Holy Spirit

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The Godhead
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God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit
Annunciation of the Virgin

The Holy Spirit (Greek: παράκλητος)[1] is the third person of the Holy Trinity, both distinct and coequal with God the Father and the Son (Jesus).

The Holy Spirit embodies the mutual eternal love of the Father and the Son. The Greek term for the Holy Spirit is "Paraclete", which means advocate or intercessor, thereby connoting a driving force for good. The Holy Spirit is God's present activity in our midst. When we sense God's leading, God's challenge, or God's support or comfort, we say that it's the Holy Spirit at work. [2]

The apostles credit the Holy Spirit with giving them the courage to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in a very hostile world. Scriptural references to the Holy Spirit are in both the Old and New Testaments, and include Proverbs 8:22-31, John 16:12-15, and Romans 5:1-5.

A formal doctrine of the Holy Spirit did not begin to be developed until the early third century. Tertullian (c.160-c.225) and the Montanist heresy showed the need to distinguish between true and false activities of the Holy Spirit. Origen of Alexandria (c.185-c.254) taught that the Spirit worked primarily within the Church, whereas the Word (Christ) worked within the whole of creation... The doctrine of the Spirit was further elaborated by St. Augustine in his important work De Trinitate ("On the Trinity"), in which the Holy Spirit is seen as the bond of union and love between the Father and the Son. [3]

The essential Christian teachings about the Holy Spirit are summarized in the Nicene Creed:

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.

Christians agree on the following two propositions:

  • The Holy Spirit (also known as The Holy Ghost) is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
  • Though really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is "one in being" with them with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.

The Holy Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity is: Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Eternal and Equal (to the Father and the Son).

There is a key distinction between Western Christians and the Eastern Orthodox churches on a seemingly trivial, but extremely controversial, point. Western Christians believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father and the Son In other words, He proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of inspiration, [4] from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle. The Eastern Orthodox omit the italicized language. They believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. The disagreement between the East and West is sometimes known as the filioque controversy, from the Latin word and enclitic for "and the Son," although such term may more properly apply to the Great Schism of 1054.

The Holy Spirit inhabits all who desire its presence...

In the New Testament the word spirit and, perhaps, even the expression spirit of God signify at times the soul or man himself, inasmuch as he is under the influence of God and aspires to things above; more frequently, especially in St. Paul, they signify God acting in man... to the Holy Ghost we attribute the operations of grace and the sanctification of souls, and in particular spiritual gifts and fruits.[5]


"...for the Father and the Son come with Him when He descends into our souls (John 14:23)."

"He performs a sanctifying work among men (St. Athanasius, 360 AC)."


Invocation of the Holy Spirit


Most powerful Holy Spirit,

come down upon us

and subdue us.

From heaven,

where the ordinary

is made glorious,

and glory seems

but ordinary,

bath us

with the brilliance

of your light

like dew.

- Celtic Prayer


According to the New Testament, Jesus after His resurrection told His disciples that they would be baptized with "The Holy Ghost", and would receive "Power, after that the Holy Ghost [was] come upon [them]" (Acts 1:4-8). Christians believe that the Holy Spirit, guiding people in the way of the truth, produce positive results, known as the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

See also

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

External links

"We are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in us.” 1 Corinthians 3:16

References

  1. παράκλητος in the New Testament (English/Greek) (HTML). La Parola. Retrieved on May 30, 2010. “1c1) of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom”
  2. We Believe in the Holy Spirit.
  3. The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology.
  4. Catholic Encyclopedia.
  5. Holy Ghost, Catholic Encyclopedia
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