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Holy Spirit, Person or Power

courtesy www.letusreason.org/default.htm

 

The qualifications for a person are that they have....

1. A mind

2. their own will

3. emotions

Also a quality of being personal is that one has life. A person is identified as a self-conscious being, cognizant of its own existence and the existence of others who also have a self-identity. A will indicates the ability to think, to reason, a choice to act, having desire these are things we associate with self consciousness which is exclusive to Persons. All of these qualities the Holy Spirit has, just as the Son and Father. We find the Holy Spirit is the executive of the Father. He is co-creator of the universe, The author of divine Scripture, the generator of Christ's humanity, the regenerator of the believer and the distributor of eternal life.

The Holy Spirit is identified as a Person by John, using in the Greek the masculine ekeinos in Jn.16:13. The Holy Spirit is presented as a personal being with a self-identity different from both the Father, and the Son. As the Father and Jesus make this distinction when speaking of Him. He the Holy Spirit says "Separate Barnabas and Saul to me;" He also is identified as "I" in Acts 13:2.

The Jehovah Witnesses Holy Spirit is not God, but a force like in Buddhism. But it was not always so, like all their doctrines they depart from any kind of semblance of orthodoxy. Lets look at how they describe a spirit being ,"Is the Devil a personification or a person? ... Can an unintelligent 'force' carry on a conversation with a person? ... only an intelligent person could. . . . 'Every quality, every action, which can indicate personality, is attributed to him in language which cannot be explained away."' (Awake 12/8/1973, p. 27) "Nothing in this and similar texts involves the thought of a personal Holy Spirit . . . (Studies in the Scripture , Vol. 5, p. 244)

The main purpose of the Holy Spirit was to come alongside the believer, to do what Jesus did when he was here physically, but mainly from the inside of us. He is called the comforter, this would be a hard thing to do if the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. The helper paracletos is used for the Spirit in the NT. by Jesus. This was used in Greek almost always of persons. Here the Lord calls him our helper, one that comes alongside. Even with the other titles attributed to him this still does not change who he is behind those titles. He (the Spirit) says "separate Barnabas and Saul to me" he also is identified as "I" in Acts 13:2. If the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force as Jehovah's Witnesses claim, or a mode as in Oneness Pentecostalism, then He cannot be another of the same kind. Jesus is a person, if the Spirit is another comforter this requires the Spirit to be a person also. How could He duplicate all the things of Jesus unless He is a person? The helper in Gr. paracletos, is used to describe the Spirit in the New Testament by Jesus. This was used in Greek almost always of persons. Here the Lord calls him our helper, one that comes alongside. When we speak of person it does not necessitate form but personality and identity.

Looking at the attributes of the Spirit we find no difference in His nature, function and communion with the believer than with Jesus. Rom.8:27 He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the spirit is, because he makes intercession for the saints," 1 Cor.2:11: "But the one and the same spirit works all these things dividing to each one as He wills. Acts 8.29: The Spirit spoke to Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Rev 2-3: "Let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches" Rev 22.17: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" If the Spirit is impersonal so is the Bride.

The activities of the Spirit are all descriptions of what persons do. Many groups come to the irrational and illogical conclusion that he is only a force used by the Father to accomplish his purposes. This power the Jehova's Witnesses claim is impersonal like an artificial intelligence that will accomplish Gods will in our lives. Romans 8.16: The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. To make the Holy Spirit something other than a personality a being (a force?) This means that we are indwelt with a human non personality. This means we have no inner nature that rules over our body, that all we are is our body just like the evolutionists say.

Paul uses the spirit Gr. pnuema as The masculine pronoun He , giving him identity. The Holy Spirit is portrayed as a personal being with an identity different then both the Father and the Son. He is identified as "I" in Acts 13:2.

As we understand that the nature of the Father and Son and Spirit have always been the same, they are all eternal. They all share in common the same essence, which is God. They also share in the divine name of Yahweh. All the attributes of God that are held in common with the Father and Son are shared also with the Holy Spirit.

He has omnipresence Ps.139:7-10 David writes whether he goes up to heaven or into hell below God is there, he cannot escape his Spirit. He is omnipresent, everywhere since he would dwell in every believer simultaneously.( 3 omnis are described in this passage omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience all attributes of God). The essence of the Holy Spirit is that he is omniscient- all knowing 1 Cor.2:10-11: "For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God." Only God can comprehend God himself, he knows things of God and things we do not know of ourselves.

There are scriptures that refer to the Holy Spirit as being the "Spirit of Jesus", the "Spirit of Christ", or "Spirit of the Son" "the Spirit of the Father" If the Son and Father are persons then this certainly does not make the Spirit a non person.

Heb.9:14 He is called the eternal Spirit. Because he is in us, the Scripture equates him as God in us (Rom.8:9-10, 1Cor.3:16, 6:19, Jn.14:23, 15:4, 1 Jn.4:12-13,15)

He is omnipresent since he would dwell in every believer simultaneously and he is called God (1 Cor.6:19).

He is omniscient (2 Cor.2:10) "the Spirit searches the deep things of God." Only God can know the infinite things contained in himself.

Luke 12.12: for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

I Cor. 2.13: "This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit," How is this possible without language or communication.

Rom.8:27 He has a mind (proving he is personal).

Rom.15:30 He has love which only those with intelligence and personality express.

Eph.4:30 He is grieved.

Heb.10:29 He can be insulted. He can be blasphemed. Mt.12:32 Tells us all sins committed against the Son will be forgiven but the sin against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This certainly affirms he is neither a force nor a mere creature. Only an eternal sin cannot be forgiven, which means it is against the eternal God.

John 14.16: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforter to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth ."

John 14.26: But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 16.7: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." Not it to you! To the disciples who were grieving, if the Spirit were an impersonal force it would no way comfort or replace a real person. Imagine saying don't worry you'll have electricity or a force!

Jn.14:26, 1Cor.2:13 He teaches us

Gal.5:18, Rom.8:9 he is our guide.

These are important functions of someone who is alive, with emotion and personal interaction. How can he do this for all believers unless he has the omnipresence and omniscience that God has.

Rom.8:26-27 He groans along with us, he intercedes for us to the Father ( this gives him personality and feelings) 1 Thess.1:6 he Gives us joy. He also hears from the Father Jn.16:13 and he is able to testify of the Son Jn.15:26. The Spirits role is to convince unbelievers of sin righteousness and judgment, this means intelligence. The Spirit is also attributed to being the author of Holy Scripture which gives him communication skills also part of intelligence. In Rev.14:13 we find the Spirit speaks from heaven saying "write." All these characteristics give personal identity to the Holy Spirit, which makes him a personal and distinct from the father and the Son.

In the OT. he is called the Spirit of the Lord (Yahweh) Judges 3:10, 6:34, 11:29, 13:25, 2 Sam. 23:2, 1 Kings 18:12 Isa.11:2, 40:13 He is called the Spirit of God (Elohim) Gen.1:2, 1 Sam. 19:20,23. 2 Sam. 23:2;1 Cor. 3:16, 7:40 the Spirit of our God 1 Cor.6:11, His Spirit Num.11:29, My Spirit Gen.6:3 Spirit of the living God 2 Cor.3:3, He is called the Spirit of the Father Mt.10:20. The Spirit of the Lord God Isa.61:1 If the Spirit is God (which he is) then his name would also be called Yahweh just as the Father and the Son are. Since they are all God they all share in common the same name. In the NT. He is called the Spirit of grace Heb.10:24, The Spirit of life Rom.8:2, of truth Jn.14:17, Holiness Rom. 1:4, Spirit of Glory 1 Pt.4:14 showing he has the same glory shared with both the Father and the Son. These are descriptive of his attributes which all three persons share in. He is called God 1 Cor.6:19. It is Paul that states we are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9, 8:11, 1 Cor.3:16, 6:19) 2 Cor.6:16 "For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell I will dwell I will dwell in them and walk among them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." If God says he will be in us, and it is the Holy Spirit in us, doesn't that make him God? God is personal.

He speaks to man: Isa.6:8-9 "Also 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." And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Paul in the NT. applies this scripture giving the credit to the Holy Spirit for saying it. The Isa.59:21 the Spirit gave the men the words.

Mark 13.11: Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1.16: and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus

In Acts 5 Peter confronted Annanias and Sapphira said you have lied to the Holy Spirit vs.3 he then says you have not lied to man but to God v.4 in reference to his first rebuke. Since Jesus said God is Spirit in Jn.4 this should settle any conflict. The Holy Spirit's work is evident from creation onward, there is no reason not to come the conclusion that the Spirit is God. He makes Jesus known just as Jesus made the Father known.

Acts 8.29: The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

Acts 10:19: "While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you."

Acts 11:12: "Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house."

Acts 13.2: "While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

Acts 28:25-27: "The Holy Spirit spoke spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, "saying, 'Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them."

I Tim 4.1: "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits

Heb.3.7: "So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice."

Rev 14:13: "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "amen," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

Rev. 22.17: "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Both have intelligence.

All of these Scriptures prove that the bible upholds the Spirit as a personal being every bit as personal and intelligent as God.

The Spirit is also attributed to being the author of Holy Scripture which gives him communication skills also part of intelligence. In Rev.14:13 we find the Spirit speaks from heaven saying "write". All these characteristics give personal identity to the Holy Spirit which makes him a person. Rev 2-3: "Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" this is repeated 6 times after to each church.

It is the Spirit that brings one to recognize who Christ is. To fight and refuse this is to ignore the testimony of Jesus. If one thinks it is a force that that is revealing the Son, than this would automatically change who the Son is as well.

The Spirit has a different position functioning in a submissive role to Christ. Just as Christ was in a submissive position to the Father on Earth not acting independently. Likewise the Spirit does the same, taking a subordinate role to both Christ and the Father when he is sent to earth ( Jn.16:13). This is not a essential subordination of nature but in position and function. His purpose is not to bring attention to himself but to the Son.

 

 

 

Holy Spirit, Person or Power

(....take 2)

 

by Vincent McCann



The Watchtower Society teach Jehovah's Witnesses that the Holy Spirit is not a Person but rather "God's active force". It is taught that this force is impersonal and is often likened to electricity.


"Consider the far-reaching effects of an electric power plant. A power plant has a certain location in or near a city. But its electricity is distributed over all that area, providing light and power. It is similar with God. He is in the heavens. Yet his holy spirit, which is his invisible active force, can be felt everywhere, over all the universe. By means of his holy spirit God created the heavens, the earth and all living things. ... He can send out his spirit, his active force, to do whatever he wants even though he is far away." (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, (1982), p. 37).
But despite the claims of the Watchtower, the Personality of the Holy Spirit is clearly threaded throughout the Bible:

Jesus used personal pronouns when referring to the Holy Spirit:

"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. "(John 16:7-15).
Scripture uses many terms that are used when speaking of a person and applies them to the Holy Spirit:

He helps (John 16:7).

He comforts (John 14:16).

He convicts of sin (John 16:17).

He gives testimony of Jesus (John 15:26).

He teaches and brings to remembrance (John 14:26).

He guides (John 16:13).

He restrains (2 Thess. 2:7).

He speaks and instructs (Acts 8:29; 10:19; John 16:13).

He interprets our prayers (Rom. 8:26).

He sets apart/sanctifies (2Thess. 2:13).

He hears (John 16:13).

He seals us (Eph. 1:13).

He knows and communicates (1 Cor. 2:11; Rom. 8:27).

He sends (Acts 13:4).

He brings forth life (John 3:6 compare Gen. 1:3).

He is a witness (Acts 5:32).

He reveals (Eph. 3:5).

He prevents/stops (Acts 16:6-7).

He wills/separates (Acts 13:2).

He has a will by which He decides, chooses and distributes (1 Cor. 12:11).

He can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4).

He can be tested (Acts 5:9).

He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30).

He leads (Matt. 4:1).

The Spirit "said" to Philip. (Acts 8:29).

The Spirit "said" to Peter. (Acts 10:19-20).

Peter said he was "told" by the Spirit (Acts 11:12).

The Holy Spirit "solemnly testifies" (Acts 20:23).

The Holy Spirit "made" some of the early Christians "overseers to shepherd the Church". (Acts 20:28).

The Holy Spirit "spoke" (Acts 28:25-27).

Acts 15:22 states that "it seemed good to the apostles and the elders." Nothing particularly striking about this as it is just stating that something was good to certain people, in this case the apostles and the elders. However, in verse 28 we see an interesting parallel: "...it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." (Acts 15:28). Obviousely, this is similar to the earlier verse. But what is significant with both of these parallel verses is that the writer of Acts includes the Spirit along with various people as though he is just listing another Person. The casual way that this is presented makes this even more striking. The Apostles, elders, and the Spirit recognise something as being "good". Now if the Spirit were not a Person, but rather an impersonal force, as the Watchtower claim, it would be like saying "it seemed good to the wind and to us." Obviously, such a statement would make no sense.

In addition to this, it is incredible that that the Watchtower recognise other spirits as being personal but still deny the personality of the spirit:

The Watchtower Society tells us:-

1) That God is a Spirit and a person.
2) The angels are spirits and persons.
3) The demons are spirits and are persons.
4) Jesus is a spirit and a person.
5) Satan is a spirit and a person.
6) The Holy Spirit of God is a spirit but is NOT worthy of being a Person!!! 

In an article about the Devil, the Watchtower list some requirements of what qualifies one to be a person:

"You will note, too, that these accounts relate conversations between the Devil and God, and between the Devil and Jesus Christ. Both Jehovah God and Jesus Christ are persons. Also, the Bible calls Satan a manslayer, a liar, a father (in a spiritual sense) and a ruler. Only an intelligent person could fit all these descriptions." (Awake!, December 8, 1973, p.27)
It is incredible that the Watchtower is even willing to acknowledge the Devil to be a person because of the characteristics he possesses, yet they deny the Personhood of the Holy Spirit even though the same characteristics are possessed by Him also!

Some Jehovah's Witness Objections Considered:

In the light of the above Scriptural references, it is incredible how the Watchtower can still continue to deny that the Holy Spirit is not a Person. The Watchtower's general response to such Scriptures is to say that whenever the Spirit is spoken of in personal terms it is simply using personification, as it does in other instances of other non-personal things. Of the Holy Spirit, the Watchtower`s Aid book says:

"...it is not unusual in the Scriptures for something to be personalized or personified that is not actually a person." (Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 1543).
The above article then goes on to point out the personifications of such non-personal things as wisdom, sin and death, etc. Although this is true, what the Watchtower tend to do here is isolate certain Scriptures when comparing them to the Spirit in an attempt to deny His personality. Rather than taking the whole testimony of Scripture about what the Bible says about the Spirit they have to isolate lots of different texts which speak of unrelated inanimate objects to make their point. Robert Bowman calls this "The divide and conquer method of Biblical interpretation."

Another main objection to the Personhood of the Holy Spirit that the Watchtower bring fourth is that the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is "poured upon" (e.g. Isa. 44:3) and can "fill" people (e.g. Acts 2:4). It is then argued that a person cannot do these things, so the Holy Spirit must not be a person.

In response to this the following Scriptures need to be highlighted:

The apostle Apostle Paul (a real person!) said: "I am already being poured out as a drink offering" (2Tim. 4:6).

David said: "I am poured out like water" (Psalm 22:14).

Peter said: "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart?" (Acts 5:3).

God is spoken of as one who "fills all in all" (Eph. 1:23)

Christ is spoken of as the one who might "fill all things" (Eph. 4:10).

Paul speaks of being "filled with the fullness of God" (Eph 3:19).

A final objection to consider is the reasoning that Jehovah's Witnesses employ by using Matthew 3:11 where John the Baptist is speaking about Jesus:

"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
From this verse, Jehovah's Witnesses reason that just as water is impersonal in this verse the Holy Spirit is likewise impersonal. We are baptised into both, as both are impersonal.

Despite the apparent logic employed by this reasoning its flaw becomes apparent when one compares the same reasoning to the following texts:

"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3)
"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Gal. 3:27)

Obviously, Jesus is not impersonal just because we can be baptized into Him, and neither is He impersonal just because we are also baptized into His death and clothed with Him. The same is so for the Holy Spirit.






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