The Watchtower Society being so desperate to indoctrinate their readers against the Trinity doctrine really tried to link it with Paganism (pp. 9-12). But their fabric kept falling apart at its seams.
On pg. 9, under the heading “The Triads of the Great Gods,” they quoted the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology to prove that ancient Babylonia and Assyria believed in triad of deities which influenced the Christian Trinity but they left out this part:
“He [Anu] was god in the highest sense the supreme god. All other deities honoured him as their ‘Father’ that is to say their chief…” (pp. 54-55). This wasn’t included because the Babylonian triad actually looks more similar to the Jehovah’s Witness theology of a supreme Father called Jehovah and other lesser gods – Jesus, angels, devil and men – than the historic, orthodox doctrine of the Christian Trinity!
On page 10 are pictures of triad deities and the “Christian Trinity” aimed at ‘proving’ that the Trinity came from paganism. This is actually an appeal to emotion. These deities didn’t influence the Trinity doctrine in any way.
All scholars agree that ancient Babylonian religion was polytheistic, not “trinitarian.” The same goes for ancient Egyptian, Greek, Canaanite and Sumerian religions. The Egyptian Osiris, Isis and Horus belonged to a large family of gods like Set, Nut, Seb, Apnu etc. with their head being Amon-Ra. Is this the Christian Trinity? Absolutely not.
The tactic of trying to fault the Trinity by pointing to pre-Christian pagan cultures with similar beliefs is not only a fallacy of wrong parallel, it is in fact, lame. In another publication, they stated that:
“The universality of the flood accounts is usually taken as evidence for the universal destruction of humanity by a flood … So we can confidently conclude that the Flood legends confirm the reality of the Biblical account.” (The Watchtower January 15, 1992, 8).
If the flood legends in many pagan cultures confirm the Biblical account, then the trinity beliefs in many cultures can confirm the Divine Trinity. Another thing to note is that, most of the sources they used in an attempt to link the Trinity with paganism were either heretical or anti-Christian works. In other cases where this wasn’t done, they resorted to their favourite tactic – misquotation.
On pg. 9, the Encyclopedia Americana (Vol XXVII, 294) was quoted: “Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching. [page 301] Neither will Unitarians accept any dogma as true because Scripture teaches it … The Unitarian church…maintains that [the Bible] writers were subject to errors.”
Here they were quoting an article on the Unitarians as an authority on the history of the Trinity! How preposterous! Why is the Watchtower so desperate that they would resort to quoting the opinions of Bible haters for what Christians are to believe?
Again, on pages 3, 6 and 11, they quote Arthur Weigall’s The Paganism in Our Christianity (1928, 197) which is a Unitarian cultist book:
“The origin of the [Trinity] is entirely pagan” The final paragraph of this book says: “The mistaken attitude of Christianity is very largely the fault of St. Paul … Paul was not very interested in Christ the Teacher; he was more concerned with Christ the divine Human Sacrifice.”
Why in the name of integrity would a writer quote a cultist as an authority of Christian belief? JWs couldn’t obviously find works by reputable Christian scholars they could use to attack the Trinity, so they had to use anti-Christians like Alvan Lamson, Andrew Norton or E. W. Hopkins.
Such a feat shows that the Watchtower Society disobeys its own commands in Qualified to be Ministers (1967, 199):
“Be very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence honestly. In quotations do not twist the meanings of a writer or speaker or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended … And use reliable, capable authority.”
On page 14, there is a section titled “Jesus a Separate Creation”. A part of it reads:
“…Jesus was a created spirit being, just as angels were spirit beings created by God…[He] was ‘the first-born of all creation.’ (Colossians 1:15 NJB) He was ‘the beginning of God’s creation.’ (Revelation 3:14, RS)…Yes, Jesus was created by God as the beginning of God’s invisible creation.”
These are claptrap arguments. First, nowhere did the Bible ever say “Jesus was created.” The idea of Jesus being an archangel is totally false and has been addressed here. That Colossians 1:15 used as “proof” is invalid because the word “firstborn” does not imply “first created”. Two different Greek words are used for them (prototokos and protokistos) respectively.
JWs have craftily added the word “other” in brackets 4 times to Col. 1:14-18 in their translation to support the error that God created Jesus and Jesus made all other things. But the “firstborn” means “preeminence” and “eternal preexistence” (Strong # 4416). It doesn’t mean ‘first created’. According to Greek scholar Marvin Vincent:
“‘First-born’ points to eternal pre-existence …We must carefully avoid any suggestion that Christ was the first of created things, which is contradicted by the following words: ‘in Him were all things created‘” (Word Studies in the New Testament, 1946, 3:468).
The Greek word translated as “beginning” in Rev. 3:14 is “arkhe” which denotes the Creator, Originator or the One Who starts and stops time. In Rev. 21:6 and 22:13, God Himself is called Alpha and Omega, the Beginning [ar-khe] and the End. Therefore, the title applies to God as it applies to Jesus.
From pages 14-20, most of what the booklet attacked are straw man arguments about the Deity of Christ. The Watchtower Society may have convinced JWs that they are demolishing the Deity of Christ there, but what they did all through was slash away at straw man points. Let me dig up three more misquotations.
Page 16: The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel (1967, Vol IV, 736) says: “[Monogenes] means ‘of sole descent’ i.e without brothers or sisters … But the word can also be used more generally without reference to derivation in the sense of ‘unique’, ‘unparallel’, ‘incomparable.'”
Page 20: “The fact has to be faced that New Testament research over, say, the last thirty or forty years has been leading an increasing number of reputable New Testament scholars to the conclusion that Jesus himself may not have claimed any of the christological titles which the Gospels ascribe to him, not even the functional design ‘Christ’ and certainly never believed himself to be God” (G. H. Boobyer in John Ryland’s Library Bulletin 1697-8, 50: 251).
This was a work written by another cultic group attacking Christian belief but the magazine cleverly omitted the points which trashes their belief in Jesus as Christ yet they steal their arguments!
Page 22: “Although the NT concepts of the Spirit of God are largely a continuation of those of the OT, in the NT, there is a gradual revelation that the Spirit of God is a person. The majority of NT texts reveal God’s spirit as something, not someone, this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God.” (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:575)
In their conclusion on p. 30, they wrote: “…Trinitarians have often persecuted and even killed those who rejected the Trinity doctrine…They have killed their fellow Trinitarians in wartime…all in the name of the same Trinitarian God?…Thus the teaching of confusing doctrines about God has led to actions that violate his laws”
This mode of argumentation is called “poisoning the well.” It’s an attempt to create a very negative image of your opponent such that you don’t even want to consider what he really believes or to listen to what he has to say.
By making these vague or exaggerated accusations against Christians who believe in the Trinity, the Watchtower Society seals up the trap to prevent JWs from seeing their own deception. Interestingly, this statement is coming from a religion that is horribly stained with the blood of its own adherents who have chosen to die for their heresies instead of accepting blood transfusion.
They continued: “By honouring God and worshipping him on his terms, we can avoid the judgement that he will soon bring on apostate Christendom” (p. 31).
Such hypocrisy! Does it honour God to promote falsehoods in His name? Does it honour God to hack up quotations and hide scholarly evidence that refute your views? Does it honour God to quote people who oppose His Word and deny His nature as authorities? Do you worship God on His own terms by getting around your own rules and misleading your followers? This booklet says it all: the Jehovah’s Witness religion is a false one!