The Personhood Of The Holy Spirit

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The Personhood Of The Holy Spirit

The Personhood Of The Holy Spirit

Various theologians and historians of Christianity have penned comments about whether the Holy Spirit — as portrayed within Scripture — is thought of as a Third member of the Godhead. That is? Do the signs of personality of the Spirit indicate a separate? independent? coexistent being? other than God himself or other than the spirit and presence of the resurrected Messiah?

In the history of Christian thought? the Holy Spirit was a quandry. The earliest creeds acknowledge the reality of the Spirit? but do not place the Spirit on par with God (the Father) and Yeshua (the Son of God) in a perfect equilateral symmetry.

That initial uncertainty and indecision was officially overcome in later creeds. But students of the New Testament have always questioned whether the Bible itself is unambiguous about the personhood of the Spirit: personhood as defined as distinct identity separate from the Father and Son.

The Bible does imply the Spirit has personality and a certain independence. But it seems to hold back in giving the Spirit his (or its) due? at those times when one would expect clarity of testimony.

Most telling is the testimony of Yeshua himself. He neither prays to nor worships the Spirit. He speaks of the Father being present with him? but not the Spirit. The invisible Father is with and in him. Yet he is silent about the Other Person of the Christian Godhead.

Roman Catholic Views

The teaching on the Holy Spirit developed very slowly in the faith of the Church from the indications of Scripture. Pneumatology always lagged behind Christology. This is all the more surprising because? according to Paul? the possession of the Spirit is characteristic of the justified and distinguishes him from those who are not justified. In general? Scripture speaks more of the Spirit's function in our salvation than of his nature (pp. 53-54). In Pauline theology? the word covers a wide field and it is impossible to define exactly what Spirit (pneuma) meant to Paul (p. 55). As regards the personal nature of the Spirit? Paul does not of course use the developed concepts of the later teaching of the Church and of systematic theology.

Michael Schmaus? Holy Spirit

Sacramentum Mundi (1969)? Vol. 3

[Devotion to the Holy Spirit] in the Christian Era has its roots in the OT? although among the Hebrews the Spirit (ruah? breath? wind) was regarded more as a manifestation of the divine presence and activity than as a divine person. The operations of the Spirit (1 Corinthians ch. 14) were not uncommon in the apostolic Church? but these provide no clear evidence of the recognition of the personal distinction of the Holy Spirit or of the tribute of a special devotion. By the mid-4th century Catholic doctrine regarding the Holy Spirit was explained fully and clearly? but for long this resulted in no widespread popular devotion. Among the elite? however? devotion to the Holy Spirit? especially as Sanctifier? existed from early times.

M.F. Laughlin? Devotion to the Holy Spirit

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