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The Anthropomorphic Holy Spirit?


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#1 Guest_Alethia_*

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Posted 14 April 2003 - 11:18 PM

The Anthropomorphic Holy Spirit?

Trinitarians often assert that the Holy Spirit must be a “person” because of what might appear to be references to the Holy Spirit having attributes of independent thought, feeling, or speech, or where personal pronouns (he, himself, who etc.) appear to be used of the Holy Spirit. Let’s examine some of these, to see if that’s really what they say:

1) The Holy Spirit has a will? (1 Cor. 12:11): “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

Does this really say that the Holy Spirit has a will of its own?

No. This passage tells us that God works through or by way of his spirit to give gifts to men. Lets start at verse 6 for context, and use the NIV:

“There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he (i.e. He = God) gives them to each one, just as he determines.”

The “He” fairly clearly refers back to “the same God” in verse 6, who gives these gifts to men by his spirit. It is He (God) who wills. No actual personification involved there - just a case of a mistaken antecedent. Pronoun antecedents in Scripture are often complex, and it is very unwise to jump to conclusions on that basis. It is obviously talking about gifts of the Holy Spirit, given by God, God working through his spirit. No implication that this spirit is a “person.”

But, if someone were to insist on the bad antecedent and can’t give it up, notice how the passage continues in verse 12-21, with very obvious personification of body parts that speak and argue over pride of position:

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

Personification is rampant in this chapter, just as it is in the Bible as a whole. It is a very common figure of speech in Scripture. Mistaking figures of speech for literality is a common error of understanding of the Bible. However, in this particular case, I think it is not personification, just an unclear pronoun antecedent.

2) The Holy Spirit loves? (Rom. 15:30): "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;”

Does that teach that the Holy Spirit loves, as an independent “being” or “person”?

No. In this case, it is again simply a misunderstanding of the verse. It is not the Holy Spirit there that is loving. Rather it is the love that Christians should have via the Holy Spirit working in them and molding their characters as spiritual people.

Here it is in the New English Bible: “I implore you by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit inspires, be my allies in the fight”

Similarly the Amplified Bible says“the love given by the Spirit” and the New Living Translation says: “because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.”

Paul is appealing to the love that the brethren are supposed to exhibit in the spirit.

I think this should be obvious to anyone sincerely attempting to understand the meaning of Scripture, rather than to simply to find any possible way to defend a hardened dogma.

3) The Holy Spirit speaks?:
(Acts 8:29): “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. also...”
(Acts 10:19): "And while Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you."
(Heb. 3:7-8): "Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, 'Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness,"

Does the Holy Spirit speak? Well, of course it does. It is the breath (pneuma) of God. It is His word.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21) God speaks through his spirit, and his spirit speaks through men.

So, in Acts 8:29, Philip heard God speak to him through the spirit, and in Acts 10:19, Peter heard God speak to him through the spirit.

In Hebrews 3, the writer quotes Psalm 95:7-11, prefacing it with “Wherefore the Holy Spirit saith:” How did the Holy Spirit speak? Through the words of the Psalmist. The phrase: “the Holy Spirit saith” is essentially synonymous with “Thus saith the LORD” or “Hear ye the word of the LORD” It makes no implication that the spirit or breath through which God speaks is a “person” anymore than your speech is a person.

4) Personal Pronouns used of the Holy Spirit
Called “who”? (Romans 8:11) "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you." (NASB)

Called "Himself" ? (Romans 8:16) "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,"

Called "He"? (John 14:26) "These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

All of these refer to the use of personal pronouns: (Who, Himself, He). It is contended by some that the use of these personal pronouns for the Holy Spirit implies that the Holy Spirit is a “person,” but these pronouns are simply a choice by the translator.

In Romans 8:11 There is no “who” in the Greek. The Greek pronoun there (don’t know how to do Greek letters here, but transliterated it would be something like autoy) is not a word for “who.” It should be translated “of him” or “his spirit.” Let’s look at some other translations of this verse:

KJV: ”But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you”.

No personal pronoun there. “His spirit that dwelleth in you”

Contemporary English Version: “Yet God raised Jesus to life! God's Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit. No personal pronoun there either.

Young’s literal translation: “and if the Spirit of Him who did raise up Jesus out of the dead doth dwell in you, He who did raise up the Christ out of the dead shall quicken also your dying bodies, through His Spirit dwelling in you. No personal pronoun there.

The Interlinear Bible: “through the indwelling of his spirit in you.” Again no personal pronoun.

ASV: “that”
Darby: “which”
& etc., etc.

The “who” is simply an artifact of translation.

Romans 8:16 is translated by the NASB as “the Spirit Himself”:

But the KJV renders it: “the spirit itself

The Greek pronoun there, ‘auto’, is non specific as to he, she or it. “Himself” should more properly be translated from ‘autos’ I think, or better yet from ‘heaotou.’ The use of the personal pronoun there simply reflects the choices of translators. Most of them do seem to have chosen the Trinitarian slant in v 16, but that proves nothing. I can find several others beside the KJV that do not, if I want to go version shopping. The Interlinear Bible uses “itself” in the literal interlinear, but then switches to “himself” in the columnar translation. The New English Bible avoids the pronoun all together, saying: ”In that cry, the Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are God’s children”

In John 14:26: “"These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (NASB)

It is claimed that the Holy Spirit is called “He” and “whom.” There is no word in the Greek there for “he” though many translators put it in anyway. It is “ekeionos” which according to Thayer there means: “equiv. to the forcibly uttered Germ, der (that one etc.), in which sense it serves to recall and lay stress upon the nouns just used before.” Likewise, the “whom” there could just as well be “which,” but of course, Trinitarian translators prefer “whom.” That is circular reasoning. They choose “who” because they think the Holy Spirit is a “person” and then, having done so, you say, “see, the Holy Spirit is a person.” This passage could just as well or better be translated as: These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, the one which the Father will send in My name, which will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

5) The Holy Spirit has a “mind” and “knows”? (I Corinthians 2:11 and Romans 8:27)

These two are quite similar. I Cor 2:11 helps explain Romans 8:27, so lets start with Corinthians:

I Cor 2:11 “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

Now there’s a weird one for the Trinitarian to cite. It says there that that only “the spirit of man which is in him” knows the things of man. So that means our spirits are separate “persons” from us? That seems to be the logic being asserted by the Trinitarian here, because then it says that the spirit of God knows God, just like the spirit of a man knows a man. Does that really prove that the spirit is a person distinct from God? If so, we are all binities as well. Actually, I think it is not saying that only the Holy Spirit knows God. Certainly Christ also knows God, does he not? And further, the point Paul is making is that we too can know God by having spiritual minds – minds of the spirit. It is us knowing God that is being spoken of.

Romans 8:27 is almost the same. “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

The explanation is the same as the previous passage. It is speaking of the spirit of God dwelling in us in the sense of giving us minds of the spirit, rather than natural minds. I don’t think that is at all the same concept being asserted by the Trinitarian. “The mind of the spirit” means a mind focused on spiritual things. There is no hint that it is referring to the Holy Spirit having a mind of its own.

6) (Acts 15:28) Is the Holy Spirit is aware of goodness? "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials."

If that is what it is saying, then it would seem to saying that the Holy Spirit was like an equal party to the council at Jerusalem (the “us” there).

No, I don’t think that is a reasonable understanding of the verse. Is it not clear that the Apostles there are saying that they were speaking with the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit?

7) The Holy Spirit has emotions? (Ephesians 4:30): “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

Actually, this clearly speaks of the Holy Spirit being something that God has, rather than a distinct “person” of God. It is not simply “the Holy Spirit,” but “the Holy Spirit of God.”

A man's "spirit" can be stirred up (Acts 17:16), made troubled (Gen. 41:8), or happy (Luke 10:21), or grieved (Daniel 7:15, Isa 54:6). A person’s "spirit", i.e. his very essence, his mind and purpose, which gives rise to his actions, is therefore spoken of as a separate person, but, of course, this is not literally so. God's spirit, too, can be spoken of in the same way.

God has a spirit. Men also are said to have a spirit. In both cases, there can be a range of implications. If a man’s “spirit” can be grieved, without that making man a “duality” of some sort, there is no reason to think that because God’s spirit is grieved, it would make His spirit a separate person either.

None of these references make the Holy Spirit a “person” that is a separate consciousness from the Father. That is a preconception that is being read back into the passages.

#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 02:32 AM

:D

#3 Fortigurn

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 02:34 AM

It is possible, using the same exegetical methodology used to support the trinity, to support the idea that wisdom is the fourth part of the Godhead.

I shall now prove that wisdom is a person, is a person in the Godhead, indwells the believer, has a spirit, can be blasphemed, pre-existed, and created the world.

WISDOM HAS THE ATTRIBUTES OF A PERSON


Wisdom speaks, cries, utters her voice, and does so in public, where she can be seen:

Proverbs 1:
20Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:


Proverbs 8:
1Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
2She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
3She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.


Can an impersonal word cry, stand, and put forth its voice?

Proverbs 2:
2So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;


Proverbs 3:
16Length of days isin her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
17Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.


Proverbs 4:
6Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
8Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
9She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.


Can an impersonal word be forsaken and loved? Can an impersonal word preserve and keep you?
Can you embrace an impersonal word? Can an impersonal word give you an ornament and crown your head?

Wisdom has daughters, a house, and maidens:

Proverbs 9:
1Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
2She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.  
3She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,


Matthew 11:
19The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.


Can an impersonal word build a house, kill beasts, mingle wine, furnish a table, send forth maidens, and cry upon the highest places of the city?
Why does Christ say that wisdom has children, if the reference in Proverbs is only poetic? Is Christ lying?

Wisdom can be sinned against:

Proverbs 8:
36But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.


Can an impersonal word be sinned against? Why would sin against an impersonal word be punished with the same condemnation as sin against God?



DIRECT QUOTES ARE ATTRIBUTED TO WISDOM


Proverbs 1:
21She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?


(To the end of the chapter)

Proverbs 8:
12I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.


(To the end of the chapter)

Proverbs 9:
3She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
4Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
5Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
6Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.


Luke 11:
49Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:


(To the end of the chapter)


WISDOM INDWELLS THE BELIEVER


Exodus 28:
3And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.


Exodus 31:
3And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,


Exodus 36:
2And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:


Deuteronomy 34:
9And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.


1 Kings 3:
28And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.


Job 38:
36Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?


Proverbs 2:
10When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;


Luke 2:
40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.


Acts 6:
3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.


Ephesians 1:
17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:


Colossians 3:
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.


James 1:
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.


This quote says that wisdom will indwell the believer on request. Why ask God for wisdom to indwell you, if she is not part of the Godhead?

Solomon also asked for wisdom to indwell him:

2 Chronicles 1:
10Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?



WISDOM IS PART OF THE GODHEAD


1 Kings 3:
28And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.


Luke 11:
49Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:


1 Corinthians 1:
21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.


2 Corinthians 1:
7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:


Why is wisdom 'of God' if she is not part of the Godhead?

James 3:
17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.


Wisdom is 'from above', just as Christ said he was 'from above'. This means wisdom is Divine, a part of the Godhead.


WISDOM IS ETERNALLY PRE-EXISTANT


Psalm 136:
5To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever.


Proverbs 3:
19The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens.


Proverbs 8:
22The LORD possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old.
23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26While as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.  
27When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth:  
28When He established the clouds above: when He strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29When He gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth:
30Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him;
31Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.


Jeremiah 51:
15He hath made the earth by his power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by His understanding.



WISDOM HAS A SPIRIT JUST AS GOD HAS A SPIRIT AND CHRIST HAS A SPIRIT


In addition, the spirit of wisdom indwells the believer, and communicates with them directly:

Exodus 28:
3And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.


Deuteronomy 34:
9And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.


Proverbs 1:
23Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.


Isaiah 11:
2And 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;


Ephesians 1:
17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:



WISDOM WAS THE CREATOR OF THE WORLD


Psalm 104:
24O LORD, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.


Psalm 136:
5To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever.


Proverbs 3:
19The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens.


Jeremiah 51:
15He hath made the earth by his power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by His understanding.


Here we see wisdom acting under instruction from God, to create the world.

WISDOM MAINTAINS THE POLITICAL ORDERS OF THE WORLD


Proverbs 8:
15By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
16By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.


Compare the obvious direct quote:

Daniel 2:
20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His:
21And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:



CONCLUSION


An unassailable case may be made for the Deity of wisdom. From one end of the Bible to the other, she is spoken of as being part of the Godhead, involved in the creation and the sustaining of the world, and as possessing every personal and Divine attribute.

There is no guesswork here. There is no personification. The word 'wisdom' is consistently used throughout. There are no titles to misinterpret, no metaphors being used, no symbolism being appealed to. The simple fact of the matter is that wisdom as a part of the Godhead has a greater attestation than either Christ or the Holy Spirit.
Nowhere do we find such a clear, unequivocal definition of the position of either Christ or the Holy Spirit.

:eek:

#4 Evangelion

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 02:55 AM

Fort, could you make this a separate thread for the Armoury?

I think it's also important to show that "wisdom" must necessarily be a fourth member of the Trinity, otherwise you leave the door open for people to equate it with Christ via the "Wisdom Christology" model. So if you could add a few points to cover that base, I'd really appreciate it. :)

Thanks. :)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 03:04 AM

Can do. :smart:

#6 Evangelion

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 03:20 AM

Ta. :)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#7 Guest_Alethia_*

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Posted 15 April 2003 - 09:02 AM

Ev, your post is great. In fact, the case is so persuasive that Trinitarians presented with it are usually forced as Fort suggests to try the "wisdom Christology" approach, claiming that "wisdom" is just a Bible code word for Jesus. The same thing happens with the Angel of the LORD, who is called God or YHWH and acts as if he were God so many times, that Trinitarians often claim that this Angel of the LORD was really the pre-incarnate Jesus, even though he still continues to appear in the New Testament simultaneously with Jesus.

One point that I think needs making, as pointed out in the detail of my post, is that while personification is sometimes the explanation for the supposed "Holy Spirit as a person" passages, in many cases it is not. In many cases it is simply misunderstanding, mis-interpretation or mis-translation. They have to be looked at individually.




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