One of the fundamental beliefs of the Church is that the Holy Spirit inspired all the writers of Scripture. Moreover, we tend not to associate spirit with person in everyday existence. Here the Holy Spirit is set before us as a Person who gives His testimony to Jesus Christ, not merely as an illumination that enables the believer to testify of Christ, but a Person who Himself testifies; and a clear distinction is drawn in this and the following verse between the testimony of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of the believer to whom He has borne His witness, for we read in the next verse, "And ye … The Holy Spirit is revealed here to be both a person and divine. The Holy Spirit teaches others, and therefore is a person, John 14:26. The Holy Spirit has been given to us through baptism. that we decide whether the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith, our love, and our entire surrender to Himself, or whether it is simply an influence emanating from God or a power or an illumination that God imparts to us. Since all Three Persons of the Trinity are equally God, we may pray to any member of the Trinity. In Romans 8:26, St. Paul attributes a kind of voice to the Holy Spirit: In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. Needless to say, the deeper we enter into the truths of our faith the better. I know! St. Paul also makes clear the Holy Spirit’s connection with Christ when he says, "Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." Since one of the major aspects of God’s nature is that he is a person, it follows that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Sabbatarian and Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the Holy Spirit, until the 1890s, was largely focused on the tangible, or “living reality,” of the Holy Spirit as a divine manifestation rather than His nature or personality.3 During the period up to the 1890s, most Adventists did not accept that the Holy Spirit had a distinct personality. In this verse Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” (Romans 8:9b). However, many of us probably struggle to think of the Holy Spirit as a person. Nor is the Spirit of God a different person from the Father. This is much easier with the other two persons of the Trinity because two of the names that have been revealed to us are very personal: Father and Son. TheDivineMercy Video. We cannot have fellowship or communion with a force, a bird, wind, etc. He is not a person of flesh and blood, but a person of spirit. As this author explains, the name has its roots in the Old Testament where Hebrew scribes would substitute the name Adonai, or Lord, for Yahweh, the sacred personal name for God, which was not said out loud. We can even imagine him as a kindly and merciful Father. However, many of us probably struggle to think of the Holy Spirit as a person. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:13). Of course, these symbols all serve to reflect something about the identity of the Holy Spirit but they do not specifically help us see Him as a person. The Holy Spirit guides believers, and is therefore a person, John 16:13. We can think about God the Father as the source of all things. Our difficulty in fully recognizing the Holy Spirit as a person is, perhaps, compounded by the many biblical symbols for the third person of the Trinity: water, anointing oil, fire, the cloud, the seal, and the dove (see this list in the catechism). One approach is to look at two of the formal names the New Testament gives to the Holy Spirit. In John 10:27, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”. (We will come back to the sacraments in a later column). In the context of faith, hearing the voice of God is of crucial importance. Notice, too, that this is one more proof of the Spirit’s full Deity. "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…" (1 Corinthians 12:13). But the creed makes the same move, identifying the Holy Spirit as ‘the Lord, the Giver of Life.’. In a way, this is more intimate of a connection than any we could have with any other human person. The Holy Spirit is not a bird or a tongue of fire or a gentle or loud wind and certainly not a cumulo-nimbus cloud. We might say Sally has a joyful spirit or that Johnny has an adventurous spirit, but we wouldn’t say Johnny and Sally are spirits. In the previous two columns I wrote about St. Paul’s important teaching on Jesus as fully God and fully man, and the importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit has the Attributes of a Person The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity–equal with the Father and Son in essence. In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. The core difficulty, I believe, is in thinking of the Holy Spirit as a person. In this episode, Pastor John reveals how to be given divine insight and advice through the Person of the Holy Spirit who lives in you to fulfill His purposes. This Bible study will explore in brief the ministry and works of the Holy Spirit. The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence. But there is a point at which we have to face the truth: the difficulties we have in approaching the Holy Spirit as person reminds us of the mystery and absolute otherness of God, as the first quotation in this article stated. This name thus not only reaffirms the divinity of the Holy Spirit but gives us yet one more way to relate to Him personally. His areas of interest include Eastern Christianity, Marian and Eucharistic theology, medieval history, and the saints. The expansive category of divine person effortlessly and naturally accounts for the narrower category of power or influence. These comparisons would make no sense if the Holy Spirit were a person, as the Trinity doctrine teaches. Love is intimately linked to the Holy Spirit. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is only one God and He is the third divine person of the Trinity. We can understand the Holy Spirit as a divine person from the quote we started with: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." The Greek word translated as Advocate above is rendered many other ways in other versions. In the end, we should aim to get to know the Holy Spirit as a person on his own terms, not our own. The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. The first is the name which is the name that Jesus provides in John 14:26. That He is the third Person of the Holy Trinity is made clear by His inclusion with the Father and the Son in such Bible passages as Matthew 28:19. He is a former news editor at GoLocalProv.com and was a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he covered the 2008 presidential primary. Father Chris Alar explains the third divine person of the Blessed Trinity. Outside of theology we think of spirit as a part of someone’s soul or personality, as in terms like high-spirited, someone with a great spirit, or someone whose spirits are down. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is represented by water, oil, a dove and fire. The Holy Spirit is one member of the Holy Trinity. Here St. Paul speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is depicted as “bear[ing] witness,” “establish[ing] a covenant,” is referred to as “the Lord,” “puts [his] laws on [our] hearts,” and even forgives sins. The Holy Spirit acts as a person by giving commands, Acts 16:6-7. Again, none of this is to accuse anyone of not believing that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is a person, as Scripture makes clear. It is God impacting the creation with His creative influence. In the Catholic Church we understand the soul to be spiritual in nature. As one Catholic educational site puts it, Of the three divine Persons, the most mysterious one and the most difficult one for us to think about is the Holy Spirit. All rights reserved. This practice is still retained in English translations—wherever you see LORD the underlying Hebrew word is Yahweh. We can think about God the Father as the source of all things. The Holy Spirit is the operational presence of God, His mind and character. (The above is from the New American Bible, Revised Edition.) Holy Souls in Purgatory; Works of Mercy; From the National Shrine; In the News; Archives; Voting and Faithful Citizenship; Explaining the Faith: Understanding the Holy Spirit. It is completely misleading to read into the Bible a third Person, the Holy Spirit. Galatians 4:6). The final book of the Bible (and the last to be written) describes “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1 Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. For if I do not go, the Advocate [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history. How Can Beauty & Culture Save the World? As one Catholic educational site puts it, …. The images can help us understand the Holy Spirit, in some limited sense, but we must be careful not to identify the Holy Spirit with these impersonal images. There are three individual subsistences or persons. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified," as we profess belief in every Sunday. We Explain with Scripture References To do this, He revealed that the Holy Spirit was called “He,” never she.” Or, He is also called “Him” or “Himself,” never is He called any name in the feminine. In the case of Jesus, we are dealing with a man like us who lived almost two thousand years ago in Palestine. The Holy Spirit is one of the three divine persons of the Trinity. ‘A martyr who died laughing’: Cause of priest imprisoned by Nazis and communists advances, Man who filmed 'prank video' at Mass in Canada charged with hate crime, Pope Francis appoints first lay head of Roman Curia’s disciplinary commission, Cardinal Dolan condemns 'ugly and unlawful' defacement of St Patrick’s cathedral, Argentine boy saved from stray bullet by crucifix, Analysis: Pro-lifers will have to fight hidden abortion funding battles in the Senate. "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts" - Zechariah 4:6 So we have to return to the verse in John, which makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is a very special kind of Paraclete—He will work on our intellects to both teach us and remind of Christ’s words to us. And the Spirit loves us just as He loves the Father and the Son. • The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, classically defined as: “There is one God, ... • The Holy Spirit exercises the divine prerogative of calling and sending out ministers. In the ancient Greek world, a paraclete was a kind of legal advocate, analogous to defense attorneys in our society. Finally he speaks of the Holy Spirit. With consideration for the Spirit’s identity derived from both Old and New Testament accounts, author Malcolm B. Yarnell focuses on identifying characteristics of the person of the Holy Spirit himself, rather than discussing the work of the Spirit solely in the context of … The Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and who is not the same person as the Father. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is deeply connected with bringing God’s word to us. For us a person is a body and soul. You might also like... Part 2 - The Essentials of Divine Mercy with Father Chris Alar, MIC . The Holy Spirit Is Divine It is apparent from the above sections that the Holy Spirit is very special. In the description of the creation of man in Gen. ii.7, it is the breath of God, that is the Holy Spirit, who imparts life to man, and man becomes a living soul. In fact, the Holy Spirit inspires by distributing various gifts to various people, enhancing both the individuality of people and our connectedness as we exchange these inspired gifts to each other. 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