My JW friend Mark gave me a Watchtower mag (Jan 1, 2011), which included an article “Did God Know That Adam and Eve Would Sin?” (page 13). The Watchtower’s conclusion: “Clearly, Jehovah did not know beforehand that the first couple would sin.” The argument leading to that conclusion is that Jehovah “wisely uses his ability of foreknowledge selectively,” and so “chose not to see how things would turn out.” I expressed to him how logically unintelligible that was to me, for an all-knowing God to choose to not know something. (Just try to think about it.) I think he got my point, but it didn’t dislodge him from the rut of his loyalty to the Watchtower.
I have noticed a pattern. Some of the same arguments that we Christians use to support the full deity and full humanity of Jesus are used by the Watchtower to support their limited view of Jehovah. (While believing in His omnipotence, the Watchtower denies both His omniscience and omni-presence.) In a way similar to Watchtower’s view of Jehovah choosing to not foreknow something, I argue that Jesus, in becoming human, had to somehow shut off part of his divine mind, so that he had to learn stuff like any human growing from infancy to adulthood would. The difference between my argument and the JW’s, though, is that I place Jesus in the context of a trinitarian view of God, where the son as a separate person can submit himself to the will of the father and humbly choose to limit himself for a time. While God the father exists unchangably in heaven (without limits), God the son can exist concurrently on earth (with limits). In their view there is only one person of God, so any limits you place on him are exhaustive and permanent.
They also use some of the same arguments we use for the incarnation of Jesus to support their belief that Jesus was something like the incarnation of Michael the archangel.
Interesting stuff, but it makes me wonder how aware they are of the Christians’ use of these arguments for centuries now. Did they happen to think them up (or re-think them) on their own, or did they borrow their arguments from Christian sources and modify them for use with their theological views? I wish I could be on site when and where they come up with this stuff.