Questions From Readers
● Why do Jehovah’s witnesses believe human creatures will live forever on the earth, since the Bible declares that the earth is to be burned up?
It is true that the Bible says: “The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” But it is also true that the Bible says: “The earth abideth for ever.” These statements seem contradictory. Actually, when properly understood they are not.—2 Pet. 3:7; Eccl. 1:4.
Referring to the attitude of scoffers in the last days, 2 Peter 3:5-7 (NW) says: “For, according to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens in ancient times and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God, and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.”
The apostle Peter here refers to the flood of Noah’s time. The heavens and earth “of that time” were destroyed by water, Peter says. But those flood waters destroyed neither the literal heavens nor the literal planet earth, for these things remain to this day. What was destroyed? The demonic system or arrangement of Satan over men and the ungodly peoples of earth. They were symbolized by “heavens” and “earth.” We are told that “all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom.” The earth has no ears to hear; it was the people who went to hear Solomon. “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad,” the psalmist wrote, meaning the inhabitants of heaven and earth.—1 Ki. 10:24; Ps. 96:11.
So “the heavens and the earth that are now,” and which are reserved for destruction, are the invisible wicked heavens of Satan and his demons and the ungodly peoples of earth. It is of these evil heavens and earth that Revelation 20:11 (NW) says: “From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” After this there will be the “new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” Not a new starry vault overhead, but a new symbolic heavens, Christ and his joint heirs reigning from heaven; not a new planet beneath, but a new symbolic earth, obedient peoples devoted to righteousness. Incidentally, if the earth that is to be burned up is literal so are the heavens that are to go up in smoke with the earth; hence what deliverance will it be for those expecting to be saved from this fire to be caught up into heaven?—2 Pet. 3:13, NW.
Since the heavens and earth to be destroyed by fire are symbolical, just as the heavens and earth destroyed by the Flood were, there is no contradiction when the Bible says that the literal “earth abideth for ever.” And if the earth is to abide forever it will be inhabited forever because “thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else.”—Isa. 45:18, AS.
● How can anyone effectively argue against the trinity doctrine in view of John 10:30, where Jesus himself says: “I and my Father are one”?
By these words Jesus did not say that he and his Father together made one God, coequal and coeternal. If you argue that he was saying this, as trinitarians do, then you must also believe that all of Christ’s followers become God: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” Just as Jesus is one with God, so are the followers of Jesus one with God. There is oneness in belief and purpose and work. The Bible speaks of one man planting and another watering to get an increase, and because both work with the same end in view it states: “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one.” In this sense God and Jesus and Jesus’ followers are one.—John 17:20, 21; 1 Cor. 3:8.
Before Jesus came to earth, while he was in heaven as a spirit creature, existing in God’s form, since he too was then in spirit form, he “gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” When on earth as the man Jesus he said he was not equal to God: “The Father is greater than I am.” After his resurrection and return to heaven as a spirit creature and his reigning there “the Son himself will also subject himself to the one who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.” So before Jesus came to earth, and when he was on earth, and after he returned to heaven, he was and is and always will be beneath Jehovah. “The head of the Christ is God.” Christ and God are not coequal, as trinitarians contend.—Phil. 2:6; John 14:28; 1 Cor. 15:28; 11:3, NW.
They are not coeternal, as supporters of the trinity teaching say. Of Jehovah it is written: “Even from eternity to eternity thou art God.” He is called “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity” and “the king of eternity.” Hence he was not born, was not created, had no beginning. But this is not true of Jesus Christ, for he is called “the firstborn of all creation,” “the beginning of the creation by God.”—Ps. 90:2; Isa. 57:15; Jer. 10:10, Da; Col. 1:15, 16; Rev. 3:14, NW.
However, this point, often overlooked, should be remembered: the trinity doctrine says God and Christ and the holy spirit are three persons making the one true God. That means three in one. John 10:30 speaks of only two being one. That has nothing to do with trinity, the three-in-one doctrine. Only 1 John 5:7 in the King James and Douay Bible versions can be construed to support trinity, and that text is spurious and is left out of most modern Bible versions. No authentic Bible text supports the trinity doctrine.