Jehovah`s Witness/Sorry I didn't mean it to be too hard for you
QUESTION: Hi Brenton
I'm sorry I didn't mean for my response to be hard for you to handle, here I will simplify it a bit.
I had asked you if you remember where one Watchtower article was contradicted by another Watchtower article regarding the Holy Spirit, you say,
“I could find no Watchtower contradictions being mentioned in any of our discussions about that.”
But you go on to say that you found the article you quoted. Maybe you just did not read my reply to that article, which was in the follow-up, and that may be why you can’t remember, see http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/2015/8/cont-post-dated-28th.ht
Anyway as you will see in the link, my response to you and the Watchtower publication was:
“You know I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Watchtower says that the Holy Spirit “is God’s POWER in action”, that’s why they coined phrase “God’s active force”. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102006245
But the quote you supply from a Watchtower publication, say’s that the Holy Spirit “is NOT Jehovah’s ‘power’”. It seam the Watchtower wants it both ways on this matter.”
You have one Watchtower publication saying one thing and then another Watchtower article contradict that. That is the type of thing you will find from false religions.
You go on to say
“I have not given any contradictory opinions and I do not know of any JWs that would either in regard to the holy spirit.”
...hmmm see the above.<><
ANSWER: Hi Cos
First none of your questions have ever been too hard for me to handle. What I find difficult is having so many questions asked at one time. As I have mentioned before answering all your questions takes a lot of time and this takes me away for family and other obligations. So I do appreciate it when we can discuss one thing at a time. Get that settled then go on to another topic that may have been raised during the discussion.
Yes some of my replies do get long as I answer a particular question. To ask a question is easy, to provide an adequate answer takes may words. My long replies will raise more questions but then we should still just stay on one at a time until all questioned have been covered.
Some topics are like a jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces that need to be fitted together in order to see the complete picture. The pieces need to be put together one at a time,in the correct place.
Now as far as what you perceive as a contradiction in those WT quotes. Just by looking at the words
“God’s holy spirit is identified as God’s power in action
.” (Italics original) http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102006245
“It (holy spirit) is not Jehovah’s 'power' “ (Insight On The Scriptures V2 under “Spirit')
There may seem to be a contradiction to the casual reader. However, to a discerning reader, there is no contradiction when one understands the context.
The key to unlocking the seaming contradiction and throwing the idea away, is the words in italics in the quote that you gave “in action
I will try to illustrate this with a couple of examples.
Watching a skilled ice skater perform a delicate routine on ice one could say that the skater is “grace in action
Another example is of a farm tractor say trying to pull out a tree stump. A person watching that could say “that is power in action
”, as the tractor exerts energy to accomplish a given purpose.
The words in “in action
” in all three cases is not telling us what the holy spirit is or what the ice-skater is or what the tractor is. It is telling us something about what they are doing, discplaying
With the ice-skater, another way we could say “grace in action” is to use an adjective and say that the skater was graceful
The same with the tractor. Use the adjective and say that the tractor was powerful.
Adjectives do not tell us identity by a quality about those ones.
The words “in action
” are an idiom. At this web site http://www.dictionary.com/browse/action
we find this idiom example
1. performing or taking part in a characteristic act:
The school baseball team is in action tonight.
2. working; functioning:
His rescuing the child was bravery in action.
Some other examples I found
English in Action
Neurons in Action
Mission in Action
Safety in Action
History in Action
Youth In Action
Athletes in Action
Lungs in Action
Keeping that in mind here are the two WT quotes that I gave you before (Italics original bold mine)
Distinguished from “power.” Ruʹach and pneuʹma
, therefore, when used with reference to God’s holy spirit, refer to God’s invisible active force by which he accomplishes his divine purpose and will. It is “holy” because it is from Him, not of an earthly source, and is free from all corruption as “the spirit of holiness.” (Ro 1:4) It is not Jehovah’s “power,” for this English word more correctly translates other terms in the original languages (Heb., koʹach
; Gr., dyʹna·mis
and pneuʹma are used in close association or even in parallel with these terms signifying “power,”
which shows that there is an inherent connection between them and yet a definite distinction
. (Mic 3:8; Zec 4:6; Lu 1:17, 35; Ac 10:38) “Power” is
basically the ability or capacity to act or do things and it can be latent, dormant, or inactively resident
in someone or something. “Force
,” on the other hand, more specifically describes energy projected and exerted on persons or things
, and may be defined as “an influence that produces or tends to produce motion
, or change of motion.” “Power” might be likened to the energy stored in a battery, while “force” could be compared to the electric
Again in this article italics original
*** w11 1/15 p. 22 par. 3 Empowered to Fight Temptation and Cope With Discouragement ***
Jesus promised his disciples that ‘they would receive power
when the holy spirit
arrived upon them.’ The terms “power” and “spirit” are distinct in their meaning
. God’s spirit, his active force
, describes energy that is projected and exerted on people or things to accomplish God’s will
, however, can be defined as the “ability to act or produce an effect
.” It can lie dormant in someone or something until it is needed
to produce a given result. Thus, holy spirit might be likened to the electric current that energizes a rechargeable battery, whereas power is more like the latent energy that is then stored in the battery. The power that Jehovah grants to his servants by means of holy spirit gives each one of us the ability to fulfill our Christian dedication and, when necessary, to resist negative forces that are exerted upon us.”
So, no Cos, there is no contradiction between those quotes. We are not trying to have it both ways.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,
You know it all sounds like double talk.
One article has the Holy Spirit being identified as “GOD’S POWER in action” http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102006245
Note the key words in that statement. I put them in bold for you.
Another has that the Holy Spirit “is NOT Jehovah’s 'power'” (Insight On The Scriptures V2 under “Spirit')
For same reason you think that because one article has that this mystical power (identified as your holy spirit) is “in action” that that makes the contradiction vanish.
Your examples are, well not very helpful to your argument.
Take for example “a skilled ice skater perform a delicate routine” which is “grace in action”. The referent here is the skater, right?
Same goes for the example of the tractor pulling out the tree stump; the referent here is the tractor.
“GOD’S POWER in action” likewise is, as anyone can see, a reference to the JW idea of the Holy Spirit.
Consider also how one Watchtower publication you quote tries to make a distinction between “power” and “force” in the analogy of energy. Energy is still energy whether its stored in a battery or flows from the battery, it is still energy! The “power” stored in the battery is the same that flows from the battery!
“Power” is the same whether its “dormant” or when it is put into use, it is still power…the Watchtower tries to confuse the issue be using other expressions like “energy projected”, “exerted” and the like. Don’t let them blind you any further with double talk.
Examine carefully what they claim and you will see the contradiction no matter how hard you try to explain it away.
You JWs have this assumption that the Holy Spirit is a mystical power of some kind. Yet when you observe the characteristics of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, the result is obvious. The Holy Spirit can be nothing less than a person.
As I said, there are nine times as many references that the Holy Spirit is a person then those that show that the Devil is a person. The activities of the Spirit are all descriptions of what a person does. <><
First of all Cos, we do not "have this assumption that the (h)oly (s)pirit is a mystical power of some kind."
The word "mystical" implies a mystery something that can not be properly understood. One online dictionary says of the word mystical "that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence <the mystical food of the sacrament>"
The Bible tells us what the holy spirit is. It is the active force that God uses to acomplish his purposes
I will remind you again what the Greek word pneuma literally means It means breath, wind, blast tempest. These English words convey the thought of an invisible force. The our breath keeps us alive, we need to have it. A wind can be gentle and refreshing. At times wind "in action
", can have power to destroy. Humans can use harness and use wind in various ways. A fan can produce wind to cool us. We can catch it in the sails of a boat to move us. The holy spirit is an invisible force (wind if you like) that belongs to and emanates from God. He has the power to manipulate and use it to accomplish his will. It is used in various ways
It makes me sad that you can not see the context of those quotes. I just want to mention this quote again.
“God’s holy spirit is identified as God’s power in action
.” (Italics original) http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102006245
The referent is the holy spirit. You recognises that in the examples that I gave that the ice-skater and the tractor were the referents.
The ice-skater is not “grace”, but the “action
” that one is doing can be graceful
The tractor is not “power”, but the “action
” of the tractor can be powerful.
The holy spirit is not “power”, but the “action
” of the holy spirit can be powerful.
The ice-skater can do many things away from the ice. Just as a farm tractor has many uses, the holy spirit has many uses.
Are the words that God has spoken, that is his commands, advice, assurances, principle, prophecies etc power? No they are not. But, Gods words can be powerful as we learn in Hebrew 4:12
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (KJV)
The literal words of God are not a two-edged sword, neither do the literal words literally piece anything nor can the literal words of God discern anything. The power of the words or God shows up what is in a persons heart. If we listen to Gods word and head them it shows up the good. On the other hand by observing Gods words we can see the hypocrisy in others (or ourselves). The power is the effect that Gods word has on us as individuals.
also shows the power of Gods words and the effect that his words can have on a person
“7 The law of the Lord is good, giving new life to the soul: the witness of the Lord is certain, giving wisdom to the foolish. 8 The orders of the Lord are right, making glad the heart: the rule of the Lord is holy, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, and has no end; the decisions of the Lord are true and full of righteousness.” (BBE)
It is not the actual words that are power, it is the words “in action
”, that is, we must actually listening to the various words from God. It is only then that they become powerful enough that the words gives life, wisdom, glad heart and makes us full of righteousness. In the case of the various things in that text it is us letting the words of God work on our hearts and mind that the action takes place.
You keep wanting to emphasis <<<“ The activities of the Spirit are all descriptions of what a person does”.>>>
So far, by using the Bible I have shown you that the occasions we have discussed do not conclusively show personality of the holy spirit. If we take those examples on their own without examining what else that Bible has to say we will come to the wrong conclusion. But when we examine “all scripture” because all scripture is inspired of God we find the truth. (2 Tim 3:16
So far you can not even concede that the information I have shared with you could even remotely be possible. That is part of the problem. You are looking at each piece of the jigsaw puzzle from the distorted view you have always looked at them. You do not seem to be willing to put your bias aside and consider the possibility that there is another explanation to the texts that you think teach personality. God does not lie (Heb 6:18
) and there is no contradiction in the Bible, so when there seems to be a contradiction there must be an explanation. The Bible always provides the explanation. You see Cos I have looked at those texts from the point of view of someone believing that the holy spirit has personality. In some cases I can see how that may be the case. But the complete Bible must be looked at as a whole, and not relying in isolated texts.
As yet I have not looked at the other two questions you sent. Can you please respect what I have requested several times now. I will give you the last reminder of this that is in the last answer I gave
“What I find difficult is having so many questions asked at one time. As I have mentioned before answering all your questions takes a lot of time and this takes me away for family and other obligations. So I do appreciate it when we can discuss one thing at a time”