ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Holy Spirit

Updated on January 28, 2010

Christian theology develops Old Testament references to the Spirit of God as active in the creation of the world (Genesis 1:2), as giving life to man (Genesis 2:7; 6:3), and as promised to "the Servant of the Lord" (Isaiah 42:1-3). The New Testament sees this promise as fullfilled in the life of Jesus (for example Luke 3:21; 4:18-20) but bases its understanding of the Spirit more directly on those texts of the Old Testament in which the Spirit of God is promised to the whole people of Israel.

The writings of John and Paul are especially important for the church's later theology of the Holy Spirit. For John, the Spirit is "another Counsellor," who assists the church in recalling and interpreting the words of Christ (John 14: 25-26) and through whom Christ is forever present to His disciples (14:16). At times Paul nks Christ and the Spirit so closely that it is difficult to distinguish between the two (II Corinthians 3:17: "The Lord is the Spirit"). He describes the Spirit as both "the Spirit of God" and "the Spirit of Christ" and attributes to the Spirit the function of uniting men with God through Christ (Romans 8:9-17).

Trinitarian Controversies

During the 4th century Trinitarian controversies, when the principal issue was the full divinity of the Son, the church at first merely affirmed its belief in the Spirit (Council of Nicaea). Subsequent controversies, however, led to a fuller creedal statement on the divinity of the Spirit and to considerable theological speculation on the Spirit's relation to the Father and the Son within the Trinity. During this period St. Augustine significantly influenced all later Western theology by his description of the Spirit as the bond of love that unites Father and Son.

Filioque Dispute

In the 9th century the so-called Filioque became a major focus of doctrinal differences between the Eastern and Western churches. Eastern theologians protested against the Western church's addition of the expression "and [from] the Son" (Filioque) to the traditional creedal assertion that the Spirit "proceeds from the Father." The Council of Florence (1439) sought to resolve the dispute, but the Eastern church has never accepted the solution proposed by this council.

Contemporary Theological Emphases

Contemporary theologians have been especially concerned with the New Testament's understanding of the Spirit as the unifying bond and sanctifying force in the church and with the relation between the charismatic (or "spiritual") and the institutional aspects of the church's life. With respect to the "personality" of the Holy Spirit, some contemporary Protestant theologians have argued that the term "person" suggests a multiplicity of divine beings, which the doctrine of the Trinity was meant to exclude. They have suggested that the "persons" of the Trinity be described as "modes" or "ways of God's being God." Roman Catholic theologians generally have retained the traditional terminology but agree that the term "person" must be understood in such a way that the concept of the perfect unity of God is clearly maintained.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)