Holy Spirit

Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood

VII. The Holy Spirit: Merely God's "active force?"

A. Certain Verses Imply an Impersonal Nature of The Spirit

Mt 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.Ac 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utteranceLu 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Lu 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Ro 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

[In These passages the Spirit seems to be an impersonal force. I've seen Jehovah's Witnesses refur to the Holy Spirit as "God's active force" as though He is merely an impersonal force, The power of God in Action. These verses seem to imply this. The Spirit is poured out, one is filled with the Spirit, one acts in the power of the Spirit. This is especially the case in Luke 1:35 "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall over shadow you..." This seems to define the Spirit as the Power of God. But I content that both things are true.The Spiriti is the active power of God, and yet a person. This is evidenced in the following verses. But it must be noted that for both sets these are just fractions of all the verses that could be quoted to prove this point. I used only 2 epistles of Paul, a Pastroal and a "real one" and mainly two Gospels, Luke (to contrast with Acts) and John (known for his Penumetology) and some of Mark but only a few verses. In this way I was trying to get a cross section of the NT]

B. God distinguaished form Spirit.

Genesis 1, the Spirit of God moved upon the Face of the Deep. [This is the only OT verse I'm using, next to Joel which is qutoed in Acts. I use it because it stands out so promenatly]Ac 2:33 (quoting Joel 2) And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

[The Spirit of God is distinguished from God here. He is metioned seperately and he moves upon the face of the deep, perhaps protecting microscopic life forms (I say that because of the implications of the word for "movig" which are "brooding over" that is to protect or cultivate life. And in the Joel passage, God pours out his Spirit, as though they are two seperate things]

C. Holy Spirit Speaks

Mt 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. Ac 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: Ac 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Ac 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Ac 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:

Ac 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. Ac 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Ac 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Ac 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers...

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirit s, and doctrines of devils;

[I have argued with "JW's" who claimed that this "Active Force" of God is like an intercom system to the heavenlies, allowing communication with God but not really a person in his own right. Look at how many times the personal pronoun is used of Him, and in only one of these verses does it say that Christ spoke through the Spirit, the others each and everone of them say that the Spirit did the speaking! It says the Spirit spoke, and why "expressly?" It seems odd to add taht it if is just prefonsification.You would't say "the Spirit of liberty is expressly urging us to fight" but just "urging us to fight"]

D. Other personal Attributes of the Spirit

Of Speicial Interest: This verse, Acts 12:2 implies that some followers of John the Baptist at Ephesus, which Paul happened accross, had not even heard of the Holy Spirit. "He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." If it is true, as some say, that the Holy Spirit is just a synoym for God, than how is it that followers of John the Baptist, presumably Jews, had not heard of the Holy Spirit? That is like saying that these Jews, who listened to and followed John, had not heard of God! It could be that they had not heard of that synonym for God, but that is unlikely since it is in the Torah. This seems to imply that already, even within the first decasde or so of the Chrstiain movement the chruch had begun to think of the Holy Spirit as a person, and of Jesus as divine. In other words Trinity-like ideas grew up with the chruch from its inception. Perhaps they began to think of God in a new way becuase they came into a new realtionship with God, that of the New Covenant. In Each of these verses The Spirit exhibits different human characteristics. He speaks, he commands, he guides, the warns, he reveals, he teaches, He is spoken of in the third person (He) and exhibits other traits, or is sopken of in ways which imply his personhood. In one such verse he "dwells." Dwell is a personal word, a car is not said to dwell in a garage, a skate baord does not dwell in the closet, dwell is a word used of living persons.

Mt 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Lu 2:25-2:26 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

Lu 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Lu 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.[that sounds clealry like the action of a thinking being].

Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Ac 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Ac 5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Ac 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;[how could this be mere personification? To actually conisder the way something would seem to an impersonal force that is merley being personfied seems silly]

Ac 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Ac 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

Ac 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood[Now this verse has great Trinitarian value--because it basically saws that the Holy Spirit purchused the Chuch of God with his own blood! How could the Spirit have blood? Only if he is also Jesus! The three share the same essence and are one! Even if they argue that it means God purchused it with his own blood, same difference!]

Ro 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.[how can an impersonal force pass on love?]

Ro 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.[crucial Trinitarian verse, equates Spirit of God with the Spirit of Christ as one and the same thing!]

Ro 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Ro 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Ro 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.[how can an impersonal force groan] Ro 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Ro 15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God

Of course they will say this is all just the literary device of personification. But no one uses personfication when it doesn't help. You dont just stick in literary devices merely to move the story along. Why have the Spirit say (in ACTS) "go stand by the Cheriot"? That doesn't really serve any purpose, it's being used as a charcter speaking and moving the plot along. That's not really the way a literary device is used. Besides,if there wre only a few examples they might have a point. But look at how many are used! That's no mere literary device.

The Religious A priori