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Resurrection complications


Jack Ryan
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First off, Witnesses basically believe in an immortal soul, though they would be offended at that statement. They get around the issue by calling it "Jehovah's memory". An instance of this is in the Watchtower (w07 11/1 p. 26 par. 16) where it says:

They are protected in Jehovah’s memory. There is no safer place for them to be.

So, for example, let's say that some pioneer elder who has fifteen kids (that he's successfully raised in the 'Truth') dies tragically while doing business territory and helping an old lady cross the street. He's pretty much guaranteed a spot on the ole list, so he gets 'remembered' by Jehovah and his wife and kids.

Time passes, Great Tribulation comes and goes, Armageddon happens with lots of screaming and pain and clergymen getting crushed by collapsing steeples. New System arrives. (Geez! Took long enough!) Now it's resurrection time.

So Jehovah consults his list and sees our elder's name (we'll call him GA for 'Good Associate' and decides it's time to bring GA back.

So what happens? Does Jehovah scrounge around for all of GA's molecules and put them together again? Nope, that part of him is gone (and potentially being used in other humans - Ewwww!!!). The Watchtower explains (w00 7/15 p. 16 par. 2):

Resurrection through a reorganization of original atoms is illogical, and humans do not have an immortal soul. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Ezekiel 18:4) Jehovah, the God of resurrection, does not need to reassemble atoms of matter that originally constituted a human body. He can fashion new bodies for those resurrected.

So Jehovah doesn't need to search for anything - that's great news! He can just sink a shovel in the dirt and get all he needs to build a hunky bod for GA. He gets to work and makes our buddy a body.

So now God is standing there with a lifeless assembled corpse in front of him. What's next? Oh, right. We need crank this thing up and get it started. This is where it gets interesting, and complicated... and confusing... The Reasoning book (rs p. 333) says:

According to God’s will for the individual, the person is restored in either a human or a spirit body and yet retains his personal identity, having the same personality and memories as when he died. (Italics mine)

So GA gets infused with his own personal identity. What is that? I don't know. No, seriously, I don't know. It's not his body, that's already been discussed. Is it his memories? No, because that's just GA's memories, that's not GA, you can download them into anyone or everyone. Is it his personality? That's not GA either, that's just wiring. What the heck is GA?!?

To put this into perspective, let's put ourselves in GA's wife's shoes. Here is her resurrected hubby, young and hot, and just like she remembered (she's hot too btw). But how does she know it's him?  How does she know it's not just some conglomeration of molecules that was downloaded with GA's memories and wired to act like GA? She doesn't! And GA's no help either, because all he can remember is the good things about being GA. So neither of them know if GA is the real deal. They're both useless!

And to really complicate things the Insight book (it-2 p. 786) says:

It is the soul, the person, that is resurrected, with a body to suit the environment into which God resurrects him.

Wait! What?!? Now, to be fair, this sentence is in a paragraph about those with the creepy heavenly calling. But it specifically says that the soul is different than the body - it's the person, apart from the body. In fact, it sounds a lot different than just being in Jehovah's memory. If I take GA's soul and put it back into some body (any body) - that's GA? Apparently, but don't ask me to explain, cuz' I don't get it. To me, it sounds like something survived when GA's body didn't, and when that got implanted in a new body it became new GA.

This brings us back to Witnesses believe in an immortal soul. They really really want to believe that their dead loved ones will live again. But they also believe that there isn't anything that actually is the person, just memories in Jehovah's head. In that case, they can never be sure that their resurrected loved ones are who they used to be. This would terrify them if they ever took the time to think about it. But thankfully we can rest assured that Witnesses won't think about this and therefore we won't ever have to talk about GA ever again.

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That was very interesting. Of course, the real idea behind not believing in an immortal soul is that we don't believe there is a part of the person that goes on living as a separate entity (or life fo

First off, Witnesses basically believe in an immortal soul, though they would be offended at that statement. They get around the issue by calling it "Jehovah's memory". An instance of this is in the W

Interesting and quirky line of reasoning. Probably stretches it a bit too far to be accurate. What people generally believe about soul and/or spirit is that it/they are an entity with a life of t

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On 6/17/2018 at 11:28 AM, Jack Ryan said:

This brings us back to Witnesses believe in an immortal soul.

That was very interesting. Of course, the real idea behind not believing in an immortal soul is that we don't believe there is a part of the person that goes on living as a separate entity (or life force) of some kind that can have its own memories of itself, and which can obtain and maintain new memories of things like suffering in eternal torment or heavenly bliss (or anything at all).

None of those ideas fit your idea that Witnesses believe in an immortal soul. But we do believe that something "like" what some people call "soul" is encompassed in the set of memories/personality/qualities/traits that make up a person and which can be remembered by Jehovah and recreated in a new body for either a heavenly or earthly environment. This can be summed up in the idea of "spirit" or "soul" but there is still quite a difference between the Witness belief and what most people think of when they hear those words.

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On 6/22/2018 at 8:02 PM, JW Insider said:

we do believe that something "like" what some people call "soul"

Interesting and quirky line of reasoning.

Probably stretches it a bit too far to be accurate. What people generally believe about soul and/or spirit is that it/they are an entity with a life of their own...somewhere. We do not believe this at all. That would seem to me to present too fundamental a difference to advocate similarity in concept.

Perhaps the nearest we could get is to liken the dead to be in a digital media archive with as much detail as possible to characterise the individual, and then the resurrection would be like printing them out again in a 3D printer. Although that might put a rather different slant on the greeting mentioned elsewhere: "Hello Dolly!" (Let the reader provide a link).

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*** it-2 p. 790 Resurrection ***
But is the old body reassembled in the resurrection? or is it a precise replica of the former body, made exactly as it was when the person died? The Scriptures answer in the negative when they deal with the resurrection of Christ’s anointed brothers to life in the heavens: “Nevertheless, someone will say: ‘How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?’ You unreasonable person! What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; and as for what you sow, you sow, not the body that will develop, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; but God gives it a body just as it has pleased him, and to each of the seeds its own body.”—1Co 15:35-38.
The heavenly ones receive a spiritual body, for it pleases God for them to have bodies suitable for their heavenly environment. But those whom Jehovah pleases to raise to an earthly resurrection, what body does he give them? It could not be the same body, of exactly the same atoms. If a man dies and is buried, by process of decay his body is reconverted into chemicals that can be absorbed by vegetation. Persons may eat that vegetation. The elements, the atoms of that original person, now are in many persons. In the resurrection it is obvious that the same atoms cannot be in the original person and in all the others at the same time.
Neither is the resurrected body necessarily one constructed to be the exact duplicate of the body at the moment of death. If a person has had his body mutilated before death, will he return in the same way? That would be unreasonable, for he might not be in a condition even to hear and to do “those things written in the scrolls.” (Re 20:12) Say a person died from having the blood drained from his body. Would he return without blood? No, for he could not live in an earthly body without blood. (Le 17:11, 14) Rather, he would be given a body as it pleases God. Since God’s will and pleasure are that the resurrected person must obey the “things written in the scrolls,” it would have to be a sound body, possessing all its faculties. (Even though Lazarus’ body was already partially decomposed, Jesus resurrected Lazarus in a whole, sound body. [Joh 11:39]) In this way the individual could properly and justly be held responsible for his deeds during the judgment period. Yet the individual would not be perfect when brought back, for he must exercise faith in Christ’s ransom and must have the priestly ministrations of Christ and his “royal priesthood.”—1Pe 2:9; Re 5:10; 20:6.


 

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