SAMT

Summary Against Modern Thought: Understanding The Trinity VII

Previous post.

Having finished with the divinity of Jesus, we move to the divinity of the Holy Ghost. One very short chapter, one long.

ON THE HOLY SPIRIT, THAT HE IS IN DIVINITY

1 Now, divine Scriptures’ authority not only tells us about the Father and the Son in divinity, but together with these two also numbers the Holy Spirit. For our Lord says: “Going, therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mat. 2.8:1g). And 1 John (5:7) says: “there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.” Sometimes, also, the procession of this Holy Spirit is mentioned by Scripture. We read in John (15:26): “When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me.”

ARGUMENTS WHICH MADE SOME THINK THE HOLY SPIRIT A CREATURE

1 Now, in the opinion of some, the Holy Spirit is a creature exalted over other creatures. They used the testimony of sacred Scripture for this assertion.

2 Amos (4:13) says, if we take the Septuagint literally: “Behold He who forms the mountains and creates the spirit and declares His word to man.” And Zechariah (12:1): “Thus says the Lord who stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundations of the earth, and creates the spirit of man in it.” It seems, then, that the Holy Spirit is a creature.

3 Moreover, our Lord says, speaking of the Holy Spirit: “He shall not speak of Himself, but what things soever He shall hear, He shall speak” (John 16:23), and from this it appears that He speaks not with the authority of a further power, but to one who commands He is in a service of obedience, for to speak what one hears is proper to a servant. Therefore, the Holy Spirit seems to he a creature subject to God.

4 Again, “to be sent” appears proper to an inferior, since there is in the sender an implication of authority. The Holy Spirit, of course, is sent by the Father and the Son, for our Lord says: “The Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things”; and: “Men the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father” (John 14:26; 25:26). The Holy Spirit, therefore, appears to be less than the Father and the Son.

5 Moreover, divine Scripture, associating the Son with the Father in matters of divinity, makes no mention of the Holy Spirit. This is clear from Matthew (11:27), when our Lord says: “No one knows the Son but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father but the Son,” making no mention of the Holy Spirit. And John (17:3) says: “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent.” There, again, no mention is made of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle also says: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 2:7); and: “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things and we by Him” (1 Cor. 8:6); and in these places also there is nothing said about the Holy Spirit. It seems, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is not God.

6 There is more. Whatever is moved is created, for it was shown in Book I that God is immobile. But to the Holy Spirit motion is attributed by divine Scripture. One reads in Genesis (1:2): “And the Spirit of God was moved over the waters”; and in Joel (2:28): “I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh.” It seems, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is a creature.

7 Moreover, everything that can be increased or divided is mutable and created. These seem to be attributed to the Holy Spirit in sacred Scripture. For the Lord said to Moses: “Gather unto Me seventy men of the ancients of Israel; and I will take of your spirit, and will give to them” (Num. 11:16-17). And 2 Samuel (2:9-10) says that Elishah begged of Elijah: “I beseech you that in me may be your double spirit”; and Elijah answered: “If you see me when I am taken from you, you shall have what you asked.” The Holy Spirit, therefore, appears to be mutable and not to be God.

8 Again, no sorrow can come upon God, since sorrow is passion of a sort and God is not subject to passion. But passion does come upon the Holy Spirit; as the Apostle reveals: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30); and Isaiah (63:10) says: “They provoked to wrath and afflicted His Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, therefore, seems not to be God.

9 What is more, it is not suitable for God to entreat, but to be entreated. But to entreat is suitable to the Holy Spirit; we read in Romans (8:2.6): “The Spirit Himself asks for us with unspeakable groanings.” Therefore, the Holy Spirit appears not to be God.

10 Moreover, no one makes a thing a gift appropriately unless he has dominion over it. But God the Father gives the Holy Spirit, and so does God the Son. For our Lord says: “Your Father from heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask Him” (Luke 11:13); and Peter speaks of “the Holy Spirit whom God has given to all that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).

11 For these reasons it seems, then, that the Holy Spirit is not God.

12 Once again, if the Holy Spirit is truly God, He ought to have the divine nature. Thus, when the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father” (as John 15:26 has it), necessarily He receives the divine nature from the Father. Of course, what receives its nature from a thing which produces it is generated by that thing. For it is proper to one begotten to be produced unto a similarity in species to its principle. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will be begotten and, consequently, the Son. And this is repugnant to sound faith.

13 If the Holy Spirit, furthermore, receives the divine nature from the Father and not as one begotten, the divine nature must be communicated in two ways: by way of generation in which the Son proceeds, and in that way in which the Holy Spirit proceeds. But one nature seems not to have two fitting modes of communication if one examines natures universally. It seems, therefore, that the Holy Spirit, since He does not receive the divine nature by generation, does not receive it in any way at all. He thus appears not to be true God.

14 Now, this was the position of Arius, who said that the Son and the Holy Spirit were creatures: the Son, to be sure, greater than the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit the servant of the Son; just so, he said that the Son was lesser than the Father. Arius was followed in respect of the Holy Spirit by Macedonius, “who rightly held that the Father and the Son were of one and the same substance, but was unwilling to believe this of the Holy Spirit. He said that the Holy Spirit was a creature.” Hence, some call the Macedonians Semi-Arians, because they are in partial agreement with the Arians, and in partial disagreement with the same group.

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4 replies »

  1. Happy Trinity Sunday!

    Here’s an interesting clip from “InspiringPhilosophy” or M. Jones, a Christian apologist on the Trinity

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G2S5ziDcO0

    I will add that I consider the 3 persons to be necessarily the case for God and not due to the contingent will of God. At least that seems to me to be the case.

    While the Trinity may not be known through reason alone, it does make some sense, I think, in terms of God being omnibenevolent or in Anselm’s terms, the “Best Possible Being.” If God were only a one-person entity then only eternal, necessary self-love would exist in God and God could only love another by freely deciding to create a world with persons in it. But with a Triune Deity, not would there reside self-love in God independently of creation, but also love for another person. Indeed, the view that God is a community of 3 persons fits well with the description of God being omnibenevolent or the “Best Possible Being.”

  2. 16And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. John 14: 16-17.

    Jesus was the first Paraclete, Advocate for us .. the Holy Spirit the second, another, Paraclete …Advocate for us.

    “1My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1.

    God bless, C-Marie

  3. Came up with some responses:
    ?
    ?2. My response: We human beings are composed of spirit, soul, and body …. so here the human spirit does not speak of the Holy Spirit. See: “And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 23.

    3. My response: “12I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. 14He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. 15All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.” John 16: 12-15.

    4. My response:
    “12I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. 14He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. 15All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.” John 16: 12-15.

    4 My response: 42Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love Me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of Myself, but He sent Me… John 8: 42.

    “29That which my Father hath given Me, is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of My Father. 30I and the Father are One.” John 10: 29-30.

    5. My response: 18And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Matthew 28: 18-20.

    7. My response: “spirit” here refers to the human spirit and not the Holy Spirit., and refers to ability and desire to do right by the people in judging.

    8. My response: God is Love. Who says that Perfect Love cannot experience sorrow and more, perfectly? God consistently speaks of His sorrows and disappointments and righteous anger in the Old Testament, and Jesus does so in the New Testament.

    9. My response: 26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. 27And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because he asketh for the saints according to God.” Romans 8: 26-27.

    10. My response: 16 I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. John 14: 16-17.

    God,bless, C-Marie

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