Our discussion will take the form of a simulated conversation between a Jehovah's Witness named Joe and a Christian named Chris.
Joe: Chris, last week we talked about how the Watchtower denies God's omnipresence and how you believe that this teaching has made him out to be a limited and small God. Since you believe that Jesus shares the nature of God with his Father, tell me, how could Jesus be God when he didn't know things here on earth?
Chris: Joe, does the Watchtower say that one of the reasons that Jesus cannot be God is that he didn't know everything while he was here on earth?
Joe: Yes, that's right.
Chris: And does the Watchtower say that the Father is God because he knows everything?
Joe: That is one of his attributes - his unlimited knowledge.
Chris: That's interesting Joe, because I have read that the Watchtower teaches that God doesn't know everything.
Joe: That is certainly not true. I have never seen any such statement.
Chris: Let me ask you some questions to show you where I am going. Does the Watchtower teach that the Father knows everything about the past?
Joe: Yes, of course. Jehovah God knows everything.
Chris: Does he know everything in the present time?
Joe: There is no doubt about that. The Bible even says in Hebrews 4:13 "And there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting."
Chris: Now tell me, Joe, does the Father know the future?
Joe: Yes he does. The May 15, 1982 Watchtower pg 7 says "...Jehovah has proved himself to be the God who does know the future, including that of human governments."
Chris: Does the Watchtower also teach that the Father chooses not to know some things about the future?
Joe: Just because he has this knowledge does not mean that he uses it. The Watchtower says in the Feb. 15, 1995 Watchtower on pages 5 & 6 "...in many cases, he has chosen not to use his foreknowledge. Because God is almighty, he is free to exercise his abilities as he wishes, not according to the wishes of imperfect humans."
Chris: I don't believe that God only selectively knows the future, but if I understand the Watchtower right, they teach that there are things that the Father doesn't know yet he is still qualifies to be God?
Joe: Yes, there are some future things that the Father has chosen not to know. But Jesus didn't know some things while he was here on earth. If his Father knew these things, but Jesus did not, how could Jesus be God?
Chris: Joe, have a look at Philippians 2:6 in your New World Translation. It says about Jesus "who, although he was existing in God's form" The Greek word for existing is huparcho (hoop-ar'-kho); and is a present active participle meaning that Jesus was existing in God's form and still continues to exist in his form. Yet at the same time Jesus did something. Can you read verse 7?
Joe: It says "No, but he emptied himself and took a slave's form and came to be in the likeness of men."
Chris: Joe, what did Jesus empty himself of?
Joe: The Feb. 15, 1992 Watchtower pg 17 says that "God's only-begotten Son enjoyed a preeminent position of heavenly glory superior to all the angels. He was rich indeed! Yet he willingly emptied himself, was born as a member of a poor family, and grew up surrounded by sick, dying humans." So Jesus must have emptied himself of his position and heavenly glory.
Chris: That's correct Joe. He emptied himself of his position and heavenly glory in order that he could also become man. When he was here on earth he chose to limit himself to the nature of aman. He got tired and had to sleep. He was hungry and needed food and he chose to limit his infinite knowledge unless it was for a specific purpose so that he could live as a true man. Yet at the same time Philippians says that he never stopped being in God's form. So what Jesus did was take on another nature in addition to that which he already had. He couldn't have dropped his heavenly nature, because Phillippians said that he never stopped being in God's form.
Joe: Let me see if I understand you correctly. You are saying that Jesus chose to limit his knowledge and powers in order to live as a man and that even though he was a true man, he never stopped existing in God's form?
Chris: Yes Joe, that's correct. But do you see that the Watchtower has taken a hypocritical position when it comes to Jesus? They say that the Father is God even though they teach that he can choose to not know certain things. Yet at the same time they try to prove that Jesus is not God because he chose to limit his knowledge when he was a man. I would like to talk to you next week about how Jesus showed that he was God while he was here on earth.
Joe: Okay. Let's talk again next week.