The Holy Spirit Is Divine

    It is apparent from the above sections that the Holy Spirit is very special. He is a gift of God, lives within us, gives us life, guides us to the truth, and is a person. He is not a person of flesh and blood, but a person of spirit. Now, we have to decide what sort of spiritual person he is. It is possible, because he lives within us, that he is in some way our soul? This does not make sense, because he is a person. Your soul is part of you. It does not have a separate personality. Your soul does not lead and teach you, it is you.

    Is the Holy Spirit an angel? It becomes apparent on a careful reading that this cannot be the case. The Holy Spirit has many attributes that could only belong to God, not an angel. The Spirit has divine knowledge. He knows all truth. He is not just smart and knowledgeable, but all knowing, like only God can be.

"But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you." (Jn 16:7-15)

    The Spirit gives life. None but God can give life. Others, such as human parents and angels only assist life. The fundamental source of life is God.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Mt 1:18-21)

Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you don't know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Jn 3:5-8)

    Finally, there are some specific passages that indicate the divinity of the Spirit, by placing him on an equal footing with God the Father and God the Son.

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Mt 3:16-17; parallels in Mk 1:10-11; Lk 3:21-22)

John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.' Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God." (Jn 1:32-34)

Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Mt 28:18-20)

    Because the Holy Spirit is a divine person, we should realize that the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the other two divine persons is eternal, using the same arguments that we used for the Son's pre-existence. This is supported in scripture by the Holy Spirit's presence in the form of a mighty wind at the beginning of creation (Gn 1:2), where we should recall that the Holy Spirit is frequently represented in scripture by breath or wind. What is the nature of this divine relationship? We see from the conception and baptism of Jesus (above) that the Father's love is given to the Son through the Spirit. In this way, the Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son. Because the Son loves the Father in return, the Spirit also proceeds from the Son back to the Father. The relationship between the Father and the Spirit forms one unified procession of mutual love. Note that proceed, when used in theology, refers explicitly to relationships between the three persons in God.

    The issue of whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son or just from the Father is an old point of disagreement between the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches, so more support is necessary. The Spirit is not merely of the Father (Mt 10:20; Jn 15:26; 1 Cor 2:11), but also the Son (Gal 4:6; Acts 16:7; Rom 8:9; Phil 1:19). The Spirit is not only given by the Father, but by the Son. The Spirit's knowledge comes from the Son. "He [the Spirit] will glorify me [the Son] because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you" (Jn 16:14).

 

This section describes on aspect of the nature of the Holy Spirit.

This page was last changed on 2011/08/28