:21; Ps. 110:1). In fact, God (the Father alone) is the God of Jesus (Eph. 1:3, 17; Rev. 3:12; Micah 5:4, ASV).

Note that an image is "a physical likeness or representation of a person"...NOT the person himself. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/image

So the fact that Man AND Christ (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4) are in God's image tells us (1) that, BY THE VERY DEFINITION, Christ nor Man cannot possibly be that God, and (2) that God is a single person also (to correspond with a man being in His image).

Yes, Jesus is the image of God. And how should we consider the worship of an image of God as being God? (Ex. 20:4, 5; Lev. 26:1)

For more, see:

Gen. 1:26 "Let Us Make Man in Our Image" (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

"Logically, it was to this firstborn Son that Jehovah said: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”' (Insight-2 pp. 52-72; Watchtower Online Library)

The Word (Insight-2 pp. 1200-1203; Watchtower Online Library)
"This Word, or Lo′gos, was God’s only direct creation, the only-begotten son of God, and evidently the close associate of God to whom God was speaking when he said: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” (Ge 1:26) Hence John continued, saying: “This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”—Joh 1:2, 3."



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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Extraterrestrials - What Does the Bible Indicate?

Astronomers have not discovered life of any kind in our solar system or in the cosmos beyond. Yet after considering the overwhelming size of the Universe, some have concluded that the odds are great that we are not alone. Also, some influential religious figures have insisted that God would not create any world without purpose and that all habitable worlds must therefore be inhabited.

But since no life has been discovered beyond our world thus far, are astronomers on solid ground when they assert that the universe is teeming with populated worlds? What does the Bible indicate on this matter? According to the Bible, is anyone out there? 

Spirit Creatures

According to the Bible, extraterrestrial life not only exists but exists in abundance. (Rev. 5:11; Matt. 26:53) It is more complex, more interesting, and more believable than anything that evolutionists, science-fiction writers, and moviemakers have dreamed up. After all, an extraterrestrial is simply a being who originates outside this earth and its atmosphere.

Scientists wonder if there might be life-forms beyond our ability to detect. The Bible assures us that such beings do indeed exist. But they are not the products of evolution. Like all life in the universe, in whatever form, they came from the Source of life, Jehovah God. He is a spirit Being, and He has created myriads of other spirit beings of different types: angels, cherubs, and seraphs. They perform different work and functions in his intricate heavenly organization. (Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 19:14)

What About Extraterrestrial Intelligent Physical Beings on Other Planets?

The Bible also gives us some indication as to whether or not other intelligent physical beings exist beyond the Earth. The Bible indicates that it is very unlikely that God at this point has created intelligent physical creatures on any planets other than our own. How so?

If God did create such intelligent physical beings, He most likely did so before He created Adam and Eve. Such beings either remained faithful to their Creator, or like Adam and Eve, they sinned and fell into imperfection.

But if they became imperfect, they needed a redeemer. One essayist put it: “One has this dreadful thought that on Friday [the day Jesus Christ was executed], every Friday, somewhere in the universe Jesus is being hanged high for someone’s sins.” But that is not Scriptural. The Bible tells us that Jesus “died with reference to sin once for all time.” (Romans 6:10)

But what if these beings had remained perfect? Well, when Adam and Eve sinned, they were, in effect, questioning God’s right to rule over a world of intelligent physical beings. If another planet existed at that time, a world full of intelligent physical beings who were living harmoniously and loyally under God’s rule, it would be reasonable for them to have been called in as witnesses to testify that God’s rule does indeed work.

So in this context, the Bible indicates that, considering the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, Earth is the only planet to which the Creator sent his only-begotten Son to become a man and die sacrificially to recover the planet’s inhabitants from sin and its penalty death. The Bible also shows that the Earth will be the only planet on which God, by means of his Son Jesus Christ, will have fought the ‘war of the great day of God the Almighty’ to show his power over all his enemies in heaven and on earth and to vindicate himself as the Universal Sovereign. (Rev. 16:14)

What About Non-intelligent Life on other Planets?

The Bible gives us no indication as to whether God created any non-intelligent life (i.e. animals, insects, vegetation, microbes) on other planets. Some subscribe to the theory of Abiogenesis which is defined as "living organisms (that) can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter". It is the idea that life arose naturally - by itself - from chemical compounds. However, if one truly considers the enormous odds of life spontaneously arising even under the most favorable of circumstances, it should give one pause to this theory. Scientists Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe estimate that the odds against life’s vital enzymes forming by chance is 1 in 10 to the 40,000th power (1 with 40,000 zeros after it). Scientists Feinberg and Shapiro go still further. In their book Life Beyond Earth, they put the odds against the material in an organic soup ever taking the first rudimentary steps toward life at 1 1 in 10 to the 1,000,000th power (1 with a million zeros after it). It also should be noted that Science, with even the best labs and equipment cannot even replicate on purpose what they claim happened by accident on Earth long ago. Certainly if there is any non-intelligent extraterrestrial life out there it is because God originally created it and not through the process of abiogenesis.

Would God Create The Universe Just to Accommodate Humans?

But if we are the only intelligent physical beings in the known Universe, does that mean, then, that God created all those countless billions of suns (and presumably billions of planets) for no purpose? Why, one may ask, would God create the entire Universe seemingly just to accommodate humans on Earth?

But consider, is it really so difficult to believe that God created the entire universe just for our benefit and wonder? After all, despite the enormity of the universe, it is still 'just' the mere "works of [His] fingers"! (Ps. 8:1) His vast power is so staggering to the imagination that His physical creation is but "the fringes of his ways". (Job 26:14) Putting it in this perspective, creating the entire universe just for us is comparatively insignificant when compared to how much God gave us in another way by means of allowing His own Son to die because of His love for us. (John 3:16,17)

But what would be the point of creating all of those countless billions of suns and planets if humans aren't even able to visit, explore or utilize them? First, while we understand that, considering the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the earth is the only inhabited planet in the universe right now, what the future holds for us we do not know.

Another thing to consider is that the Bible points out that God "has put a sense of eternity in people's minds." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) - God's Word Translation. Because of this, God’s creation is so rich and complex that it constantly intrigues us and fills us with awe of Him. The universe is so grand that it serves as a constant reminder of how much there is to be learned from the One who created it and a desire to do so. It serves as a testament of "His eternal power and Godship" and gives us a glimpse of His "invisible [qualities]". (Rom. 1:20) NWT. Trying to grasp the sheer immensity of the Universe can, when seriously pondered, promote an overwhelming admiration and gratitude toward the One who has also given so much in another way by means of His Son on our behalf. (John 3:16,17) No doubt we could begin to feel as did the psalmist who wrote: “Many things you yourself have done, O Jehovah my God, even your wonderful works and your thoughts toward us; there is none to be compared to you. . . . They have become more numerous than I can recount.” (Psalm 40:5) NWT

For much more concerning Extraterrestrials, see the 4/8/90 Awake!

Also see: Life on Other Planets? (Jimspace)



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Sunday, June 1, 2014

How to Make a Search Box That Only Searches JW.ORG

(In addition to doing the below Google SiteSearch option, users may also consider creating a Google Custom search for more options and features.)

Today, many of the large search engines allow you to use their index to create a customized search for your page. For example, you can add a Google search to your web page that will only search the pages on a particular site by using the below code.
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<!-- SiteSearch Google -->

<br />
<form action="http://www.google.com/search" method="get">
<input name="ie" type="hidden" value="UTF-8" />
<input name="oe" type="hidden" value="UTF-8" />
<br />
<br />
<table bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><tbody>
<tr><td></td><td><input maxlength="255" name="q" size="31" type="text" value="" />
<input name="btnG" type="submit" value="Google Search" />

<input name="domains" type="hidden" value="JW.ORG" /><br />
<input name="sitesearch" type="radio" value="" /><input checked="" name="sitesearch" type="radio" value="http://www.jw.org/en/" />JW.ORG</td>

<!-- SiteSearch Google --></tr>
</tbody></table>
</form>
</div>
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Changing the above http://www.jw.org/en/ and JW.ORG references to your own domain and web site will allow you to use Google to search your own site. Additional information and terms of service can be found on this Google link.

Example



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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cosmic "Coincidences" or The Result of "Fine-Tuning"?

There are some extremely unusual and precise characteristics this Universe has in order for life to exist:

The Excess of Matter over Antimatter

Scientists agree that there was one extra proton produced in the early universe for every 10 billion or so protons and antiprotons. Without these extra protons, matter would have annihilated with antimatter, and there would be no matter left in the universe today.

The origin of the excess of matter over antimatter is one of the most interesting unsolved problems in physics today. Yet this relatively tiny excess is very relevant to our existence.

The Numerous Fundamental Physical Quantities in Nature That Could Easily Be Slightly Different

"At a fundamental microphysical level, there is a whole slew of cosmic coincidences that allowed life to [exist] on Earth. If any one of a number of fundamental physical quantities in nature was slightly different, then the conditions essential for the [existence] of life on Earth would not have existed. For example, if the very small mass difference between a neutron and proton (about 1 part in 1000) were changed by only a factor of 2, the abundance of elements in the universe, some of which are essential to life on Earth, would be radically different from what we observe today.

"Along the same lines, if the energy level of one of the excited states of the nucleus of the carbon atom were slightly different, then the reactions that produce carbon in the interiors of stars would not occur and there would be no carbon (the basis of organic molecules) in the universe today."


On the "Just-Right" Balance of the Universe's Expansion

"It turns out, however, that it is not so easy to design a universe that expands, as our universe does, without either re-collapsing very quickly in a reverse big bang (a "big crunch") or expanding so fast that there would have been no time for matter to clump together into stars and galaxies. The initial conditions of the universe, or some dynamical physical process early in its history, would have to be very fine tuned to get things just right." - Lawrence Krauss; American theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and director of its Origins Project

The "Just Right" Status of the Strength of the Gravitational Force

Commenting further about this remarkable 'coincidence', the following is an excerpt from The God Hypothesis, by Michael A. Corey:

"For thousands of years, careful thinkers have recognized that we live in a world that is very well suited for the existence of life. This realization has been confirmed in recent years by the plethora of scientific discoveries pertaining to the "just right" status of the entire cosmos with respect to the existence of living organisms.

"The strength of the gravitational force, which is one of nature's most fundamental building blocks, provides a good case in point. The numerical value that is associated with the gravitational constant, g, is 6.67 times 10 to the 11th power, and this value appears to have remained rock steady from the birth of the universe to the present day. However, the most remarkable thing about the gravitational constant isn't its fixed nature as such, but rather its perfect fit for the needs of life. For had the strength of the gravitational force been even slightly different, the universe would have been "stillborn," and we wouldn't be here to discuss the fact. This is all the more remarkable because the gravitational constant could conceivably have occupied an infinite number of possible values. Yet, out of this endless sea of possible strengths, nature ended up choosing the only one that happens to be "just right" for the needs of life.

"This "just right" status is now known to apply to all of nature's fundamental constants, and not just to the strength of gravity. Indeed, this could very well turn out to be the single most perplexing conundrum in all of modern science. For whereas scientists and philosophers have long been aware of the fact that we live in a "just right" world and universe, they have nevertheless been at a total loss to explain why this might be so."

For more, see:

 What Evidence is There That God Exists? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

 The Universe — Did It Come About by Chance or by Design? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

 Earth's Perpetual 'Habitable Zone' - Accident or "Remarkable Fine-Tuning"? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

 How Likely is it For a Basic DNA Molecule to Form Spontaneously? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

 The “Simple” Cell - A Product of Design or Extraordinary Coincidence? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)



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Monday, May 26, 2014

Do Jesus and Jehovah Share the Same Title of "Alpha and Omega"?

Some trinitarians attempt to prove their "Jehovah is Jesus" idea by pointing to Rev. 1:8 where God is clearly called "Alpha and Omega" and then saying that Jesus claims the same title at Rev. 22:13. They point to Rev. 22:16 in the KJV as proof that it is Jesus who is claiming to be the Alpha and Omega of verse 13. Since Jehovah is clearly Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), they say, and Jesus is Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), then Jesus IS Jehovah!

As you probably know, the original Bible writers didn't use any punctuation or capitalization and frequently ran the words of one speaker right into those of another speaker without any warning or indication. Eerdmans 1978 edition of Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, for example, warns Bible readers:

"The language of the MESSENGER frequently glides into that of the SENDER ..." and, "what a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER." - "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation" - Preface.

There is another thing that helps show the originally-intended meaning here. Although it is very common that the words of one speaker slide right into those of another speaker (e.g., Is. 10:4, 7), it also happens that sometimes the writer identifies the new speaker. As we see in Daniel, for example, Daniel nearly always identifies himself as the new speaker when he uses the words "I, Daniel" whenever it might be confusing to the reader (especially after a different person has been speaking) - Dan. 7:15, 28; 8:15, 27; 12:5.

If we then examine Revelation (which is recognized as being similar to, patterned after, and frequently referring to, the Book of Daniel), we find that John also uses this technique. "I, John" identifies a new speaker in every instance John uses it: Rev. 1:9; 22:8. So Rev. 1:9 is merely the statement of a new speaker.

Now look again at Rev. 22:8-16.

John is identified as the speaker in 22:8. The angel speaks in (:9). The angel apparently continues speaking in (:10). The angel may be still speaking in (:11) --- or it could be John or even someone else (as implied in verse 10 in the NAB,1970 ed.).

Now is the angel still speaking in (:12) or is it God, or is it Jesus, or even John?

There is simply no way of telling who the speaker is from any of the early Bible manuscripts. It's entirely a matter of translator's choice. Some translators have decided it is the angel who continues to speak, and they punctuate it accordingly.

So the NASB, JB, and NJB use quotation marks to show that these are all words spoken by the angel.

However, the NKJV, NEB, REB, RSV, and NRSV show by their use of quotation marks that someone else is now speaking in verse 12.

Most Bibles indicate that the person who spoke verse 12 (whether God, angel, Jesus, or John) also spoke verse 13 ("I am Alpha and Omega").

So the big question is: Is it clear that the speaker of verses 12 and 13 continues to speak? Some Bibles indicate this. But other highly respected trinitarian translations do not!

The RSV, NRSV, NASB, NEB, REB, NKJV, and NAB (1991 ed.) show (by quotation marks and indenting) that Rev. 22:14 and 15 are not the words of the speaker of verses 12 and 13 but are John's words. (The Jerusalem Bible and the NJB show us that the angel spoke all the words from verse 10 through verse 15.)

Then they all show Jesus as a new speaker beginning to speak in verse 16.

So, if you must insist that the person speaking just before verse 16 is the same person who is speaking in verse 16, then, according to the trinitarian NEB, RSV, NKJV, and NASB Bibles, you are saying John is Jesus! (According to the JB and NJB you would be insisting that the angel is Jesus!)

Remember, "I, John" indicated a new speaker in Revelation.

So Rev. 22:16 - "I, Jesus" also introduces a new speaker. This means, of course, that the previous statement ("I am the Alpha and Omega") was made by someone else!

Even the KJV (and NKJV) translators have shown by their use of the word 'his' ('His' in the NKJV) in verse 14 that they didn't mean that Jesus was the same speaker as the Alpha and Omega. The speaker of verse 13 is Almighty God. The comment in verse 14 of these Bibles (as literally translated from the Received Text) explains the importance of doing "His Commandments" (not "My Commandments")! Therefore, the speaker of verse 14 is obviously not God as clearly stated by those Bibles which were translated from the Received Text, e.g., KJV; NKJV; KJIIV; MKJV; Young's Literal Translation; Webster Bible (by Noah Webster); and Revised Webster Bible.

So we can easily see that there is no reason to say Jesus spoke the words recorded at Rev. 22:13 (or the above-named trinitarian Bibles would surely have so translated it!) and, in fact, the context really identifies the speaker as being the same person who spoke at Rev. 1:8, God Almighty, Jehovah, the Father.

The only other use of the title "Alpha and Omega" confirms this understanding.

"And He who sits on the throne said, `Behold, I am making all things new.' .... And He said to me, `It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. .... He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.'" - Rev. 21:5-7, NASB.

"Revelation 21:6, 7 indicates that Christians who are spiritual conquerors are to be `sons' of the one known as the Alpha and the Omega. That is never said of the relationship of spirit-anointed Christians to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of them as his `brothers.' (Heb. 2:11; Matt. 12:50; 25:40) But those `brothers' of Jesus are referred to as `sons of God [the Father].' (Gal. 3:26; 4:6)." - pp. 412-413, Reasoning from the Scriptures, WBTS, 1985.

So Rev. 21:6, 7 confirms the understanding that the Alpha and Omega is the Father, not Jesus.

Furthermore, The only one "seated on the throne" in Rev. is the Father, Jehovah alone. (See, for example, Rev. 4 & 5 where the "Lion that is of the tribe of Judah," the lamb [the Son] approaches the one seated on the throne!)

In short, there is no reason, other than a desire to support the trinity tradition, to believe that Jesus is being called "Alpha and Omega" in Rev. 22. And there is good evidence to believe that it is his Father only who uses this title for himself.


For more, see:

Alpha and Omega - Speaker Confusion Trick (Examining the Trinity)

Alpha and Omega (Insight; Watchtower Online Library)

Alpha and Omega: To whom does this title properly belong? (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Exposing the False Reasoning Behind Trinity 'Proof'-Texts (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)



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