Holy Spirit in Christianity

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The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Heavenly Trinity joined to the Earthly Trinity through the Incarnation of the Son, by Murillo, c. 1677. Bartolome Esteban Perez Murillo 003.jpg
The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Heavenly Trinity joined to the Earthly Trinity through the Incarnation of the Son, by Murillo, c. 1677.

For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is the third person of the Trinity: [2] the Triune God manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; each entity itself being God. [3] [4] [5] Nontrinitarian Christians, who reject the doctrine of the Trinity, differ significantly from mainstream Christianity in their beliefs about the Holy Spirit. In Christian theology, pneumatology refers to the study of the Holy Spirit. Due to Christianity's historical relationship with Judaism, theologians often identify the Holy Spirit with the concept of the Ruach Hakodesh in Jewish scripture, in the belief Jesus (who is Jewish) was expanding upon these Jewish concepts. Similar names, and ideas, include the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), Ruach YHWH (Spirit of Yahweh), and the Ruach Hakmah (Spirit of Wisdom). [6] [7] In the New Testament it is identified with the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit. [8] [9] [10]

Christian denomination identifiable Christian body with common name, structure, and doctrine

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodoxy, meaning the large majority, all self-describe as churches, whereas many Protestant denominations self-describe as congregations or fellowships. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.

Holy Spirit, is a term found in English translations of the Bible that is understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.

Trinity Christian doctrine that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three Persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.

Contents

The New Testament details a close relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus during his earthly life and ministry. [11] The Gospels of Matthew and Luke and the Nicene Creed state that Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary". [12] The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove during his baptism, and in his Farewell Discourse after the Last Supper Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure. [13] [14]

Jesus in Christianity Jesus in Christianity

In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Son of God and the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Christians believe that through his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life. He is believed to be the Jewish messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. These teachings emphasize that as the Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his obedience to the will of God, as an "agent and servant of God". Jesus died to atone for sin to make us right with God. Jesus' choice positions him as a man of obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.

Ministry of Jesus

In the Christian gospels, the ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the countryside of Roman Judea and Transjordan, near the river Jordan, and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry. A chronology of Jesus typically has the date of the start of his ministry estimated at around AD 27–29 and the end in the range AD 30–36.

Gospel of Matthew Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, is killed, is raised from the dead, and finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world. Most scholars believe it was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110. The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on the Gospel of Mark as a source, and likely used a hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, although the existence of Q has been questioned by some scholars. He also used material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".

The Holy Spirit is referred to as "the Lord, the Giver of Life" in the Nicene Creed, which summarises several key beliefs held by many Christian denominations. The participation of the Holy Spirit in the tripartite nature of conversion is apparent in Jesus' final post-resurrection instruction to his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (28:19): "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," and "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." [15] Since the first century, Christians have also called upon God with the trinitarian formula "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in prayer, absolution and benediction. [16] [17] In the book of the Acts of the Apostles the arrival of the Holy Spirit happens fifty days after the resurrection of the Christ, and is celebrated in Christendom with the feast of Pentecost. [18]

Nicene Creed Statement of belief adopted at the First Ecumenical Council in 325

The Nicene Creed is a statement of belief widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because it was originally adopted in the city of Nicaea by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. In 381, it was amended at the First Council of Constantinople, and the amended form is referred to as the Nicene or the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus

The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus are the earthly appearances of Jesus to his followers after his death and burial. Believers point to them as proof of his resurrection and identity as Messiah, seated in heaven on the right hand of God.

Great Commission words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19–20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”

In Christianity, the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. The most famous version of the Great Commission is in Matthew 28:16–20, where on a mountain in Galilee Jesus calls on his followers to make disciples of and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Etymology and usage

The Koine Greek word pneûma ( πνεῦμα , pneuma) is found around 385 times in the New Testament, with some scholars differing by three to nine occurrences. [19] Pneuma appears 105 times in the four canonical gospels, 69 times in the Acts of the Apostles, 161 times in the Pauline epistles, and 50 times elsewhere. [19] These usages vary: in 133 cases, it refers to "spirit" in a general sense and in 153 cases to "spiritual".[ clarification needed ] Around 93 times, the reference to the Holy Spirit, [19] sometimes under the name pneuma and sometimes explicitly as the pneûma tò Hagion ( Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ). (In a few cases it is also simply used generically to mean wind or life. [19] ) It was generally translated into the Vulgate as Spiritus and Spiritus Sanctus .

Koine Greek, also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic period, the Roman Empire, and the early Byzantine Empire, or late antiquity. It evolved from the spread of Greek following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, and served as the lingua franca of much of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the following centuries. It was based mainly on Attic and related Ionic speech forms, with various admixtures brought about through dialect levelling with other varieties.

Pneuma (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for "breath", and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul". It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particularly in regard to physiology, and is also used in Greek translations of ruach רוח in the Hebrew Bible, and in the Greek New Testament. In classical philosophy, it is distinguishable from psyche (ψυχή), which originally meant "breath of life", but is regularly translated as "spirit" or most often "soul".

Acts of the Apostles Book of the New Testament

The Acts of the Apostles, often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.

The English terms "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit" are complete synonyms: one derives from the Old English gast and the other from the Latin loanword spiritus . Like pneuma, they both refer to the breath, to its animating power, and to the soul. The Old English term is shared by all other Germanic languages (compare, e.g., the German Geist ) and is older, but the King James Bible used both interchangeably, and 20th-century translations of the Bible overwhelmingly prefer "Holy Spirit", probably because the general English term "ghost" has increasingly come to refer only to the spirit of a dead person. [20] [21] [22]

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Names

Jewish Bible

Source: [6]

Book of Isaiah book of the Bible

The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet Isaiah ben Amoz, but there is extensive evidence that much of it was composed during the Babylonian captivity and later. Bernhard Duhm originated the view, held as a consensus through most of the 20th century, that the book comprises three separate collections of oracles: Proto-Isaiah, containing the words of Isaiah; Deutero-Isaiah, the work of an anonymous 6th-century BCE author writing during the Exile; and Trito-Isaiah, composed after the return from Exile. While virtually no scholars today attribute the entire book, or even most of it, to one person, the book's essential unity has become a focus in more recent research. Isaiah 1–33 promises judgment and restoration for Judah, Jerusalem and the nations, and chapters 34–66 presume that judgment has been pronounced and restoration follows soon. It can thus be read as an extended meditation on the destiny of Jerusalem into and after the Exile.

Psalms Book of the Bible

The Book of Psalms, commonly referred to simply as Psalms or "the Psalms", is the first book of the Ketuvim ("Writings"), the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and thus a book of the Christian Old Testament. The title is derived from the Greek translation, ψαλμοί, psalmoi, meaning "instrumental music" and, by extension, "the words accompanying the music". The book is an anthology of individual psalms, with 150 in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and more in the Eastern Christian churches. Many are linked to the name of David, but his authorship is not accepted by modern scholars.

Book of Genesis The first book of the Christian, and Hebrew Bibles

The Book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament, is Judaism's account of the creation of the world and the origins of the Jewish people. It is divisible into two parts, the Primeval history and the Ancestral history. The primeval history sets out the author's concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world which is good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God. The Ancestral History tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people. At God's command Noah's descendant Abraham journeys from his home into the God-given land of Canaan, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind to a special relationship with one people alone.

New Testament

Depending on context:

Biblical portrayal

Old Testament

What the Hebrew Bible calls "Spirit of God" and "Spirit of Elohim" is called in the Talmud and Midrash "Holy Spirit" (ruacḥ ha-kodesh). Although the expression "Holy Spirit" occurs in Ps. 51:11 and in Isa. 63:10–11, it had not yet acquired quite the same meaning which was attached to it in rabbinical literature: in the latter it is equivalent to the expression "Spirit of the Lord". In Gen.1:2 God's spirit hovered over the form of lifeless matter, thereby making the Creation possible. [35] Although the ruach ha-kodesh may be named instead of God, it was conceived of as being something distinct; and, like everything earthly that comes from heaven, the ruach ha-kodesh is composed of light and fire. [35] The most characteristic sign of the presence of the ruach ha-kodesh is the gift of prophecy. The use of the word "ruach" (Hebrew: "breath", or "wind") in the phrase ruach ha-kodesh seems to suggest that Judaic authorities believed the Holy Spirit was a kind of communication medium like the wind. The spirit talks sometimes with a masculine and sometimes with a feminine voice; the word ruacḥ is both masculine and feminine. [35]

New Testament

The term Holy Spirit appears at least 90 times in the New Testament. [8] The sacredness of the Holy Spirit to Christians is affirmed in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 12:30–32, Mark 3:28–30 and Luke 12:8–10) which proclaim that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin. [36] The participation of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity is suggested in Jesus' final post-Resurrection instruction to his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (28:19): [37] "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". [15]

Synoptic Gospels

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation, by Philippe de Champaigne, 1644 Philippe de Champaigne - Annunciation - WGA04705.jpg
The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation, by Philippe de Champaigne, 1644

The Holy Spirit is mentioned by all three authors of the synoptic Gospels. Most of the references are by the author of the Gospel of Luke; this emphasis is continued by the same author in the Book of Acts.

The Holy Spirit does not simply appear for the first time at Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, but is present in the Gospel of Luke (in 1–2) prior to the birth of Jesus. [8] In Luke 1:15, John the Baptist was said to be "filled with the Holy Spirit" prior to birth, and the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:35. [8] In Luke 3:16 John the Baptist stated that Jesus baptized not with water but with the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus during his baptism in the Jordan River. [8] In Luke 11:13 Jesus provided assurances that God the Father would "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him". [8]

Mark 13:11 specifically refers to the power of the Holy Spirit to act and speak through the disciples of Jesus in time of need: "be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit." Matthew 10:20 refers to the same act of speaking through the disciples, but uses the term "Spirit of your Father". [38]

Luke–Acts

Together, Luke–Acts contain over half of the references in the New Testament to the Holy Spirit although this author wrote approximately 25% of the content of the New Testament.[ citation needed ]

Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles has sometimes been called the "Book of the Holy Spirit" or the "Acts of the Holy Spirit". [39] [40] Of the seventy or so occurrences of the word Pneuma in Acts, fifty-five refer to the Holy Spirit. [40]

From the start, in Acts 1:2, the reader is reminded that the ministry of Jesus, while he was on earth, was carried out through the power of the Holy Spirit and that the "acts of the apostles" continue the acts of Jesus and are also facilitated by the Holy Spirit. [40] Acts presents the Holy Spirit as the "life principle" of the early Church and provides five separate and dramatic instances of its outpouring on believers in 2:1–4, 4:28–31, 8:15–17, 10:44 and 19:6. [39]

References to the Holy Spirit appear throughout Acts, for example Acts 1:5 and 8 stating towards the beginning: "For John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit ... ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you" referring to the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist in Luke 3:16: "he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit". [41]

Johannine literature

Three separate terms, namely Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth and Paraclete are used in the Johannine writings. [10] The "Spirit of Truth" is used in John 14:17, 15:26 and 16:13. [8] The First Epistle of John then contrasts this with the "spirit of error" in 1 John 4:6. [8] 1 John 4:1–6 provides the separation between spirits "that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God" and those who in error refuse it—an indication of their being evil spirits. [42]

In John 14:26 Jesus states: "But the Comforter, [even] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things". The identity of the "Comforter" has been the subject of debate among theologians, who have proposed multiple theories on the matter. [43]

Pauline Epistles

Stained glass representation of the Holy Spirit as a dove, c. 1660. Holy Spirit as Dove (detail).jpg
Stained glass representation of the Holy Spirit as a dove, c. 1660.

The Holy Spirit plays a key role in the Pauline epistles; and the Apostle Paul's pneumatology is closely connected to his theology and Christology, to the point of being almost inseparable from them. [9]

The First Epistle to the Thessalonians, which was likely the first of Paul's letters, introduces a characterization of the Holy Spirit in 1:6 and 4:8 which is found throughout his epistles. [44] In 1 Thessalonians 1:6 Paul refers to the imitation of Christ (and himself) and states: "And ye became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit", whose source is identified in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 as "God, who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you". [44] [45] [46]

These two themes of receiving the Spirit "like Christ" and God being the source of the Spirit persist in Pauline letters as the characterization of the relationship of Christians with God. [44] For Paul the imitation of Christ involves readiness to be shaped by the Holy Spirit, as in Romans 8:4 and 8:11: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you." [45]

The First Epistle to the Thessalonians also refers to the power of the Holy Spirit in 1:5, a theme also found in other Pauline letters. [47]

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

In the Farewell Discourse Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure, depiction from the Maesta by Duccio, 1308-1311. Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles.jpg
In the Farewell Discourse Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure, depiction from the Maesta by Duccio, 1308–1311.

The New Testament details a close relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus during his earthly life and ministry. [11] The Apostles' Creed echoes the statements in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, stating that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary. [12]

Specific New Testament references to the interaction of Jesus and the Holy Spirit during his earthly life, and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit during his ministry include: [11] [12] [48]

  • "Spirit without measure" having been given to Jesus in John 3:34, referring to the word spoken by Jesus (Rhema) being the words of God. [49]

In his Farewell Discourse to his disciples, Jesus promised that he would "send the Holy Spirit" to them after his departure, in John 15:26 stating: "whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth ... shall bear witness of me". [13] [14]

Mainstream doctrines

The theology of spirits is called pneumatology. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Lord and Giver of Life in the Nicene creed. [50] He is The Creator Spirit, present before the creation of the universe and through his power everything was made in Jesus Christ, by God the Father. [50] Christian hymns such as Veni Creator Spiritus reflects this belief. [50]

In early Christianity, the concept of salvation was closely related to the invocation of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit". [16] [17] and since the first century, Christians have called upon God with the name "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in prayer, baptism, communion, exorcism, hymn-singing, preaching, confession, absolution and benediction. [16] [17] This is reflected in the saying: "Before there was a 'doctrine' of the Trinity, Christian prayer invoked the Holy Trinity". [16]

For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God. [3] [4] [51] The Holy Spirit is understood to be one of the three persons of the Trinity. As such he is personal and also fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and Son of God. [3] [4] [51] He is different from the Father and the Son in that he proceeds from the Father (and, according to Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants, from the Father and the Son) as described in the Nicene Creed. [4] [52] The Triune God is thus manifested as three Persons (Greek hypostases ), [53] in One Divine Being (Greek: Ousia), [5] called the Godhead (from Old English: Godhood), the Divine Essence of God. [54]

In the New Testament, by the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, while maintaining her virginity. [55] The Holy Spirit descended over Jesus in a corporeal way, as a dove, at the time of his baptism, and a voice from Heaven was heard: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased." [56] [56] [57] He is the Sanctifier of souls, the Helper, [58] Comforter, [59] the Giver of graces, he who leads souls to the Father and the Son. [50]

The Holy Spirit is credited with inspiring believers and allowing for them to interpret all the sacred scripture and leads prophets, both in Old Testament and New Testament. [60] Christians receive the Fruits of the Holy Spirit by means of his mercy and grace. [61]

God the Holy Spirit

A depiction of the Trinity consisting of God the Holy Spirit along with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus) Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg
A depiction of the Trinity consisting of God the Holy Spirit along with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus)

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity includes the concept of God the Holy Spirit, along with God the Son and God the Father. [62] [63] Theologian Vladimir Lossky has argued that while in the act of the Incarnation, God the Son became manifest as the Son of God, the same did not take place for God the Holy Spirit which remained unrevealed. [64] Yet, as in 1 Corinthians 6:19, God the Spirit continues to dwell in bodies of the faithful. [63] .

In a similar way, the Latin treatise De Trinitate ( On the Trinity ) of Saint Augustine of Hippo affirms: "For as the Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, which no one doubts to be said in respect to substance, yet we do not say that the very Supreme Trinity itself is three Gods, but one God... But position, and condition, and places, and times, are not said to be in God properly, but metaphorically and through similitudes... And as respects action (or making), perhaps it may be said most truly of God alone, for God alone makes and Himself is not made. Nor is He liable to passions as far as belongs to that substance whereby He is God... So the Father is omnipotent, the Son omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit is omnipotent; yet not three omnipotents, but one omnipotent... Whatever, therefore, is spoken of God in respect to Himself, is both spoken singly of each Person, that is, of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and together of the Trinity itself, not plurally but in the singular." [65] .

In Christian theology the Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith. [66] The new believer is "born again of the Spirit". [67] The Holy Spirit enables Christian life by dwelling in the individual believers and enables them to live a righteous and faithful life. [66] The Holy Spirit also acts as comforter or Paraclete, one who intercedes, or supports or acts as an advocate, particularly in times of trial. And he acts to convince the unredeemed person both of the sinfulness of their actions, and of their moral standing as sinners before God. [68] Another faculty of the Holy Spirit is the inspiration and interpretation of scripture. The Holy Spirit both inspires the writing of the scriptures and interprets them to the Christian and the church. [69]

Procession of the Holy Spirit

In John 15:26 Jesus says of the Holy Spirit: "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me." In 325, the First Council of Nicaea, being the first ecumenical council, ended its Creed with the words "and in the Holy Spirit". In 381, the First Council of Constantinople, being the second ecumenical council, expanded the Creed and stated that Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father" (ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον). This phrase was based on John 15:26 (ὃ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται). In 451, the Council of Chalcedon, being the fourth ecumenical council, affirmed the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. [70] In the same time, the question of procession of the Holy Spirit was addressed by various Christian theologians, expressing diverse views and using different terminology, thus initiating the debate that became focused on the Filioque clause.

In 589, the Third Council of Toledo in its third canon officially accepted the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son ("a Patre et Filio procedere"). [71] During the next few centuries, two distinctive schools of thought were gradually shaped, Eastern and Western. Eastern theologians were teaching that Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only (notion referred as monoprocessionism), [72] while Western theologians were teaching that Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (notion referred as filioquism). [73] Debates and controversies between two sides became the main point of difference within the Christian pneumatology.

Fruit and Gifts of the Spirit

St. Josaphat Cathedral in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is shaped as a cross with seven copper domes representing the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. St Josephat UCC.jpg
St. Josaphat Cathedral in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is shaped as a cross with seven copper domes representing the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit .

The "fruit of the Holy Spirit" [74] consists of "permanent dispositions" [74] (in this similar to the permanent character of the sacraments), virtuous characteristics engendered in the Christian by the action of the Holy Spirit. [75] Galatians 5:22–23 names nine aspects and states: [75]

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

In the Epistle to the Galatians these nine characteristics are in contrast to the "works of the flesh" and highlight the positive manifestations of the work of the Holy Spirit in believers. [75]

The "gifts of the Holy Spirit" [74] are distinct from the Fruit of the Spirit, and consist of specific abilities granted to the individual Christian. [66] They are frequently known by the Greek word for gift, charisma , in English charism, from which the term charismatic derives. There is no generally agreed upon exhaustive list of the gifts, and various Christian denominations use different lists, often drawing upon 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. [76] Pentecostal denominations and the charismatic movement teach that the absence of the supernatural gifts was due to the neglect of the Holy Spirit and his work by the major denominations. [76] Believers in the relevance of the supernatural gifts sometimes speak of a Baptism with the Holy Spirit or Filling with the Holy Spirit which the Christian needs to experience in order to receive those gifts. However, many Christian denominations hold that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is identical with conversion, and that all Christians are by definition baptized in the Holy Spirit. [76]

The "seven gifts of the Holy Spirit" [74] pour out on a believer at baptism, and are traditionally derived from Isaiah 11:1–2, although the New Testament does not refer to Isaiah 11:1–2 regarding these gifts. [76] [77] These 7 gifts are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (strength), knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. [76] [77] This is the view of the Catholic Church [74] [77] and many other mainstream Christian groups. [76]

Denominational variations

Icon of the Fathers of the Council holding the Nicene Creed Nicaea icon.jpg
Icon of the Fathers of the Council holding the Nicene Creed

Christian denominations have doctrinal variations in their beliefs regarding the Holy Spirit. A well-known example is the Filioque controversy regarding the Holy Spirit – one of the key differences between the teachings of the main Western Churches and various Eastern Christian denominations (Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East). [78] [79]

The Filioque debate centers around whether the Nicene Creed should state that the Spirit "proceeds from the Father" and then have a stop, as the creed was initially adopted in Greek (and followed thereafter by the Eastern Church), or should say "from the Father and the Son" as was later adopted in Latin and followed by the Western Church, filioque being "and from the Son" in Latin. [80]

Towards the end of the 20th century, discussions took place about the removal of Filioque in the Nicene Creed from Anglican prayer books along the lines of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox approach, but these still have not reached a state of final implementation. [81]

The majority of mainstream Protestantism hold similar views on the theology of the Holy Spirit as the Roman Catholic Church, but there are significant differences in belief between Pentecostalism and the rest of Protestantism. [3] [82] Pentecostalism has a focus on "Baptism with the Spirit", relying on Acts 1:5 which refers to "now you will baptize with the Holy Spirit". [83] The more recent Charismatic movements have a focus on the "gifts of the Spirit" (such as healing, prophecy, etc.) and rely on 1 Corinthians 12 as a scriptural basis, but often differ from Pentecostal movements. [84]

Non-trinitarian views about the Holy Spirit differ significantly from mainstream Christian doctrine.

Catholicism

The Holy Spirit has been a topic in at least two papal encyclicals:

The topic of the Holy Spirit is discussed extensively in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as "I believe in the Holy Spirit" in Paragraphs 683 through 747.

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit as expressed in the Nicene Creed has been a point of difference between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. See Filioque clause.

Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians

Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians view the Holy Spirit, not as an actual person separate from God the Father, but as God's eternal "energy" or "active force", that he uses to accomplish his will in creation and redemption. [85] [86]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. [87] He is often referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Comforter. [88] Members of the Church believe in a social trinitarianism and subordinationism, meaning that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are understood as being unified in will and purpose, but not in substance. [89] The Holy Ghost is believed to be subordinate to the Father and the Son and operates under their direction. The Holy Ghost, like all intelligent beings, is believed to be fundamentally eternal, uncreated, and self-existent. [90]

The Church teaches that the influence of the Holy Ghost can be received before baptism, but the gift, or constant companionship, of the Holy Ghost, which comes by the laying-on of hands by a properly ordained Priesthood Holder with a line of authority traced back to Christ through Peter, is obtained only after baptism. [91] Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Church, taught "You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man," he said, "if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost". [92]

Stoic philosophy

In his Introduction to the 1964 book Meditations , the Anglican priest Maxwell Staniforth discussed the profound impact of Stoicism on Christianity. In particular:

Another Stoic concept which offered inspiration to the Church was that of 'divine Spirit'. Cleanthes, wishing to give more explicit meaning to Zeno's 'creative fire', had been the first to hit upon the term pneuma, or 'spirit', to describe it. Like fire, this intelligent 'spirit' was imagined as a tenuous substance akin to a current of air or breath, but essentially possessing the quality of warmth; it was immanent in the universe as God, and in man as the soul and life-giving principle. Clearly it is not a long step from this to the 'Holy Spirit' of Christian theology, the 'Lord and Giver of life', visibly manifested as tongues of fire at Pentecost and ever since associated – in the Christian as in the Stoic mind – with the ideas of vital fire and beneficient warmth. [93]

Symbolism and art

Symbolism

The Holy Spirit as a dove on a stamp from Faroe Islands. Faroe stamp 537 jolavisan.jpg
The Holy Spirit as a dove on a stamp from Faroe Islands.

The Holy Spirit is frequently referred to by metaphor and symbol, both doctrinally and biblically. Theologically speaking these symbols are a key to understanding of the Holy Spirit and his actions, and are not mere artistic representations. [51] [94]

Art and architecture

Stained Glass in the Church of the Ascension (Johnstown, Ohio) showing fire, a symbol of Holy Spirit Church of the Ascension (Johnstown, Ohio) - stained glass, The Holy Spirit as fire.jpg
Stained Glass in the Church of the Ascension (Johnstown, Ohio) showing fire, a symbol of Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation by Rubens, 1628 Peter Paul Rubens - Annunciation - WGA20250.jpg
The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation by Rubens, 1628

The Holy Spirit has been represented in Christian art both in the Eastern and Western Churches using a variety of depictions. [97] [98] [99] The depictions have ranged from nearly identical figures that represent the three persons of the Holy Trinity to a dove to a flame.

The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove, based on the account of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove when he was baptized in the Jordan. [100] In many paintings of the Annunciation, the Holy Spirit is shown in the form of a dove, coming down towards Mary on beams of light, as the Archangel Gabriel announces Jesus Christ's coming to Mary. A dove may also be seen at the ear of Saint Gregory the Great─as recorded by his secretary or other church father authors, dictating their works to them. The dove also parallels the one that brought the olive branch to Noah after the deluge, as a symbol of peace. [100]

The book of Acts describes the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles at Pentecost in the form of a wind and tongues of fire resting over the apostles' heads. Based on the imagery in that account, the Holy Spirit is sometimes symbolized by a flame of fire. [101]

Visual arts

Holy Spirit Cathedrals

See also

Related Research Articles

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Nontrinitarianism A form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity

Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases or persons who are coeternal, coequal, and indivisibly united in one being, or essence. Certain religious groups that emerged during the Protestant Reformation have historically been known as antitrinitarian, but are not considered Protestant in popular discourse due to their nontrinitarian nature.

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Pneumatology in Christianity refers to a particular discipline within Christian theology that focuses on the study of the Holy Spirit. The term is essentially derived from the Greek word Pneuma (πνεῦμα), which designates "breath" or "spirit" and metaphorically describes a non-material being or influence. The English term pneumatology comes from two Greek words: πνεῦμα and λόγος. Pneumatology includes study of the person of the Holy Spirit, and the works of the Holy Spirit. This latter category also includes Christian teachings on new birth, spiritual gifts (charismata), Spirit-baptism, sanctification, the inspiration of prophets, and the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. Different Christian denominations have different theological approaches on various pneumatological questions.

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God the Father is a title given to God in various religions, most prominently in Christianity. In mainstream trinitarian Christianity, God the Father is regarded as the first person of the Trinity, followed by the second person, God the Son, and the third person, God the Holy Spirit. Since the second century, Christian creeds included affirmation of belief in "God the Father (Almighty)", primarily as his capacity as "Father and creator of the universe". However, in Christianity the concept of God as the father of Jesus Christ goes metaphysically further than the concept of God as the Creator and father of all people, as indicated in the Apostle's Creed where the expression of belief in the "Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth" is immediately, but separately followed by in "Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord", thus expressing both senses of fatherhood.

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This is a glossary of terms used in Christianity.

Catholic theology is the understanding of Roman Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.

In Christian theology, the gender of the Holy Spirit has been the subject of some debate from earliest times.

Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:

The Jesus' Name doctrine or the Oneness doctrine upholds that baptism is to be performed "in the name of Jesus Christ," rather than the Trinitarian formula "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." It is most commonly associated with Oneness Christology and Oneness Pentecostalism, however, some Trinitarians also baptise in Jesus' name.

Holy Spirit (Christian denominational variations) Christian denominations have variations in their teachings regarding the Holy Spirit.

Christian denominations have variations in their teachings regarding the Holy Spirit.

References

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Sources

Further reading