Saturday, June 6, 2009

JW Study Meeting #20

Today was fuuuuuun. I had mistakenly thought that we were supposed to meet at 1:30, but it was 1:00, so Uriah caught me by surprise while I was typing up this post at TheologyWeb. We chatted for a little bit--he brought me a couple of pamphlet-style publications, as well as the latest Watchtower and Awake!. (Regarding the back page of the latest Awake!, by the way, please watch this interesting YouTube video.)

It didn't take too long before we dove into the remainder of the chapter (paragraphs 12-25) from What Does the Bible Really Teach?. The first portion of it, everything until paragraph 20, was thoroughly unobjectionable, in my view. So we had no controversy until we reached that. Paragraph 20 asserts that some individuals will not be resurrected at all at the time of judgement:

Does this mean that ever human who ever lived will be resurrected? No. The Bible says that some of the dead are in "Gehenna." (Luke 12:5) [...] So Gehenna is a fitting symbol of everlasting destruction. Although Jesus will have a role in judging the living and the dead, Jehovah is the final Judge. (Acts 10:42) He will never resurrect those whom he judges to be wicked and unwilling to change. (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, p. 73, par. 20)
We'll get back to that after a while, but see this post for more thorough coverage of the issue. The next couple of paragraphs (21-22) set forth the JW belief in a heavenly resurrection as spirit-beings for some, and the two paragraphs after that (23-24) dealt with the anointed.

During my brief rundown in delineating what paragraphs 21-22 were about, I explained a bit of my own view as well, and thoroughly managed to take Uriah by surprise. He'd never met anyone who firmly believes in the resurrection of the body and the new heavens and new earth while also not believing in the resurrection of the anointed class to a heavenly existence. You should've seen how perplexed he was. He had so much stuff running through his head after that, that he kept stumbling over the words for the next few paragraphs, and at one point he just randomly stopped in mid-sentence to think for about a minute or so....Aaaaaanyway, once we got to discussion time, I started out with the issue of whether all people will be resurrected. So first Uriah explained the three-part division of righteous, unrighteous (both of these are resurrected), and blotted out ([Soup Nazi]"No resurrection for you!"[/Soup Nazi]); I was surprised to hear Uriah state in his explanation that the third category wasn't really in the Bible.

So then we began discussing who might be in the third category, and Uriah stated that he really wasn't sure. He thinks Adam is probable, and he leans towards putting Judas and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah there as well. So then I asked him about Sodom and Gomorrah with reference to Matthew 11:24, and he thought for a moment and said he really didn't know, so he'd have to look it up. More specifically, we established that he tentatively thinks that, when judgment day rolls around, both the people of Sodom and the unrepentant hearers of Jesus' condemnation will be non-existent, and so he isn't sure how it can be better for one non-existent group than for another non-existent group in a time when neither of them exists. I also asked why Jesus spoke so universally of the resurrection in John 5:28, and he didn't really have an answer for that either.

I did get some clarification of some sort on one question I had regarding the anointed. For JWs, or at least for Uriah, only the anointed are sealed with holy spirit, but all believers can receive holy spirit, be guided by holy spirit, even described as indwelt by holy spirit. (I'll have to check my collection of JW literature to see if they contradict that.) This took a bit of sting out of an argument I constructed last night, but not too much:
  1. (1) Everyone indwelt by the Spirit will have life given to their mortal bodies. [cf. Romans 8:11]
  2. (2) the anointed are indwelt by the Spirit [premise]
  3. (3) the anointed do not experience resurrection of their bodies [premise]
  4. ergo, one of (1)-(3) must be incorrect
He's not entirely sure what to do about this either, but he's going to look further into JW exegesis of Romans 8:11. Looking at verses 12 and 13 didn't help him evade the argument too much, unless he interprets "make YOUR mortal bodies alive" (Romans 8:11, NWT) as meaning something other than resurrection, which in light of the passage's explicit reference to raising Christ from the dead seems to be pretty cut and dry.

That was basically as far as we got today. Next Saturday we plan to push forward in the discussion, and I already took puh-lenty of notes dealing with the whole 'spirit-resurrection' thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment