~Please help answer this question about a Watchtower doctrine~
Does anyone know what year the WTBTS started teaching the mortality of the soul doctrine? Did it preceed the earthly hope doctrine? I'm curious to know if the WTBTS started teaching that your body is your soul, so that they could explain what happens to those with an earthly hope or who look forward to an earthly, fleshly resurrection.
Knowing the answer to this question would help me let go of that brainwashing, that we don't have a separate, spirtual soul.
Thank you in advance for answering my question.
It has always been a JW/BS (bible student) belief. CTR and the other founders called it conditional immortality I believe. Rememer CTR was a young presbytarian and became involed in the advent movement because he did not believe god would predetermine at birth who would go to hell. THe odd effect was him and his buddies totally discarding hellfire. So conditionaly immortality was that you go to heaven or just die. Since everyone was anointed the twinkle of an eye/ october 1914 we are all going to heaven negated the need for a soul because either way you were zapped to heaven. It got slowly refined to no soul years later. The perfect clone doctrine was basicaly an implied fluke for people that had wait in the ground till judgement day.
RR can probally fill in the parts I messed up, but in general it was always a JWish belief even before the great crowd was placed on earth.
Thank you, XQs.
Can some of you give some thoughts and observations on this doctrine of body=soul?
Yes, the "soul sleep" doctrine of adventist George Storrs was what got Russell started in his teachings in the first place. So it really was one of the original Bible Student doctrines. See: http://www.premier1.net/~raines/offshoot.html
But despite this, as X pointed out, I think the concept behind "soul sleep" and the total annihilationism right at death that WTS now teaches are somewhat different. Not sure about the progression on that development. That twist may have arisen as a result of the earthly hope doctrine. I believe (but I could be wrong) that "soul sleep" or conditionalism teaches that there is indeed an immaterial soul element that unconsciously remains "asleep" in the grave until the resurrection of judgement. So at the resurrection a person is either resurrected to eternal life (heaven) or to destruction (gehenna), where the resurrected person's soul is then annihilated. When you think about it, this doctrine is probably incompatible with current WTS doctrine.
So then is "soul sleep" different than "soul = fleshly body"? Who thought up the soul=nephish=breather teaching?
It's rather hard to find definitive information on this online. Many sites which refute "soul sleep" make no distinction between "soul sleep" and soul=body doctrines. But several online reference sites do make a distinction, yet do not elaborate much. Here is such a site:
But I myself would like to know the history of how the Watchtower Society arrived at its current doctrine.
the problem i think is cross culture jargon. If you want to get all litteral i believe basically soul means breather spirit means air. The problem comes up when you start taking literal words and then trying to figure out what the writer thousands of years ago ment. From what I have researched before the era of science there was a lot more blood and bone magic involved in death. Because nowdays in most western culture we dont believe in this gory magic it is hard to understand what the people that invented your religion believed.
I find it spooky how in other countries christians still practic basically necromancy. If a jewish guy told me that he was going to pray while rubbing my corpse in herbs, then stick me in a hole to rot, then clean my bones, and put them in a shoe box so when jesus comes he can call my physical bones out of the grave to live on some floating mountian in the middle east I would think he was crazy. It seriously feels like christianity has been reinvented (in some weird neo buddhist way)from a blood and bone cult to some new age metaphysical religion. Because the way many christians talk about the soul and death does not really match the customs or beliefs of the people that founded their religion.
In dealing with the Watch Tower Publishing Corporation I need to dance on words. The Witness publishing company does teach there is an immortal soul. They just don't call it "soul". They call it "spirit". Immortal just means "not subject to death". The born again Christian Witnesses have a soul (spirit) that will not die, but at their death the soul (spirit) goes to the big Kingdom Hall in the sky.
There are some interesting points that the WTS has taught over the years.
- Angels are spirits and are mortal and there is no indication in the Bible that they have been given immortality.
- Only God, Jesus and 144,000 (after dying faithful and being resurrected to heaven as a spirit creature) have immortality
- Russell was influenced by George Storrs--conditional immortality?the teaching that the soul is mortal and that immortality is a gift to be attained by faithful Christians. .
- God can kill those who have immortality w56 4/1 p. 219 Questions from Readers
- The Greek word for soul is psyche--Hebrew is nephesh. Spirit/pneuma/ruah
- The WTS does not teach inherent immortality of the soul
- Immortality is given only to spirit creatures but not all (see angels above)
- The WTS has a Questions From Readers trying to explain the difference between immortality and everlasting life.
XQ--- Good point on the many superstions and beliefs of present day christianinty are not derived by scrutinizing the scriptures . Thus the point that the WTBTS made about babylon the great being christian beliefs and religions distorted with pagan beliefs is valid .
The way I see it is that the old testament refers to man as being a living breathing soul in the NWT . In the new testament it talks about people who are alive at the time of the end of the world as not knowing death at all ever ,so there IMO is an immortallity of the soul doctrine in the bible .
The WTBTS confuses the issue because of the mistaken beliefs of other sects they refuse to even acknowlege the fact that immortallity of the soul is indeed what the bible is saying . As for the anointed or the 144k it is clear that they do die so the WTBTS has them being transformed to spirit creatures at the time of death and assuming a position as co rulers with christ immediately after death , however revelation does not say that . This is yet another mistaken belief .