© Copyright 2021 Catholic Exchange. 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. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will. Recommended Resource: The Holy Spirit by Charles Ryrie More insights from your Bible study - … He makes no mention of the Holy Spirit as a divine person. Christians can easily identify with God the … You might also like... Part 2 - The Essentials of Divine Mercy with Father Chris Alar, MIC . O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation through Christ our Lord. In the Catholic Church we understand the soul to be spiritual in nature. Nor is the Spirit of God a different person from the Father. The Holy Spirit is one member of the Holy Trinity. A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history. 6. 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 acts as a person by giving commands, Acts 16:6-7. So, how can we better appreciate the Holy Spirit as a person? (The above is from the New American Bible, Revised Edition.) We can think about God the Father as the source of all things. Between Genesis and the Apocalypse that gives us quite a bit of space in which we can get to know the Holy Spirit. 5 The Holy Spirit has intellect, emotion, and will. 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. The Holy Spirit is revealed here to be both a person and divine. “The Holy Spirit is a person, for He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.” (Ev 616) “Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead” (DA 671) 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. The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence. In all this, however, we can see the Holy Spirit revealed as a Divine Person who inspires and energizes. 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. 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. "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…" (1 Corinthians 12:13). In order to belong to Christ, we must have the third person of the Holy Trinity dwelling within us, so we pray: "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love. We can even imagine him as a kindly and merciful Father. I know! Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. It is completely misleading to read into the Bible a third Person, the Holy Spirit. You want to say, "And also with you!" The first is the name which is the name that Jesus provides in John 14:26. The Greek word used here is "koinonia," which can also be translated "communion." He is God living inside of those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/StephenBeale1. The Holy Spirit is "the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. He is a member of the Trinity, equal to God the Father and God the Son. He welcomes tips, suggestions, and any other feedback at bealenews at gmail dot com. The Holy Spirit can be fellowshipped: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all" 2 Cor 13:14. One issue for us is that our initial perception of other persons is so visual (as the author cited earlier suggested). The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. 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. He also speaks of God, who at the beginning of the same letter St. Paul calls "God our Father," and "…the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation" (2 Corinthians 1:2, 3). He has appeared on Fox News, C-SPAN and the Today Show and his writing has been published in the Washington Times, Providence Journal, the National Catholic Register and on MSNBC.com and ABCNews.com. Ultimately our task is not to box the Spirit into our human concept of a person, but to recognize that for God to be three persons is radically different than what it means to be a human person. One of the fundamental beliefs of the Church is that the Holy Spirit inspired all the writers of Scripture. This practice is still retained in English translations—wherever you see LORD the underlying Hebrew word is Yahweh. 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. 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. Variants include Helper, Comforter, and Counselor, but the most literal one is Paraclete, which simply is a transliteration of the Greek word, paraklētos. * Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency. Since the Holy Spirit has not assumed any bodily form, it is impossible for us to imagine him in any concrete way. image: By Jan Kameníček [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons, Tagged as: (Romans 8:9b). 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 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 John 10:27, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified," as we profess belief in every Sunday. Orthodoxy, Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. However, no less significant is St. Paul’s teaching on the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We can think about God the Father as the source of all things. But the creed makes the same move, identifying the Holy Spirit as ‘the Lord, the Giver of Life.’. We cannot have fellowship or communion with a force, a bird, wind, etc. We might recall that even Jesus himself said, "But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. But if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7). In the ancient Greek world, a paraclete was a kind of legal advocate, analogous to defense attorneys in our society. As such, He is to be revered as God and serves in perfect unity with Father and Son to lead us in our spiritual lives. 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. In a way, this is more intimate of a connection than any we could have with any other human person. 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. 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 … Amen.". The Holy Spirit is a person, as Scripture makes clear. And all the divine attributes ascribed to the Father and the Son are equally ascribed to the Holy Spirit. 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. As the creed itself says, He is the one ‘who spoke by the prophets.’ This fact leads to an extraordinary conclusion: it means that each time we are reading Scripture we are hearing what the Spirit says to us. The exact words are, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The Father, through the death, resurrection and ascension of his Son, freely gives us the Spirit so that we might become adopted sons and daughters of the Father (cf. But there are other ways we perceive the presence of someone else and one way is through hearing their voice. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, however, the matter becomes more difficult. Needless to say, the deeper we enter into the truths of our faith the better. TheDivineMercy Video. The Holy Spirit is truly the forgotten member of the Trinity, and Dr. Malcolm Yarnell has constructed the clearest work of our modern time to bring Christians back to the person and office of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the operational presence of God, His mind and character. The Holy Spirit guides believers, and is therefore a person, John 16:13. The Holy Spirit is a person, and should be treated with the respect of a divine person. The Holy Spirit … In the end, we should aim to get to know the Holy Spirit as a person on his own terms, not our own. Moreover, the second person assumed a human nature, making Him that much more relatable as a person, as the above author notes. As a Person, the Holy Spirit is one we can be in relation with. The word “person” denotes individuality and self-awareness. 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. This metaphor obviously brings us closer to our objective of understanding the Holy Spirit as a person. Still, a defense attorney is a job title and doesn’t carry the same personal intimacy as the names Father and Son. As one Catholic educational site puts it, His areas of interest include Eastern Christianity, Marian and Eucharistic theology, medieval history, and the saints. Galatians 4:6). Notice, too, that this is one more proof of the Spirit’s full Deity. We can even imagine him as a kindly and merciful Father. Personhood means there is potential for love and union. 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. This is, of course, very Trinitarian. Again, none of this is to accuse anyone of not believing that the Holy Spirit is a person. The spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17) is not a different person from Elijah. For if I do not go, the Advocate [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. However, many of us probably struggle to think of the Holy Spirit as a person. In the case of Jesus, we are dealing with a man like us who lived almost two thousand years ago in Palestine. Here it was two apostles, Barnabas and Saul/Paul (Acts 14:14). Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. 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.” 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. 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. From Scripture we learn that the Holy Spirit is God. Since all Three Persons of the Trinity are equally God, we may pray to any member of the Trinity. For us a person is a body and soul. Each is divine, yet there are not three gods but one God. 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. For them, the Godhead included the Father (who was omnipotent and omniscient), the pre-Incarnate begotten Divine Son, and the Holy Spirit as a mani­festation of the prese… A person, not an impersonal force, searches all things (1 Corinthians 2:10), knows the mind of God the Father (1 Corinthians 2:11), teaches the content of the Gospel to believers (1 Corinthians 2:13), dwells within believers (1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:11; 2 Timothy 1:14), accomplishes all things (1 Corinthians 12:11), gives life to those who believe (2 Corinthians 3:6), cries out from within our hearts (Galatians 4:6), leads us in the ways of God (Galatians 5:18; Romans 8:14), bears witness with our own spirits (Romans 8:16), has desires that are in opposition to the flesh (Galatians 5:17), helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26), intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27), works all things together for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28), strengthens believers (Ephesians 3:16), and is grieved by our sinfulness (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and undoubtedly the least understood member of the Godhead. These comparisons would make no sense if the Holy Spirit were a person, as the Trinity doctrine teaches. Let me draw one important inference. Without denial of the one Essence of the Godhead, the personality of the Holy Spirit must be affirmed and is subject to proof unassailable by any who accept the Scriptures as authoritative. The Holy Spirit has been given to us through baptism. 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. We are not saying that the word fellowship itself, demands the Holy Spirit is a person, but that a word that normally, but not always implies personality, is used in conjunction with two other known persons. Moreover, we tend not to associate spirit with person in everyday existence. One approach is to look at two of the formal names the New Testament gives to the Holy Spirit. Not an "influence" or some vague power, but the Third Person of the Trinity. However, many of us probably struggle to think of the Holy Spirit as a person. All rights reserved. The core difficulty, I believe, is in thinking of the Holy Spirit as a person. It is crucial that the Holy Spirit comes so that we might become "…a temple of the Holy Spirit within you…" (1 Corinthians 6:19). If the Holy Spirit is a divine Person then we can affirm all verses that indicate personhood and we can affirm all verses that utilise language describing the Spirit or His work as a force or power or influence. 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. How Can Beauty & Culture Save the World? He is not just a "force" but a Divine Person. In Romans 10 and Galatians 3 St. Paul says that faith comes through hearing. 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." According to the doctrines of the Christian faith, the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son.The divine works of the Holy Spirit.are described in both the Old and New Testaments. … The expansive category of divine person effortlessly and naturally accounts for the narrower category of power or influence. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is represented by water, oil, a dove and fire. This name thus not only reaffirms the divinity of the Holy Spirit but gives us yet one more way to relate to Him personally. However, I am not writing on the Mass. St. Paul prays that we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. In the creed, the liturgy, and every time we cross ourselves we affirm that the Holy Spirit is one of three divine persons. He is not a person of flesh and blood, but a person of spirit. The Greek word translated as Advocate above is rendered many other ways in other versions. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Paul, in this passage, also speaks about the love of God the Father. He is a gift of God, lives within us, gives us life, guides us to the truth, and is a person. We need to resist the urge of hearing St. Paul’s words, like the lines in the movie, "May the force be with," and perhaps to resist the urge to says "And also with you.". "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). There are three individual subsistences or persons. The Holy Spirit is "the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Catholic Exchange is a project of Sophia Institute Press. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is deeply connected with bringing God’s word to us. We can know and love the Holy Spirit just as we know and love the Father and the Son. When a person becomes born again by believing and receiving Jesus Christ 4, God resides in that person through the Holy Spirit. The second name for the Holy Spirit occurs in 2 Corinthians 3:17. In Romans, St. Paul says, "…the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). And the Spirit loves us just as He loves the Father and the Son. 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. It is God impacting the creation with His creative influence. Best of Week, The Holy Spirit speaks, showing that He is a person, Acts 13:2. | R. Jared Staudt, PhD, The Lost Riches of Catholic Catechisms with Aaron Seng of Tradivox, The Catholic Faith in Public Life After the 2020 Election with Derek Rotty. N. At times He restricts us from certain actions. He grieves, He knows, He is eternal, He encourages, He gives understanding, He gives peace, He comforts, He directs, and He can be prayed to. 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." Here St. Paul speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Bible study will explore in brief the ministry and works of the Holy Spirit. Father Chris Alar explains the third divine person of the Blessed Trinity. (We will come back to the sacraments in a later column). The issue the degree to which we are aware of this reality, which I think may not be at the same level as it is for the Father and Son. 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 … 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. 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. One of the difficulties we need to overcome when it comes to contemplating the Holy Spirit is to remove from our minds the consideration that the Holy Spirit is just some kind of impersonal force, kind of like what we hear about in "Star Wars." In the creed, the liturgy, and every time we cross ourselves we affirm that the Holy Spirit is one of three divine persons. There is only one God and He is the third divine person of the Trinity. 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. ‘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. 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