Hi Tommy D.:
My name is Jeff Schwehm. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and even served at their World Headquarters for a while. I became Catholic in 2003. If you want to know more about me and others who have left the JWs to become Catholic you can visit our website at www.catholicxjw.com
How did Jesus really die if he was God?
Some of the posters here have addressed this to some degree. Remember that the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is fully human and fully God. In other words, Jesus has all of the characteristics of humanity (except sin) and all of the characteristics of Almighty God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 464:
(By the way, if you do not have a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church email me your snail mail address to email@example.com and I will send you one free of charge.)
464 The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.
The Catechism also explains the relationship between Christ’s human and divine nature as follows in paragraph 470:
470 Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”,97 in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”. The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity: The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.
If he didn’t die like we do, how was he able to ransom us?
Actually, the Church teaches that He did die like humans do. The Catholic Church teaches us that at death the human soul separates from the human body. The same thing happened to our Lord. He is like us in every way but without sin.
Remember also that the JWs teach that when a person dies their soul no longer exists. This contradicts what Christians have taught about what happens at death for the last 2000 years. I have an audio podcast that you might like to listen to that shows how the JWs have misunderstood the scriptures in this area and also shows many of the problems that they have by interpreting scripture in this way. Here is the link:
What did he get from dying that he did not already have with the Father before he came to earth?
Well, the salvation of humans and our reconcilation with Him and God the Father.
I often ask my JW friends to think about this.
In the JW tradition, we are taught that God loved us so much that He sent a created being whom the JWs call Jesus to come to earth and do all of the dirty work to save us.
In the Catholic and Christian Tradition that has been here for over 2000 years, we are taught that God loved us so much that He came to earth Himself and did all of the dirty work to save us Himself.
Now, which God loves us more?
Also, do you really believe that Jesus went through all of that suffering so that He could improve his position in heaven? Looking at Jesus as a mere creature and not Almighty God Himself, I can see how one could possibly reason that perhaps Jesus sacrificed Himself more for the great power He would receive after He was done than for any love for us.
But, as you so effectively point out, since Jesus, in the Catholic and Christian Tradition, is Almighty God, there is nothing that He could have gained that He did not have prior to coming to earth, except to reach down into the muck and mud of sin and save each and every one of us because of His passionate love for us.
I do not know about you. But it would seem to me that the JW perspective on the Passion of Christ reduces what Jesus did to a mere business transaction that involves Jesus getting to purchase us and his own Kingship.
The Catholic perspective on the Passion of Christ shows Jesus sacrifice for what it really is…a true sacrifice for the salvation of souls due to the total and complete selfless love that God, Himself, has for us.
I hope this helps.