All rights reserved. In the ancient Greek world, a paraclete was a kind of legal advocate, analogous to defense attorneys in our society. The Holy Spirit has been given to us through baptism. He is not just a "force" but a Divine Person. But the creed makes the same move, identifying the Holy Spirit as ‘the Lord, the Giver of Life.’. The Holy Spirit is "the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 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. Of the three divine Persons, the most mysterious one and the most difficult one for us to think about is the Holy Spirit. He makes no mention of the Holy Spirit as a divine person. We can even imagine him as a kindly and merciful Father. N. At times He restricts us from certain actions. © Copyright 2021 Catholic Exchange. Needless to say, the deeper we enter into the truths of our faith the better. 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 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. 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. 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." 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 … The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that told you. The Holy Spirit is one of the three divine persons of the Trinity. "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts" - Zechariah 4:6 However, I am not writing on the Mass. This metaphor obviously brings us closer to our objective of understanding the Holy Spirit as a person. 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. The Greek word used here is "koinonia," which can also be translated "communion." 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. image: By Jan Kameníček [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons, Tagged as: * Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency. "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…" (1 Corinthians 12:13). The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. Orthodoxy, Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Personhood means there is potential for love and union. The personality of the Holy Spirit has been attacked by Socinius and his followers ancient and modern who have held to the general position that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal energy proceeding from God… The Holy Spirit is one of the three divine persons of the Trinity. Amen.". 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 … 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. He is depicted as “bear[ing] witness,” “establish[ing] a covenant,” is referred to as “the Lord,” “puts [his] laws on [our] hearts,” and even forgives sins. … One approach is to look at two of the formal names the New Testament gives to the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit loves us just as He loves the Father and the Son. He is a former news editor at GoLocalProv.com and was a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he covered the 2008 presidential primary. In a way, this is more intimate of a connection than any we could have with any other human person. How Can Beauty & Culture Save the World? The Holy Spirit is one member of the Holy Trinity. But if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7). 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 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. And all the divine attributes ascribed to the Father and the Son are equally ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks, showing that He is a person, Acts 13:2. It is God impacting the creation with His creative influence. When a person becomes born again by believing and receiving Jesus Christ 4, God resides in that person through the Holy Spirit. 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. 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. What does the Holy Spirit do? 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. Love is intimately linked to the Holy Spirit. ‘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. The Holy Spirit is a person, as Scripture makes clear. …. St. Paul helps us to understand this. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. I know! His areas of interest include Eastern Christianity, Marian and Eucharistic theology, medieval history, and the saints. St. Paul prays that we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. He is a member of the Trinity, equal to God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit … In the Catholic Church we understand the soul to be spiritual in nature. In all this, however, we can see the Holy Spirit revealed as a Divine Person who inspires and energizes. (Romans 8:9b). We know that the Holy Spirit is not an "it," but a person, a "who.". This name thus not only reaffirms the divinity of the Holy Spirit but gives us yet one more way to relate to Him personally. Moreover, we tend not to associate spirit with person in everyday existence. 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. 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. 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. One issue for us is that our initial perception of other persons is so visual (as the author cited earlier suggested). 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.” The Holy Spirit is a person, and should be treated with the respect of a divine person. "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). In the creed, the liturgy, and every time we cross ourselves we affirm that the Holy Spirit is one of three divine persons. Our difficulty in fully recognizing the Holy Spirit as a person is, perhaps, compounded by the many biblical symbols for the third person of the Trinity: water, anointing oil, fire, the cloud, the seal, and the dove (see this list in the catechism). Moreover, the second person assumed a human nature, making Him that much more relatable as a person, as the above author notes. A second difficulty might even come from some of the biblical images of the Holy Spirit: the dove, fire, wind or cloud. We can know and love the Holy Spirit just as we know and love the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit guides believers, and is therefore a person, John 16:13. In the case of Jesus, we are dealing with a man like us who lived almost two thousand years ago in Palestine. 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. (The above is from the New American Bible, Revised Edition.) 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. 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… In Romans 10 and Galatians 3 St. Paul says that faith comes through hearing. holy spirit, 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. 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. 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. 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." However, many of us probably struggle to think of the Holy Spirit as a person. You want to say, "And also with you!" Notice, too, that this is one more proof of the Spirit’s full Deity. The Holy Spirit is the operational presence of God, His mind and character. The Holy Spirit acts as a person by giving commands, Acts 16:6-7. 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. Between Genesis and the Apocalypse that gives us quite a bit of space in which we can get to know 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. The Holy Spirit is revealed here to be both a person and divine. The Holy Spirit is "the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 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. These comparisons would make no sense if the Holy Spirit were a person, as the Trinity doctrine teaches. We do not worship a bird, fire, wind or clouds; we worship God when we worship the Holy Spirit. There is only one God and He is the third divine person of the Trinity. A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history. 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). (We will come back to the sacraments in a later column). As a Person, the Holy Spirit is one we can be in relation with. 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). Here St. Paul speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ. This passage ends St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. 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