- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
The Bible and the Trinity Part 4
The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit
For us to get a total picture of the Trinity, it is necessary to look at the Holy Spirit. In looking at the Third Person of the Trinity, there is an additional challenge. It becomes necessary, not only to prove his deity, but his personality as well. Indeed there are people who would say when talking about the Holy Spirit, that he is just an impersonal force. Just a rudimentary look at what the Bible says about him will show that they didn't get their information from Scripture.
I. His Personality
1. Personal Pronouns: If we look at various passages, it will be seen that personal pronouns are used of the Holy Spirit. For instance, Jesus says in John 14:16,17 that: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it doesn't see Him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you." Obviously, Jesus is referring to a person here,
2. Characteristics of Personality: We know from various verses that the Spirit can be grieved, vexed, blasphemed and resisted (Ephesians 4:30; Matthew 12:31; and Acts 7:51).
3. Personal Acts: The Holy Spirit does things that only a person can do. He reveals, testifies, convinces, helps, guides, knows, makes intercession, speaks and gives life (I Corinthians 2:10; John 16:8; Romans 8:16 and 26; Galatians 5:18).
4. Association with Other Persons: The Spirit, in Matthew 28:19,20 is associated with the other two persons of the Trinity, which makes Him a person too. Verse 19 says: "Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
5. Distinction from the Son: Jesus calls the Holy Spirit "another comforter" who will be given by the Father. Obviously the comforter is seen as someone who will take Jesus' place when he goes to be with the Father.
II. His Deity
Proofs of personality are not proofs of deity, but the Bible clearly indicates this as well. Here are a few of those.
1. The Divine Names: The names given to the Spirit reveal his deity. Sixteen times he is related by name to the other two persons of the Trinity. See for example Acts 16:7 where he is called the 'Spirit of Jesus'. And in I Corinthians 6:11, the Spirit is called 'the Spirit of our God'. Also, the verse that we used to prove his personality can be used for his deity as well. When Jesus said in John 14:6 that the Father would send another helper, the word for helper, in Greek, means another of the same kind. Therefore, if Jesus is God, so is the Spirit.
2. His Attributes: The Holy Spirit possess attributes which belong to God alone. He is all knowing (Isaiah 40:13; I Corinthians 2:12); present everywhere (Psalm 139:7); and all powerful, by virtue of his work in the creation (Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30).
3. His Actions: His actions are those that only God can perform. For instance, he was the cause of the virgin birth (Luke1:35). And it was the Spirit who was the agent in giving us the inspired Scriptures. II Peter 1:21 clearly states this. Finally, Genesis 1:2 shows his involvement in the creation of the world.
4. His Associations with the Other Members of the Trinity: The New Testament writers identify the Spirit as Yahweh or Jehovah of the Old Testament. They took verses from the Old Testament that talked about God speaking and said it was the Holy Spirit doing the speaking. For instance Acts 28:25 is quoting Isaiah 6:1-13 and Hebrews 10:15-17 is quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Also, we see in Matthew 12:31,32 and Acts 5:3,4 that lying to the Holy Spirit is actually lying to God. Hence the Spirit is God.
Lastly, Matthew 28:19,20 , spoken about earlier, clearly puts the Spirit on an equal footing with the other two members of the Trinity. People are to be baptized in the name of all three persons.
From this and previous articles, it becomes abundantly clear that the Trinity is a biblical concept. The Father is God; the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet all three persons are eternally one God. God is a mystery and we can only know about him that which he chooses to reveal to us. To deny the Trinity is to deny how God has revealed himself and therefore it means that we deny Him. May we accept him as he is- the eternal three in one God.