In the case of Deuteronomy, Moses named Joshua as his successor (see especially Deut. Some people believe the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force, not a Being with the attributes of personality. 10. (Micah 3:8; Luke 1: 35) God sends out his spirit by projecting his energy to any place to accomplish his will. Consider, for example, the vision that Stephen had just before he was killed, which the Watchtower claims is an example of the missing Holy Spirit: But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Jesus’ point here was that the Holy Spirit’s role in redemption during this period in history was to be focused on glorifying the Son in order that people might put their trust in what he did for them in his death and resurrection. The Son was “with” his disciples (14:9) and after he left the Spirit would be “with” them (14:16). The Holy Spirit's name describes his chief attribute: He is a perfectly holy and spotless God, free of any sin or darkness. These are attributes of a person (in this case, a divine Person), not of a mere force. This belief allows us to start a conversation about the Holy Spirit and God. In Jehovah’s Witness theology, the “energy” that functions as God’s active force is apparently part of God’s own being, since the Watchtower has repeatedly said it is God’s energy. The Holy Spirit is at work in the world we live in, and within and/or on ourselves. 8. The Holy Spirit has a mind. Especially noteworthy here is that the Spirit speaks in the first person when he says, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (13:2; see also 10:20). desiringgod.org. Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? Jesus also referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter or the Counselor (John 14:16 and 15:26). Holy Spirit, in Christian belief, the third person of the Trinity. The question implies that the holy spirit is never spoken of as an impersonal, active force. He cannot be slung around, gathered up, or dispensed. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. A: The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit has all the attributes of personality and is not merely an impersonal force. Those who challenge the idea that the Holy Spirit is God suggest that the Holy Spirit may simply be an impersonal force of some kind, a source of power controlled by God but not fully a person Himself. Rather, the issue of what doctrine is correct must be settled by examining what the Bible says. Yet it is not true that the Holy Spirit is always “missing” or “absent” in such visionary experiences. The Spirit is a person and not merely a force. The Holy Spirit Is Considered as A “Gift” (Like an object, not a person) …and you shall receive the gift … You have not lied to men but to God.”. The Holy Spirit is God, a Person, not an energy or a force, just as much as the other two members of the Trinity. 157-158). That Ambitious One Who Wanted to Be “God” Number Three. The word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ (ruach) in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. 1. Will there be a Great Revival and a Great Harvest Just Before Jesus Returns? Antony Billington, “The Paraclete and Mission in the Fourth Gospel,” in Mission and Meaning: Essays Presented to Peter Cotterell, ed. If I have an important guest in my home and I totally ignore Him, never respond when He speaks and never speak with Him, I am rude and foolish. No Mere Force. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and never thirst” (John 6:35).Unbelievers are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and they shall be filled. 9. The holy spirit is God’s power in action, his active force. It should be very obvious that the Holy Spirit has self-identity, is aware, and is not merely a force because a force doesn’t speak, love, grieve, and have a mind. He is the very power of God. The Holy Spirt is the third person of the Trinity in traditional, orthodox Christian theology. We can clearly see that the Holy Spirit is not simply a force, but the third divine Person of the Godhead. There are less than a hundred references to the Spirit in the whole Old Testament, whereas in the much shorter New Testament there are roughly 270 references to the Spirit. With regard to Jesus’ statement in John 17:3 about eternal life consisting in knowing the Father and the Son, evidently Jesus did not expect his followers to understand that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine person until he came into their lives in a transforming way after Jesus’ resurrection (at Pentecost). Several examples of arguments from silence concerning the Holy Spirit are examined in Robert M. Bowman Jr., “Arguments from Silence: Bad Arguments against the Personhood of the Holy Spirit #2” (IRR, 2014). Just concentrate on Jesus." The clear point here is that the Spirit is someone—a divine person other than Jesus who will come in Jesus’ place. This is exactly what we should expect once we understand the role of the Holy Spirit in divine revelation. Does it go back when its function is complete? 1660). Some teach that the Holy Spirit is not deity, but a thing, a force. The word translated here as “Advocate” (also in the NIV, NLT, NRSV, etc. Secondly, The Force is made up of all living things, whereas the Holy Spirit is eternal. Unknown to most, due to the spiritual blindness inflicted upon most of humanity, there is actually a great and ambitious invisible spirit-being who always wanted to be also “god” and to reign as co-equal with God and the Son. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. This title conveys the ideas of advising, exhorting, comforting, strengthening, interceding, and … As a supernatural force, just like natural forces, it can take on any shape or form that God chooses or sets his mind on. We should not confuse the Holy Spirit with the way He might make us feel sometimes, or with the power that He has. A mere force could not possess all of these attributes, but the Holy Spirit does. Later while looking into this topic online, I discovered this understanding is widespread * in the Christian faith as well: a poll result found that 59% of Christians see the Holy Spirit as a force. He is considered to be the third member of the Godhead. 31:1-8). To Be or not To Be: Why Existence Is Good. In John chapters 14, 15, and 16, for example, Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as “He”. The Holy Spirit does give us many marvellous experiences, but He Himself is not merely an experience. It is worth noting that when people refer to the Holy Spirit as “he,” the masculine pronoun can be confusing. The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal life force. The Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force. Pray for those you love. Jehovah’s Witnesses and certain other groups, such the Iglesia ni Cristo, claim that the Holy Spirit is not a Person but merely a force (for example, “the power of God”). In this same context, Jesus made it clear that he did not expect his disciples to grasp fully what he was saying until the Holy Spirit came to be their new Advocate (John 14:25-26; 16:13-14). However he does exercise will just as they do, and this attribute shows him to be God just as they are. Welcome to our series about The Core 24! The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. We need to respect Him, love Him, listen to Him, work with Him. On that occasion, the night before his death, Jesus spoke at length to his disciples in a speech found in John 13-17 that scholars describe as his “farewell discourse.”7 In such a discourse, the speaker gathers with those he is about to leave behind, explaining that he is about to leave them, exhorting them to continue following his instructions and example, and offering them assurances about their future after his departure. The Bible gives us a clear picture of who He is: He’s intelligent and has an intellect. Just before he ascended, Jesus told his disciples that they would receive power to be his witnesses when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8). Reasoning from the Scriptures (Watchtower, 1995), 204. Anti-Trinitarians not only reject the Holy Spirit is one of three members of the Godhead, (Trinity) they reject that the Holy Spirit even exists as a person at all! All Rights Reserved. He is a person and if you and I are wise we will treat Him not as POWER but as a PERSON. He is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. Make you hungry, thirsty or desperate. Although Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit during his public ministry (e.g., Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10, 12), he waited until the Last Supper to speak in explicit terms about the Holy Spirit as someone distinct from himself and the Father. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, The Holy Spirit as a Dove, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome (ca. The Holy Spirit is a “person” equal in every way with God, the Father, and God, the Son. 7. —Psalm 104:30; 139:7. What does the Bible say? Learn More. 157-158). And the personhood of the Holy Spirit is affirmed by His role as the third Person of the Godhead. Instead, they believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal active force. This may help explain why Jesus did not refer to the Holy Spirit in John 17:3. In Romans 8, Paul describes how the Holy Spirit intercedes (or prays) for believers.He says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. He is not impersonal or unthinking. 13. The Holy Spirit is God, not a Force. Such a deity is not the God of the Bible. You can not know Jesus without Him. Have you beg God to ‘show up’ or ‘come’ The Holy Spirit lives in you (John 14:17, 1 John 3:24, Rom. All of such is what a person uses to accomplish what they desire to. In certain respects it can also be likened to electricity. Hi my name is Michael Fackerell, founder of this site. In his remarks preparing the disciples for the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus made a very significant statement about the way the Holy Spirit would operate: “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” (John 16:13-14 NASB). Such language, which of course is figurative, does not mean that the Holy Spirit is less than personal. Three Circles. The arguments typically overlook possible explanations for why the author is “silent” about the particular matter at hand.12. Misrepresented Spirit? (John 16:13.) Does this mean that the energy is in God’s spirit body or composes his spirit body? But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-16 NET). “The Holy Spirit: But according to the Book of Mormon, as well as other Scripture, there is also a Holy Spirit, sometimes called the Holy Ghost, which is not a person, but rather a divine essence, a force, or fluid–for want of a better term–which permeates all that exists,” (John A. Widtsoe and Franklin S. Harris, Jr., Seven Claims of the Book of Mormon, pp. In that same study, a quarter (28 percent) said the Spirit is a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. Summary: The Watchtower Society teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a divine person existing eternally with the Father and the Son but is instead an impersonal, active force emanating from Jehovah God when he employs his power or energy toward the world. There is the gentle breeze, and … We are not asking if He is a human being – we know that the Holy Spirit is not a human and does not take on the form of a man. Holy spirit: Active force can also be referred to as the breath, finger, hand or arm of God. Here is a representative passage from the Watchtower: Daniel, Stephen and John in visions saw representations of the Father and the Son, but never one of the holy spirit. In this video devo Dennis Pollock teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a force or mere power, such as electricity or battery power. The Holy Spirit will only get into the world (via) indwelling your life. “Holy Spirit—Third Person of Trinity or God’s Active Force,” 431–32. First, the Holy Spirit is not a “force” or energy or an “it,” but He’s a person. He is neither a force nor an impersonal, dispassionate entity. Paul also called Christ “the power of God” (1 Cor. Do YOU have a testimony to share? 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. We would not normally expect visions of heaven to include embodied or visible representations of the Holy Spirit because of the distinctive way he works. We do not normally speak of being anointed or filled with electricity or to have energy poured out on us. I noted in a previous post that, according to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 56 percent of evangelical Christians say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person. God pours out his holy spirit over the earth onto his servants. Obviously the Bible makes the Holy Spirit equal to God. This spirit is energy from God projected and exerted on people or things to accomplish his will.4, It is God’s active force, not Jehovah’s power residing within himself, but his energy when projected out from himself for the accomplishing of his purposes.5. Join our Cause. 3:19; 4:10). We saw in a previous article that the Jehovah’s Witnesses view of Jesus Christ makes God remote and uninvolved in his creation because they think that Christ does virtually everything in creation and redemption as God’s agent. It is not a person but is a powerful force that God causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will ( Reasoning from the Scriptures 1985, 81). The Holy Spirit has a mind, will and emotions. The Holy Spirit and Power. This lesson is not just about technicalities. ; see also 1 John 2:1 in most English versions) is also translated in other versions as “Comforter” (KJV) or “Helper” (ESV, NASB). … Such arguments fallaciously reason that if a particular speaker or writer did not mention something it must be because he was ignorant of it (or even that he would have denied it, given the chance). But if not learn how to come to Jesus so you can rejoice with us! Follow. The Holy Spirit cannot be pumped and scooped. What does the Holy Spirit mean to those who place their faith in… Reducing the Holy Spirit to an impersonal force that God transmits from heaven away from himself to produce desired effects from a distance has the same consequence. In John 13-17, Jesus named the Holy Spirit as his “successor,” as it were: “Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. Jesus goes on in the Upper Room Discourse to speak about the Holy Spirit in ways closely paralleling what the Gospel of John says about Jesus. The point here is not that such reasonable questions disprove the Watchtower doctrine. He is giving us himself. We see Jesus’ teaching about the coming of the Holy Spirit fulfilled in the Book of Acts. Yes, there are some apparent philosophical difficulties in the traditional Christian view of the Holy Spirit: How can he be the Spirit of God, be God himself, and yet be personally distinct from the Father? Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians invariably point out that in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is described as acting like wind, water, breath, or other impersonal substances or forces of nature. The main problem with this line of reasoning is that the Bible sometimes speaks this way about God (and also specifically about Christ). “The Holy Spirit: But according to the Book of Mormon, as well as other Scripture, there is also a Holy Spirit, sometimes called the Holy Ghost, which is not a person, but rather a divine essence, a force, or fluid–for want of a better term–which permeates all that exists,” (John A. Widtsoe and Franklin S. Harris, Jr., Seven Claims of the Book of Mormon, pp. 2. The way that this all takes place is through the silent working of the Holy Spirit on our hearts and our minds. Saying the Holy Spirit is God is confusing to my mind at least. The Spirit in this passage is not an impersonal force like electricity, but a divine person like Jesus. Intellect3. The Holy Spirit is not like “the force” in Star Wars. Such language is used somewhat more often for the Holy Spirit because his work occurs invisibly and usually internally, but the principle is the same. Furthermore, throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit exhibits the characteristics of a Person, not an inanimate force. This is exactly what Jesus does in John 13-17. God “gave” his Son (John 3:16) and “will give” the Spirit (14:16). But, when we start on page one of the Bible, before creation ever even began, we see a depiction of the spirit of God hovering over the dark, disordered waters of … Why not, if the holy spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in glory, power, etc.? 12:13); they are “baptized” (Matt. Misrepresented Spirit? Use of Site Subject to your agreement to our Privacy Policy. The Holy Spirit is God. And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Should we describe the Spirit of God as a person, or simply as a force? Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, teach that the Holy Spirit is "God's active power in the Universe". Not the Father surely? This is a vitally important concept. Additional objections to the personhood of the Holy Spirit are addressed in a group of articles entitled “Bad Arguments against the Personhood of the Holy Spirit” on IRR’s website: http://bib.irr.org/category/holy-spirit. This is all stuff that can't be true of a mere (or even 'The') Force. The Holy Spirit is God. Did you know that the Holy Spirit is not only one to be welcomed but is also very much a person? The JW actively believes that the Holy Spirit is a force, and not a person. Copyright (C) 2000-2018 Michael Fackerell. And that simply is not true. Some churches say "Don't worry about the Holy Spirit. Deduce the Holy Spirit is God? Famously, God appeared to Moses in a bush that appeared to be on fire (Exod. The word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ (ruach) in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. In different ways, with different potency, with different effect, at different times, but most definitely here and at work. Learn why you should. 5:18), “anointed” (Acts 10:38), and “sealed” (Eph. The consistent role of the Holy Spirit in biblical teaching is to work in hidden or invisible ways, usually within the minds or hearts of human beings. He is considered to be the third member of the Godhead. In its opening words, the Bible speaks of the holy spirit —also rendered “God’s active force”— as “moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” ( Genesis 1:2 ) In the account of Jesus’ baptism, while God is described as being in “the heavens,” the holy spirit appears “descending like a dove” upon Jesus. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. (John 16:7, 8.) Does Jehovah have an infinite supply of this energy in his localized spirit body? Only a being who is equal to God (Matthew 28:19) and possesses the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and eternality could be defined as God. I noted in a previous post that, according to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 56 percent of evangelical Christians say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person.In that same study, a quarter (28 percent) said the Spirit is a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. In its opening words, the Bible speaks of the holy spirit —also rendered “God’s active force”— as “moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” ( Genesis 1:2 ) In the account of Jesus’ baptism, while God is described as being in “the heavens,” the holy spirit appears “descending like a dove” upon Jesus. The Son came to “glorify” the Father (14:13; 15:8; 17:1, 4); the Holy Spirit would come to “glorify” the Son (16:14). Likewise, he is all-loving, forgiving, merciful and just. Without question, the Holy Spirit is the “one Spirit” about Whom we read in Ephesians 4:4. As Christians, we are often blind and inconsiderate when it comes to the Holy Spirit. We can deduce this from Acts 5:3-4, where it reads as follow: But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? The Holy Spirit can speak (Acts 8:29, 11:12, 13:2)—though some people don’t think the Holy Spirit can speak because they think of the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force, or simply a presence. There are theological puzzles lurking. We can deduce this from Acts 5:3-4, where it reads as follow: He is the very power of God. For instance, a Jehovah’s Witness might say something like this: “The holy spirit is not a person and it is not a part of a Trinity. See also Disclaimer. How to protect your home and break curses! The Holy Spirit is God. He is the One through Him God is now with us. The Jehovah Witnesses believe and teach this. It is not equal to God but is always at his disposition and subordinate to him. Throughout the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit is presented as an active, personal participant in the ministry of the apostles and their associates, directing the mission, calling people into service, and guiding the apostles’ decision making (see especially 15:28; 16:6-7; 20:28).9, Seemingly Impersonal Descriptions of the Holy Spirit. But that’s not all. It is created to help you know Jesus and get a great eternal reward from God Almighty. Before we compare the Holy Spirit and the Force, we need need address four thing. `` force '' his role as the third divine the holy spirit is not a force other than Jesus who will in. ( Isa is correct must be settled by examining what the Bible says should not confuse the Holy Spirit rendered. Also referred to the Holy Spirit is not a part of a mere ( or even 'The )! 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