What are Jehovah’s Witnesses Taught About God and the Trinity
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©October 2005|
|The Jehovah’s Witnesses deviate from the biblical view of God in two important areas. First, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe God is only one person, not three persons or triune. Second, God is limited to a specific locale and is not omnipresent.|
The Jehovah’s Witnesses deviate from the biblical view of God in two important areas. First, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe God is only one person, not three persons or triune. Second, God is limited to a specific locale and is not omnipresent. Thus the Jehovah’s Witness God is “not part of [the] Triune God-head, with other coequal members.” “The true God is not omnipresent, for he is spoken of as having a location (1 Kings 8:49; John 16:28; Hebrews 9:24). His throne is in heaven (Isaiah 66:1).” “[God is] not omnipresent, but can project spirit anywhere to accomplish His purpose.”
It is also true in Watchtower theology that as far as God is concerned “the stress appears clearly to lie upon the side of his power and his inexorable justice rather than upon the side of his love and forgiveness.” Nevertheless, the Watchtower Society’s abhorrence of a “pagan Trinity” makes the Christian God abhorrent to Witnesses. C. T. Russell blasphemously taught that the Christian God was, in fact, the devil: “The clergy’s God is plainly not Jehovah but the ancient deity, hoary with the iniquity of the ages—Baal, the Devil Himself.”
There are five principal reasons why the Trinity is rejected by the Watchtower Society:
- claimed associations with paganism;
- the lack of the word “Trinity” in the Bible;
- supposedly defames Jehovah’s name;
- claimed polytheism; and
- alleged irrational nature. The following briefly documents these five reasons.
1. The Trinity was not part of the early church but a development from paganism.
This doctrine was unknown to the Hebrew prophets and Christian apostles…. The early Christians who were taught directly by Jesus Christ did not believe that God is a “Trinity.” The trinity is referred to as “that idea of pagan imagination.” (See our book Knowing the Truth About the Trinity.)
2. The Trinity is not found in the Bible.
Their word “Trinity” does not occur in the Holy Bible. [Neither does “monotheism,” “Jehovah,” “theocratic” or “New World Society.”]
3. The Trinity is satanic because it maligns Jehovah’s name.
The doctrine of the Trinity is a false doctrine and is promulgated by Satan for the purpose of defaming Jehovah’s name.
The plain truth is that this is another of Satan’s attempts to keep God-fearing persons from learning the truth of Jehovah and his Son, Christ Jesus. [The doctrine cannot be satanic or malign God’s name if it is biblical teaching.]
4. The Trinity is a doctrine of polytheism, teaching three gods.
If there are three Almighty Ones, how could there be one most mighty?
However, according to Trinity teachers, when “the Word became flesh,” Mary became the mother of God. But since they say God is a Trinity, then the Jewish
virgin Mary became the mother of merely a third of God, not “the mother of God.”
[It is] a bit difficult to love and worship a complicated, freakish-looking, three-headed God.
These are all incorrect descriptions or caricatures of the historic doctrine of the Trinity, which teaches belief in one God. We expound on this in Knowing the Truth About the Trinity.
5. The doctrine of the Trinity is irrational.
Many things are beyond our full comprehension, such as particle physics; this does not make them irrational.
The extent of Watchtower Society distortion surrounding the doctrine of the Trinity, even in its more recent scholarly literature, such as Greg Stafford’s Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, is difficult to imagine for those who have not read it. After analyzing the anti-Trinitarian argumentation in Let God Be True (a brief statement of Watchtower beliefs in outline form), Gruss makes the comment:
- After starting with no evidence, misrepresenting orthodoxy, using Scripture out of context, not understanding the meaning of a word, misrepresenting the source of the Trinity doctrine, bringing in irrelevant material and changing the events of church history, the Witnesses make this “authoritative” statement: “The obvious conclusion is, therefore, that Satan is the originator of the trinity doctrine.”
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Make Sure of All Things (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1965), p. 267.
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Aid to Bible Understanding (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1971), p. 665.
- Make Sure, p. 267.
- W. M. Nelson, R. K. Smith, “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Part II, Their Mission,” in David Hesselgrave, Dynamic Religious Movements (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), p. 188.
- Quoted in Nelson and Smith, ibid, in Hesselgrave, p. 181; Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7 (The Finished Mystery) (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society), p. 410.
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, p. 22; Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Then Is Finished the Mystery of God (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1969), p. 10.
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1965), p. 256.
- J. F. Rutherford, Uncovered (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1937), pp. 48-49, cited in Charles S. Braden, These Also Believe (New York: Macmillan, 1949), p. 371.
- Let God Be True, 2nd ed., p. 111, cited in J. K. Van Baalen, The Chaos of the Cults (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), p. 268.
- Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie, p. 259.
- “The Word” – Who Is He According to John? (Brooklyn, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1937), p. 12.
- Let God Be True (1946, rev. 1952), p. 246, cited in James Bjornstad, Counterfeits At Your Door (Glendale, CA: Regal, 1979), p. 67.
- Personal conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Incomprehensible is not the same as irrationality.
- Edmund Gruss, Apostles of Denial: An Examination and Expose of the History, Doctrines and Claims of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976), pp. 101, 109- 110.