HOLY SPIRIT: Is He a PERSON or an ACTIVE FORCE?
II Cor 3:17
Watchtower Teaching: The WT claims that the HS is neither a person nor God, but an impersonal ‘active force’ to achieve God’s will, like electricity or radio waves.
Bible Teaching: The Holy Spirit is fully God and has personality as He can be blasphemed.
The Holy Spirit has the three attributes of personality, those being: mind, emotions and will.
An ‘active force’ does not have personal attributes. The WT’s claim of the Holy Spirit being an active force is disproven if the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit has mind,emotions & will.
1. The Holy Spirit has a mind.
(1) ‘He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit’. (Romans 8:27). The word ‘mind’ means ‘way of thinking’, something which is only true of a person.
(2) ‘The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’ (I Corinthians 2:11).
QUESTION: How can the Holy Spirit know the things of God if the Spirit does not have a mind? A force does not know things. To know requires a mind.
(3) The Spirit searcheth all things’ (I Corinthians 2:10). The Greek word for ‘search’ means to thoroughly investigate a matter, something only a mind can do.
2) The Holy Spirit has emotions
(4) The Holy Spirit loves: ‘I beseech you..through the love of the Spirit’.(Rom 15:30 NWT).
(5) ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God’. (Ephesians 4:30) The Holy Spirit is grieved (made sad) when believers sin. Grief is an emotion that one feels. A force can’t be grieved.
3) The Holy Spirit has a will. He performs personal acts.
(6) The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts ‘to every man severally as he will.’(I Cor.12:11) The phrase ‘he wills’ in Greek means ‘a decision of the will after previous deliberation’. The Holy Spirit chooses which gifts each believer receives. A force has no such will,
nor ability to make decisions.
(7) The Holy Spirit commands: ‘The Spirit bade me go with them’ (Acts 11:12)
(8) The Holy Spirit forbids:‘forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia’.Acts 16:6
(9) The Holy Spirit speaks: ‘The Spirit said to Philip, Go near.’ (Acts 8:29)
‘The Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabus and Saul’. (Acts 13:2)
‘The Spirit speaketh expressly’. (I Timothy 4:1).
QUESTION: How do you explain the WT view of the Holy Spirit being an impersonal force, with the Bible’s teaching that the Holy Spirit has a mind that can know, emotions that can feel love and grief, and a will to make decisions?
(10) The Holy Spirit testifies: ‘He shall testify of me’. (John 15:26).
The same Greek word for testify (or bear witness) used here, is also used of:
a) The disciples testifying about Christ in John 15:27.
b) John the Baptist bearing witness to the truth in John 5:33.
c) God the Father bore witness to Cornelius’ (and Gentiles’) conversion by giving them the Holy Spirit. (Acts 15:8)
Just as the disciples, John and God the Father (who are all persons) testified or bore witness, so the Holy Spirit bears witness about Christ. A force cannot bear witness, only a person can. (The Holy Spirit bears witness in heaven and on earth - I John 5:7,8)
(11) The Holy Spirit intercedes or prays for believers.‘The Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings’. (Romans 8:26).
Just as Jesus Christ (a person) intercedes for believers (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25), so the Holy Spirit (as a person) intercedes
(same Greek word) for believers. A force cannot pray for another; only a person can pray.
(12) The Holy Spirit teaches believers. (‘he shall teach you all things’. John 14:26)
(13) The Holy Spirit hears. ‘Whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.’ (John 16:13)
(14) The Holy Spirit shows us things. ‘he....shall show it unto you’. (John 16:15)
(15) The Holy Spirit restrains sin. ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man’(Genesis 6:3)
(16) The Holy Spirit can be blasphemed.‘he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost’.Mk3:29
People cannot be blasphemed. We can only be slandered. Only God can be blasphemed.
By Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit being blasphemed means we’ve proved the Trinity.
(a) God the Father can be blasphemed. (Revelation 13:6; 16:9)
(b) God the Son can be blasphemed. (Luke 22:65)
‘And many other things blasphemously they spake against him’.
(c) God the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed. (Matthew 12:31)
‘Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men.’
(17) The Holy Spirit can be lied to (Acts 5:3). Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit.
QUESTION: Have you ever lied to electricity and asked electricity to forgive you?
(18) The Holy Spirit cries in our hearts, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6)
(19) The Holy Spirit approves some decisions:
‘It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us’. (Acts 15:28)
(20) The Holy Spirit invites people to be saved:‘The Spirit & the bride say Come’Rev 22:17
(21) The Holy Spirit fills us (Ephesians 5:18) just as God may fill us (Ephesians 3:19).
(22) The Holy Spirit uses personal pronouns to describe Himself: John 15:26; 16:13;(he):
‘The Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabus. . .’ (Acts 13:2).
The Holy Spirit considers Himself a person, not a personification.
The main reason the JWs say that the Holy Spirit is an ‘active force’ is because the Greek word for ‘spirit’ (pneuma) is neuter.
Answer: This is faulty reasoning, because 1)the gender of a word relates to the grammatical form of the word, not to its sex or physical gender. Because a word is grammatically neuter does not mean that the object is an ‘it’ or of neuter sex.
(Source: Elements of NT Greek, J W Wenham, 1979, p.8).
For example, in Greek, ‘children’ is a neuter word, ‘desert’ is a feminine word, etc.and
2) In John 15:26 and 16:13, the neuter noun ‘pneuma’ is referred to by the masculine pronoun ‘ekeinos’ (1565=that one, masculine) recognising the Holy Spirit’s masculine personality. ‘He (ekeinos) shall testify of me’ (15:26); ‘when he (ekeinos), the Spirit of
truth shall come’ (16:13). Note: ‘ekeine’ is feminine ‘that one’, and ‘ekeino’ is neuter).
(23) The Holy Spirit comforts (Gk: parakletos) believers. John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7. This same Greek word ‘parakletos’ (3875) is used of Christ who has personality in John 14:16 and I John 2:1. ‘Another Comforter’ (Gk: allos parakletos, John 14:16) means
‘another of the same kind’ as Christ, in contrast to ‘heteros’ (2087) meaning ‘another of a different kind’. As Christ has Deity and Personality, so does the Holy Spirit. To comfort requires empathy, understanding, love, compassion and concern for another’s
well-being, all being attributes of personality.
Conclusion: Hence,the Holy Spirit is a person because 1) He has mind, emotions,& will. 2) Personal pronouns are used of Him. 3) He performs personal acts.4) He associates with the Father and Son in the Baptism formula, Apostolic benediction and as Church
Administrator (I Cor. 12:4-6). 5) He can be personally mistreated (tempted, lied to, grieved, resisted, insulted and blasphemed). The New Testament clearly shows the Holy Spirit to have a personality and to be God. (‘Jehovah is the Spirit’ II Cor. 3:17 NWT).