I’m in the midst of visiting my parents, having only been “allowed” since my father is very ill. During the past few days, I’ve come to realize that one of the cornerstones of their faith is the hope of an earthly resurrection. Both of my parents lost siblings and parents tragically when they were very young. The hope, of seeing them alive here on earth and the idea that upon their death they will only sleep until the time of the resurrection, is very powerful and is a driving force that maintains their devotion to their faith. I must admit the idea of seeing my deceased family members (not to mention historical persons that I admire) again and alive in flesh and blood is very appealing, and I suspect that this is why many convert into and remain with the Jehovah Witness faith.
The Powerful Resurrection Hope
Although I had pasted my post in its entirety, the orginal post didn't include my question which I have pasted below:
For the Bible enthusiasts out there, is there really a biblical basis for an earthly resurrection, and who may participate?
The resurrection doctrine only emerges in the latest pages of the OT (especially Daniel 12 and 2 Maccabees). It might be described as another case of choosing the next-to-last foreign influence (Persian) against the last one (Greek) which is considered as a current religious threat.
In subsequent apocalyptic beliefs (Pharisees, Essenes) the Persian resurrection and the Greek immortal soul tend to merge, with shades of emphasis according to the attitude of the authors to the prevalent Greek culture (Greek-friendly works such as the Wisdom of Solomon hardly need the concept). Resurrection can be seen as either limited to the righteous (1 Enoch, 2 Baruch, Psalms of Solomon) or general (4 Esdras) -- both views are found in the Testaments of the Patriarchs. In the latter case its purpose is judgement of one's past life (as is still clear in Revelation 20) and occurs as the very last act of "this world" (vs. the "world to come," cf. the "new heavens and new earth" of chapter 21). In those two aspects the WT presentation of an earthly resurrection during the millenium, offering the "unrighteous" resurrected an opportunity to be saved, completely diverges from the ancient scenarii, including that of Revelation. And the pathos of "meeting the lost ones again," appealing as it may be, is hardly found in ancient texts.
The JW concept of the resurrection needs clarification as to what they exactly mean by a resurrected being. --VM44
NYCKid....I must also emphasize that the JW doctrine is not resurrection. The biblical concept is that the dead person would be restored to life, embodied anew. There would thus be continuity between the person that died and the person resurrected; there would be an intermediate state in which the person would await resurrection. In the Watchtower teaching, there is no continuity or intermediate state. In trying to deny the immortality of the soul (which has left its imprint in the NT, such as the concept of the body as a "tent" in 2 Corinthians and 2 Peter), the Society goes further and denies any sort of afterlife or continuity at all...the Society teaches a form of annihilationism that claims that a person's existence ceases when they die. When a person is "resurrected", he/she is held to be a new person created out of God's memory of the former person, a memory that is presumably complete and which produces a perfect copy of that person, but the resurrected person is still a copy and not the original. Thus there is nothing preventing God from "resurrecting" two, three, a thousand, or 144,000 copies of a dead you.
The Society uses the language of "resurrection" because that is what is in the NT, but the conception is rather one of recreation. And I find it to be quite an empty hope because despite the language implying a restoration to life, the JW doctrine is one that denies that YOU will return to life from the dead. Rather, someone else will be raised looking like you, with all your memories, and will continue on in your place. That sounds more like Invasion of the Body Snatchers than resurrection to me. If you read Paul's description of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, it is patent that there is continuity between the person who died and the person resurrected....what is sown is what is raised, and the resurrected person is likened to a plant growing from a buried seed. The notion of an afterlife also appears throughout the Bible and such an "afterlife existence" does not depend on a Platonic immortality doctrine, tho the use of psukhé "soul" in Revelation to refer to dead persons in their intermediate state awaiting resurrection is possibly due to Platonic influence, as the "tent", "naked", and "out of body" language in 2 Corinthians is certainly due to....
The Powerful Resurrection Hope......yes I must say it is a powerful powerful draw and pull on the heartstrings....perhaps the most powerful tool of religious teaching.
Start to lose a few loved ones and this hope has you by the throat for sure.
To stay in the org means unhappiness and conformity, but to leave means giving up your eternal future and never being with your loved ones now and in the future........very powerful mental and emotional torture.
I wish I never heard of the Witnesses and just blithely believed for sure I'll be with my loved ones in Heaven when I die like the rest of society easily believes.
I envy those who can comfort others on sympathy cards with the words "Dont worry, she is with God"
or "You will see her in heaven" or who can do or say more than pat the mourners on the backs at funerals.
The other day I mailed off a sympathy card for a new acquaintence who lost her mother. All I could think of was "Too bad, so sad" !!!! (Actually I wrote "Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for your loss at this time" or some other such well meaning but impotent drivel.
I am so screwed up myself on this issue!!! I could not say anything about Jesus and the clouds or Heaven or the angels or peace, happiness, reunion, nothing!!!!!!
I wanted to scream "GOD'S GOING TO MURDER ME, BUT HEY, MAY YOUR MOTHER WHO NEVER DID A THING FOR THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY, REST IN PEACE AND RECEIVE HER REWARD OF RESURRECTION TO THE PARADISE PLANET"
The issue of resurrection or recreation is one I cannot turn my back on. I am hooked. I am sick. I am ruined..........until I am resolved on this issue.
Another great post, Leolaia. You nailed it.
For those interested, I suggest reading a book called "Life Before Life" - I think it was written by an MD named Tucker.
I am convinced that there is something deep and fundamental about human existance that we don't fathom yet. I'm not fully
'on board' with reincarnation but I think that some part of it must be true. The notion that "everything is in the genes" is naive
and will eventually fail as an explanation of human growth and development. 25% of our genes are said to be the same as a
banana, for God's sake! (and 99.9% the same as a chimp)
My JW mom used to say I was "born old". Now, that statement makes me wonder.....
25% of our genes are said to be the same as a banana, for God's sake!
Ye gods! I just ate a banana!
Was that you, Cousin Ernie?
I feel so...so...cannibalistic!
While I agree that the JW view of resurrection as recreation is very different from the NT perspectives (plural intended), I think I don't feel the psychological implications as acutely as other posters. Any belief about death is a leap beyond (knowable) reality anyway. The "soul" or "resurrected body" is a projection of one's self, beyond the expected loss of one's self. The JW myth may appeal to some modern minds because (1) it seems to take seriously the modern anthropological consciousness of death as the absolute end of the biological individual and (2) it resorts to basic technical metaphors (e.g. the "recording" of sounds and pictures) which give it apparent plausibility. As a result it sounds possible (to a superficial mind). The question of continuity ("would that be me?") depends on the degree of continuity in one's self-representation (which I think is quite variable) and is soluble in imagination (e.g. how do I know I have not ceased existing last night and been recreated with the exact same memories this morning? how would I know if I had?).
Thanks Narkissos and Leolaia for your thought-provoking posts.
Anewme...I hear you so much...my grandparents were suckererd in by this message shortly after thier 3 year old passed away.