Jehovah Witness are not Christian
Debate Rounds (5)
First and foremost, I want to thank you for this debate to come. Apologetic's is a strong passion of mine, and I am extremely eager to understand the theology of JW's a bit better. I don't want this to turn into a heated debate, but rather a discussion. I will assure that at times, we may 'puff out our feathers' but in all I simply want to be able to come to some sort of understanding with each other. God Bless you, lets have some fun.
The fundamental difference in the NWT (New World Translation) in comparison to any of the number of Christian translations, apart from the use of Jehovah, is found in John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."
Now any of the Christian translations, you will find in the same chapter and verse, John 1:1 "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
We see a very strong and concerning distinction. JW believe it says, "the Word was A God" breaking apart the trinity entirely.
Now lets go to why the New World Translation is inaccurate in this assumption, and one particular verse, and in effect this profound inaccuracy should question the authenticity of the remainder of the NWT. Prepare yourself, it is lengthy.
In Biblical Greek, if there is no definite article (the) in front of any given noun then it is generally understood that you would insert an indefinite article (a) into the translation before that word. There is no "a" in the Greek, it is just automatically inserted in front of a noun if there is no "the". So the Jehovah's Witnesses made the assumption that because there was no definite article in front of "god," the sentence should be translate: The word was "a" god. However they are not correct in that assumption because, read carefully, they are seeking to apply one rule of the Greek language while ignoring all the other rules that are going on in that sentence.
Greek is very different from English in that the subject of the sentence does not have to come at the beginning of the sentence in order for it to be understood or grammatically correct. So in English we couldn't say "the dog pet David." That would be the wrong order. The subject of the sentence, David, the one doing the action has to come first. "David pet the dog." But in Greek, the subject can be put anywhere in the sentence and so can the object ("the dog") and it will make perfect sense to them because each noun is parsed in such a way that it is designated as a subject or an object by the ending of the word. For example "logos" is the subject form of the word "Word" whereas "logou" would be the object form of the word. Subjects and objects can be switched around in any order in the Greek sentence and they won't lose their meaning.
If John had given the word "God" in this sentence a definite article in front of it "the", then the Jews would have understood the statement to mean Jesus was THE God, the only God, God the Father, which is not what John wanted to say. But at the same time, he couldn't leave out the definite article and say "O Logos en theos"because then people would take it as him saying Jesus was "a" god, like I talked about before. So instead (this is a mark of genius), he switched the order of the subject and the object. The sentence reads "Theos en o logos." Which to us would look like God was the word. But like I talked about just a second ago, because of the parsing of the words we know that The Word is the subject and God is the object. So why did he switch the order? Because if a noun is at the beginning of a sentence or phrase, then it doesn't need an article at all. So he did not have to put "The" in front of God because Jesus is not God the Father (which is what that would have implied). At the same time, the sentence CAN NOT be translate, Jesus is a god, because when a noun is at the beginning of a phrase it is never translated with that automatic indefinite article (a) inserted in.
Since this isn't some loosely held idea, but in fact the accurate way to translate Greek to English, I would like a defense on that, with equal strength as the opposing.
Lets briefly discuss the Trinity:
Some questions I would have is, since translation appears to hold such towering importance, why did the translator not take notice to the use of 'elohiym' used in the very opening of this Holy Book when it states, "In the beginning, God (elohiym) created the heavens and the earth" Gen 1:1. This word in the Hebrew translates to, (Plural) God, divine one and so on. http://biblehub.com... We see the trinity in the very first chapter of the book, where in the next verse, Gen1:2 "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." But I question why the NWT doesn't word it like that, because when we take a look at the Hebrew again, it doesn't shy away from using the Holy Spirit in that moment.
We again see the trinity in effect in many places but in order to transition I will use the scene when Jesus is baptized in Mathew 3:16,17 "And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'" The NWT isn't too far off from this exact wording, but again lets look at the Greek since that appears to be such an important issue. The word for Spirit in that instance is 'pneuma' in the Greek and I would urge you to look that up. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all acting in one accord in this moment.
Now lets begin to talk about Jesus.
You said in your previous debate: "Jesus Christ: They believe, not that Jesus Christ is part of a Trinity, but that, as the Bible says, he is the Son of God, the first of God"s creations; that he had a prehuman existence and that his life was transferred from heaven to the womb of a virgin, Mary; that his perfect human life laid down in sacrifice makes possible salvation to eternal life for those who exercise faith; that Christ is actively ruling as King, with God-given authority over all the earth since 1914."
With this I would like to point to one verse to prove Jesus' claim to divinity, because essentially JW and Christians, ALMOST believe the same thing about Jesus, except for the divinity of Jesus. I would like to question your thoughts on this.
Mark 14:62 "And Jesus said, "I Am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." In this we have Jesus claiming to be God. To understand that concept, this is important, we have to understand that the writers of the New Testament had only an Old Testament context. In this moment Jesus is refering to three massive claims of the Old Testament, and ill break this down.
The very first claim, Jesus' first response is "I Am", and we can find in Exodus 3:14 "God said to Moses 'I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.'"
In the second point when Jesus says "You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power", we can find that God claim in Psalms 110:1 "A psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, 'Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.'"
And in the third point when Jesus says "..coming with the clouds of heaven." we find yet another God claim in the book of Daniel in 7:13 "As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence."
This was not by mistake or chance, Jesus knew his audience and He knew his role. He was God and fully claimed it. I get this verse from Mark and all the cross references, not only from any one of the Christian translations, but they are all in the New World Translation as well.
It would appear that JW wouldn't disagree with the fact that Jesus is God since the NWT claims it just the same at any other Bible, however they are still led to believe otherwise?
I am very eager to see your response on these topics.
I thank my opponent for this interesting discussion.
To begin with, I will explain why John 1:1 is worded differently in the NWT. God or a god? Which translation agrees with the context? Well, John 1:18 says: “No one has ever seen God.” And John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . we have beheld his glory.” Finally, at John 17:3 Jesus addresses the Father as “the only true God”.
"Some reference books argue strongly that the Greek text must be translated, 'The Word was God.' But not all agree. In his article 'Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,' Philip B. Harner said that such clauses as the one in John 1:1, 'with an anarthrous predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning. They indicate that the logos has the nature of theos.' He suggests: 'Perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’ (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1973, pp. 85, 87) Thus, in this text, the fact that the word the·os′ in its second occurrence is without the definite article (ho) and is placed before the verb in the sentence in Greek is significant. Interestingly, translators that insist on rendering John 1:1, 'The Word was God,' do not hesitate to use the indefinite article (a, an) in their rendering of other passages where a singular anarthrous predicate noun occurs before the verb. Thus at John 6:70, JB and KJ both refer to Judas Iscariot as “a devil,” and at John 9:17 they describe Jesus as 'a prophet.'
Origin of Trinity: "When Constantine became sole ruler of the Roman Empire, professed Christians were divided over the relationship between God and Christ. Was Jesus God? Or was he created by God? To settle the matter, Constantine summoned church leaders to Nicaea, not because he sought religious truth, but because he did not want religion to divide his empire. Constantine asked the bishops, who may have numbered into the hundreds, to come to a unanimous accord, but his request was in vain. He then proposed that the council adopt the ambiguous notion that Jesus was 'of one substance' (homoousios) with the Father. This unbiblical Greek philosophical term laid the foundation for the Trinity doctrine as later set forth in the church creeds. Indeed, by the end of the fourth century, the Trinity had essentially taken the form it has today, including the so-called third part of the godhead, the holy spirit."
As you can see, trinity was introduced to Christianity in the fourth century by the pagan, sun-worshipping emperor Constantine. What does the Bible REALLY teach?
Truth is the easiest thing to defend, so lets jump in with the opening statement you made.
You quoted John 1:18 but didn't finish the verse. It says "No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Fathers heart. He has revealed God to us." So I am afraid that your case doesn't hold weight or value since the very same verse is giving you the answer. Jesus, being God has shown us God, because He is God. But lets continue to discuss Jesus based on your retort, " Finally, at John 17:3 Jesus addresses the Father as "the only true God""
In Matthew when Jesus is being tempted He says "Be gone Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve." It would seem at this moment you would have me. Jesus Himself says, You should worship the Lord your God and him ONLY shall you serve. Jesus had quite the conviction on this I would say, if this was his response to Satan himself. If Jesus' conviction was so strong why would He allow people to worship Him?
Matthew 2:11 "And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh." Okay, He was only a baby and had no say in the matter, i'll give you that but lets look a bit further down in His life when He would be fully capable to say the same response to His worshipers, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve"
Matthew 14:33 " And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
Matthew 28:9 "And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him." Or here.
John 9:35-38 "Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36 He answered and said, "And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" 37 Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you." 38 And he said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped Him." Or here..
It would appear to me that Jesus knew something. He had no issue with people worshiping and serving Him, because he was the Lord their God. Why would Jesus allow it, if that wasn't the case? Let me move onto your quote by Philip B. Harner because this is very very interesting.
In the very same article that The Watchtower quotes, Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns, Harner presents clauses of the scripture, and then says...
"A. oJ logo" hn oJ qeo" ? [ho logos en ho theos]
B. qeo" hn oJ logo" ?[theos en ho logos]
C. oJ logo" qeo" hn ? [ho logos theos en]
D. oJ logo" hn qeo" ? [ho logos en theos]
E. oJ logo" hn qeio" ? [ho logos en theios]
Clause A, with an arthrous predicate, would mean that logos and theos are equivalent and interchangeable. There would be no ho theos which is not also ho logos. But this equation of the two would contradict the preceding clause of 1:1, in which John writes that oJ logo" hn pro" ton qeon [ho logos en pros ton theon: "the word was with the god"]. This clause suggests relationship, and thus some form of "personal" differentiation, between the two. Clause D, with the verb preceding an anarthrous predicate, would probably mean that the logos was "a god" or a divine being of some kind, belonging to the general category of theos but as a distinct being from ho theos. Clause E would be an attenuated form of D. It would mean that the logos was "divine," without specifying further in what way or to what extent it was divine. It could also imply that the logos, being only theios, was subordinate to theos"
Harner actually denies that "a God" is a proper translation of John 1:1. After quoting the Greek of what John actually wrote, "theos en ho logos", Harner then shows how the Greek would have to read if it was to be translated, "a God". Harner gives five different clauses A-E. He writes, "Clause D, ho logos en theos, would probably mean that the logos was 'a god' or a divine being of some kind, belonging to the general category of theos, but as a distinct being from ho theos." Harner's Clause D is the precise definition used by Jehovah's Witnesses, yet Harner rules this out as what John is actually saying. Harner then writes, "CLAUSE E "ho logos en theios" would mean that the logos was 'divine' without specifying further in what way or to what extent it was divine. It could also imply that the logos, being only theios, was subordinate to theos." Again notice that Harner rules this interpretation out based upon what John actually wrote! Although clauses D and E are both exactly what Jehovah's Witnesses claim John was saying, Harner rules both out as not possible.
Lets move to your next point,
I am interested where you found that quote one the trinity for starters, but lets talk Bible and Trinity.
First off, you didn't say anything about the Hebrew word 'elohiym. Grammatically plural. It is found in the first verse of the Bible, not added by Constatine, but originally written that way, for a purpose, to show the trinity. Lets look at the exact quote that you gave me, in Deuteronomy 6:4 it says "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" Now lets look at the Hebrew shall we? Again since authenticity of the original language is a big issue to the JW. It says, "Shama' Yisra'el Yehovah 'elohiym Yehovah 'echad" in other words "The Lord," that is, Yahweh the God of Israel, is called "our Elohim," and declared to be "One" Plural yet singular. The truth is easy to defend, like I said in the beginning, and that is the original language right there for you. Plural, yet singular. Trinity.
You keep pointing me to Jesus, in some way, saying that He is separate from the Father but you are ignoring what the Bible says, in Philippians 2:6-8 "Though he was God he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal"s death on a cross."
"Though He was God." That's huge. There is no dispute there about an indefinite article, needing to be there. Jesus isn't simply "a" God. He is God.
I made my point on the top statement that Jesus claimed to be God, by the act of worship, and here we see evidence of it yet again. Jesus didn't pray to the Father because He wasn't Himself God, He did it because Jesus was fully God, and fully man.
My friend, I am not the one missing these verses, rather I see them clearly and dig deeper into them. I don't solely trust what an article in a magazine might tell me but rather I take the truly inspired Word of God, and study it. You appear to be more educated in your Bible then any other JW I have met, but you are still missing the beauty of it. Jesus Christ, God in Human flesh and the sacrifice He made for you. No story can compare to the true one of Jesus Christ. I strongly urge you, to seek for yourself the answers that only Jesus Christ can give to you. Lets continue.
Mark 14:62. I give God more credit then that. Do you really think that it is by chance, he responded to the High Priest, in regards to the question of being the exact one, that the Jews were waiting for with not one but three prophetic fulfilment? If Jesus wasn't claiming to be God, why on earth would a Jewish High Priest "tear his clothing to show his horror and said, 'Why do we need other witnesses?'". I'll tell you why, because Jesus just said, I Am God. And you will see Me (God) seated in the place of power at God's right hand and coming on the cloud of heaven.
Why would Jesus say that if He wasn't God? Why would Jesus let people worship Him if He wasn't God? Why would the Bible say He was God if He wasn't God? Let's say that The Fathers name is Jehovah, that's fine I don't disagree with that because the Bible says His name is Jehovah and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God. So therefore when Jesus says, in John 14:6 "I Am the way the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through Me.", and when we look at the Greek and "I Am" is ego in the greek and Me, is the exact same word, we can look at that and know Jesus is saying, "I Am (God) the way the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through Me(God)".
The Bible is true, and it can stand firm to any test because the truth is and always will be true. Truth is the easiest thing to defend because no matter the case thrown at it, it will always be true.
My prayers and going your way, that you would come to know Jesus as God my friend. Not by some debate, but by a revelation that can only come from Him.
I am looking forward to your response. (I didn't use I am in the Exodus 3:14 kind of way ;) *Que drums*)
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I would however like to continue this discussion with a response based on my previous post, thank you.
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