Musings About...Spirit Beings

by titch 5 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • titch

    Folks: This topic might seem a little "out there in left field." But it might be something to think about, or perhaps it's something that you have wondered about in the past. I know that I sometimes wondered about it, , even when I was "in" the JW organization. Now, this is making the assumption that a person believes that there are, in actuality, spirit beings that live...exist...outside the realm of the material, physical world.. And, that would include, of course, the "supreme being" that humans think of as "god", or YHWH, or "Yahweh". And, that there are "spirit beings" that we think of as "angels" and "demons." So, have you ever wondered how it is that "they" perceive each other? I mean, if the assumption is correct that there are "millions", maybe more "angels" in that "spirit" realm, then how do they all perceive each other ? Supposedly, spirit beings don't have physical bodies, with physical senses that we humans have, then how do they do that? And, for that matter, how do they converse or communicate with each other? Ever wonder about that? I wonder about that, and wondered about that when I was a Witness. And, since "spirit beings" are outside the realm of the material physical world---just like "god" is---how do they "perceive" the material, physical Cosmos/Universe?

    Perhaps I am over-thinking such matters, or it is "unfathomable" for us mortal, l physical, material beings to ponder. But, still, it is something that I have wondered about. Perhaps it's best to not even think about such things! How about you good Folks? Best Regards, Everyone.....Titch.

  • enoughisenough

    Seems there is good verses evil in the spirit world as well. Some seem to be stronger than others because in Dan 10: 13 the angel had wanted to come to Daniel but the prince of the royal realm of Persia opposed him for 21 days until Michael came to help him. ( interesting point considering JW teaching-Michael is referred to as "one of the foremost princes" - JW will teach you Michael is Jesus ) So it would appear some spirit creatures like to lord it over nations! ( makes sense if you believe the Bible where Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world. ) I personally do believe there are wicked spirit creatures.

  • vienne

    Nelson Barbour, for all his weirdness, has some excellent thoughts on the nature of spirit beings as revealed in the Bible. See his Three Worlds.

    Other than historical interest, that's probably the ONLY thing he wrote that is worth while.

  • waton

    Even mainstream physicists dapple in more than our 3 dimensions plus time. We know that energy can not be created or destroyed, so it is eternal in the past, and already waiting for us in the future, we move into.

    The laws that govern our universe seem to be very efficient, reflecting a creative intelligence. Speculation by various ancient or modern religions aside, we can not escape that tremendous work was done before our arrival, awakening.

    The bible paints only a caricature of what must be involved.

    With energy and its various expressions, being eternal, it certainly can be seen as a carrier of messages, information.

  • peacefulpete

    Early "Jewish" belief in the OT had no problem assuming God and other heavenly beings had physical bodies. They had abilities beyond ours, but they had tangible bodies. Later years this seemed unsophisticated and was denied, but never clarified. Irenaeus for example still insisted the corporeal nature of God as of essential theological importance, image of God, son in image of Father etc.

    Regarding human destiny, the Jewish faith evolved over time from having a vague, rather hopeless concept of 'shades', (basically the essence of the person) having a quasi-existence in sheol to a more tangible Persian concept of resurrection of the body, a renewed original body. It was even thought by some the original clothes would be restored. (Humorously the Talmud declares that the bodies of those not buried in Israel will have to tunnel their way there). The Greek influences introduced a more refined immortal soul concept and with it more complex competing conceptions. Some branches of Judaism believed in reincarnation. (Mark 8:27,28 cf. Matt 16:13,14 Matt alters the meaning) The resulting melting pot of ideas produced a variety of beliefs among the Jews of the first century with no consensus felt needed.

    Are souls reunited with the body at a future resurrection? is the body subsequently taken to heaven/hell? can the soul be split among different bodies to complete the cleansing process? Is life after death as a spirit form an exchange of bodies or merely a freeing of the soul?

    This last question of whether the soul is the body or it requires a body to inhabit, has produced thousands of pages of inquiry. Simply said most writers, including Paul are just not absolutely clear.

    Paul seems to be, IMO, straddling theological concepts. He believes a body is necessary, assumedly for sensory perception, and imagines a transformation of one body into another Christlike one. Then it will be reunited/exchanged with a physical body in the resurrection of the just. Others held that the physical body must be discarded and replaced with one made from heavenly materials and that is the final form.

    Even more fundamental is the question of what "soul stuff" is made of. Again there is no clear answer. Is the soul itself made up of heavenly material or earthly? Is it immaterial, made of nothing but yet somehow self contained?

    Bottom line is there was no limit to the creativity of fertile minds of theologians. When someone like Paul was pressured by Corinthians to explain it, he offered what he saw as logical. We are still trying to figure out what he meant.

  • peacefulpete

    Ok, I shot too much from the hip on that last post. The 1 Cor Pauline discussion has been a topic I rehashed some years ago. I repeated a position I held but now question.

    In short Paul seems to be arguing about different types of flesh: man, bird, fish, and finally the ultimate type of flesh is an incorruptible type that Christians get to go to heaven with. The lines about 'sown natural raised spiritual' have been most often interpreted to mean 'spirit' but it doesn't really flow from the argument. The word can simply mean of divine or heavenly nature. Similarly, the "flesh and blood cannot enter heaven" may have had a nuanced meaning, merely insisting the usual corruptible human form cannot go. If this is correct, Paul seems to be saying they will have incorruptible glorious but yet physical bodies after a yet future resurrection.

    However at Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I 4cannot tell. 23 5For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a ldesire to depart and be with Christ, which is mfar better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.

    He seems to be rather forcefully suggesting if he was to die he would depart and be with Christ separated from his flesh.

    Maybe this all illustrates the confusion.

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