November 27, 2008

Clones and Confusion, Watchtower Style

Ok... this is a theoretical circumstance and I know some of you may not like it. But whether you like it or not, we're staring down the barrel of modern medicine and questions like this need to be discussed.

Concerning the resurrection, the Watchtower holds that there is no continuity of existence from one plane to the next. In other words, if a Jehovah's Witness (we'll call him Joe) dies today he completely and totally ceases to exist. Joe is no more. There is nothing left of Joe. There are only fond memories... or not-so-fond memories, depending on your relationship with Joe.

At a future time, Jehovah decides to 'resurrect' Joe. To do this, he creates a physical body, breathes life into it, and infuses it with all of the memories, likes, dislikes, mannerisms, and somesuch that Joe had when he was alive the first time around. This new creature is now considered to be Joe, although he is not directly connected to the first existence of Joe in any way. In other words, he is a really good copy of Joe. In today's technospeak, we could call him Joe v2.0. According to the Watchtower, Joe v2.0 is as Joe as he can be. He is exactly like the original Joe. This constitutes a 'resurrection' of Joe in the Watchtower vernacular.

Which leads me to the theoretical scenario. Let's say that sometime in the next 50 years, human cloning is achieved. Through a rigorous selection process, they select someone who has led an exemplary life concerning their physical body and habits. That someone could be named Sally. Sally is a Jehovah's Witness. What if... and this is a huge 'what if', Sally v2.0 has the same memories, mannerisms, habits, physical tics, etc as Sally?According to the Watchtower, has Sally been resurrected? What if Sally is still alive? If the definition the Watchtower articulates regularly concerning resurrection is the true biblical picture, then I believe we will have a real dilemma on our hands. Sally will be resurrected in Sally v2.0, whether or not Sally is dead and resurrection will have been accomplished by science apart from Jehovah's raising of Sally.

Theoretical? Undoubtedly. Confusing? Again, undoubtedly.
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