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Creation and a cult

Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness with creation

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Published: 10 June 2014 (GMT+10)

“Hullo, hulloooo, hullo”, came the call a few days ago from just outside my study window. I went outside and immediately guessed that the lady calling for attention was a Jehovah’s Witness. In the background I could see her accomplice already engaging someone else on our property. As I approached she commented on the lovely day and a pretty section of our garden. This was her opening from which to launch about the creator of these things. As JW’s do not believe in a biblical creation, but in a combination of ‘day age’ and Genesis 1:1 as an indeterminate amount of time within which to fit ‘true science’, this seemed a bit impertinent. The disingenuous nature of the JW presentation was repeated when she then referred to the “son of God, Jesus” as being the “saviour”. Disingenuous, as she knows that most people with any Christian background would understand those words in the context of Jesus as the second person of the one triune God; while as a JW, she does not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.

I immediately graciously challenged her on her statement and she acknowledged that JW’s do not believe that Jesus is God; a theology at odds with 2000 years of orthodox Christian doctrine, is explicitly claimed by Jesus Himself and implicit in much of the Old Testament as well. In other words, she knew her statement about Jesus was a ruse to get people’s guard down. I put it to her that if salvation is through a belief in Jesus Christ, as we both acknowledge, then who He is must be extremely important. The Bible tells us that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Establishing the true identity and nature of this Jesus is therefore a matter of (eternal) life or death. Will any Jesus do? Obviously a Jesus da Silva in Peru will not. And so establishing the true identity and nature of the Jesus we are called on to believe for salvation is imperative. There is an infinite gulf between a Jesus that is ‘The Son of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father’1, and a Jesus that is not.

She stated that Jesus is not the eternal God, but ‘a god’, created by God the Father, as He created Satan who is also called ‘the god of this world’ in 2 Corinthians 4:4. She then went on with the familiar JW ‘proofs’ of their denial of the deity of Christ.

Why is Jesus referred to as ‘the firstborn of all creation’ in Colossians 1:15? Why is He called the ‘mighty God’ in Isaiah 9:6 and not almighty God? Why does Jesus say, “the Father is greater than I” in John 14:28 if He is equal with God? All of these objections to the deity of Christ have been adequately answered by Christians since the Church began and are covered in the ‘Related articles’ section below. The powerful refutations come from within the Bible itself, showing the folly of building a theology on an isolated verse without ‘examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so’ (Acts 17:11), as did the Bereans in response to Paul and Silas’ teaching.

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By this time the lady’s accomplice had come over and was taking over the conversation. With a prayer that God would use my words to bring conviction to these ladies, I began to show them, using their own ‘New World Translation’ of the Bible, how the Bible refutes the JW arguments. I was conscious of how the ‘interpreters’2 have made changes and insertions to their version, at odds with any other translations of the Bible. There are some passages of the Scriptures which powerfully argue for the deity of Christ, which are however a bit more subtle, and so the sense of them has not been altered by the ‘New World’ translators.

An example is found in John 12:37–41 where, in the context of repeated opposition and rejection of Christ by the Pharisees, John says that this was in fulfillment of prophecies of the prophet Isaiah and quotes from Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 6. John concludes with the words (taken from the ‘New World Translation’), ‘Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him.’ (John 12:41) The translators clearly are showing that the ‘his’ and ‘him’ referred to here is Jesus. Their problem is that they did not go back and look at Isaiah 6:5 to see who it was that Isaiah had seen and heard. “For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (ESV) In context, John is clearly identifying Jesus as the LORD (Jehovah) and the rejection of Jesus as synonymous with the rejection of Jehovah.

An even clearer presentation of Jesus as part of the eternal Godhead is in references to His role in creation. In John 1:1, the ‘New World Translation’ has added the indefinite article ‘a’ to ‘god’ to remove the power of John’s sense that ‘the Word was God’. The ‘Word’ (logos) is clearly identified as Jesus in the context which JW’s would also concede. But in verse 3, the JW interpretation does not diminish the force of John’s statement. The English Standard Version says ‘All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.’ The ‘New World’ translates it ‘All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.’ Whether translated ‘made’ or ‘came into existence’, the verse is clear. Everything that was ‘made’ or ‘came into existence’ was done so by ‘the Word’. Now JW’s do not believe that Jesus is the ‘eternal God’. They believe He was made or created or came into existence. If this is so, from John 1:3 it means that He made Himself. This is a logical absurdity. It is impossible for the Word to be at once created, and yet the creator of all things. If the JW assertion that Jesus Himself ‘came into existence’ is granted, then He must have come ‘into existence’ prior to making everything else, in which case the claim that ‘apart from him not even one thing came into existence’ is false, as it excludes his own coming into existence. In order for Jesus to be the maker of all things, He has to be the eternal, self-existent, creator God.

When I pointed this out to her, she hesitated for a while and said she would have to ask her leader about this. As I saw her to the gate I told her of Creation Ministries. As she left she asked whether I really believed that the days of Genesis 1 were ordinary, 24-hour days. It was a sobering reminder of the fact that while belief in 6-day creation of itself does not save, denial in one form or another of such an obvious, straightforward biblical teaching (while claiming to be ‘anti-evolution’) is a feature of all the major heretical cults. This is at least consistent with their denial/twisting of other, equally obvious and Gospel-related aspects of the ‘faith delivered once unto the saints’—including something as fundamental as the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ—that I had just been a witness to.

I have found that JW’s are generally very well trained to handle the obvious and clear biblical objections to their denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. If you have the opportunity to speak to someone trapped in this cult, consider prayerfully challenging their denial of the Trinity and Christ’s deity using John 1:3 to show them that Jesus is the eternal, creator God. You may be used by God in the life of one who ‘wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.’ (James 5:19, 20)

References and notes

  1. As many creeds and confessions state, this particular one being from The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646, Chapter 8, section II. Return to text.
  2. It is not a translation but a very subjective interpretation of the Scriptures, making additions and deletions in accordance with the JW objections to orthodox Christian belief that they find unpalatable. Return to text.