Search related sites

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

HS (Part 2)


A second bit of eclectic “evidence” selected by some trinitarians to “prove” the holy spirit is a person goes like this: 
“Only a person can be directly quoted and can call himself ‘I’ as the Holy Spirit does in the New Testament. When the Bible personifies things it does not directly quote them.”
This is manifestly untrue! The Bible quotes personified things many times. For example, at Psalm 35:10 bones say, “O LORD, who is like thee...?” - RSV, NASB, NEB, Jerusalem Bible, and other modern translations which use quotation marks. (The KJV, for example, doesn’t use quotation marks anywhere.)

God says he can send out lightnings which can say to you, “Here we are.”[11] - Job 38:35, RSV, NASB, JB, etc.

At Ezekiel 26:2, the city of Tyre speaks, “Aha, the gate of the peoples is broken, it has swung open to me; I shall....” - RSV, etc.

At Proverbs 8:1, 3-4, “Does not wisdom call,....She cries aloud: ‘To you, o men, I call,...’” - RSV, etc.

Again wisdom speaks at Proverbs 9:5, “come eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.” - RSV, etc.

For another excellent comparison with the personified holy spirit see: Prov. 1:23, 25, 26; and 8:4, 6, 13, 17, 20 for many personal attributes of wisdom!

Even the trinitarian A Catholic Dictionary admits that the personification of the holy spirit in the New Testament certainly does not mean that it is a PERSON:
“Most of these places furnish no cogent proof of personality....We must not forget that the NT personifies mere attributes such as love (1 Cor. xiii. 4), and sin (Rom. vii. 11), nay even abstract and lifeless things, such as the law (Rom iii.19), the water and the blood (1 John v.8).”
And Young’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible tells us that
“Abstract and inanimate things are frequently personified” and then gives a long list of such things found in the Bible, including “a will [attributed to] the flesh and mind .... knowing, rejoicing [attributed] to the sun...” - “Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation,” #2. (Also see Jn 3:8 where “the pneuma [’wind’ or ‘spirit’] blows where it wills.”)
Noted trinitarian scholar (and Anglican clergyman) E. W. Bullinger also makes it very clear in his Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, Baker Book House, 1992 printing, where I found the following examples: Is. 24:4, 7 literally says that the earth and wine are mourning! (cf. NASB; RSV; KJV; JB; NJB; NAB, 1970 ed.; and MLB.) Is. 24:23 also literally says that the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed. (NIV, RSV, NASB, KJV, MLB.) There are many more, of course. With a little effort you can find many others on your own - such as trees rejoicing at Is. 14:8 and “all of creation” [‘everything made’ - ETRV; ‘the created universe’ - NEB] waiting “with eager longing .... [and groaning] with pain” - Ro. 8:19, 22, GNB – and Is. 55:12 where “the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” – NASB.

So, it is certainly no surprise to find that holy spirit can be “grieved” in New Testament figurative language: “do not be grieving God’s Holy Spirit.” Eph. 4:30. Certainly anything you do to (or against) God’s direct active force you are also doing to (or against) God himself.

There are many similar examples of “feelings” being ascribed to things that are intimately connected with a person (or a certain group of persons).

We read, for example, of a person’s heart being sad (or “grieved”) at 1 Samuel 1:8 and Proverbs 15:13. The heart is glad at Judges 18:20 and Acts 2:26 (the tongue rejoices also). The heavens are capable of rejoicing - Ps. 96:11. The mountains saw God and trembled [“were afraid”-ASV] and the deep [water] “uttered his voice and lifted up his hands” – Habakkuk 3:10, KJV. And Zion can be glad - Ps. 97:8 and can be comforted - Is. 51:3. “Zion spreads forth her hands, but there is no one to comfort her” - Lament. 1:17.

This understanding was not confined only to scriptural usage but was in common use. Included with the early Christian letter, “The Epistle to Diognetus,” is a 2nd or 3rd century Christian’s statement written in the same Greek language as used in the NT manuscripts. It states:
“the grace [charis] of the prophets is recognized.... If thou grieve [lupeo] not this grace [charis] thou shalt understand.” - “Epistle to Diognetus,” The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot and Harmer, Baker Book House, 1984 ed., pp. 499 (text) and 510 (translation). Also see p. 183, Early Christian Writings, Staniforth, Dorset Press, 1986 ed.
So, when Paul tells us at Acts 28:25 that the holy spirit “spoke” to people through Isaiah, it is certainly not proof that it is a person. We could point to the fact that the Bible “speaks” to us through our ministers if we wanted an easy parallel. That doesn’t make the Bible either a person or God!

Yes, scripture speaks to us: Romans 4:3 (cf. 9:17). It also can foresee and preach (Gal. 3:8, ASV). In fact, the word of God (scripture) is “living” and “quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” – Hebrews 4:12, ASV.

Since Jehovah’s (the Father’s) holy spirit is actually his active force, it can do anything God wants done. It was the force used during creation. It is the force God uses to motivate. It is the force God uses to be all-seeing and all-knowing. God in heaven knows what everyone and everything in his creation are doing through his holy spirit. What we say is relayed to him through this creative/motivating/communicating force. In turn, if God wishes to communicate with us, he may “speak” to us through this invisible force.

An imperfect example might be a person listening to a two-way radio. He can only see the radio and hear the message from the radio, but there really is a person somewhere far away whose thoughts are conveyed to him through invisible electrical energy and through the radio. That person is not the electrical energy nor the radio which is actually 'speaking.'[12]

Yes, God speaks to us through holy spirit. That spirit may motivate (or “tell”) an inspired Bible prophet to write or speak a message originating from God. So God speaks that message to us, and the holy spirit speaks that message to us, and the inspired prophet speaks that message to us, but they are certainly not all the same person, nor are they all the same God! - Prov. 1:23; 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16.

Notice what the trinitarian Bible study aid The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 698, 699, tells us:
“5. The Spirit in the earliest Christian Communities and in Acts. ‘Holy Spirit’ denotes supernatural power, altering, working through, directing the believer (there is no significant difference between the phrase [‘Holy Spirit’] with the definite article and without). This is nowhere more clearly evident than in Acts where the Spirit is presented as an almost tangible force, visible if not in itself, certainly in its effects. This power of the Spirit manifests itself in three main areas in Luke’s account of the early church.
“(a.) The Spirit as a transforming power in conversion....
“(b.) The Spirit of prophecy. For the first Christians, the Spirit was most characteristically a divine power manifesting itself in inspired utterance. The same power that had inspired David and the prophets in the old age (Acts 1:16; 3:18; 4:25; 28:25) was now poured out....” - (Emphasis added.) - Zondervan Publ., 1986.

Yes, God speaks to us through his active force the holy spirit which actually motivates his prophets to speak and write: Acts 4:24-26 (referred to in the quote above) tells us that God spoke Psalm 2:1, 2 through [dia - Greek] holy spirit by the mouth of David. - The Amplified Bible (cf. The Jerusalem Bible and TEV). This clearly shows that God (who initiated the word to be spoken) is different from the spirit which also “speaks” that same word of God to the prophet.

God can even speak through us if he so wishes:
“what you are to say will be given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the spirit of your Father speaking through you.” - Matt. 10:19, 20. - RSV.
The personification of this holy force of God’s should not be considered proof that it is a person. Certainly it is not evidence that it is God!

For Part 3 click here:

No comments: