Our world consists of a multiplicity of religions that introduce us to a multiplicity of gods. Christians should not be the least bit surprised by this because the apostle Paul stated in I Corinthians 8:5 that there are many gods, even though he classified them as “so-called gods”, or in other words, ‘false gods’. Many of these false gods in the world of religions can be instantly identified as such including Allah in Islam or Osiris in ancient Egyptian pagan religions. Other false gods, however, often slip under the radar of both non-Christians and non-discerning Christians rather easily and are grossly mistaken to be the Christian God of the Bible. Walter Martin, the father of counter-cults ministries, described this as “the Kingdom of the Cults”,
An example of such a god who can be passed off as the Christian God of the Bible is Jehovah god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah god is defined by Jehovah’s Witnesses as beginningless and they quote from Psalm 90:2 to substantiate that claim (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 148). Also, Jehovah god is called the creator and designer of the universe and all forms of life, both material and immaterial (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 84). In spite of these rightful claims by Jehovah’s Witnesses concerning God, there are some stark differences between the God of the Christian faith and Jehovah god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In this article we will, from Jehovah’s Witnesses own materials, identify the key teachings about Jehovah god. The topics which will be covered are (1. The nature of Jehovah god. (2. The attributes of Jehovah god. (3. The name of Jehovah god and its Salvific Power. In additional articles, we’ll deal with each of these three topics and compare them to Christian teaching and biblically and logically refute the Jehovah’s Witnesses false ideas of who God is.
The Nature of Jehovah god.
According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah god is an immaterial spirit being. (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 147) Furthermore, they teach that there is only one God, but this god is not a triune or tri-personal being. Jehovah’s Witnesses vigorously reject the doctrine of the Trinity and label it as a false doctrine which was derived from Egyptian pagan thought, which made its way into the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E.
Historian Will Durant observed: “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. . . . From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity.” And in the book Egyptian Religion, Siegfried Morenz notes: “The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians . . . Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology.”
Thus, in Alexandria, Egypt, churchmen of the late third and early fourth centuries, such as Athanasius, reflected this influence as they formulated ideas that led to the Trinity. Their own influence spread, so that Morenz considers “Alexandrian theology as the intermediary between the Egyptian religious heritage and Christianity.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: How Did the Trinity Doctrine Develop? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/How-Did-the-Trinity-Doctrine-Develop/. Accessed 29 November 2021.)
A simple and to the point argument made by Jehovah’s Witnesses against the doctrine of the Trinity is that the word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible ( You can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p. 39) This argument, however, is followed up with “proof texts” to show that God is not triune, but supreme over Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The following are such “proof texts” from their New World Translation, followed by their interpretation and reasoning for the interpretation:
1. John 17:3: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” JESUS called God “the only true God.” (John 17:3) Never did he refer to God as a deity of plural persons.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/What-Does-the-Bible-Say-About-God-and-Jesus/. Accessed 29 November 2021.)
2. John 14:28: “You heard that I said to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I am.” “ THE Bible’s position is clear. Not only is Almighty God, Jehovah, a personality separate from Jesus but He is at all times his superior. Jesus is always presented as separate and lesser, a humble servant of God. That is why the Bible plainly says that “the head of the Christ is God” in the same way that “the head of every man is the Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) And this is why Jesus himself said: “The Father is greater than I.”—John 14:28, RS, Catholic edition.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: Is God Always Superior to Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/Is-God-Always-Superior-to-Jesus/ Accessed 29 November 2021.)
3. Deuteronomy 6:4: “Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” In the grammar of that verse, the word “one” has no plural modifiers to suggest that it means anything but one individual (Should you Believe in the Trinity: What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/What-Does-the-Bible-Say-About-God-and-Jesus/ Accessed 29 November 2021)
4. Isaiah 42:8: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images.” Thousands of times throughout the Bible, God is spoken of as one person. When he speaks, it is as one undivided individual.” (Should you Believe in the Trinity: What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus? https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Should-You-Believe-in-the-Trinity/What-Does-the-Bible-Say-About-God-and-Jesus/ Accessed 29 November 2021)
5. Acts 2:32: “God resurrected this Jesus, and of this we are all witnesses.” “Thus, the Almighty God and Jesus are clearly two separate persons.” (You can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth: God–Who is He? p.39.)
Before moving on it is important to know that according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah god is supreme over the Holy Spirit because they do not identify Him as a person, but merely as god’s active force (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 380). Due to this understanding of who the Holy Spirit is, the claim of God having a triune nature is nullified.
The Attributes of Jehovah god
In the book You can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Jehovah’s Witnesses describe Jehovah god as an intelligent creator with great power (p. 36). This description exalts Jehovah god as a magnificently and highly intelligent being who abounds with great power which he did put on display when Jehovah god created the heavens and the earth and all that’s within them. Jehovah god is also described as eternal who had no beginning of existence ( Draw Close to Jehovah, p. 12).
Interestingly though, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah god is not omnipresent (everywhere present). In the section entitled Bible Questions Answered, Jehovah’s Witnesses explain their anti-omnipresence stance as following:
“God is able to see everything and to act anywhere he chooses. (Proverbs 15:3; Hebrews 4:13) However, the Bible does not teach that God is omnipresent—that is, present everywhere, in all things. Instead, it shows that he is a person and that he resides in a dwelling place.” (Bible Questions Answered: Is God Everywhere, Omnipresent? https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/god-omnipresent/ Accessed 29 November 2021.)
So according to them, Jehovah god can see everything, but not because he is omnipresent. Not only is Jehovah god not omnipresent, but he resides in a dwelling place: the spirit realm.(Bible Questions Answered: Is God Everywhere, Omnipresent? https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/god-omnipresent/ Accessed 29 November 2021.) This means then that, unlike the God of Christianity, Jehovah god is not spaceless (not limited to a spatial location), but is limited to a spatial location: the spirit realm; the heavens. In their own words, “God dwells neither on the earth nor elsewhere in the physical universe.” (Bible Questions Answered: Is God Everywhere, Omnipresent? https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/god-omnipresent/ Accessed 29 November 2021.)
The name of Jehovah god and its Salvific Power
No stronger emphasis is placed by Jehovah’s Witnesses than it’s placed on the doctrine of the divine and personal name of god: Jehovah. The logic behind such a heavy emphasis on knowing the name of god, Jehovah, is “if you want someone to get to know you, what might you do? Would you not tell the person your name? Does God have a name?” (What does the Bible Really Teach? p.12) According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah god has littered the pages of Scripture with his name; approximately 7,000 times to be exact (You can Live Forever in Paradise Earth, p. 41). So why do you not see the name Jehovah littered throughout your translation of the Bible? This is due to later Bible translators removing the name Jehovah with either “God” or “Lord” in all capital letters. (Bible Questions Answered: Who is Jehovah? https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/who-is-jehovah/ Accessed 29 November 2021.)
You may ask, “why do Jehovah’s Witnesses place such strong emphasis on us knowing the name of their god? It’s not like one’s salvation depends on it. Right?” Well to the surprise of some of you, yes, for Jehovah’s Witnesses, knowing and using the name of Jehovah is critical to theirs and your salvation. In The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom in 1997 article entitled Salvation—What It Really Means, Jehovah’s Witness hold no punches about the essential link between salvation and the divine name of Jehovah, “Have you been taught to use God’s name, Jehovah? If not, your salvation is in jeopardy, for “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved”!—Acts 2:21; compare Joel 2:32.” Furthermore, if you do not use the name Jehovah, you cannot have a relationship with him, “So the only way anyone can come near to God and have a personal relationship with him is by knowing him by his name, Yahweh, or Jehovah, and by learning to use that name respectfully in worshiping him” ( The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1982). Thus, knowing and using the name Jehovah as god’s name is as vital for one’s salvation as oxygen is vital for human life.
Jehovah god has been Identified
As you can see (especially if you are a Christian), the Jehovah god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is quite different from the God of biblical Christianity. As we have learned, Jehovah god is not a tri-personal or triune Being, but appears to be purely monotheistic in nature. Also, we learned that Jehovah god, while he’s a god of great power and intelligence, Jehovah god is not omnipresent, but is spatially limited to the spirit realm; the heavens. Lastly, we learned from Jehovah’s Witnesses that it is vitally important to know and use the divine name of Jehovah because our salvation and relationship with him depends on it. As mentioned at the beginning, the next three articles will biblically and logically examine the god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as it’s been outlined: (1. The nature of Jehovah god. (2. The attributes of Jehovah god. (3. The name of Jehovah god and its Salvific Power. It is my hope and prayer you will follow along on this brief journey concerning Jehovah god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.