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Hi Brenton,

Thanks for the response.

You say,
  “You have given your take on the words ‘Hence’ ‘in action’ ‘power’”

It’s NOT my “take” it is how the sentence structure is arranged, the connecting adverb shows the first sentence is expanded on in the second sentence.

Is this the case or not?

You seem to imply that this is not the case because you say one must have “the mindset of those writers”.

Think about this, if that rewording is what the writer of the passage had in mind then his/her choice of words and sentence structure is terrible, because the other meaning is possible.

Also a good exercise is to place the meaning of power and force, which you quote, side by side and see the similarities... if you want you can even substitute one word for the other in some of the sentences that you cite and see.

The same is true for the words active and action. I won’t do this as I have a lot to respond to and I really don’t want you to think that I’m taking you away from your family in order to respond. That is an exercise you can do.

Your reworded rendering if the sentence; “In the Bible, God’s holy spirit is identified as God’s power in action” as being;

1.   “In the Bible, God's holy spirit is associated closely with Gods capacity to achieve his aim.

2.   “In the Bible, God's holy spirit has links with Gods ability to direct his energy and influence the behaviour of others or the course of events.  


Now this is totally different to what you first claimed when you said;
“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 above two reworded rendition (1 and 2) of the actual sentence do not place the referent as the Holy Spirit.

You then go on to try and explain why “Insight” uses the passages Mich 3:8, Luke 1:35 and Acts10:38 and says that these passages show “a definite distinction” in terms.

Yet I must point out that you said that these passages are the “effects of spirit” the “effects of Gods active force on a given application”. That is not “a definite distinction” but the consequence.

You say
“Yes I am aware of the different language uses of gender.”

Good, and you comments in the link where you had answered another questioner on the use of neuter words clearly shows that it is not sound practice to base an argument, as some do, that the neuter for “pneuma” when it comes to the Holy Spirit means an impersonal thing, right?

The fact that the word is neuter has absolutely nothing to do with whether it refers to a person or not. Just as with the case of the neuter “paidion” one can in no way infer that a child is not a person, because of the neuter.

You go on to say,
“It must be remembered that  neither the OT or NT  Bible writers  viewed the holy spirit  as having personality.”

I strongly disagree, and the example I gave of Acts 13.2 is evidence against that claim.

You then say
“The doctrine of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit was developed by Athanasius in the last decades of his life”  (On Athanasius, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Edited by Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. Third edition. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. ) “

I don’t know where you got this quote, maybe I guess from some Wikipedia page?

Firstly the wording you quote gives the impression that Athanasius was the one that invented the personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit, and we both know (cast your mind back to the writings of the early church) that this is not the case; the actual wording from the Oxford classical Dictionary shows that what Athanasius “developed” in regards to the doctrine was for the benefit of some groups in the church. Here is the actual quote.

“In the last decades of his life he developed the doctrine of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit, and did much to promote understanding between the different anti-Arian groups in the Church.”  (John Norman Davidson Kelly, Oxford Classical Dictionary 3rd ed.)

You then go on and cite a few web site and say;
“The following articles from a Jewish perspective will be of interest as they show how the Hebrews understood the holy spirit.

Now the problem with this argument is the simple fact that the Jews completely reject Jesus and the redemption we have that is found only in Him.

So you would have to agree that appealing to non-believing Jews is a poor avenue to venture into.

But there are Jews that believe in Jesus as the redeemer, these are known as Messianic Jews, they not only believe in Jesus  but also hold the NT on par with the OT, which non-believing Jews don’t.    

These Christian Jews hold that the Holy Spirit is a person, as much a person as the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19)

See for example http://jewsforjesus.org/  and check out their Statement of Faith, what these believing Jews say is the real and the more interesting perspective!

Please don’t be blinded by disbelieving Jews...but that is up to you.

There is more I’d like to say but that we’ll leave for another time. <><

Answer
G'day Cos.

I am not blinded by Jews who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.    I looked at that web site of Jews for Jesus.     I have not read all the material, but what I would say is tat the writers of that web site are Jews by heritage , not Jews by theology. All they are, are people who have converted to a form a Christianity and have formed their own organisation  specially to try to convert Jews to Christianity.

QUOTE
“Actually, "Jews for Jesus" began as a slogan. In the late 1960s a moving of the Holy Spirit brought thousands of cause-oriented young people to faith in Jesus, many of whom were Jewish. As for our organization, Moishe Rosen officially founded Jews for Jesus in September of 1973. Rosen, a veteran missionary to the Jewish people, was the executive director of the mission for 23 years. He revolutionized evangelistic methods and materials with his creative approach to communicating the gospel, and we believe he was the foremost strategist and tactician in the field of Jewish evangelism.”
End Quote

The idea of looking at the web sites that I suggested was to show what the Jews in the first century understood about the spirit.

I was pointing out, that it is a dangerous thing to start in the NT and formulate ideas about what the writers were saying first, and then go back to try to see what the background of the writers was.  That is what I see you and other trinitarians doing. In stead of starting in the logical place, the beginning, trinitarians have started toward the end, formulated an idea without understanding the beginning.  That is why I gave those those links as well as that list of texts that show the various usages  of the Hebrew word ruwach. The NT Bible writers viewed the spirit in the same way.  

So when we start to come across the Greek word pneuma we need to keep in mind the usage of the Hebrew word ruwach.  

Due to theological bias, when the Bible was translated into English, the translators wrongly assigned masculine gender to the holy spirit in many places. Many modern Bibles are guilty of doing that even more than the KJV did.  So toady trinitarians start by reading words that give the wrong meaning to a text have assumed from reading a small portion of the Bible that the holy spirit is a “he”.

We have been here before and you find it difficult to accept that the very early so called Church fathers did not believe in the a trinity as it was taught after 381 ce.  The early church fathers had varying and often contradictory ideas.  The idea of the trinity slowly developed  after the Greek Apologists started writing (about 130 ce) because the so called Christians had started to worship Jesus as a god and they were accused of not following the monotheist ideas of the Jews.  

The quote I gave you was from a pro trinitarian web site.  At least they acknowledged the truth that it developed.  Here is another quote from “The Oxford companion to the Bible” Edited by Bruce M Metzger and Michael D Coogan, Oxford University Press 1993”  (bold and underline mine)

QUOTE
Trinity

Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament.  Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found it in later creedal formulation cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon.

Later believers systematized the diverse reference to God, Jesus, and the Spirit found in the New Testament in order to fight against heretical tendencies of how the three are related. Elaboration on the concept of the Trinity also serves to defend the church against charges of di- or tritheism. Since the Christians had come to worship Jesus as a god (Pliny, Epistles 96,7), how can they claim to be continuing the monotheistic tradition of the God of Israel?  Various answers are suggested , debated and rejected as heretical, but the idea of a Trinity - one God subsisting in three persons and one substance - ultimately prevails.
End Quote

That work shows that trinity idea had to be elaborated on and that systematic changes had to be made  some time after the Bible was written, because Christians had started “to worship Jesus as a god”.  
The words “had come to worship Jesus as a god” tell us that at first, the  first century, mainly Jewish by heritage Christians did not believe Jesus to be God.

Please read this further article
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/trinity-history.html#Up325CE

Scholars testify that the trinity idea slowly developed.  One very pro trinity video on a web site I was  watching, that was part of a series teaching the trinity, suggested that the apostles and NT Bible writers just did not know how the trinity worked and that it took several centuries of idea to be fully understand it.

Now, to me that is quite ridiculous that what is considered as the most important aspect about the God that they worshipped, that it was not understood, especially when we are told God wants to be worshipped with truth. (John 4:24)

The quote from the Oxford says what it says. There were differences of opinions as to the nature of the holy spirit so according to that authority, Athanasius developed the personality teaching of the holy spirit  as a defence against the Arian idea.  The facts of history tell us that the so called church had various ideas as to the nature of the holy spirit and its relationship with God.
____________________________________________________________________


Now as far as my rewording that quote from the WT publication you said

Cos
Think about this, if that rewording is what the writer of the passage had in mind then his/her choice of words and sentence structure is terrible, because the other meaning is possible.

Remark
No the writers choice of words and sentence construction actually do tell us what the writer is thinking. Those re writings were purely to expand the meanings of the various words that you seemed to have a narrow view of in the context of what the writer wrote.    What I was showing you, and evidently did not do a very good job of doing, is that we tend to read into written words what we think that they mean.  I was demonstrating that to fully understand what a writer is trying to convey we must know more about the thinking of that writer, and the meaning of the words that are used.  

You had limited the use of “ ‘Hence’ ‘in action’ ‘power' “  etc. to what you want to see (understands).  I was showing that there are different ways of understanding those words.

You are looking at that particular article from a point of view that is clouded by your theology and not from the point of view of the writer.  What he/she wrote makes perfect and logical sense to some one who thinks in the same way.

COS
Also a good exercise is to place the meaning of power and force, which you quote, side by side and see the similarities

Remark
That is exactly what is being said there are “similarities ” between the holy spirit and power, but those texts show that there is also a distinction.  Of course things can be similar but distinct from each other. Look at the various vehicles on the road.  Many are very similar on look and function, but there are distinctions. We have sedans, station-wagons, utes, trucks, buses, semis.  They are all similar but quite distinctly different.  It really is not a difficult concept to grasp and understand that two things can be similar and distinct

COS
Now this is totally different to what you first claimed when you said; 
“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 above two reworded rendition (1 and 2) of the actual sentence do not place the referent as the Holy Spirit.

Remark
The sentences that I reworked to try to expand your mind and understanding on words do give the holy spirit  as the referent.  When we want to find the referent we ask “who or what”  did such and such
In the original quote ask what is “ identified as God’s power in action” The answer is the holy spirit

in example 1) ask what has “ Gods capacity to achieve his aim”  the answer is the holy spirit's

In example 2)  what has  “God's ability to direct his energy and influence the behaviour of others or the course of events.” again the answer is the holy spirit.

____________________________________


Cos
You say
“Yes I am aware of the different language uses of gender.”

Good, and you comments in the link where you had answered another questioner on the use of neuter words clearly shows that it is not sound practice to base an argument, as some do, that the neuter for “pneuma” when it comes to the Holy Spirit means an impersonal thing, right?

Remark
WRONG. It is sound to argue that <<< “pneuma” when it comes to the Holy Spirit means an impersonal thing>>>  The fact that pneuma is neuter has everything to do with if it is a person or not.

You evidently did not read what was there very carefully.  The context was not discussing neuter words but natural gender .  The topic was about a person on the forum that had wrongly suggested that the “theos” had a"feminine sense".  I was showing that was not the case at all.

Greek words referring to persons or animals can sometimes reflect neutral gender such as the word for child (παιδίον). That is neutral because it can refer to either male of female.    When it comes to the gender of neuter impersonal things they always stay as neuter.

Nouns that refer to impersonal things that have gender assigned to them, such as the wall (masculine), door (feminine),  we know that these things  are not, and  never have been, people.  We would not even try to suggest that a wall was a natural male, or that a door was a natural female.   

We are a particular lot though, because, at times we assign personalty to impersonal things. Just think of the descriptive personality type words we assign to the way a car may look - angry, sad, mean, happy -  these traits are usually given because of the appearance of the vehicle.  The point is it is not unusual in language to give inanimate things personality.  We refer to ships with the feminine “she”.  That does not make a ship a natural female and no one would ever suggest that.

We also know that the wind is not a person.  We see the wind as an invisible force.   There is no ancient  Greek word for “spirit”.  As far as I could find, the closest they come is φάντασμα = apparition, which different Bibles translate in diferent ways  (see Matt. 14:26; Mark 6:49 )  English adopted the word spirit from the Latin root, spirare, which means “to breath”.   Therefore our word “spirit” has the same original thought as the Greek word “pneuma”.  The word “spirit” over time has come to mean something else than wind, breath tempest – a force that has an effect on other things/people.
 ___________________________________________


COS
You go on to say,
“It must be remembered that  neither the OT or NT  Bible writers  viewed the holy spirit  as having personality.”

I strongly disagree, and the example I gave of Acts 13.2 is evidence against that claim.

Remark
First of all, did the holy spirit audibly speak? No. Here are what some trinitarian commentaries have to say

QUOTES
Abbots Illustrated New Testament
The Holy Ghost said;  perhaps by some extraordinary mode of communication to the church in general; or possibly the meaning may be, that some one under the influence of the Holy Spirit made this proposal.

Adam Clark's Commentary
The Holy Ghost said A revelation of the Divine will was made to some person then present; probably to either Simeon, or Lucius, or Manaen, mentioned before.

Jamieson Fausset Brown Commentary
the Holy Ghost said — through some of the prophets mentioned in Ac 13:1

People New Testamnet Notes
The Holy Ghost said. By an inspiration given to some one of these prophets. "God has spoken at sundry times and in divers manners unto the fathers by the one of these prophets" [Heb 1:1]. Compare Ac 20:23.

Matthew Pools Commentary
The Holy Ghost said;  by some inward instinct in those prophets before spoken of, who had warrant to declare it as from him.
End of Quotes

As the holy spirit is something that belongs to, and emanates from God it can be said that God spoke through or by means of his holy spirit    2 Peter 1:21  “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost .” (see  also Acts 1:2; Acts 28:25; Romans 5:5)

Next it must be noted that there is an added word to this text.  It is there for the sake of grammar. In the Greek text there is no first person, personal pronoun (ἐγώ ego = I). Yet all Bibles I looked at, have it added, including the NWT.  WHY?  The words “I have called” are the translation of one Greek word “προσκέκλημαι” (proskeklēmai)  This word is a verb. However it is in the first person.  The pronoun “I” is implied but not there.  The “I” is inserted in English purely because of grammar.

“The Greek verb can take many different forms which may indicate five properties: person, number, voice, tense and mood. Person is the verb form that expresses the speaker (1st person) , the person addressed (2nd person) or the person, animal or thing spoken of (3rd person)”    [http://www.greekgrammar.eu/verbs.php]


Being a verb in the first person singular “προσκέκλημαι” is just telling us which nominative noun is doing the action.  All it is doing it referring us back to the holy spirit.  The holy spirit did not speak as we know speech as above. God uses his holy spirit to communicate with those Bible writers.

Now what is also interesting is the Greek word  ἐγώ ego (= I) is that it is a pronoun without gender .  So even though good grammar dictates that the 1st person verb be accompanied by “I” in English it does not point to gender.


By the way, as a reminder, I would appreciate you not sending questions so quickly. I spend many hours preparing your answers, and the quicker your questions come the more time I must spend. I would respond to you quicker if you space your questions out.  At the moment I prepare an answer for you then wait  a few days before sending it.  (I get a few automatic reminders from the allexperts system that I have not answered)

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

Experience

I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

Education/Credentials
I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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