The final bit of eclectic “evidence” some trinitarians resort to for the “personality” and “Godhood” of the spirit is found at Acts 5:3, 4. Here we find a baptized Christian, one who has, therefore, received holy spirit, selling his property and giving some of the money from that sale to the Apostles. Now this man was under no obligation to sell his land or give any of that money to the Apostles. That he did so would have been a fine thing. But this man, Ananias, wanted honor more than he wanted to give charity. So he gave only part of the money from his property to the Apostles. This, too, would have been a fine thing. but he lied to the Apostles, because he wanted even more recognition, and told them he had given them all the money from the sale of his property!
So Peter said,
The “evidence” here is supposed to be that Peter first says that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit. Then he turns around and says that Ananias lied to God. The supposition being, evidently, that the one lie [or deception] could only be directed to one person. Therefore the Holy Spirit “must” be God!
This type of reasoning is painfully ridiculous at best! Ananias actually lied directly to the Apostles! So this type of “reasoning” applies even more strongly to the Apostles than it does to the Holy Spirit! By using this “evidence” we could say with equal credibility that Peter is saying the Apostles are God when he says “you have not lied to men but to God”!
We can see a similar idea at Mark 9:37 -
So receiving the child is actually receiving the Son and the Father! The child, then, “must” be God Himself (by trinitarian standards of evidence)!
I’m sure the truth of this matter must be apparent to all objective persons. But, for good measure, you might examine such scriptures as Matt. 25:40 and Luke 10:16 and compare them with Acts 5:4. We can also see a similar usage in the rest of Acts 5:3, 4. In 5:3 we see that Satan filled Ananias’ heart to lie. But in 5:4 we find that Ananias himself conceived this thing in his heart. So this trinitarian-type evidence “reveals” another essential “mystery”: Satan is Ananias! Also analyze 1 Thess. 4:2, 6, 8; 1 Cor. 8:12; and James 4:11.
One of Christendom’s favorite trinitarians (and one of the humblest men found in history), St. Francis of Assisi, made an interesting statement that should be compared with Peter’s statement at Acts 5:3, 4. St. Francis said after receiving some clothing from a friend:
Isn’t it obvious that, by willfully rebelling against the holy spirit (the motivating force sent by God) by lying to the Apostles, Ananias was also lying to God?
(Another similar statement of this concept is admitted even in the footnote for Acts 5:3 in a highly trinitarian publication of the RSV, the ecumenical study Bible, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1977, Oxford University Press: “The apostles, or perhaps the church, represent the Holy Spirit.”
Obviously, the Apostles receive their authority to represent God on earth through the power of the holy spirit (“in the name of the holy spirit”), so they “represent” not only that authorizing power but also God Himself. Therefore, the attempted deception of the Apostles by Ananias also equals an attempted deception of the Holy Spirit and an attempted deception of God.)
So, since the holy spirit (this impersonal power/force/direction) comes directly (and perfectly) from God himself, then, no matter what one does against that holy spirit, it is always equivalent to doing that very thing against God himself. For example, if I spit in disgust on the letter (the impersonal thing providing direction to me) from the king, it will always be understood as equivalent to my spitting on the king himself. If, on the other hand, I spit on a messenger from the king, it might not be considered such a serious offense if I were merely expressing a dislike for the person of the messenger himself, not his message from the king.
That is why Matthew 12:32 is so important to our understanding of God, Jesus, and the holy spirit. There Jesus says to his disciples, “Anyone who says something against the Son of Man [the heavenly, glorified Jesus] can be forgiven; but whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven - now or ever.” - Good News Bible (and TEV), cf. Living Bible; also see Luke 12:10. Now if the Son of Man were actually a person who is God himself, this scripture would make no sense. In fact, the highly-esteemed trinitarian reference work The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology admits: “The saying about blasphemy and the Son of man (Matt. 12:31 f.; Lk 12:10) is particularly difficult to understand.” - p. 628, Vol. 3, Zondervan Publ., 1986. This is a powerful understatement!
Anything we spoke against the person of the Son of Man (if he were truly God as trinitarians insist) would have to be against the person of God himself and would have to be equivalent (at least) to speaking against the holy spirit! But if Jesus were not God himself but a different person, someone might speak against him (for something he said or did or the way he looks, etc.) as a person subordinate to God and not be speaking against God.
Therefore, this scripture (and Luke 12:10) shows Jesus is not equal to God and explains that the Father alone (who produces or sends the non-personal force/communication/motivation: holy spirit) is the God we dare not blaspheme. If this were not the proper interpretation, not only would the statement about blasphemies against Christ (equally “God”) being forgiven be nonsensical but the Most High and Only True God, the Father, would be completely ignored and the worst blasphemy would be only that against “God, the Holy Spirit”! This would be completely inconsistent with Jesus’ continual glorification of the Father alone!
One thing we agree with Trinitarians about: The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Father. They are different persons. Now if the Holy Spirit is a person, as they say, then the HS is not the Father, and the HS is not the Son!
Nevertheless, occasionally we find 2 Cor. 3:17 used as evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person who is God: “The Lord is the Spirit.”
Now it is provable that the Lord Jehovah is the Father, and it is provable that the Lord Jesus is the Son. Therefore, IF the HS is a person, “he” cannot be either Jehovah or Jesus! That is why the noted trinitarian scholar E. F. Scott (in his The Spirit in the N.T.) can understand
“Kurios [“Lord”] here [in 2 Cor. 3:17] to be Christ and interpret Paul as denying the personality of the Holy Spirit.” - Word Pictures in the New Testament, A. T. Robertson, Vol. IV, p. 223.
Also the trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan Publishing, 1986, tells us:
“It is important to realize that for Paul too the Spirit is a divine power whose impact upon or entrance into a life is discernible by its effects.” and, “It is important for Paul that the Spirit is a shared gift; it is a centripedal force [not a person!] drawing believers together into the one body of Christ. .... They are constituted the one body of Christ by their common participation in the one Spirit.” - Vol. 3, pp. 701, 702.
Therefore to be ‘one’ with the Spirit results in being one with the Lord (whether it refers to Jehovah here, as I believe, or to Jesus as in most trinitarian interpretations. Having the active force of God, the Spirit, figuratively means having the Lord. Or as CBW, AT, and Moffatt translate 2 Cor. 3:17 “The Lord means the Spirit.” Or, as the extremely trinitarian The New American Bible, St. Joseph ed. tells us in a footnote for 2 Cor. 3:13-18 -
“The apostle knows that his work is to result in the permanent presence of Christ among men through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
And Thayer, also tells us:
“But in the truest and highest sense it is said [‘the Lord is the spirit’], he in whom the entire fulness of the Spirit dwells, and from whom that fulness is diffused through the body of Christian believers, 2 Co. iii. 17.... to be filled with the same spirit as Christ and by the bond of that spirit to be intimately united to Christ, 1 Co. vi. 17....” - pp. 522, 523, Baker Book House, 1984 printing.
So we can see that even many trinitarians believe this particular scripture is saying that Jesus is figuratively the Spirit because union with that Spirit means union with Jesus.
Another possibility is shown by this trinitarian translation:
“the Lord [whether Jehovah or Jesus] no doubt is a spirit .... but we ... are changed unto the same similitude, from glory to glory, even of the spirit of the Lord [or ‘just as the spirit comes from the Lord’ - Lamsa].” - 2 Cor. 3:17, 18, Tyndale’s New Testament, 1989, Yale University Press.
Not only do we never find anything approaching a clear statement of the trinity in the entire Bible, but in all the dreams, visions, etc. where we “see” God we never see a three-in-one God represented in any manner, nor do we ever see the “person” of the holy spirit (even though we often see the real spirit persons, the angels and Jesus, in association with that one true God). We nearly always “see” the heavenly spirit persons (God, Christ, angels) represented in human-like form. (E.g., Ezek. 1:5, 26; Acts 7:55.)
So we see God (who is a spirit person) always represented in human form and always as a single person, e.g., Ezek. 1:26 (Ezekiel could have easily represented him as three persons or even one person with three faces—compare Ezek. 1:10 -- but no Bible writer ever does such a thing! (Compare Dan. 7:9, 13) We nearly always see the spirit person of the resurrected Jesus in human form and always as a single person. We always see the individual spirit persons who are messengers (angels) of God as individual persons (and, incidentally, always with masculine, not neuter or feminine, personal names). But we never see the holy spirit as a person (and it is frequently represented as something that can be dealt out in multiple portions) - Acts 2:3, 4.
It is more than just odd that we “see” God (the Father only, Jehovah), we see Christ (the Son only, Jesus) with God, sent from God praying to God, etc., but we never see the neuter “person” of the nameless holy spirit in heaven with God or with the Son!
This could not be if the trinity doctrine were true. The inspired Bible writers simply could not so completely ignore as they have in the Holy Scriptures a person who is God!
There is no proper evidence (let alone proof) for the concept of the holy spirit being a person who is God!
This certainly should come as no surprise when we understand that the Bible writers all considered the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force sent by God - (see pp. 1-4). When a person rejects that force which God himself has produced and sent, then, of course, he is also rejecting the Most High God. This is why Jesus can equate the Holy Spirit with God and, at the same time (since Jesus is not God), show the superiority of God to himself:
“whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” - Matt. 12:32, RSV.
For End Notes click here: http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/2016/03/hs-end-notes.html