Jehovah`s Witness/Are Jehovah's Witnesses Arians?
Thank you for your thoughful response to my previous question. I had asked why the Watchtower Society nevers talks about the man named Arius, who lived in the fourth century and taught the same basic doctrine as the WTS. You have shown me that once every couple of decades or so, Watchtower publications do indeed mention Arius' name!
I have to disagree with you, however, when you argue that JWs are not modern-day Arians. Of course they are. The central tenet of Arius was that the Son of God is not God, but rather, the first creation of God, through whom God created all other things. That IS Arianism -- and that is EXACTLY what you teach.
In explaining why JWs are not properly called Arians, you make the following remark: "Arius claimed that the Word became God's Son 'by adoption' because of his virtue or moral integrity. The Bible says that he was created by Jehovah as his 'only-begotten Son'."
Here, I think, your distinction is mere semantics. Though you may not realize it, you, by virtue of your teaching, also believe that the Son of God is Son by virtue of his "adoption" by the Father. You maintain with Arius that the Son was the only thing "directly created" by God the Father. But still, did it not remain for the Father to look upon this thing He had directly created, whose nature was so unlike His own, and choose to call the thing His "Son"? This is what "adoption" means. You, like Arius, make the Son of God an "adopted" Son by making Him a creature, and thereby DENYING that he is the "only-begotten" Son of God.
All Christians are said to be "sons of God." We are said to be so by virtue of "adoption," because we do not share God's nature. We are human; God is Divine. But the Son of God, as the ONLY-Begotten Son of the Father, DOES share His Father's nature, and is, therefore, with the Father, Himself Divine.
That which is "begotten" is by definition of the same nature as that which begat it. Birds beget birds, cattle beget cattle, human beings beget human beings, GOD BEGETS GOD. Now the Son is this "only-begotten" of the Father, and therefore God of God. And since God alone has the nature of God, the Son is one God with the Father who begat Him. He is begotten, not at a point in time, as men are begotten, but in eternity. We human beings were brought into existence from nothingness. But the Son of God came out from God, and does so eternally. He came out, not from heaven, but from God Himself. The Son is ALONE is "of God"; we and the angels in heaven are "of nothingness." And so the Creed reads: "God from God, Light from Light...begotten, not made..."
Now, all of this is denied by the Arians and today's JWs. You deny that Christ is God's true Son, making him instead a creature. And, like the Arians, you claim instead that he is the first creature made by God, through whom all other things were made. But "only begotten" does not mean "only directly created." There is no way one can get the mere sense of "directly made" from the word "begotten," without throwing away the central idea of birth.
Let us say a man builds a house by himself. He then brings in a partner and the two of them build a whole bunch more houses. We would not say the first house was "begotten" by the man, whereas all the subsequent houses were "made." ALL the houses were made by him. None was begotten. Anything truly begotten is of the identical nature as that which begat it. That is why the only-begotten Son is eternal God with His Father. But you -- like the Arians -- deny that He is "begotten" of God. You thereby deny that He is the true Son of God.
Could you please explain to me what I am misunderstanding about your beliefs when it comes to the word "begotten"? What is the difference, in your view, between something which is "created" and something which is "begotten"? What makes this Son of God different from others who are called sons of God?
Thank you for this next question.
Just to let you know what is further down the page the word begotten is not limited to birth but has a wide range of meanings.
I missed out many articles on Arias that have been presented in WT publications. Most JWs would just forget about such an insignificant man, for us that is all he is, an insignificant man of history that believed that Jesus was created just like a couple of examples of how his view that Jesus was created was publicly written about in the second century. We do not base what we believe on things that people like Arias said. The Bible writers did not believe Jesus to be equal to God (The Father) so neither do we. It is the Bible writers that we see as important.
The first thing I would like to mention is, that even though Arianism is associated with the man Arias, Arias is not
the father of Arianism. He was just one out spoken persons on the subject. (I presented some examples of that last time)
There are a couple of different issues that you have raised that have a bearing on the way I want to answer.
First I am under the impression from what I read, that you seem to believe, that JWs teach Jesus was “adopted”. I got that from this
by virtue of your teaching, also believe that the Son of God is Son by virtue of his "adoption" by the Father.
Am I correct in my assumption of what you said? If that is what you meant, NO,
we do not teach that Jesus was "adopted" by the Father. We understand that Jesus, since his creation, was always Gods son.
There is another sentence that does not make sense to me that perhaps you could explain. To me, you gave the impression that, Jesus, when created, did not share Gods nature. I got that from the following sentence, in particular what I have underlined.
But still, did it not remain for the Father to look upon this thing He had directly created, whose nature was so unlike His own , and choose to call the thing His "Son"?
We understand that Jesus had the same nature as the Father. The only nature of the Father that we are ever told about is, that “God is a spirit” (John 4:24
) that nature (of being a spirit) applies to God, Jesus, and all the other created “invisible” spirit creatures.
You make this statement which I have seen many times
Birds beget birds, cattle beget cattle, human beings beget human beings, GOD BEGETS GOD. Now the Son is this "only-begotten" of the Father, and therefore God of God.
When a bird begets a bird or a human begets a human they are not the same as the parent. They are a separate identity altogether. The Trinity acknowledges that, and teaches that Jesus is a separate and distinct individual to the Father.
The problem as I see it in what you have written, are your understandings of the words “divine” and “nature”. You go on to say
And since God alone has the nature of God,
There is no text that tells us that God has a different nature to any of the other spirit inhabitant. The difference is, is that God alone is all-powerful, almighty. No other can claim those titles.
The idea of exclusive “divine nature” has come about from a misunderstanding of three closely related Greek words “theios”
(Ac 17:29, 2Pe 1:3,4
) and “theiotes”
Those three words all relate back to “theos”. Now here is the big problem what EXACTLY
does the word “theoes” mean.
Theos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “el”. We have generally accepted that in the Bible when we see the word “thoes” (or one of is different cases) that it means “God” or “a god”. There is nothing wrong with that, we understand what is being said. But what did it “ORIGINALLY”
The Hebrew word “el” carries the basic meaning of strength; mighty; great, might(-y one), power, strong.
Strongs Greek lexicon says of theos “of uncertain affinity”. When one goes and does some research on the matter what we come up is that the word “theos” originally meant “a strong one” or “a mighty one”
According to Thayers Greek Lexicon “theios”
denotes … “ power
, providence, in the general
, without reference to any individual deity “
So when the Greek words u>“theios”</u> “theotes”
are use they are actually saying - having the nature or attributes of “a mighty one” or “a strong one” describing a mighty or strong one. There is no problem in theses being used in reference to God or his attributes because he is the ultimate mighty one or strong one, and others can have attributes
that relate to being mighty or strong.
It has been theological ideas that have changed the original meanings to a narrow application
of relating to a “deity”
Here are some non JW web sites that give more information on the meaning of the word “god”
The words “only begotten”
In the Hebrew text (OT) the word rendered as beget is “yalad” and can mean to bear young as by birth or to bring forth, to make. Even the English meaning of “beget” can mean to “bring (a child) into existence by the process of reproduction “ or to “ bring about, create, produce
All creation is begotten of God that is made, created, brought about by the will and desire of God. Only Jesus was directly and entirely made, created, brought about by the will and desire of God alone with no assistance. That is why Jesus is Gods “only begotten”
In the Greek the word used for fathering a child is “gennao”. The can also have the meanings of to make bring forth
“to procreate (properly, of the father, but by extension of the mother); figuratively, to regenerate: — bear, beget, be born, bring forth
, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make
The two words that we are interested in in this discussion is “only begotten”. So what is the meaning here? These two words are form the one Greek word “monogenes” meaning the only one brought forth.
Jesus was created, made brought forth, produced
by God Just as every thing else has been, except, every thing else was done with the help of Gods master worker – Jesus.
Please follow up if needed