I once came across an edition of Watchtower magazine (October, 1, 2011) titled: “Five Lies about God Exposed”. It’s a typical polemic against Christendom. On page 3 it says:
“Imagine, then how you would feel if you learned that you had been lied to about God?… God’s Word, the Bible, contains what we need in order to distinguish the truth from lies.”
Now, let’s give JWs their own medicine by testing their theology with the Bible. As Christians, we all agree that knowledge of God is important. On the back cover of each Watchtower magazine we are told:
“Even in this troubled world, you can gain happiness from accurate Bible knowledge of God”. A common Bible text used to support this is John 17:3 which in their New World Translation reads: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God…” Actually, this is a flawed rendering.
The passage says: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Jesus wasn’t speaking of a general knowledge of the Bible (“taking in knowledge”) there, rather, He was referring to an intimate knowledge of God; a personal relationship.
The Watchtower Society deliberately mistranslated that text in order to safeguard their belief in God as an organizational Chief Executive. They believe only 144,000 JWs can have any close relationship with God as sons of God while He relates with majority of JWs who are part of “the great crowd” as a heavenly grandfather:
“God does not adopt them as spiritual sons, as he does the 144,000” (The Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1998, 20).
“In such a way that the heavenly Father of Jesus Christ will become the heavenly Grandfather of the restored human family” (Worldwide Security Under the Prince of Peace, 169).
In their book, Reasoning From the Scriptures, God is illustrated as a “kindly grandfather” who intervened on our behalf by “making provision through a son who is living with him” (p. 308). But the Bible says that all believers have been adopted as sons and that we all have access to the Father through Jesus by one Spirit:
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:14-16)
“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Eph. 2:18).
Most Christians don’t realize that JWs also deny the omnipresence of God. This is because it’s not directly implied unless one carefully reads their materials. In an edition of Awake! (2011, pp. 29-29), they wrote:
“The fact that Jehovah has a place of dwelling indicates that he is not in all places at all times … there is no need for Jehovah God literally to be everywhere … Jehovah can use his holy spirit to perceive what is happening … and through his angelic forces, he is able to be fully aware of what is happening regarding his creation”
Yes, it’s true that God is not everywhere in the same sense. Heaven is where God’s presence and glory is fully and visibly manifested (John 20:17, Revelation 21:2). But He is still present everywhere: in all believers (John 14:16), with unbelievers (John 16:7-11), He is “not far from everyone of us” (Acts 17:27-28) and “neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight” (Hebrews 4:13).
The Watchtower leaders’ denial of God’s omnipresence is a residue of their early teaching that God lives in a planet: “the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of God” (Reconciliation, 1928, p. 14). They used to teach that Jehovah “governs his universe” from the star “Alcyone” in the Pleiades constellation (Thy Kingdom Come p. 377). This doctrine was later discarded.
But the Bible says:
Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jer. 23:23-24)
The Psalmist wrote: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Ps. 139:7-10).
Ironically, Jehovah’s Witnesses use this Psalm 139 to present a rather demeaning idea of God as a sun distributing energy (the “holy spirit”) everywhere. Notice that the words “YOU” and “YOUR SPIRIT” are used of God interchangeably shows us that the Spirit of God is God, not “radio waves.”
The omniscience of God was also denied in the above Awake quote, by claiming He relies on angels for what happens on earth. Elsewhere they wrote:
“Would not limiting God’s knowledge of the future undermine his almightiness? You may ask. Not at all” (The Watchtower, July 15, 1984, pp. 4-5).
“Certainly Jehovah God had not planned matters this way. He now had to adapt Himself to the new set of circumstances” (God’s “Eternal Purpose”, 1974, 97).
On the contrary, the Bible says God “knows all things” (1 Jn. 3:20); He is “perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16) and “His understanding is beyond measure” (Ps. 147:5). Definitely, the God of the Bible is not the one served in the Watchtower. Therefore, it can be inferred that:
1. The Watchtower presents God as a distant grandfather.
2. In order to sustain the lie that God is remote, they denied God’s omnipresence.
3. To sustain this error, they also had to deny the personality of the Holy Spirit, claiming He is just a force.
4. Since their god is distant, they also have to deny that he is all-knowing as well.
So, one error begets another and then another till a watchtower of lies about God is built up.