Friday, September 16, 2011

The Holy Spirit Is God

Having recently defended the divinity of Jesus and the creative work of the Father, it seems only fitting that I would spend some time on the Holy Spirit. Specifically, I am striving here to defend the divinity and unique personality of the Spirit. This has probably been the most difficult of the three to write, but I think that a convincing case has been made.

"With the Father and Son, He is worshiped and glorified." I hope I have done Him justice.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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The Holy Spirit Is God, or Is Called "God", or Is Co-equal with God

The first passage I would like to discuss comes from "The Great Commission" at the end of Matthew's Gospel:
Mt 28:19 (cf. 2 Cor 13:14) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

2 Cor 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
That three Persons would share a single name -- and two of them are most certainly divine -- strongly implies coequality among Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The passage from 2 Cor is much like it.

Next, from John's Gospel:
Jn 14:17, 23 (cf. 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19) even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for HE DWELLS WITH YOU, and will be in you. [...] 23 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and MAKE OUR HOME WITH HIM.

1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit DWELLS IN YOU?

1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, which you have from God? You are not your own;
Notice here that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will, all three, come to dwell within the man of faith. The other passages simply reaffirm the fact that the Spirit comes to dwell within a person, just as the Father and the Son does. Notice also that what was in the first passage referred to as "GOD'S temple" is in the other passage "the temple of THE HOLY SPIRIT". Moving on now to the Book of Acts:
Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, "Anani'as, why has Satan filled your heart to lie TO THE HOLY SPIRIT and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but TO GOD."
Here Peter is clearly saying that, in lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias has lied to God. "The Holy Spirit" and "God" are synonymous here. Steven has this to say:
Acts 7:51 (cf. Exo 16:8; Psa 78:17) "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist THE HOLY SPIRIT. As your fathers did, so do you.

Exo 16:8 And Moses said, "When the LORD gives you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your murmurings which you murmur against him--what are we? Your murmurings are not against us but against THE LORD."

Psa 78:17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against THE MOST HIGH in the desert.
We see from the OT, that it was the LORD, the Most High, whom the fathers of the Jews murmured and rebelled against, yet Steven said it was the Holy Spirit whom they resisted. Further on in Acts we find still more evidence that the Holy Spirit is God:
Acts 28:25-26 (cf. Isa 6:3,8-10) So, as they disagreed among themselves, they departed, after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 Go to this people, and say, You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.

Isa 6:3,8-10 And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." [...] 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." 9 And he said, "Go, and say to this people: 'Hear and hear, but do not understand; see and see, but do not perceive.' 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."
In Isaiah, it is the LORD of hosts who tells Isaiah to say to the people that they will hear but not understand and see but not perceive. However, in Acts we see that it was THE SPIRIT who said this to Isaiah.

Paul's letters to the Corinthians are both very instructive:
1 Cor 6:11 (cf. Ezek 37:28) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Ezek 37:28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore."
Put these two passages together and we are sanctified by the LORD, AND by Christ, AND by the Holy Spirit. How can the Holy Spirit sanctify as the Father and the Son does and yet not be God? He is not merely sent by the Father as his instrument, the Spirit is actually DOING the sanctifying here. See also Rom 15:16 and 1 Pet 1:2. Later in 1 Cor. we read:
1 Cor 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.
The parallelism of this passage tells us that the "Spirit" is "Lord" and "God." As for the second letter:
2 Cor 3:6,17-18b who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. [...] 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. [...] 18b for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
"The Lord IS the Spirit" That is a clear affirmation of His divinity.

The Letter to the Hebrews provides another interesting passage:
Heb 3:7-9 (cf. Exo 17:7) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, when you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.

Exo 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Mer'ibah, because of the faultfinding of the children of Israel, and because they put the LORD to the proof by saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
In Hebrews, it was the Holy Spirit who was put to the test, yet in Exodus we see that it was THE LORD who was put to the test. Combine this with Jesus' words in the desert where He accuses the serpent of testing Himself and, voila, you have the Trinity! Three Persons equally put to the test. Later on in Hebrews, we read:
Heb 10:15-17 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," 17 then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more."

Jer 31:33-34 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
In Jeremiah, THE LORD said he would write the new covenant on their hearts and remeber their sin no more. But, in Hebrews, it is the Holy Spirit who said this.

Finally, there is this from Peter:
2 Pet 1:21 because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
How can a movement, an inspiration by the Holy Spirit be considered from God if the Holy Spirit is not God? Some may say, "Well, the Holy Spirit is the force, or power, or inspiration from the Father to men." But this does not give the Holy Spirit enough credit. The Spirit is more than an invisible power, He is a Person, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

The Personhood of the Spirit

The Personhood of the Spirit is seen in Scripture in the various passages where the Spirit exhibits the faculties and characteristics of personhood. A person, to be sure, is a living being with an intellect and a will. We could also say that a person has emotions (which we apply, anthropomorphically, to God). Let's see then where the Holy Spirit exhibits the qualities of personhood:

He has an intellect:

He has a will:

He has emotions:

I also think that, the fact that Scripture speaks of "him", of the qualities that "he" has (instead of "it"), shows that the Holy Spirit is more than a thing, a force or power that comes from God. Instead, the Holy Spirit is a living Person, HE does things, things are said of HIM. See, for example, the following passages:
Jn 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees HIM nor knows HIM; you know HIM, for HE dwells with you, and will be in you.

Jn 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, HE will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Jn 15:26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, HE will bear witness to me;

Jn 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send HIM to you. 8 And when HE comes, HE will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

Jn 16:13-14 When the Spirit of truth comes, HE will guide you into all the truth; for HE will not speak on HIS own authority, but whatever HE hears HE will speak, and HE will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 HE will glorify me, for HE will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Rom 8:16 it is the Spirit HIMSELF bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit HIMSELF intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

1 Cor 12:11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as HE wills.
The fact that "the Spirit HIMSELF" is said to do things shows that the Spirit is operating out of his own identity and personhood, instead of the Father simply using the Spirit as I would use a pencil. The Spirit is not a mere instrument of the Father, He is HIMSELF the cause of His actions.

The Holy Spirit Has the Attributes of God

The final proof of the divinity of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity is seen in the uniquely divine attributes that the Spirit possesses:

The Holy Spirit does things that only God can do for the simple fact that HE IS GOD. This is very important. The last thing we want to do is blaspheme the Spirit, which is an "eternal sin" that "will not be forgiven" (cf. Mt 12:31-32; Mk 3:29).

Pray with me:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

3 comments:

Holy Spirit Prayers said...

The Holy Spirit is the bridge to God within you. It is the part of your mind the part of your Spirit that is joined with the Mind of God. The Holy Spirit is the Voice for God and acts as a reminder to all of God's children of the unconditional love that God has for them. Thanks a lot.

Nicholas Hardesty said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

So according to the trinity doctrine, the Holy Ghost, as well as the Father and the Son are all equal and co-eternal.

But a few things don't make sense when really digging through Scriptures about this.

#1. 1 John 4:24 tells us that God is a Spirit.
1 John 4:12 tells us that No one has ever seen God

#2. If there were indeed 3 people inside of God, each with their own personalities, each with their own mind, but each eternal and co-existent, it would of been revealed to the Jews. God revealed many things to them and why wouldn't He reveal this? They are His chosen people. But what people are led to believe in the trinity is that a 'new' character emerged in the New Testament as 'God the Son' and it was completely foreign to the Jewish people. Now the Jewish people that did convert never converted on the 'God the Son' basis but rather 'Jesus, the man, anointed with the Holy Spirit and with Power, died for our sins so that we are reconciled to God'.

But we read through the Old Testament and see Isaiah mention the Holy Spirit:

Isaiah 63:
11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

However, there is not one Jew that will ever say the Holy Spirit and the Father are two different people.

What they will tell you is something every Jewish father tells their newborn and teach their kids from day one: "Hear, O Isreal: The LORD our God, the LORD is one" - Deuteronomy 6:4

We know that God is a Spirit and cannot be seen. According to trinity doctrine, the Holy Spirit is a Spirit. So does that mean there are two Spirits in God? Not Scripturally sound.

I think the correct way to look at the Holy Spirit is the way Isaiah wrote about the Holy Spirit - by saying 'His Holy Spirit' - Whose Holy Spirit? God, who is a Spirit and who is Holy.

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