Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Meeting Delayed

Seems like the twenty-second meeting is being postponed--I got stood up! I'll send Uriah an e-mail later saying I missed seeing him today, or something like that. I think I'll say that next Saturday will work out well for me. After all, it has been three weeks, so he could've forgotten--although he writes these things down in a calendar.... (Alternatively, perhaps I did enough theological damage last time to make him need an even longer break, haha.)

Anyway, this morning as I remembered that I'd forgotten to do most of the research I'd planned, I prepared a sort of outline for myself of the arguments I'd been using and planned to bring up. I even decided to use the New World Translation as my primary Bible for it, so that most of my arguments could be made from the NWT alone; and I also decided to omit some of the more popular texts used, or the ones to which I'm familiar with very common JW replies. Since I don't have anything to actually report this time, I figure I might as well transcribe it for fun and profit edification:


Three theoretical options for resurrection: (1) glorified physical resurrection bodies (continuity); (2) substance-change resurrection (continuity); and (3) replacement resurrection as spirit-bodies (discontinuity).

On Physical Resurrection for All

For Jehovah's Witnesses, the anointed will experience [3] whereas the "great crowd" will experience [1]. Moreover, most statements about resurrection in the Pauline epistles are taken to refer to the resurrection of the anointed, rather than the great crowd, as Paul's audience was, it is presumed, composed entirely of the anointed class.

I. Romans 8:11
  • "life to YOUR mortal bodies" (Romans 8:11, NWT) is either resurrection or it is not - but it clearly is
  • this is either a literal use of the concept of resurrection, or it is metaphorical (a la Ephesians 2:4-6) - but it clearly exceeds metaphor in specificity
  • thus, mortal bodies will literally receive life in the resurrection
  • this is compatible with [1] or [2], but incompatible with [3]

II. 1 Corinthians 15:53

  • there are two options: (P) "that which is corruptible" has reference to the physical body, and "incorruption" is a state of non-physical existence; or (Q) this is not the case, and their referents are otherwise
  • assuming [P], then "the physical body must put on a state of non-physical existence", which is [2] rather than [3], and so incompatible with JW teaching
  • counter: this text really means that the person in the physical body must adopt godly principles so that later the person, but not the physical body, can be re-created in a state of non-physical existence
  • reply: the text never says anything of the sort; it clearly says that that which is corruptible must put on incorruption
  • assuming [Q], then the corruption/incorruption dichotomy is not equivalent to the material/immaterial dichotomy, which supports [1]
  • thus, no option here supports [3], least of all the JW reading of the text

III. 1 Corinthians 15:42

  • assuming that "it" refers to the physical body, then the text means that the physical body (even of the anointed) is raised in incorruption - and this would be [1]
  • assuming that "it" refers to the 'life-force', the text is false because the life-force is never sown in burial; thus this assumption must be false
  • "it" cannot change referent in the midst of this and the subsequent verses; Paul is a better communicator than that!
  • hence, this text clearly supports [1]

IV. Philippians 3:21

  • either (P) Christ has a glorified physical body; or (Q) Christ has a non-physical spirit-body
    assuming [Q], then "our humiliated bod[ies]" are refashioned into spirit-bodies, which would be option [2]
  • assuming [P], then "our humiliated bod[ies]" are glorified in their physicality, which would be option [1]
  • counter A: perhaps the "humiliated body" is not the physical body of each anointed believer, but the corporate body of Christ, that is, the anointed class as a whole
    reply A: this is contrary to established JW interpretation of the passage (e.g., Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 336), in which the physical bodies are in view
  • counter B: perhaps the anointed alive when the millennium begins shall have [2] instead of [3], such that Paul can indeed predicate [2] of the anointed
  • reply B1: but this would only be 5% of the anointed class at best, and Paul was a skilled enough communicator to convey his message better. He could have said, e.g., "our humiliated body shall be exchanged for one like unto his glorious body", which would have covered the whole anointed class and not just a miniscule fraction of them
  • reply B2: it remains to be established that (counter B) posits accepted JW teaching at all regarding the anointed who remain when Christ comes
  • thus no option compatible with JW teaching is compatible with this verse, JW use notwithstanding

V. Romans 8:23

  • New World Translation says "redemption from our bodies", but the Greek has "απολυτρωσιν του σωματος ημων" - that is, "redemption of our body", not "from"
    New World Translation has here changed Scripture to escape the implication
    if our bodies - that is, those of the anointed - are redeemed, this must entail [1] or [2]; this passage disconfirms [3]

On the Physical Resurrection of Christ

I. Philippians 3:21

  • see (IV) above

II. 1 Timothy 2:15

  • this verse refers to Jesus in the present tense as "a man"
  • but if Jesus was raised as a non-human spirit-being, he isn't actually human in the present tense
  • and it must mean really "a man" and not merely in appearance as a man, because of the God-Jesus-man mediation described in the passage
  • thus, Jesus is currently a man
  • and it follows that Jesus was not raised as a spirit-being, as JW teaching holds

III. John 2:19-22

  • Jesus said that in three days, he would raise the temple up that had been broken down
  • John makes very explicit that Jesus meant his body
  • so after three days, Jesus raised up the body that was broken down
  • but this is not compatible with a spirit-resurrection, in which the old temple remains fallen and a new one is built out of different material
  • consequently, Jesus was raised physically from the dead in the body in which he died, contrary to JW teaching

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