(Originally printed in the January/February 1996 Issue of the MCOI Journal)
In light of the discussions regarding the Biblical teaching on the resurrection of Jesus, I thought we now should look at the WTBTS* teaching on the resurrection through a Q&A format. We will let their own literature answer the question from their perspective:
1 – Q. Does the very person who died rise up from death?
A. “… it is the individual, the “soul,” with the same personality, that is brought back to life.” (Awake!, 9/22/55, p.6)
2 – Q. What makes up a “person?” What exactly is an individual soul?
A. “The ‘soul’ is the person, including both personality and organism.” (WT,** 12/1/73, p.726)
3 – Q. What is “death?” What happens when the body dies?
A. “It is the functioning of the organism or body that expresses the personality. The dead body, without ‘spirit* or life force, or without the breath that sustains the life force, has no personality, no activity (Gen. 7:22: Jas. 2:26; Feel. 9:5.10). It is therefore no longer a living soul. His soul has died, ceased to exist.” (WT, 12/1/73, p.726)
“…Adam ceased to be ‘a breather’ or a soul, and went back to the lifeless dust from which he had been taken. It was the reverse of the creation process. No part of him lived on. He went completely into non-existence.” (Good News To Make You Happy, 1976, p.89)
“This personality is dependent upon the body and therefore it ceases to exist when the body dies.” (Awake!, 9/22/55, p.7)
“When Jesus Christ died, he could no longer mention his heavenly Father, praising Him. Jesus was dead, he was unconscious, out of existence. Death did not mean a transition to another life for Jesus; rather, nonexistence.” (Awake!. 7/22/79, p.27)
4 – Q. What is a life pattern?
A. “The life pattern is the personal life-long record of the creature built up by his thoughts and by the experiences in the life he has lived resulting from certain habits, leanings, mental abilities, memories and history. It is also a register of the individual’s intellectual growth and his characteristics, all of which make up one’s personality.” (Make Sure Of All Things, 1953,p.311)
5 – Q. Is the life pattern of personality physical?
A. “Each one develops his own personality pattern, and this is stored up in each one’s brain, also in the blood to some extent.” (WT, 4/15/63, p.242)
“The tiny cell that is formed by the uniting of the sperm and the egg has the potential of becoming a person different from any other person that has ever lived. Within this cell there is, in effect, a pattern of what the person to develop will be like. This pattern becomes part of the body of the human that develops.” (WT, 4/15/73, p.249)
“…recent medical research has indicated in a realistic way how blood transfusions may damage the individual’s personality. According to one authority:’ The blood in any person is in reality the person himself It includes hereditary taints, disease susceptibilities, poisons due to personal living, eating and drinking habits ‘ Transfusing blood, then, may amount to transfusing TAINTED PERSONALITY TRAITS. (Emphasis added.) How great the danger may become if the blood is taken from blood banks to which criminals and other derelicts of society have contributed!” (WT, 5/15/62, p.302)
6 – Q. Will the very physical person that died, or any physical part of it, be resurrected’?:
A. “What will be resurrected? The body? No, for it has disintegrated and its atoms have become parts of other living things, which, in turn, may become part of other living things.” (WT, 6/1/59, p.346)
7 – Q. Will there be a resurrection of the physical life pattern or “personality” that was part of the body?
A. “This personality is dependent upon the body and therefore it ceases to exist when the body dies.” (Awake!, 9/22/55, p.7)
8 – Q. What is a resurrection?
A. “Resurrection involves a reactivating of the life pattern of the individual… ” (Reasoning From The Scriptures, 1985, p.333)
“Resurrection is a restoration to life of the nonexistent dead.” (Make Sure Of All Things, 1953, p.311)
9 – Q. Does God “retain” a copy of the life pattern?
A. “…which life pattern God has retained in his memory.” (Reasoning From The Scriptures, 1985. p.333)
“It is the reactivating of the life pattern of the creature, a transcription of which is on record with God. and is referred to as being in his memory.” (Make Sure of All Things, 1953, p.311)
10 – Q. After the person’s death, is the original life pattern “preserved” by God?
A. “The factors combining to make the life pattern are like the sounds recorded on a blank phonograph record that stands for the brain, primarily. At the same time God is having a master disc made of the same life pattern on his marvelous memory. At death the phonograph record is broken as it were, and what was recorded thereon would be forever lost were it not for the duplicate recording made by God. In the resurrection God makes a blank record, a human body, and then stamps on its brain the life pattern he has recorded.” (Awake!, 9/22/55, p.7)
At this point I will give the WT answers to the above questions and finish with a few comments.
1. The individual with the same personality is brought back to life.
2. A person is a body AND personality (life pattern).
3. Death is the cessation of existence.
4. The life pattern is the personality.
5. The life pattern of personality is physical.
6. Neither the physical body, nor any physical part of ft will be resurrected,
7. The physical life pattern ceases to exist when the body dies.
8. Resurrection is a reactivation or restoration of the life pattern.
9. God retrains a copy of the life pattern.
10 Even the ORIGINAL life pattern ceases to exist; the original is forever lost, but God has a copy. Soooo….
11. a. The original life pattern went out of existence.
b. God retained a “duplicate in His memory.
c. God makes a brand new, never-existed-before body and stamps a copy of His duplicate copy of the life pattern in to its brain.
12. Since the original body and life pattern are not to be resurrected, is the original person to be resurrected? No!!!
13. If there is no hope for the resurrection of what died – the ORIGINAL PHYSICAL BODY with the ORIGINAL LIFE PATTERN – is there any hope for the original “person” who dies? NO! ” (See questions 12 again)
14. According to the definition of “resurrection” a person must die before that person can “stand up again.”
“The word ‘resurrection’ (Greek an-as’tas-is) occurs some 40 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It means standing up again to life. In order to rise up to life, a person must be dead, for life is the opposite of death.” (WT, 12/15/81, p 16-17)
Must God raise the “person” that died for that VERY PERSON to rise from the dead? Yes.
A In order to be a resurrection, it must have lived before.
B The newly created body, with a copy of the memories stamped on its brain never lived before. It is not the original, the original ceased to exist.
C Since it did not live before, it is not resurrected. It is a copy of “Xerox.” The original person who worked diligently for the rewards will not receive them for they have ceased to exist, but not to worry. Their xerox copy will take their place and enjoy their rewards.
* Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
**Watchtower (The bi-weekly magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses)
L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr. is president Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc.