Is there really any universal issue of Sovereignty?

by Linda14 23 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • KalebOutWest

    Dear ExBethelitenowPIMA,

    The Bible never says that there was a challenge in Eden.

    I may have spent 10 years growing up in the Watchtower religion because I was left under my aunt's control after my parents' divorce, because I was born Jewish. I can read the Scriptures in Hebrew. I became an instructor of world religion after growing up and leaving the Jehovah's Witness religion.

    You can't read the Bible unless someone translates it for you from the original language. I can read all of it, both the Hebrew and the Greek texts without a translation. How do you know what an interpretation means if you can't even read the Scriptures without a translation of it?

    The Video You Shared, And the Holes It Leaves

    The video offered an illustration of a teacher at the head of a classroom. Let's use that.

    Let's say a man with a gun runs in and says he's going to shoot the students. Shouldn't the teacher do something, regardless of the challenge that has happened in the classroom?

    Let's also say that the teacher clearly is stronger and clearly capable of stopping the gunman from opening fire and shooting the students. But the teacher doesn't do anything. He just turns around and writes on the chalkboard while the gunman opens fire and shoots half the students dead and runs off.

    The surviving students cry out for the teacher to help, but instead of offering help or even calling 911, the teacher walks away, gets into his car, and drives off.

    That would be weird, no?

    But that is basically the way people draw God to be like. In the illustration, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, has the power to stop suffering and hear the cries of people, but does nothing.

    Why? Because "it's not time yet"? God has plans to fight a battle of sovereignty first? A bone to pick with an insignificant angel because God's ego was crushed in front of some angels?

    What about all those suffering children? What about the injustice of the gunman?

    He will reverse it in time you say? But what about everything people are going through now and everything the angels are seeing God allow happening now? Isn't that horrible, what God is allowing to happen? Isn't God like a teacher who just turns his back on innocent kids in a class and lets them get shot down everyday? Doing nothing? Hearing outcries and doing nothing?

    Where is the justice in that?

    These people who get hurt and get killed or injured for life during such a scene were not there when the "issue of sovereignty" was raised. This "teacher" is playing with life like a madman.

    And yet this is the "only thing that makes sense" to you?

    A Kingdom Hall just had this happen to them. Innocent people, Jehovah's Witnesses, were shot. Innocent people. Jehovah just was---where?

    He was this teacher who, though had the power to stop, to save, to help, didn't, because he has a point to prove with a "nobody," an evil, nothing, imperfect, defective, thing, that in reality doesn't exist in Judaism (Jews don't have a Satan the Devil, only Christians--the Catholics basically made him up), you claim that this is what is happening.

    This makes sense to you.

    Your own people, getting shot down in cold blood makes sense to you.

    I hope you got off your fence and are enjoying the Watchtower now.

  • ExBethelitenowPIMA

    So if you don’t believe in the challenge of universal sovereignty but you still believe in God, then what is the other explanation for why God permits suffering?

  • cofty

    Excellent post KalebOutWest

    The bible doesn't offer an answer to the question of suffering - it offers many and all of them are inadequate.

    The oldest one goes something like - I'm god and you have no right to question me.

    See Job.

  • ExBethelitenowPIMA

    If you are an evolutionist then fair enough you don’t have to come up with any reasons for suffering it’s all random and there is no purpose to anything

    If you believe the origin was intelligent design and you don’t believe the Bibles explanation of the issue of universal sovereignty then what is the reason there is so much suffering?

  • TonusOH

    I think Epicurus covered that.

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    I think this only works if you presume that God is 'pure good' or so good that he could not do something we might consider wicked or evil. Otherwise, God doesn't have to prevent evil. He may simply not care, or He may want to allow it. As for why, that would depend on God's personal qualities or desires or goals, or any number of factors. I think most current religions want God to be good and just, because the alternatives are unpredictable and that is very scary.

  • cofty

    There is no such thing as an 'evolutionist' there are just well informed people who accept the simple fact of biological evolution.

    Just because there is no all-powerful God does not mean life has no purpose.

    As I said the bible does NOT say that the reason for suffering is universal sovereignty. Did you not read KOW's post?

    The bible is a library of books. Different writers offer different theodicies. The oldest one simply rejects the question. See Job.

    You need to engage with your interlocutors better.

  • ExBethelitenowPIMA

    I did read the post and it makes no sense. When Satan challenged the issue of universal sovereignty (the teacher was challenged by the rebellious student) there was no gunman coming in shooting people.

    The other students were the other spirit creatures.

    the teacher could throw him out but then the issue still hasn’t been settled.

    the rebel would need to be given enough time, if it was cut short too soon someone could claim if they had a bit longer then independent rule from God would have been better

  • TonusOH

    That doesn't make sense, to me. Let's assume that Satan says that humans can run their lives just fine on their own. How does that undermine Jehovah's sovereignty? God created everything, and without him there are no humans, no Earth, no nothing. If God decides to, he could wipe it all out and start over. Any plan to change the way things work relies 100% on what God has created and what God maintains. Any attempt to follow different rules depends 100% on God playing along.

    What was anyone going to prove with the time they were given? What issue needed to be settled?

  • KalebOutWest

    ExBethelite (and all other interested ones),

    There was no challenge by Satan. That never happened.

    That is an Adventist teaching that was developed during a period of American history known as the Second Great Awakening.

    The Second Great Awakening & the Issue of Sovereignty

    In the 19th century, the United States of America experienced a Protestant religious revival known that history has dubbed the Second Great Awakening (since it followed a similar revival that followed one that happened prior, but not as expansive or powerful). This 2nd movement, affecting mostly New England, would be responsible for three great historical New Religious Movements: the Millerites, the Adventists, and the largest of all, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (otherwise known as the Mormons).

    From the Millerites and the Adventists, a smaller group would eventually form, giving birth to what would eventually become Jehovah's Witnesses. I place this aside in its own paragraph for any wondering where the Watchtower religion fits in any of this.

    The New Religious Movement or NRMs, were a development mostly of highly unorthodox and often very uneducated lay persons taking the lead for the very first time to create new religious movements. Again, the most powerful and most successful of all the NRMs to rise from the Second Great Awakening was not someone with a degree or who had any real education at all, namely Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.

    The idea of being in the Last Days is what stirred Joseph Smith to found his "Latter-day" movement, as did the Millerites and the Adventists and eventually the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. These NRMs believed in something called "dispensationalism," believing that history is divided into multiple ages.

    Charles T. Russell was inspired by the Second Great Awakening ideas, and adopted dispensationalism, believing in the "multiple ages” idea. This would later cause him to write his "Divine Plan of the Ages'' series since he believed he was living in the final dispensation.

    Russell adopted much from the SDA church, especially the idea of the "sovereignty issue." It comes from a book written by Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the SDA church, entitled The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels. To this day the SDA church calls their issue of sovereignty "the Great Controversy" due to White's foundationary work. Russell and the early Bible Students, not having a single educated clergy member among them, just lifted the work of others and, often without giving credit where it was due, offered it straight to the Watchtower readers. This one is one of the greatest examples.

    So if you believe in this, and you are a JW or exJW, you are really soaking in Babylon the Great sloppy seconds.

    Christian & Jewish Beliefs

    As I tried to mention before, mainstream Jewish and Christian beliefs are very different. They don't believe in "the great controversy/issue of sovereignty." And here is why.

    First, Judaism doesn't because Jews generally don't believe in Satan the Devil. They have always read and understood the Garden of Eden story as a mythological reference written while they were in Babylonian exile and wanting to return to the Promised Land. (Remember, the Jews wrote the story and thus they know what they are talking about.) The narratives in Genesis are part of the Mosaic Law and thus not history but law. This means they are teaching something in reference to how one should obey the Torah, not about what really happened historically. The Torah is not a history book, otherwise the Torah would not be called the Torah. It would be called "The History Book."

    As for mainstream Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic, while the Fall of Man is generally understood in these passages, it is debated whether or not this is historical. Catholic teaching as far as 355 CE has agreed with Judaism that the narrative is not meant to be literal, and today's Catholic and Protestant scholars agree. Fundamentalists hold that the story should be read historically for the most part, but there are some that are reading it with a view to critical scholarship. Despite debates, all hold to the view that "original sin" and not an "issue of sovereignty/great controversy" is what Jesus Christ saves people from.

    Both Christianity and Judaism teach that God cannot have an equal. Therefore it is not possible to have a "great controversy" or "issue of sovereignty" because to do so requires God to have an opponent or foe. That is like having a tennis match, where you play someone that is like you. Satan, according to Christian theology, is tiny, a creature that is failing, sick, puny, and broken. He doesn't work, and is imperfect. He can't be an archenemy or opponent in a match with the Creator. It wouldn't work. The Devil would need a perfect equal or stand-in for this controversy to work.

    The scenario created by White and preached by the Watchtower is illogical. The Devil is a tiny ant making a complaint and God is a 12-foot man. This is not an issue. How can it be?

    And there are no angels watching. Just uneducated people like White, Smith, Russell and Miller making things up and millions of fools following them, wasting their lives to their deaths.

  • EdenOne

    The issue of universal sovereignty always felt illogical to me because, how could Satan the Devil ever expected to win? It would be a non-starter, a non-issue, a non-challenge. Plus, if God already foresaw the outcome, why would the Devil play right into God's chartered course of events? Again, illogical.

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