Saturday, July 30, 2011

Question #3

If the Holy Spirit is God's impersonal "active force", why does he speak directly and refer to himself as "I" and "me" in Acts 13:2?

The verse in question reads: As they were publicly ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: "Of all persons set Barnabas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them."

The holy spirit, while not an individual person, is not really impersonal either. Seeing that it comes from God and speaks for him, it is appropriate to personify the spirit of God, which the Bible writers did at times. We should remember that the original Christian congregation was endowed with many gifts of the spirit that we do not possess today. One of the gifts of the spirit was that individuals would speak in tongues. When that phenomenon occurred, it was the spirit speaking to them for God. So, apparently the verse is intended to show that the holy spirit made some sort of obvious manifestation when it spoke to them on that occasion. Under those conditions, it is understandable why they would simply say, "the holy spirit said." 

However, it would be unwise to then make the leap to a conclusion that the holy spirit is an actual heavenly person like God and Christ. In the context of blaspheming the holy spirit, Jesus once referred to it as "God's finger." If the holy spirit were an equal part of God in the mysterious Trinity, it would not be appropriate to refer to him as God's finger, would it?

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