As I crested the bridge, there they sat. My hike was finished, but my opportunity to represent Christ was just beginning. At the end of the trail sat two Jehovah’s Witnesses ready to share their faith and give out more information about their church. Part of me wanted to pass them by and head home, but I decided to put a stone in their shoe, to give them something to think about.
A few years ago, I learned a line of argument to use with JWs. I call it “For the Love of Jehovah.” The point of this argument is to show that Jesus must be God based on what Scripture says about the love of Jehovah.
I approached my JW friends and asked them a series of four questions.
First, does Jehovah love human beings? “Of course he does,” they replied. We discussed how John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. I also mentioned to them 1 John 4:8–10, which says that God is love and his love was manifested through the sending of Jesus to be a propitiation for us.
After establishing Jehovah loves us, we moved on to my second question: What is the greatest demonstration of love according to the Bible? My JW friends paused for a second and then answered they didn’t know. I pointed out John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus claimed self-sacrifice was the greatest form of love. They nodded in agreement.
My third question was, how has Jehovah demonstrated he loves us? They responded by saying he sent his Son Jesus. I agreed, to an extent. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse along with John 3:16 and 1 John 4:8-10 explain that God’s demonstration of love was in sending his Son. However, according to Scripture, this isn’t the greatest demonstration of love. Laying down your life, not sending someone else, is the greatest demonstration of love.
Scripture also tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3). If this is true, then we can see the nature of God in Jesus’ sacrifice of himself. But there is a problem with this for the Jehovah’s Witness.
According to JW theology, Jesus isn’t God; he is the first created being. They believe he is very special, he created the universe, and there is nothing else like him, yet he isn’t the eternal God; only Jehovah is.
Let’s read John 3:16 through the JW theological lens: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son [someone who isn’t Jehovah], that whoever believes in Him [someone who isn’t Jehovah] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Now look at Romans 5:8 through this same lens: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ [someone who isn’t Jehovah] died for us.”
Let me explain with an illustration. If my five-year-old daughter fell into a rushing river and was drowning, what would be the greatest act of love I could demonstrate? Wouldn’t it be to jump into the rushing river myself and try to save her? Let’s say that after watching my daughter fall into the river, I sent my eight-year-old son into the river to save her. Would the act of sending my son into harm’s way demonstrate I loved my drowning daughter? It would, but it wouldn’t be the greatest act of love. My son’s act of willingly putting himself in harm’s way, would be the greater act of love.
I then asked my fourth question: Does Jesus love us more than Jehovah does? “Of course not,” my JW friends replied. So, I reminded them that the Scriptures say Jesus demonstrated his love in the greatest way possible, by laying down his life for us. This is something Jehovah didn’t do. Yet, John 3:16 clearly says, “God so loved the world,” and Romans 5:8 begins by saying, “God demonstrates His own love toward us.” How can we make sense of this?
If Jesus isn’t one of the three persons of God, then these verses become non sequiturs, conclusions that don’t logically follow from the previous statements. It’s like saying the pastor was exhausted, so my husband took a nap. Or the admiral was starving, so the opera singer had four slices of pizza. These sentences make sense if and only if the husband is, in fact, the pastor and the opera singer is the admiral.
In the same way, these verses about God demonstrating his love through sending Jesus to be a sacrifice only make sense if Jesus is God. If Jesus isn’t God, like JWs claim, these verses would communicate that Jesus, a created being, has greater love for us than Jehovah does. However, if Jesus is God, these verses make perfect sense.