The Holy Spirit – Power or Person? (part 2)

imageIn the previous post, The Holy Spirit – Power or Person? (part 1), I stated how, for many years I was a Christian who did not believe in the Trinity. Instead, I believed all the teachings against this doctrine. I believed that the ancient pagans worshiped a trinity created originally from their imagination and that the Christian church later incorporated it into its teachings.

I began believing otherwise when several of the leaders of the church I was in began to question among themselves their beliefs. Then, to the membership’s amazement, the church leadership repented. They realized that the Bible strongly indicates there does exist the Father, the Son AND the Holy Spirit – a Trinity. I was shocked.

I previously believed that Jesus Christ and the Father were the only two persons who is one God but that the Holy Spirit was a force that emanated from God. I believed then that the Holy Spirit was not another person.

I studied somewhat their reasons for their change and accepted the doctrine. I now believe in the three persons in one God. But if someone were to quote scripture after scripture to me that to him indicate there is no Trinity, well, let me be frank with you, I may have some difficulty adequately defending it at this stage of my growth as a Christian.

Therefore, I have devoted this spring and summer 2015, on getting to know who (or what, if need be) is this Holy Spirit.

Many verses in the Bible are used by some Christians to attempt to prove the Holy Spirit is a divine force – some sort of power that emanates from God – and not a person. Here are six more of these verses followed by my brief comment:

1) Luke 1:35

The angel answered, “The Holy [hagios] Spirit   [pneuma] will come on you, and the power [dunamis] of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy [hagios] one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Does this verse state and therefore prove that the Holy Spirit is a person? No. But if the Holy Spirit is a power why did the angel use the word “and” between Holy Spirit and power? The angel here is distinguishing one spirit as being holy, using  hagios, why? Isn’t “the power [dunamis] of the Most High” also holy?

In part one on this subject [click here], I stated that the word pneuma can have more than one meaning. It can mean a power or a spirit. It all depends on the context.

The Holy [hagios] Spirit [pneuma] in this verse strongly indicates to me a person, a being, not a force. Jesus Christ, yet to be born, was described as holy and so was the Spirit as described. Both Jesus and the Spirit therefore can be understood here as separate individuals and as God!

2) Luke 4:14

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power [dunamis] of the Spirit [pneuma], and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

Does this verse prove the Holy Spirit is not a person? No. Many Bible verses similar to this verse that appear to show the Holy Spirit is not a person are highlighted by non-Trinitarians.

So, if this verse shows the Spirit, pneuma, to be just a power then I can read this verse accordingly:  “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the power of God.” But it does not. Hmm.  Something is not right here.

But if I understand the Spirit [pneuma] to be a powerful being, then I can see the Holy Spirit as God powerfully working in Jesus to minister in the city of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit is a being. He is God.

3) Acts 1:8

But you will receive power [dunamis] when the Holy [hagios] Spirit [pneuma] comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

This verse is similar to the previous verse above. Does it prove that the Holy Spirit is not a person but a power? If this Spirit is a power from God why doesn’t Paul say, “power from God”? Because this power, dunamis, is from God whose name is the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is not an evil spirit or demon. No, this Spirit is holy, hagios, therefore the Holy Spirit is a being, God, and not a force.

4) 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A so-called proof that the Holy Spirit is NOT a divine person or a God being, and therefore not a Trinity, is shown by non-Trinitarians focusing on the fact that the apostle Paul never brought greetings from the Holy Spirit to the churches. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit in the salutatory potion of any of the letters written by the apostle Paul to the saints. In the example verse above, Paul brought greetings only from God the Father and Jesus Christ. In all of His letters, Paul never once include greetings from the Holy Spirit.

The other beginnings of letters to the saints which excluded the Holy Spirit are:  2 Corinthians 1:3,  Galatians 1:3,  Ephesians 1:2,  Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2,  1 Thessalonians 1:1,  2 Thessalonians 1:2,  1 Timothy 1:2,  Titus 1:4 and Philemon 1:3.

Does this prove that the Holy Spirit is not a person? No. Why should the Holy Spirit have someone send the church greetings if He, this being, is already in each Christian speaking constantly to him? As Christians, did not those hearing Paul’s letters have the Holy Spirit within each of them already while listening to the letter? Yes! Was not the Holy Spirit helping each saint understand and worship God in the hearing? Yes! Hello?

And, No! The Trinity is not the three stooges!  The Holy Spirit is not Curly of the three stooges also! The Father and Jesus Christ were not preventing the Holy Spirit to speak to the churches in these passages!

AND, AND and AND the Holy Spirit was also not mentioned by Paul in these letters because the Spirit did not inspire Himself to Paul to be mentioned in these salutations. The Holy Spirit may be displaying humility here. One of the Spirit’s purposes is to convict others of Jesus Christ just as one of Christ’s purposes is to reveal the Father to the world.

5) Matthew 1:20

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy [hagios] Spirit [pneuma].

The words spoken here were from an angel telling Mary, a virgin, she was conceived with child by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s inspired Word tells us clearly that the Holy Spirit caused Mary’ pregnancy. It is assumed by many, however, that the Holy Spirit therefore cannot be a person otherwise Jesus’ father would then have been the Holy Spirit.

But this verse does not say that the Holy Spirit fathered Jesus Christ.

Does this verse prove there is no Trinity? No. But it does emphasize to me that the angels were not about to reveal to the world the Father.  Jesus Christ was the first one to reveal to everyone who is the Father and that He, Jesus, was His Son. Therefore, God’s Word here is telling us that the Holy Spirit was instrumental in having the Father cause Mary to become pregnant.

To say that the Holy Spirit cannot be a being lest He be Christ’s father is ludicrous. What the Holy Spirit did was actually of the Father which He Himself proves when He spoke to everyone when John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17).

If the Father has the power to cause Mary to become pregnant, why would He call His power, Holy Spirit? It would have been more clear if the verse said something like, “Mary was conceived by God’s power.” But nooooo,  that power was given a name, Holy Spirit, which strongly indicates a being.

6)  Acts 2:17

“And it shall come to pass in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out of my Spirit [pneuma] on all flesh.”

Does this passage here in Acts 2  show that the Holy Spirit cannot be a person? Acts 2:17 reads: “… I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh.” The Holy Spirit, it is argued, cannot be a person since a person or being cannot be poured out.

Who can say what a spirit can or cannot do? The pouring out as liquids do is a physical characteristic in nature, a physical occurrence. But if a spirit being can go through walls and material objects why can’t he be poured out? If God can be everywhere at the same moment hasn’t God Himself “poured” Himself throughout the universe?

Isn’t Jesus Christ in us as well (2 Corinthians 13:5)?  Is not the Father also omnipresent (everywhere)? If He is, then the Father also is in us. If the Holy Spirit is in us then there are, therefore, three entities in us, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These must be three beings as one being, God, who is in us. (See click also to my post,The Dynamic Duo or Trio?).

I need a break. Take care.

 

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