Jehovah`s Witness/Genesis 1:1
Hello Derrick. I hope all is good in your world.
Today I learned from jw 'a' that before God created the earth and heavens there was already creation that existed. To think that "In the beginning " was not really the beginning of creation was news to me. Where would I be without the jws?
This was an off shoot of my question to him regarding the meaning of "In the beginning " and if it meant before any creation. His muddled and bewildered response was all over the place, but basically that beginning has two meanings, one for Gen.1:1 and a different meaning for John 1:1. My understanding from reading the Bible is that "In the beginning " is meant to mean before anything was created. This would also mean the same to me in John 1:1, that Jesus existed before anything was created. He also noted that the Bible doesn't say when Jesus was created, but neither does it say when the angels were either .
He likes to say that firstborn has only one meaning while the Greek word has more than one meaning. Oh and and he answered my question about how he came to understand the word 'parousia' as just simply by reading the Bible and understanding it through context. I asked him if the bible ever mentioned invisible presence or if he understood that the word presence actually means physical presence as in "We request your presence at our wedding celebration." Hmmm its never ending .
More to come.....
God bless you and thanks.
I'm sure this is old news to you,but it's amazing how they can't understand what the Bible plainly says.
Hello, Kevin. How are you? Good to hear from you again. Things are good here with me. Certainly can't complain...I am blessed, and God has been good to my family and me.
Its interesting what your JW co-worker told you here, because it sounds as if he believes in what is commonly known as the "Gap Theory". As far as I know, this is not a JW doctrine, per se. Although there are probably some JWs who hold to it, and it sounds like your co-worker is one of them. Personally, I believe there are several Scriptural problems with that view, but I know even some Bible-believing Christians who hold to it, although perhaps not aware of some of the Scriptural dilemmas it creates.
Now, let me modify this statement a bit. When I say "Gap Theory", I am referring to the teaching that there exists an infinite gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, where there was supposedly another entire creation and race of pre-Adamite humans, who were wiped out. I do not believe this to be a JW teaching, per se.
However, they DO allow for a long period of time in creation. In fact, JWs do not believe that the days of creation found in Genesis chapter 1, were literal days, but instead, teach that the "days" are periods of 7,000 years. I'm yet to see a JW who could explain WHERE they derive this idea from.
But like you said, it is much more reasonable (and Scriptural) to just understand that when God created the Heavens and the Earth, then that was when they came into being. I have even heard some people try to explain the existence of dinosaurs and fossils, by means of this theory, but again, I believe there are better explanations for those things than to try and make the Scriptures teach something it doesn't say.
But like I said, I believe the "Gap Theory" creates several Scriptural dilemmas, not the least of which, is that it contradicts this Scripture....
Exodus 20:11- "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Its really tough to read this verse, and then claim that there was already a creation in existence, or that the earth already existed before Genesis chapter 1.
You said...."This would also mean the same to me in John 1:1, that Jesus existed before anything was created. He also noted that the Bible doesn't say when Jesus was created, but neither does it say when the angels were either."
Had to laugh a little at this statement made by your co-worker, as the Bible doesn't say THAT Jesus was created at all, much less WHEN. It clearly teaches the angels are created, however.
But I agree with you, that John 1:1 obviously refers to the time before anything was created, simply because verses 2 and 3 make it clear that Jesus was THE CREATOR of all things that are "made".
John 1:2-3- "The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Also, you said...."He likes to say that firstborn has only one meaning while the Greek word has more than one meaning."
I got your other question, asking me to edit this and add the word "worship" after the word "Greek". I am only able to edit my answer, and not the question portion, however, I can do that here by quoting what you wrote.
So, I think you want it to say...."He likes to say that firstborn has only one meaning while the Greek word "worship", has more than one meaning."
Sounds like your co-worker likes to make up facts as he goes along, just to whatever suits his convenience at the time. It would be nice if the world worked that way, I suppose. But unfortunately, he is wrong. In fact, the word "firstborn" actually carries a couple of meanings in Scripture. It CAN mean "the first one born", but often it means "pre-eminence", or "first in rank". In fact, we have some examples in the Scripture, where the "first one born", was NOT considered the "firstborn".
In the case of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, we see this very thing.....
Genesis 48:14- "And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn."
Genesis 48:17-18- "And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.
And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head."
Notice that Joseph called Manasseh the "firstborn", because he was literally the "first one born".
However, he was not regarded as the "firstborn" by Jacob, as we see....
Genesis 48:19- "And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations."
Jeremiah 31:9- "They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn."
We see another example of this with David.....
Psalm 89:26-27- "He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth."
Now, in the order of NATURAL BIRTH, David was actually the youngest and last born, of his brethren. But he was viewed as "firstborn", because of the position that he was given. In fact, this was one of the reasons that David's older brothers were brought before Samuel, to see which of them was to be anointed King, and David was not even considered as an option by his family.
Your JW co-worker is clearly wrong when he claims "firstborn" only has one usage. Like I said, he seems to make it up as he goes.
And this...."Oh and and he answered my question about how he came to understand the word 'parousia' as just simply by reading the Bible and understanding it through context. I asked him if the bible ever mentioned invisible presence or if he understood that the word presence actually means physical presence as in "We request your presence at our wedding celebration." Hmmm its never ending."
Really? That is interesting, because the word "parousia", is used in excess of 20 times in the New Testament. And guess what? The word NEVER, and I mean NOT EVEN ONCE, denotes an "invisible presence". I would love for him to share exactly what Scriptures it was, that he saw this usage in.
Well, if he ever shares them, pass them on to me. I would like to see them myself. Every usage of "parousia" that I am aware of, shows a physical and visible coming or presence.
Thanks for writing, Kevin, and have a great evening.