Is the Holy Spirit divine?

  • Created by: ewilco1
  • Created on: 12-04-19 15:05

The Witness of Scripture - Rauch

The 'wind' 'breath' 'spirit' of God.

  • was moving over the face of the waters at the start of creation
  • God formed man through dust and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being
  • at the red sea - the Lord drove back the sea by a strong east wind
  • Elijah met God on mount Horeb - a great and strong wind, then earthquakes, then fire, and after the fire a still small voice/ a gentle whisper

Also, a gift given by God for a particular task:

  • The spirit is the Lord is on me - Isiaha
  • Given to Joshia from Moses, he 'was the full spirit of the wisdom'
1 of 9

The Witness of the Scripture - Spirit

The Spirit as a comissioning is found in the New Testament:

  • The Spirit descended on Jesus 'like a dove' after his baptism
  • Jesus reads Isiah the text in the Synagogue in Nazarath and then says 'today the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing' - Isiaha has the holy spirit
  • 'I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying of my own hands; for God did not give us the spirit of timidy but a spirit of love and power and self-control'

The formula of the baptism speaks of the Spirit

The idea of spirit as gift is also found in the charism of the new testament

  • God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us 
2 of 9

The Spirit and Son of God

Ireaneus, opposing the Gnostics, on why there is no need for a smaller God: As if God did not have hands of his own. For always with him are the word and the wise, the son and the spirit, through whom he made everything, to whom he speaks and says 'let us make man after our likeness and image'

Two distinct tasks: 'establishing all things by his word and binding them by his wisdom'. The Word and Wisdom are God's Word and Wisdom, not those of another. 

3 of 9

Fourth Century Debates

On the Holy Spirit:
'I believe in the Holy Spirit' - Apostle's creed 
'And in the Holy Spirit' - Nicene creed

Eustathius of Sebaste (330-380) 'was prepared to accept the diety of the son of the creed of Nicea, but denied that the holy spirit belonged to the divien being'. 

4 of 9

The Pneumatomachi

Basil of Ceaserea (330-370) (friend of Eustahius)
Basil tried to keep Eusthasius in the church. Writes 'God the father' 'God the son' and 'the divine Holy Spirit'.

Athanasius of Alexandria (293 - 378)
Calls them 'tropici' These are allegocrical readings of text of the Scripture symbolically, rather than literally.

5 of 9

Athanasius on the Tropici

The spirit's divinity is to be taken literally: How could the Spirit defy humanity if the spirt itself was a creature? The spirt can only sanctify humanity if the spirt is divine. A creature cannot make anyone holy only God. 

How to distinghuish the son and the spirt: The father is the source, the spirit is how the light enters us. They have different rules but equal divinity to God the father. 

6 of 9

Council of Constantinople (381)

The Creed - expantion of Niecene creed. 'and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life' - designed to expell Eustahius. 

Hall: Spirit is in the baptisms. 

7 of 9

Later developments about the Spirt

Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430) 

Speaks of the bond between the spirit and the son. 'He is the spirit of neither the Father, nor the son alone, but of both, from the mutal love of which the son and Father love each other'. 

The Spirt is a gift given by God uniting believers to God and other believers. 

8 of 9

The Filioque controversy

Niceon-Constantinopolitan Creed (west) about the spirt: 'who preceeds from the son'.

Reasons: Jesus breaths on his disciplies and says 'receive the Holy Spirit', if the Spirt does not proceed from the son, the spirit cannot be the bond between the Father and the Son, even though the Father is the spirit's ultimate origin. 

Eastern position: Son is begotten of the father, the spirit proceeds from the father.

Reasons: Important to distinguish how the Spirit is different from the son. There is only one source of divinity - the Father. Western view risks seeing Spirit as an act of love, rather than a fully divine person. 

9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Is the Holy spirit divine? resources »