What You Need To Know About The Holy Spirit Mentioned In The Gospels

Continued from Part 25

PART 3:  THE PROBLEM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 The impersonal nature of holy spirit

The spirit of God is not a being with its own identity and separate consciences.  It is divisible and able to be distributed as God sees fit.  For example, God took of the spirit that was upon Moses and put it upon the seventy elders of Israel (Numbers 11:17-25). 

David prayed that God’s “holy spirit” not be removed from him (Psalms 51:13).  It was also measured out differently to different people, hence Elisha could pray to receive a “double portion” of spirit (2 Kings 2:9).  It was not given to all and therefore its presence was noteworthy (Genesis 41:38).

Isaiah declares that when the Messiah comes “the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).  These “spirits” are symbols of the intense God given power of insight and judgment with which the Messiah will judge and reign.  They are not separate beings nor the third member of a triune deity, the “Holy Spirit.”  The Hebrew usage of “the spirit of God” never refers to an infinite, coequal and coeternal being separate from, but at the same time a part of, God Almighty.

The impersonal nature of holy spirit is also reflected in New Testament belief.  Peter, on the day of Pentecost, reportedly quoted from Joel 2:28 where God says:  “[I] will pour out of My spirit.”  The Greek rendering reads literally “from the spirit of Me,” that is, “some of My spirit,” or “part of My spirit,” or “a portion from My spirit” (Acts 2:17).  Elsewhere it says:  “We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His spirit” (1 John 4:13).  Does this sound like coequality or what is being expressed is that the spirit of God is a separate personage within the framework of a triune deity?

 © Gerald Sigal

Continued