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Do Not Duplicate

Do Not Duplicate
December 3rd, 2017

First, a refresher. Witnesses maintain that upon death the human person passes out of existence. However, what maintains personal identity is the Psychological Properties a person has (memory, likes, dislikes, personality, etc.). God can gives the psychological properties of the dead to the resurrected, thus the persons who died are the same persons who were raised up. I disagree with this view, as noted in several places.

But I want to respond to one well intentioned argument against it that I find unpersuasive, though, it is one made by two of my friends, one which while was, like myself, a Witness (and, unlike myself, an elder).

Call the record of those psychological properties a life pattern, as several Witness publications have over the years. Since the person whose life pattern it is ceases to exist, it persists only because God maintains a record of it inside his memory. (Hence the metaphor among Witnesses that 'the dead live / exist in God's memory'.) He can then draw upon his memory and create a new being with the same psychological properties.

The objection against this goes like this: For him to do so for the Wicked he must keep their sinful life patterns (including of, sinful desires and thoughts) in his memory. And, since he intends to bring them back into existence, he wills / intends the existence of these wicked people, sinful intentions and all. But this would be for God to be, to that extent, sinful himself. But God is perfectly good. Hence, he does not keep the life patterns of the wicked. However, he will resurrect the wicked. Thus what maintains their personal / numerical identity is not the psychological properties they possess or any life pattern or record thereof. From here it would be that some immaterial, perhaps conscious part, of them is what preserves a person's numerical identity between death and resurrection - call it 'spirit' or 'soul'.

The problem is that there is no reason to think that the knowledge God has of the wicked or his intention to create them as they were here impugns on God's perfect goodness. Why? Because God knows all the wicked thoughts of mankind here and now. He also wills / intends the constant conservation of the wicked in being here and now, and forever (if Hell is, as I think, eternal). But this doesn't seem to impugn God's goodness, so why would the Witness claim?

If we say that God's intention to here and now conserve the wicked, and this intention to conserve them for ever, and his knowledge of their wickedness doesn't impugn his goodness, I don't see how we can say the Witness view of personal-identity-cum-resurrection implicitly does so either. Hence, while I reject the Witness view, I don't do so on this basis.

This post first appeared on Witness Seeking Orthodoxy, please read the originial post: here

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Do Not Duplicate


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