There was a long time where I would continually make blog posts related to Christology, defending the Catholic view of Our Lord, often from the Scriptures. I’m not doing that specifically right now, but I am doing something very similar, almost making it feel like I’m dressed in old clothes. The only difference is, I’m not here to prove that the Son is God. I’m here to prove that about the Holy Spirit, which can be considerably more challenging. Nevertheless, there is evidence for His identity as God in the Bible, and I’d like to share it with you. Besides, He’s hardly spoken of directly (as opposed to mentioned indirectly, which happens very often–such as when a person speaks of the Father or the Son; He is inseparable from Them, after all).
One immediate difference between a Scriptural defense of the “Catholic” Christ and a Scriptural defense of the “Catholic” Paraclete is that, in the Latter’s case, one must start by proving that He is, in fact, a Person, not simply an active force. Only when someone has shown that adequately can he go on to prove that the Holy Spirit is God. Another difference is that the defender can’t go to one specific book of the Bible and find a treasury of evidence (such as the Gospel of John or the Book of Revelation in Christ’s case), but must explore bits and pieces of the whole New Testament. With that said, we may begin.
–The Holy Spirit as a Person–
Unfortunately for the nonbeliever, if that’s true, he can no longer go around saying, “The Force be with you”. He needn’t become depressed, however, for wishing God’s company on a person is immeasurably better than wishing the company of a force. Now then, what evidence is there that the Holy Spirit is a person?
There’s no simple passage for this, but if we look all throughout the New Testament, we’ll be able to make a list of qualities and actions He has and does, respectively, which either hint or necessitate that He is a person. For example:
- He can be blasphemed (Matt 12:31)
- He shares a name with the Father and the Son, both of Whom are persons (Matt 28:19)
- He’s lied to (Acts 5:3)
- He searches all things (1 Cor 2:10)
- He teaches and reminds (Jn 14:26)
- He speaks, something which a force can’t do (Acts 8:29, 13:2; Rev. 2:17, 29; 3:22)
- He gives gifts (1 Cor 14:1)
Simple reasoning tells us that, were He a force, He couldn’t do many of these things. A force can’t be lied to, for example. A force can’t speak. With that in mind, we can prove the next thing: the Holy Spirit is not only a person, but a Divine Person, one of three.
–The Holy Spirit as Divine–
A blatant proof of this point comes from the fact that, when a person lies to the Spirit, he lies to God (Acts 5:4). A second proof is that the Holy Spirit searches not only all things, but even “the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10). Only God can search the deep things of God, for only God is omniscient. And if Paul’s assertion is correct, then the Spirit, too, is omniscient and therefore God. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit will be with us forever (Jn 14:16). Only God is everlasting. To recap, then, He has at least two definitively divine qualities:
Furthermore, He is a Person. Who can an eternal and omniscient person be besides God? No one. Such a person couldn’t exist otherwise.