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Who is God?

 

 Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that:

  • There is no plurality in the Godhead [1]
  • Jesus is an angel, the first creation of God [2]
  • The holy spirit is God’s active force, not a person [3]

What does mainstream Christianity believe?

Q1. What are outstanding characteristics of God?

Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, love, wisdom, power and justice (John 4:24; Ex 3:14; 4:5-7; Jer 10:12; Rev 15:4). Let’s consider His holiness, love and grace:

1. His Holiness:  What does it mean that God is Holy?

Answer: It means God’s transcendent purity – “separate or cut off” from everything sinful. More than that: the ‘set apart’, over-flowing, unique relationship between Father, Son and Spirit from all eternity. By grace we are invited to share in this holy fellowship and be whole.

Additional Info

Ex 15:11 Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

John 17:11 I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

1 Pet 1:15-16 As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 John 1:6-7 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

(Also, Isa 6:3; 57:15; Rev 15:4)

2. His Love: Is God’s love unconditional? Can we love God perfectly?

Answer: In Christianity, Christ earns God’s approval for us—unconditionally. All that’s left for us to do is accept the offer. The Old Covenant taught the Jews to love God whole-souled; the New Covenant says God loves us whole-souled.

Additional Info

Matt 22:36-38 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” [note: this is a summary of the old Law given through Moses]

Rom 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

1 John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God….

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

(Also, Matt 5:48; Rom 5:5; 1 John 2:4-6)

3. His Grace: What is Grace? Can we be saved by our conduct and works?

Answer: Grace is God’s love in action toward people who merit the opposite of love. God’s grace gives us the desire and the power to do his will; the divine enablement, by the life of Christ in us, to be and do all that we have been called for. It is not a mere teaching. It is a person, Jesus.

John 1:16-17 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Rom 4:4-5 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

2 Tim 1:9 Saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

Titus 3:4-5 When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

(Also, Ex 34:6; Rom 9:16; 2 Pet 3:18)

Q2. Does the Old Testament indicate plurality in the Godhead?

Answer: Both OT and NT teach a plurality of the Godhead

Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Gen 3:22 Then the Lord [Jehovah] God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.”

Gen 11:7-9 “Come, let us go down and there confuse their language”

Isaiah 6:8 I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 48:16 Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.

 (Also, Ps 45:6-7; Isa 63:7-14)

 Additional Info

Q3. In the NT do the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit cooperate collectively?

Answer: As 3 persons in the one being, they are in full cooperation. In each operation all three members are present – the Father creates, the Son redeems, and the Holy Spirit sets apart.

Matt 3:16-17 Jesus was baptized … 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.”

Matt 28:18 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name [singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my [Jesus] name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Acts 16:6-10 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia… they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them…. And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

1 Cor 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord [Jesus]; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

2 Cor 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Eph 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Jude 20-21 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Rev 1:4-5 Grace to you and peace from him [God] who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

(Also, Luke 1:35; John 3:34-35; 4:10; 7:38-39;16:13-15; Acts 2:32-39; Rom 8:9; 15:16,30; 2 Cor 3:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2)

Q4. Are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all described the same?

Note the following charts:

Divine Qualities

DIVINE QUALITY
THE FATHER
THE SON
THE HOLY SPIRIT
OMNIPRESENCE
Jeremiah 23:24; 1 Kings 8:27
Matthew 28:20; 18:20; John 1:48
Psalm 139:7
OMNISCIENCE
Psalm 147:5; 1 John 3:20; 1 Kings 8:39
John 16:30; 2:24-25
1 Corinthians 2:10-11
OMNIPOTENCE
Jeremiah 32:17,27; Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37; Psalm 135:6
Matthew 28:18; John 16:15; Hebrews 1:3
Romans 15:19
HOLINESS
Revelation 15:4
Acts 3:14
Romans 1:4
ETERNITY
Psalm 90:2; Romans 16:26
Hebrews 7:3; Isaiah 9:6; John 8:58
Hebrews 9:14
Each described as the TRUTH
John 7:28
John 8:32,36; 14:6; Revelation 3:7
John 16:13; 1 John 5:6-7
LORD
Luke 1:32; 10:21
Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11
2 Corinthians 3:17
GOD
1 Peter 1:2; Philippians 2:11
2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13; John 1:1; 20:28; Hebrews 1:8
Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
ALMIGHTY
Genesis 17:1
Revelation 1:8; 22:12-13, 20
Zechariah 4:6

 

Divine Works

DIVINE WORK
THE FATHER
THE SON
THE HOLY SPIRIT
CREATION
Genesis 2:7; Psalm 102:25; Isaiah 44:24
John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2
Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30
INCARNATION
Hebrews 10:5
Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:7
Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18
CHRIST’S RESURRECTION
1 Thessalonians 1:10; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 1:20
John 10:17-18; John 2:18-22
Romans 1:4; 8:11
THEY SANCTIFY
Exodus 31:13; Jude 1
Hebrews 2:11; 10:10
1 Peter 1:2
THEY ARE LIFE
Deuteronomy 30:20
Colossians 3:4; John 14:6
Romans 8:10
GIVE ETERNAL LIFE
Romans 6:23
John 10:28
Galatians 6:8
RAISE THE DEAD
John 5:21a; Deuteronomy 32:39
John 5:21b
Romans 8:11
INSPIRE PROPHETS
Hebrews 1:1
2 Corinthians 13:3
Mark 13:11; Acts 28:25-27

Q5. What is Henotheism?

JW’s are taught to view the Trinity as asserting that there are three persons (or Gods), co-equal and co-eternal – comprising one person (God) which was taught by the ancient pagan nations and was adopted by Constantine to unite his empire from 325 AD. Or they think of the Trinity as meaning that God appears in three roles (which is Modalism).
Whereas simply put the Trinity is: One in Essence /Three in Person. 

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The JW teaching is a form of henotheism, namely “the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods” – which in reality is a form of polytheism. (Exod 20:3; John 20:28)

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Summary:

  1. The Old Testament indicates plurality in the Godhead.
  2. The Bible indicates:
    • The deity of Christ [See Who is Christ?]
    • The personality and deity of the Holy Spirit [See Who is the Holy Spirit?]
    • The deity of the Father [undisputed]
    • These factors produce a description of the triune Godhead
  3. These three Persons are repeatedly spoken of as cooperating collectively

Endnotes

  1. Reasoning p 405
  2. Watchtower 2010 April 1st p 19
  3. Watchtower 2009 Oct 1st pp 4-6

Article Credits: KevinQuick.com

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