Perfection: A Little More on the Subject

– posted by meleti
This started out as a comment on Apollos' excellent post on "Was Adam Perfect?" but kept growing until it got too long.  Besides, I wanted to add a picture, so here we are.
It is interesting that even in English the term “perfect” can mean "complete". We refer to the perfect tense of a verb to indicate an action which has been completed.
“I study the Bible” [present tense] as compared with “I have studied the Bible” [present perfect tense].  The first indicates an ongoing action; the second, one that has been completed.
I concur with Apollos that to always equate “sinless” with the term “perfect” is to miss the meaning of the word in Hebrew; and as we’ve seen, even in English. “Tamiym” is a word which like most can be used in a variety of ways to convey a variety of meanings in both absolute and relative senses.  I also agree with Apollos that the term itself is not relative. It is a binary term. Something is either complete or incomplete. However, the application of the term is relative. For instance, if God’s purpose were to create a man without sin and nothing more, then Adam could have been described as perfect upon his creation. In fact, man—male and female—was not perfect until Eve was created.

(Genesis 2:18) 18 And Jehovah God went on to say: “It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.”

A “complement” is defined as:

a. Something that completes, makes up a whole, or brings to perfection.
b. The quantity or number needed to make up a whole.
c. Either of two parts that complete the whole or mutually complete each other.

It would seem that the third definition is most fitting to describe what was accomplished by bringing the first woman to the man.  Admittedly, the completeness or perfection that was achieved by the two becoming one flesh is of a different sort than that which is under discussion, but I use it to illustrate the point that the term is relative based on its usage or application.
Here is a link that lists all the occurrences of the Hebrew word “tamiym” as it is rendered in the King James version.

Scanning through these it becomes clear that as with most words, it can mean a number of things depending on the context and usage. The KJV renders it “without blemish” 44 times, for instance.  It would appear that it is in this context that the word is used that Ezekiel 28:15 with regard to the angel that became Satan.

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:15 KJV)

The NWT renders this “faultless”. Obviously, the Bible wasn’t referring to the perfection possessed by the angel who walked in the Garden of Eden as complete in the sense of being tested, proven, and irrevocable. What is complete can be made incomplete generally speaking, unless there is a mechanism by which the perfection or completeness can be locked down as Apollos described. Nevertheless, then we would be talking about a different type or application of the word. Essentially, a different type of completeness. Again, as with most words it has overloaded meanings.
The Word of God revealed at John 1:1 and the anointed cherub of Ezekiel 28:12-19 were both at one point perfect in all their ways. However, they were not perfect or complete in the sense that Apollos is expounding upon.   I concur on that.  Therefore, Satan was perfect, without flaw, for the new task set before him in the Garden of Eden. However, when he faced a test—apparently of his own origin—he became incomplete and no longer fit for the task.
The Word was also assigned to a new role for which he was perfectly suited. He faced tests and was made to suffer and unlike Satan came through victorious. (Hebrews 5:8)  So he was made perfect or complete for yet another new task. It wasn’t that he was incomplete before. His role as the Word was one in which he performed flawlessly and perfectly. Nevertheless, he needed something more if he was to assume the role of messianic King and mediator of the new covenant. Having suffered, he was made complete for this new role. Therefore, he was given something he did not possess before: immortality and a name above all the Angels. (1 Timothy 6:16; Philippians 2:9, 10)
It would seem that the type of perfection which Apollos speaks of, and which we all desire, can only be achieved via the crucible. It is only by means of a time of testing that sinless creatures can become hardwired for bad or good. So it was with the perfect anointed cherub and the perfect Word of God. Both underwent tests—one failed; one passed. It seems that even in an imperfect state it is possible for this hardwiring to take place, for anointed Christians though sinners are granted immortality upon death.
It would seem that the only reason for the final test after the thousand years have ended is to achieve this type of perfection. If I may offer an alternate illustration to Apollos "nut and bolt", I have always thought of it as an old-fashioned double-throw knife switch.  Here’s a picture.
DPST Switch
As depicted, the switch is in the neutral position.  It has the potential to make contact with either the north or the south pole of the switch.  This switch, as I envision it, is unique in that once thrown, the current surging through the contacts will weld them shut for good.  In other words, it becomes hardwired.  I see free will like this.  Jehovah doesn’t close the switch for us, but hands it to us to await a time of testing, when we have to make a decision and throw the switch ourselves: for good or for evil.  If for evil, then there is no redemption.  If for good, then there is no worry of a change of heart.  We are hardwired for good—no proverbial sword of Damocles.
I agree with Apollos that the perfection we should all be reaching for is not that of a sinless but untested Adam, but rather that of the tried and true resurrected Jesus Christ. Those who are resurrected to earth during the thousand year reign of Jesus will be brought to a state of sinlessness at which time Jesus will hand over the crown to his Father so that God can be all things to all men. (1 Cor. 15:28)  After that time, Satan will be let loose and the testing will begin; switches will be thrown.

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  • Comment by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-12-01 17:41:37

    Hi Meleti
    That builds very nicely on the subject. Your perspective dovetails well with the points I was trying to make. Hopefully any readers who did not tune into my wavelength will read your article and things will click, as there is no conflict in principle between what I was trying to express and the way you have expanded on the idea. I like your illustration very much as well.

  • Comment by Chris on 2013-12-02 15:21:46

    Ahhh, the old fashioned double throw knife switch, reminds me of my days in the circus.
    Great post with information building nicely and making sense.
    It helps me to put Jesus elevation from the first born of Jehovah's creation to God's right hand in perspective. There had to be a first-born and Jesus was it. Essentially Jesus and Satan were brothers and perhaps formed a nucleus of Archangels with various roles.
    If we are interpreting the scripture correctly then Jesus role was as the creator of the Earth and mankind on Jehovah's behalf which may explain his "fondness for the son's of men" and maybe the professional jealousy of Satan perhaps.
    It is of interest to me how spirit creatures make that transition to flesh & blood DNA based life. Their form cannot be some sort of mirage because the fallen angels sought pleasure with the daughters of men so it wasn't simply a matter of them manipulating the procreation process to produce the Nephilim.
    Mankind was described as being made a "little lower than the angels" (Heb.2:5-9) so the gap in creative types is not that far apart, but we can only marvel at the way Jehovah allows the sideways transition to the spirit realm.
    I can't help but think that the role of the 144,000 must have some earthly representation if they are involved in the restoration of earthly creation and they form a kingdom administration under Jesus.
    As our Father and Creator why can't Jesus literally be with us in Paradise as he said to the thief?
    He doesn't have to live in a castle on earth, so to speak, but why can't He and his co-rulers transition between heaven and earth? Remember Jacob's ladder?
    Doesn't make sense otherwise.
    Or maybe I am letting my brain overcook?
    While it is in Jehovah's domain to say who commits sin against the Holy Spirit, but perhaps it is related to our capacity to "throw the switch" and make a decision that cannot be reversed. A decision that Jesus ransom cannot cover and Jehovah cannot overlook.
    So, in that respect it is a tremendous aspect of Jehovah's love that He allows such freedom of action by His respective 'perfect' creations and he allows them boundaries to live within.
    Adam, who knew more than Eve, could perhaps have rescued the situation but he CHOSE to share the fruit with her. Did he commit sin against the spirit? I personally think so.
    All speculation aside, I am enjoying these posts, because for all of us Genesis literally sets the stage for everything.

    • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-12-02 16:29:34

      (Matthew 26:29) But I tell YOU, I will by no means drink henceforth any of this product of the vine until that day when I drink it new with YOU in the kingdom of my Father.”
      I've often wondered if this is meant to be taken literally. After all, what would the figurative "product of the vine" be in heaven? It-2 269 says it symbolizes joy, but who knows. Maybe the kings and priests - including the High Priest himself, will be here on Earth after all, or at least making regular, personal visits to their territory.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-12-02 18:03:58

        That seems entirely plausible, anderestimme. Otherwise we would have an absentee government. I don't see how that would work. Jehovah talked to Moses face-to-face. Abraham received direction from angelic visitors who arrived in materialized form and ate with him. An Angel appeared with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace; and Daniel had angelic visitors. It seems that Angels were coming and going all the time in the Hebrew Scriptures.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-12-03 16:16:45

        I had another thought on this subject. Three men came to visit Abraham before two of them moved off to investigate the goings on in Sodom. Now, one would think an angel doing low reconnaissance over the city would have been able to do more. So why materialize and then make the journey? Why spend time having a meal? If a fleshly presence was called for back then despite the wickedness of the times, would not it make sense that that is how things will operate in the new system? Just a thought.

    • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-12-02 16:44:06

      Also, Chris, the idea that there is some kind of 'genetic code' for spirit creatures is fascinating. That it can be translated into DNA code is apparent from Jesus' birth as a human. While we're accustomed to thinking of the angels as simply 'supernatural', I would not be surprised if they were not subject to the laws of physics - albeit as yet undiscovered - like the rest of us. Not being a scientist, I'm talking through my hat here, but I thought it was an interesting, if somewhat fantastic, idea.

    • Reply by imjustasking on 2013-12-03 02:16:52

      Chris, how could Jesus be the co-creator of the Universe with Jehovah and yet be an equal to the angel that became Satan?
      Who is greater the progenitor or the progeny? Do angels create other angels?
      I think it is about time the whole notion of Jesus and Satan being archangels like some kind of 'brothers in arms' is addressed. To me it simply does not make sense.
      Another reason that I am wary of such a view apart from the inherent logical fallacy is that this is probably yet another hangover from our Pentecostal past, like so many other things we hold dear as JW's. Or possibly it is something cooked up by Rutherford to make us more 'distinct' as a movement.
      @Meleti - I don't want to hijack your thread, perhaps this could be moved elsewhere but I had to mention this when I read Chris' comments because it is something I've been thinking of for a while.
      @Chris - I hope I haven't come across to aggressively. If I have please accept my apologies as this is not my intention.

      • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-12-03 02:35:28

        I'm with you on this. I hope we can develop a study about the true nature of Jesus as a separate topic, either in a new article, or if we launch a general discussion forum at some point (which is our intention).

    • Reply by Joel on 2013-12-06 07:13:01

      I have often thought something along the same lines. That some angels could even foster the desire to be with women, stay on Earth, have children, I believe demonstrates that while we are lower, we must also have some striking similarities. The angelic messengers had to deflect worship and state that they were our brothers as well and they take a keen interest in what happens to us here on Earth.
      As an aside it also demonstrates that the although the penalty for sin is death, it does not seem logical to infer that is the reason that humans die. Everything in nature is programmed to die and we are no exception. Scientists believe that if we could overcome the genetic and death signal problems that ultimately result in death, we could perhaps extend a human lifespan to 1000 years. Interesting that the bible pegs the earliest humans as having this sort of lifespan? Our body starts shutting down much earlier than it needs to.
      The fact remains that this entire Universe appears to be designed to die (although we have no way of understanding the full cycle). The ecology is based on birth and death, one thing consumes another. Our Sun is apparently going to die. Our Galaxy will eventually collide with another and then eventually is going to die. The only way we can hope to continue existence is through a continual renewal, protection and sustenance, not just of ourselves, but of our environment. This is what the Tree of Life represented - a gift from God to men.
      That is not so with the Angels. The Angels that sinned do not die, they are very much alive. Instead, although they must still pay the same penalty for their error, they will need to be destroyed.

      • Reply by GodWordIsTruth on 2013-12-06 13:57:58

        Wow ! Very interesting thought! You have certainly expanded the scriptural context of us being "a little lower" than the angels. In the context of this article however , your thoughts have expanded/ clarified my ideas regarding the meaning of the "perfection" that angels have. Bear with me…I am expressive but not the most articulate.
        Although we have cannot fully grasp the meaning of perfection from our Creator, however it is safe to say that being simply without Sin cannot be synonymous with perfection.
        Perhaps they ( angels, Jesus , Satan)...are created perfect AND without sin ( Satan being described as perfect in the scriptures at one time) thus they do not have to attain it . When they sin however they forfeit perfection.
        Perfect Humans (Adam, Eve) are created without sin but have to attain perfection by proving obedience thru successfully passing testing . Sinful humans have a steeper climb. We have to go through Armageddon during the thousand year gradually go back to a sinless state. In a sinless state we are now tested to attain the perfection that Jehovah originally intended… Perfection that as human Jesus only attained and Adam and Eve never attained.
        Help me out if you believe that I have erred somewhere in my reasoning scripturally. 

        • Reply by GodWordIsTruth on 2013-12-06 13:59:43

          I did not mean to describe Adam and Eve as "perfect humans" I realized my mistake to late :)

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-12-07 11:55:58

          I'm not so sure that we do have a steeper climb a sinful humans. The fact that Jehovah can resurrect a sinful human and grant him immortal life and a place higher than the Angels truly boggles my mind. That is sinful human can be tested to a point where Jehovah knows that despite their sinful state they can be granted incorruptibility is astonishing.
          The fact that faithful Christians can be resurrected to immortal spiritual life proves to me that fallacious nature of our current teaching regarding the earthly hope. We argue that Christians will go through the greatest tribulation of all time. A tiny minority of them will be tested to the point that they can be granted corruptible spiritual life. The rest, going through the same test, will still have to endure another thousand years of testing before they can get that same reward. What is sauce for the goose, in our theology, is not sauce for the gander. It simply makes no sense.

        • Reply by Joel on 2013-12-08 19:24:47

          I'm glad you found my comment interesting. Honestly, it is going to be difficult for me to condense everything that is popping into my head on the back of your question into a comment, but I will try!
          This is obviously just my own musing and it's definitely not my place to say anyone else is erring unless I know otherwise. In these things, it is hard to be completely certain. I think we're all just trying to figure it out.
          So first, it would be incredibly presumptuous of me to suggest that spirit creatures are imperfect in any way. All I know for certain is that humans are imperfect and the wages sin pays is death. I had never really considered this idea of humans not being perfect in the beginning, but it does seem to make some sense. It shifts the issue from perfection to sin, which 'seems' exactly right. As you said, the 2 do not seem to be synonymous. One thing I could never quite understand, is how/why sin would change our organism and CAUSE us to die. If that was the case, then what is the purpose of the Tree of Life?
          I only bring this part up because you mention the thousand year reign, otherwise I definitely wouldn't because it is one of those bedrock sort of teachings, but, I'm not so sure I will "personally" be in sync with you at the moment on the thousand year reign teaching. If perfection is not really the issue though, then doesn't it become easier? What if we just need to be rid of sin? Trying to follow in Jesus footsteps, trying to overturn the desires of the flesh, to strip off the old personality - these are things we can only do that with the help of Gods Spirit anyway. We have no idea what it means to be sinless because practically everything we do is tainted or compromised. All we can do is, want to do the right thing, try to do the right thing and ask for the spirit to help us. As you said, between this and the testing, I think this may line up with the likes of Pauls words - "being made perfect in weakness".
          God already promises to make all things new", to take care of all the "physical" problems for us.

          • Reply by GodsWordIsTruth on 2013-12-09 20:01:11

            Well Said!

  • Comment by imjustasking on 2013-12-03 01:54:49

    Hi Meleti,
    Thank you for your musings on this subject. It certainly adds further clarification made in the excellent post authored by Apollos.
    I gather from your thoughts you are of the view that the 'perfection' Satan had was not 'complete' and therefore the 'switch' had not been thrown prior to the actions that turned him against Jehovah?

    • Reply by Chris on 2013-12-03 06:23:41

      Fair enough
      I wasn't necessarily suggesting they were Jesus and Satan were "brothers in arms", like they went fishing together or something.
      As for Jehovah and Jesus being co-creators, I don't really think of it that way.
      For example- I have 2 sons and a workshop, I give my oldest son access to all my tools and materials to make things but I don't allow my younger son the same latitude. I could ask my oldest son to make something but certain aspects may require my input. We are not 2 engineers working on the same level.
      Jesus could not make a single thing unless Jehovah allowed him access to the materials required. Likewise, Satan was involved in the creation of the Earth in a lesser capacity and no doubt subject to Jesus. Eze. 28:13-17
      If they were not brothers then what were they? They were both sons' of God as are all the angels regardless of rank.
      Jesus obviously had a high position. Satan obviously had a high position. Gabriel & Michael # obviously had a high positions. #(another can of worms)
      Rather than being like the Pentecostal view that I think your alluding to, I believe the gap between Jehovah and Jesus is massive and they are distinct entities.
      Jesus has a higher position in the heavenly arrangement after his ransom than he had before it don't you think? If he was 'perfect' in the idealized sense then how would it be possible to do anything to get himself elevated to a higher position? How can you become more perfect?
      I thought my comment did relate to perfection under discussion, but in typical fashion I probably didn't articulate it very well (and I got a little sidetracked)
      Also, while the scripture says "that by means of him(Jesus) all things came into existence" does that have to apply to the entire Universe? or was Paul referring to the Earthly creation?
      Anyway I have said enough
      Likewise, if my comments sound blunt they are not meant to :)
      Compare 2 Cor. 10:10

      • Reply by imjustasking on 2013-12-03 16:43:57

        Hi Chris thanks for your reply.
        Rather than answer your questions in this thread, I'll wait until a new opens up. I've already said to Meleti that I don't want to hijack and sidetrack what is being discussed here.
        But just a little food for thought. If we (myself included) could get something SO wrong like whether Adam was perfect or not, don't you think we need to re-examine something even more difficult to grasp regarding the nature of Jesus? Believe me, we can make assumptions on the thinnest evidence and get everything really, really wrong.
        As Apollos said, this particular topic is for another day.
        Have a nice day :-)

      • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-12-03 17:10:26

        Hi Chris,
        I risk moving this conversation into the discussion that I had intended to be reserved for another day (only for the purpose of organizing the topics on this site).
        In the context of what you wrote I will simply throw John 17:5 into the mix. How is the "gap between Jehovah and Jesus" massive? Certainly they are distinct entities, but I am going to have to disagree about this gap. In my view, and according to my understanding of the scriptures, the massive gap lies between all other creation and Christ in his pre-existence. With Meleti's permission I will expand on this from the scriptures at some point.
        I appreciate that there will be differences of understanding on this subject, and I hope that it will be another good example of how we can enjoy unity without necessarily having 100% agreement. Of course we will see how this works in practice when we get down to the detail, but as mature Christians I am confident that we will not quickly dismiss anything that is clearly demonstrable in scripture just because a certain pattern of thinking has become engrained.
        In turn, I am also (as always) very much open to persuasion on this, so please do not think that I am trying to be dogmatic in any way.
        There is a commenter on this site from a while back that I really hope will bring his scholarly knowledge to bear on this particular subject. I think he will know who he is, and whilst I do not share his view in all respects, I most certainly respect his depth of knowledge, and his ability to present good scriptural reasoning. I really hope that he will join in any conversation we have on this topic.

        • Reply by Chris on 2013-12-04 06:29:02

          Apollos, thank you for your reply, and patient answer.
          I wasn't seeking to set the cat amongst the pigeons or be seen to be promoting a personal view or be dogmatic.
          One thing I find with commenting is that it takes me a lot of time to try and articulate a line of thought, so I try and abridge things somewhat lest it become the length of a post.
          The result is sometimes a half -baked development of a thought that strays off topic. You are right that these topics are better suited to a discussion format.
          In response to my "massive gap" comment I make these points though.
          Jehovah is the Almighty, Supreme Sovereign of the Universe. He exists outside time, because time is a construction of his making, by which he can set the laws that we all are bound by.
          He may have other sets of laws that apply elsewhere. The spirit realm for example.
          Jehovah is not governed by these physical or other laws but His creations, including, Jesus are.
          In this respect the name He used to describe himself to Moses is so appropriate.
          "I AM" embodies everything Jehovah is.
          Sometimes when evolutionists try to refute the existence of God they use the reasoning "If all things were created then who created God, and in turn who created the God who created that God" and so forth ad infinitum.
          The simple answer is that Jehovah has ALWAYS existed.
          He simply IS!
          How WE measure time or seek to determine the beginning of creation, big bang etc is a perception that we are bound to because we are creatures of time (and space)
          It has no relevance to Jehovah except when he applies it to us.
          When Genesis speaks of "in the beginning" it is referring to creation as we have come to know it, including Jesus creation, NOT Jehovah's beginning, because He had none.
          It wasn't as if Jehovah appeared from nowhere then created Jesus straight away.
          First Jehovah made time, "in the beginning", THEN he made Jesus.
          From Jesus perspective they have always been together.
          Jesus glorification and his use by Jehovah in the creation of the Earth and mankind are all referenced from this point.
          Jesus can never be Jehovah or even come close to being I AM.
          So I believe the gap is massive. Jehovah is incomparable, Jesus is not. He can only be compared with his Father.
          How, or rather, that He imbued Jesus with His qualities and personality so that he became the image and representation of Jehovah is how Jesus was glorified.
          What greater glorification could God give His firstborn son than His personality?
          I believe that scriptures like John 17:5,24, John 1:1, John 10:30, Prov. 8:22,23, Philippians 2:5-11, Col. 1:15-17, Heb.1:3,10 fit with this meaning.
          So Jehovah alone is truly perfect but we can become perfect (given enough time) by imitating His personality, as Jesus did when he came to Earth as a man (John 5:48)
          Hope that sort of made sense?

          • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-12-04 08:10:33

            Well John 5:48 didn't quite make sense, since v47 is the last verse of that chapter in my Bible :)
            I respectfully disagree with your perspective on some of this. "In the beginning the Word was". Within the next couple of weeks I plan to write an article on the subject, so let's talk more about it then.

            • Reply by Chris on 2013-12-04 12:58:42

              Sorry, Matthew 5:48 :)

            • Reply by Chris on 2013-12-04 14:40:55

              I suppose that’s the thing about Time – it’s about perspective and distance.
              “In the beginning the Word WAS” can also be read “IN THE BEGINNING the Word was”
              IN is not before.
              Sorry, I am only using BOLD type because I can't work out how to do italics here.
              I tried pasting from Microsoft Word but it still appears in normal type.
              Any tips appreciated :)

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-12-03 08:09:31

      He was perfect in one sense of the word, but he was not perfect or complete in the sense that Apollos referred to in his post.

      • Reply by GodsWordsTruth on 2013-12-04 09:42:33

        For clarification ... "He" being Jesus ..right Meleti ? My thinking is in line with you Chris . However, I do understand the line of reasoning of Apollos. I've always believed that the gap is massive between Jehovah and Jesus because of that fact that Jesus was created. Jehovah is immeasurable. However for the purposes of understanding scripture humans have to "measure" Him in relation to other things. I am looking forward very much to this discussion.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-12-04 09:54:26

          My reply was to the comment by Imjustasking, so the "he" is Satan before he sinned.

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