The Watchtower Society’s denial of the Trinity and Christ’s Deity naturally affects their view of the atonement. They teach that the main reason Jesus came to earth was to vindicate the name of Jehovah and reverse Adam’s fall. In other words, the Witnesses believe that as Adam was a human created by God, his disobedience and fall had to be paid for by another equal human being created by God.
So they do not believe in the Deity of Jesus but rather they believe He was only a man and what they call the “corresponding ransom sacrifice,” or, in other words, the atonement for the sins of mankind is a secondary motive and actually more of an afterthought.
Their reasoning is that Jesus is Jehovah’s first creation who lived a perfect human life, and so He “qualifies” to buy back what Adam lost – mankind’s right to perfect human life on earth.
As such, the Watchtower denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and teaches that Jesus rose as a “spirit creature.” They believe that if Jesus rose bodily then He would have taken back the ransom sacrifice because His body was the payment for Adam’s transgression.
When you have an opportunity to engage in conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness about the atonement, the following thought-provoking questions may be helpful:
- What did the High Priest take into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to cover the sins of Israel? Was it the body of the sacrificed animal?
- Why do verses such as Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22, speak of blood as necessary for the atonement? Leviticus 17:11 says “It is the blood that makes atonement by means of the life in it” and Hebrews 9:22 says “Unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.”
- Where is the body of Jesus?
- Why does the Watchtower Society say Jesus returned to heaven as a “Spirit Creature” when Luke 24:39 says, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you see that I have.”
- If all that was required for the ‘corresponding ransom sacrifice’ was a perfect human, why did Jehovah send His Only Begotten Son to die? Why didn’t Jehovah just create a second Adam out of the ground?
- If Jesus’ sacrifice had to compensate exactly for Adam’s life please explain the following verses from the New World Translation.
Romans 5:15 – “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by one man’s trespass many died, how much more did the undeserved kindness of God and his free gift by one man, Jesus Christ abound to many!”
Romans 5:17 – “For if by the trespass of the one man death ruled as king through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the free gift of righteousness rule as kings in life through the one person, Jesus Christ.”
- As Jesus did far more than what was necessary to atone for Adam’s sin, isn’t this the kind of thing you would expect if Jesus is God?
Written by Don McAreavy, Vigilant Minds