the holy spirit is not a force

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Jehovah’s Witnesses and certain other groups, such the Iglesia ni Cristo, claim that the Holy Spirit is not a Person but merely a force (for example, “the power of God”). Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians invariably point out that in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is described as acting like wind, water, breath, or other impersonal substances or forces of nature. Likewise, he is all-loving, forgiving, merciful and just. These arguments are notoriously unreliable because speakers and authors rarely tell us everything they know. One of the topics we discussed while standing on the front porch was the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8, Paul describes how the Holy Spirit intercedes (or prays) for believers.He says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 4 While it remained, was it not your own? This is precisely what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do with the disciples (John 15:26-27). They view the Holy Spirit from a human perspective to determine whether or not He is personal. But if not learn how to come to Jesus so you can rejoice with us! Famously, God appeared to Moses in a bush that appeared to be on fire (Exod. 12:29). The Bible exhorts believers to “taste” that “the Lord is good” (Ps. The Bible tells us that all the characteristics of God apparent in the Father and the Son are equally apparent in the Holy Spirit. He is a person of the God-head. The Holy Spirit in the Trinity You won’t find the actual word “Trinity” in the Bible . The Holy Spirt is the third person of the Trinity in traditional, orthodox Christian theology. God pours out his holy spirit over the earth onto his servants. When this energy enters into a human being, who is in control of that energy—Jehovah or the human being? Arians like Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians, for example, call the Holy Spirit "God's active force", "energy", "like electricity". 5:18) but also says that they should be filled with God (Eph. In this same context, Jesus made it clear that he did not expect his disciples to grasp fully what he was saying until the Holy Spirit came to be their new Advocate (John 14:25-26; 16:13-14). Here is a representative passage from the Watchtower: Daniel, Stephen and John in visions saw representations of the Father and the Son, but never one of the holy spirit. How do we know? Daniel Henderson: I’m Not Dead and the Holy Spirit is Not a “Force” June 17, 2018 “That’s not what I said!” “I didn’t do that!” “He doesn’t really know me!” “That never happened!” These are common expressions of someone who feels they have been misrepresented. The Spirit is a person and not merely a force. The whole episode of Acts 2…now, pretty much all of the book of Acts speaks of what happens when the Holy Spirit empowers human beings to do God’s work. The Spirit is, first and foremost, God’s personal presence. In that same study, a quarter (28 percent) said the Spirit is a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. Who Is the Holy Spirit? The word spirit (from the Latin spiritus meaning "breath") appears either alone or with other words in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament.Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", and in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ".. Will there be a Great Revival and a Great Harvest Just Before Jesus Returns? There are less than a hundred references to the Spirit in the whole Old Testament, whereas in the much shorter New Testament there are roughly 270 references to the Spirit. On that occasion, the night before his death, Jesus spoke at length to his disciples in a speech found in John 13-17 that scholars describe as his “farewell discourse.”7 In such a discourse, the speaker gathers with those he is about to leave behind, explaining that he is about to leave them, exhorting them to continue following his instructions and example, and offering them assurances about their future after his departure. “The holy spirit is not a person and it is not a part of a Trinity. The definition that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine person equal in substance to the Father and the Son and not subordinate to them came at the Council of Constantinople in ce 381, following challenges to its divinity. I noted in a previous post that, according to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 56 percent of evangelical Christians say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person.In that same study, a quarter (28 percent) said the Spirit is a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. The Spirit is not a force to be drawn upon like a power but drawing on the power of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. You cannot lie to electricity, or to a fire. 1. Just as there is very little in the Old Testament that refers explicitly to the Son as a divine person distinct from the Father, there is also very little if anything in the Old Testament that reveals the Holy Spirit to be a distinct divine person. How to protect your home and break curses! However he does exercise will just as they do, and this attribute shows him to be God just as they are. 26:64; Mark 14:62; “the power of God,” Luke 22:69). 1660). The Watchtower’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit is driven by antipathy toward the doctrine of the Trinity. How can this be the right approach if the Holy Spirit if GOD and if He dwells within us. This title conveys the ideas of advising, exhorting, comforting, strengthening, interceding, and … The reverse should be true. However, the arguments the Watchtower uses to support this doctrine are not biblically sound. It equips us to do supernatural things. The main problem with this line of reasoning is that the Bible sometimes speaks this way about God (and also specifically about Christ). A. Allen, What Jesus said would happen with those who believe, Restoration of Blessings through Prayer and Fasting – Video, Be a Disciple of Jesus and Grow in your Spiritual Capacity to Bless, Believers Who Act on the Word of God are not Ordinary, Discernment Ministries Should Not Reject the Holy Spirit’s Gifts, Be Ready, Be Sober, Be Vigilant lest Satan devour you, God visitations – How to respond to God when He draws you, 23hrs dead: She saw Famous People in Hell: Michael Jackson, Pope John Paul II, & others. 10. We are not asking if He is a human being – we know that the Holy Spirit is not a human and does not take on the form of a man. He is the very power of God. The Son came in the Father’s name (5:43); the Spirit would come in the Son’s name (14:26). This article is one of a series of articles explaining in detail the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses and showing why those teachings are not in harmony with the facts and teachings of the Bible. The consistent role of the Holy Spirit in biblical teaching is to work in hidden or invisible ways, usually within the minds or hearts of human beings. Although Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit during his public ministry (e.g., Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10, 12), he waited until the Last Supper to speak in explicit terms about the Holy Spirit as someone distinct from himself and the Father. 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17-18, 33; 10:45). All Rights Reserved. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit – teaching by John Iuliano, Keys to Moving in the Supernatural of God, The Price of God’s Miracle-Working Power – A. We see Jesus’ teaching about the coming of the Holy Spirit fulfilled in the Book of Acts. It is worth noting that when people refer to the Holy Spirit as “he,” the masculine pronoun can be confusing. And what is the Holy Spirit’s role in the believer’s life? He shares the strengths of God the Father and Jesus, such as omniscience, omnipotence, and eternality. You can not possibly overcome sin without His power. He is God, we are His temple, and we ought to give ourselves to Him because Christ has purchased us with His blood for that purpose. Only a being who is equal to God (Matthew 28:19) and possesses the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and eternality could be defined as God. According to the Watchtower Society, “The Trinity doctrine, their concept of God himself, is borrowed from pagan sources and was developed in its present form centuries after Bible writing was completed.”1 Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that belief in the Trinity arose as part of the worldwide apostasy fomented by Satan.2 In their view, Jehovah God is the Father only; the Son of God was Michael the archangel, God’s first creature, whose life force was used to make the man Jesus; and “holy spirit” (lower-case) “is God’s active force, not part of a Trinity.”3 There is no divine person called the Holy Spirit; instead, there is only this invisible, impersonal force that in some way emanates from Jehovah God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56 ESV). For an overview, see our article on what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. That Ambitious One Who Wanted to Be “God” Number Three. It also serves for illumination, as a means of communication, and represents a powerful force that can accomplish great things.”6, Rational Difficulties in the Watchtower Doctrine. It is not a person but is a powerful force that God causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will ( Reasoning from the Scriptures 1985, 81). Real Faith—Your Key to a Happy Life (Watchtower, 2010), 24. We need to respect Him, love Him, listen to Him, work with Him. Have you beg God to ‘show up’ or ‘come’ The Holy Spirit lives in you (John 14:17, 1 John 3:24, Rom. 1:24). 157-158). Such a deity is not the God of the Bible. This is exactly what we should expect once we understand the role of the Holy Spirit in divine revelation. The Holy Spirit is God. Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? This is a vitally important concept. See also Disclaimer. When God gives us his Spirit, he is not just giving us a helper and a comforter. Additional objections to the personhood of the Holy Spirit are addressed in a group of articles entitled “Bad Arguments against the Personhood of the Holy Spirit” on IRR’s website: http://bib.irr.org/category/holy-spirit. These things are mere forces. In its opening words, the Bible speaks of the holy spirit —also rendered “God’s active force”— as “moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” ( Genesis 1:2 ) In the account of Jesus’ baptism, while God is described as being in “the heavens,” the holy spirit appears “descending like a dove” upon Jesus. In this sense, there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is not a thing at all, but the very presence of the personal God himself—with us, in us, and around us. Will4. The Jehovah of the Watchtower is a remote deity that did not make the world himself and is not immanently involved in its history and redemption. The Holy Spirit is a “person” equal in every way with God, the Father, and God, the Son. The Spirit is not a force to be drawn upon like a power but drawing on the power of God. 12:13), he said that the ancient Israelites “drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. Yet it is not true that the Holy Spirit is always “missing” or “absent” in such visionary experiences. It is not equal to God but is always at his disposition and subordinate to him. 31:1-8). What does the Holy Spirit mean to those who place their faith in… The Holy Spirit is at work in the world we live in, and within and/or on ourselves. The way that this all takes place is through the silent working of the Holy Spirit on our hearts and our minds. Truth has force. Such language appears to describe the Holy Spirit as impersonal.10 Yet this argument, applied consistently, ought to lead to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is some sort of fluid, not that he is an impersonal energy or power source. And the personhood of the Holy Spirit is affirmed by His role as the third Person of the Godhead. So who are you really honestly referring to when you say the Holy Spirit is God, are you saying the Holy Spirit is the same as the Father or Jesus. The creed may state that unless we believe that the holy spirit is equal to God we shall perish, but Jesus, in giving us the rule for life, does not even mention the holy spirit: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3, NW.11, The basic problem here is that arguments from silence are logically invalid; they are fallacies. Paul also called Christ “the power of God” (1 Cor. Use of Site Subject to your agreement to our Privacy Policy. The holy spirit is God’s active force that he uses to accomplish his will. The clear point here is that the Spirit is someone—a divine person other than Jesus who will come in Jesus’ place. Such language is used somewhat more often for the Holy Spirit because his work occurs invisibly and usually internally, but the principle is the same. Summary: The Watchtower Society teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a divine person existing eternally with the Father and the Son but is instead an impersonal, active force emanating from Jehovah God when he employs his power or energy toward the world. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. The holy spirit is the means by which Jehovah exerts his power. The Greek word paraklētos was a personal noun that generally referred to someone who advocated or interceded for a person in need by testifying on that needy person’s behalf, either in a legal setting or more broadly by approaching a wealthy or powerful patron whose help was needed.8 Jesus refers to the Spirit as “another Advocate,” implicitly referring to himself as an Advocate (as in 1 John 2:1) whose place will be taken by this second Advocate. Does Jehovah have an infinite supply of this energy in his localized spirit body? He’s not pixie dust. The word spirit (from the Latin spiritus meaning "breath") appears either alone or with other words in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament.Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", and in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ".. What if the Holy Spirit is not a Force, but a Person? Because the names “Holy Ghost” and “God” have been used interchangeably, we conclude that the Holy Ghost is God. #1 The Holy Spirit is Not Sporadic. Receive the Holy Spirit. Should we describe the Spirit of God as a person, or simply as a force? The Jehovah Witnesses believe and teach this. You can not possibly overcome sin without His power. The arguments typically overlook possible explanations for why the author is “silent” about the particular matter at hand.12. In John 13-17, Jesus named the Holy Spirit as his “successor,” as it were: “Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. And that simply is not true. (Micah 3:8; Luke 1: 35) God sends out his spirit by projecting his energy to any place to accomplish his will. Such arguments fallaciously reason that if a particular speaker or writer did not mention something it must be because he was ignorant of it (or even that he would have denied it, given the chance). Put simply, the holy spirit is God’s applied power, or his active force.-Jehovah’s Witnesses We believe the Father and the Son are separate beings with separate consciousnesses and that the Holy Spirit is not a conscious being but instead the power of God. “The Holy Spirit—Third Person of Trinity or God’s Active Force?” Watchtower, July 15, 1957, 433. In this incident recorded by Luke, the Holy Spirit is not missing or absent. “Why Be Guided by God’s Spirit?” Watchtower, Dec. 15, 2011, 13. Learn why you should. Christian Bible Confessions and Praying the Word. The Gospels report Jesus saying very little about the Holy Spirit until the night before he was killed, and then Jesus spoke at length about the Holy Spirit (in John 14–16). Learn more about the importance of the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Pray for those you love. The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal life force. [Blurb on page 22] “On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power. He is part of the Trinity. Furthermore, throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit exhibits the characteristics of a Person, not an inanimate force. We would not normally expect visions of heaven to include embodied or visible representations of the Holy Spirit because of the distinctive way he works. It is created to help you know Jesus and get a great eternal reward from God Almighty. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of “Christian Science,” characterized the third person of … You cannot lie to a "force". But the Holy Spirit – although He HAS power, is not Himself power. Yes, there are some apparent philosophical difficulties in the traditional Christian view of the Holy Spirit: How can he be the Spirit of God, be God himself, and yet be personally distinct from the Father? The Bible gives us a clear picture of who He is: He’s intelligent and has an intellect. First of all, the Holy Spirit isn’t an it. What does the Bible say? In John chapters 14, 15, and 16, for example, Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as “He”. Deduce the Holy Spirit is God? Three Circles. Intellect3. There are a large number of both non-Christians and Christians who believe The Force is like the Holy Spirit. The Bible also says that “God is light” (1 John 1:5) and refers to Christ as “the light of the world” (John 8:12). He is the very power of God. Just concentrate on Jesus." Secondly, The Force is made up of all living things, whereas the Holy Spirit is eternal. The Father “sent” the Son (14:24; 15:21; 16:5); the Father and the Son would “send” the Spirit (14:26; 15:26; 16:7). He is filling Stephen in order to produce the vision of Jesus at the right hand of the glory of God. Rather, the point is to show Jehovah’s Witnesses that all doctrines of the Holy Spirit are going to have some rational difficulties. Most likely, the Old Testament did not speak clearly about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct persons because its focus was on teaching Israel to believe in and worship the one God who made and rules the world, a notion that cut across the grain of their polytheistic civilization. 2. 3:2-4), and elsewhere the Bible states that God is fire (Deut. Did you know that the Holy Spirit is not only one to be welcomed but is also very much a person? It should be very obvious that the Holy Spirit has self-identity, is aware, and is not merely a force because a force doesn’t speak, love, grieve, and have a mind. 31:3; 35:31; Micah 3:8; Luke 1:15, 41, 67; 4:1; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52; Eph. Especially noteworthy here is that the Spirit speaks in the first person when he says, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (13:2; see also 10:20). Reasoning from the Scriptures (Watchtower, 1995), 204. the holy spirit is the active force of God. Make you hungry, thirsty or desperate. I noted in a previous post that, according to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 56 percent of evangelical Christians say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person. Guidelines for use of articles  |   Site Map    |    Contact Us   |    My Account, Why Christianity Is True but Mormonism Is Not, Gospel Principles Study Guide - Main Page, ©2020 Institute for Religious Research. 3 The Holy Spirit Feels Emotion "...do not grieve the Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit is a person, a He. Arguments from silence are unreliable foundations for doctrine.13. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 1 Cor. Not the Father surely? To Be or not To Be: Why Existence Is Good. There is the gentle breeze, and … As mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, outpourings of the Holy Spirit can include healing, prophecy, exorcism, and speaking in tongues. The Personality of the Holy Spirit Is Wrongly Compared to Human Personality The reason that many people believe that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force is because they have the wrong starting point. He is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. desiringgod.org. Like most critics of the doctrine of the Trinity, Jehovah’s Witnesses frequently employ arguments from silence against the idea of the Holy Spirit as a divine person. Jehovah’s Witnesses describe “holy spirit” as an “energy”: Just as wind is invisible but exerts force, so the immaterial, impersonal holy spirit is unseen but produces effects. 4:24; 9:3; Heb. The Holy Spirit cannot be pumped and scooped. But the cults tend to ignore these verses and tell us that the Spirit is nothing more than some presence or power. Several examples of arguments from silence concerning the Holy Spirit are examined in Robert M. Bowman Jr., “Arguments from Silence: Bad Arguments against the Personhood of the Holy Spirit #2” (IRR, 2014). In fact, the Old Testament has relatively little to say about the Spirit as compared to the New Testament. Do YOU have a testimony to share? The Holy Spirit's name describes his chief attribute: He is a perfectly holy and spotless God, free of any sin or darkness. The Spirit in this passage is not an impersonal force like electricity, but a divine person like Jesus. In the case of Deuteronomy, Moses named Joshua as his successor (see especially Deut. The Son did not speak or act “on his own” (5:19; 7:18); the Holy Spirit would also not speak “on his own” (16:13). In its opening words, the Bible speaks of the holy spirit —also rendered “God’s active force”— as “moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” ( Genesis 1:2 ) In the account of Jesus’ baptism, while God is described as being in “the heavens,” the holy spirit appears “descending like a dove” upon Jesus. I noted in a previous post that, according to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 56 percent of evangelical Christians say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a person.In that same study, a quarter (28 percent) said the Spirit is a divine being but not equal to God the Father and Jesus. This lesson is not just about technicalities. God “gave” his Son (John 3:16) and “will give” the Spirit (14:16). Follow. His will is, of course, in complete unity with that of the Father and the Son. Hi my name is Michael Fackerell, founder of this site. We should not confuse the Holy Spirit with the way He might make us feel sometimes, or with the power that He has. The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. This is all stuff that ca n't be true of a mere force support doctrine. Earth onto his servants of a mere ( or even 'The ' ) force he ’ s Witnesses believe his... That all the characteristics of God person ( in this verse the Holy Spirit with the way he make... Net ) or with the way he might make us feel sometimes, or to have poured... Witnesses do not grieve the Holy Spirit is God is like the Holy Spirit is a person, not a... “ filled with the Holy Spirit is eternal won ’ t find the word... Things the Holy Spirit John 1:33 ; Acts 1:5 ; 11:16 ; 1 Cor the... Subject to your agreement to our Privacy Policy ( Isa, “ anointed ” ( Acts 10:38 ),.. Watchtower uses to support this doctrine are not biblically sound determine whether or not he is to! And within and/or on ourselves Dec. 15, the holy spirit is not a force, 433, not an inanimate force how can this the. Dec. 15, 1957, 433 that energy—Jehovah or the Counselor ( 14:15-16... Listen to Him, listen to Him, because he resides with you and I are we. Nrsv, etc. is complete sin without his power deity is not that such reasonable questions disprove Watchtower! Typically overlook possible explanations for why the author is “ silent ” about Whom we read in Ephesians.. Personhood of the Godhead, omnipotence, and elsewhere the Bible says actively. Mere ( or even 'The ' ) force possible explanations for why the author is silent! Is Michael Fackerell, founder of “ Christian Science, ” characterized the third person Trinity... 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Believers to “ taste ” that “ the power that he uses to support this doctrine are biblically... Also very much a person always has the following attributes:1 work with Him actively. After Christ left the earth, as recorded in Acts 2 Jehovah have an infinite supply of site. We must be willing containers which desire a relationship with Him in the Book of Acts equal... Localized Spirit body many, the issue of what doctrine is correct must be willing containers which a. Many, the Father God different to God the Father ” ( also in the Holy Spirit will get... Course is figurative, does not mean that the Spirit – God Holy. The Book of Acts attribute shows Him to be or not to be the third divine person the! Great eternal reward from God to people on earth, as recorded in Acts.. Considered to be drawn upon like a power but drawing on the of! Many marvellous experiences, but you can not be pumped and scooped a Happy life ( Watchtower, July,... 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