Does the human mind have the capability to perceive the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity of God as God knows Himself? Or, is it impossible? After all, the perception of the Holy Spirit varies greatly from Christian to Christian based on what they have read and heard about His Divine Presence.
The most common perception of the Holy Spirit is as a Dove. [Mt. 3:16] Holy pictures representing the Holy Spirit as a Dove are found in abundance throughout the world, in Catholic and non-Catholic Churches, in Chapels, in the schools, the seminaries, in the convents, in holy books, etc...
Others perceive the Holy Spirit as a purifying fire [Mal. 3:2; Mt. 3:11; Lk. 3:16]; as tongues, as of fire [Acts 2:3](CCC. # 696); as anointing oil [1 Jn. 2:20](CCC. # 695); as water [Jn. 3:5]; as living water [Jn. 7:38-9](CCC. # 694); as a cloud [Ex. 24:15-8](CCC. # 697); as a seal [2 Cor. 1:22](CCC. # 698) and as a wind. [Jn. 3:8] And yet others perceive the Holy Spirit as a Divine force or as a power of God.
But, is the Holy Spirit any of these? Are these not all symbols of the invisible and spiritual Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit? Are these images not a reflection of the human mind visualizing something tangible in association with the Holy Spirit?
If the Holy Spirit is not a Dove, fire, water or wind, then why is it that we are not addressing the Holy Spirit according to who He truly is? Why do we fail to perceive the Holy Spirit as God knows Himself?
HE IS THE HOLY SPIRIT OF...
In this chapter, a review will be made of what the Holy Bible teaches regarding the Presence of the Holy Spirit. This review will assist the readers in their knowledge and understanding of the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the Holy Bible, in the Old and New Testament, numerous references are found to the Holy Spirit as being the Spirit of God. Some of these passages are found in: Gen. 41:38; Mt. 3:16; Rom. 8;9; 1 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 4:30; 1 Pet. 4:14; and 1 Jn. 4:2. There is also a reference to the Spirit of the living God. [2 Cor. 3:3]
Elsewhere in the Holy Bible, a reference is found to the Holy Spirit as being the Spirit of the Father. [Mt. 10:20]
There are references to the Spirit of the Lord. [Is. 61:1; Lk. 4:18; Acts 8:39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 8] Some of these references are to the Spirit of the Lord God of the Old Testament (God the Father) while others refer to the Spirit of the Lord as Jesus. In another passage, the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God's Son. [Gal. 4:6](CCC. # 693)
There are also references to the Spirit of Christ. [Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11] One Bible passage refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Jesus Christ. [Phil. 1:19]
Diagram 14: The Holy Spirit of...
Note: In Diagram 14, we see that the Holy Spirit of the Lord God, the Father, is also the Holy Spirit of the Lord and the Son Jesus Christ.
Based on these few Bible passages, the list being far from complete, it is clear that the Holy Spirit who is mentioned in all of these Bible passages is the One and only Spirit of both, God the Father and His beloved Son Jesus Christ. This truth is further supported by passages that interchange the Spirit of God with the Spirit of Christ in support of the deity of Jesus as is found in the Letter to the Romans.
"But you are not in the flesh; you are in the spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him." [Rom. 8:9]
Another similar passage is found in the Second Letter to the Corinthians where it states:
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." [2 Cor. 3:17]
In this passage, we learn that the Lord is the Spirit. Who is the Lord? In the Old Testament, the Heavenly Father was referred to as the Lord. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lord. This passage reveals to us that the Holy Spirit, the Lord, is God, One with the Father and the Son.
While the previous paragraph makes it clear that there is only One God [Mk. 12:32], it also teaches us that there are Three separate Divine Presences in God. [Mt. 28:19]
"The Trinity is One. ... The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: 'The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.'" (CCC. # 253; Fourth Lateran Council, 1215 A.D.)
Biblical support of the truth that the Father and the Son are separate Divine Presences in the Blessed Trinity is found in the following passage:
"For just as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself." [Jn. 5:26]
Accordingly, Jesus, the Son of God, having life in Himself because He has a mind of His own, is a separate Divine Presence apart from God the Father, being able to act independently from the Father. The question that arises then is if the Holy Spirit also has life in Himself, He being able to act independently from the Father and the Son.
Diagram 15: The Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son.
Note: In Diagram 15, we see that the Holy Spirit of the Father is also the Holy Spirit of the Son.
FROM WHO DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT PROCEED?
The Holy Bible teaches us that Jesus came from the Father.
"Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but He sent Me.'" [Jn. 8:42] Having sent Jesus, [Jn. 8:42] the Heavenly Father granted Jesus to have life in Himself. [Jn. 5:26] Therefore, it is truthful to say that Jesus is a separate Divine Presence in Himself, having life in Himself, independently from the Father.
Next, the Holy Bible teaches us that both, the Father and Jesus would sent the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, into our world.
"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf." [Jn. 15:26](CCC. # 692)
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." [Jn. 14:26(CCC. # 729)
"It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven, things into which angels long to look." [1 Pet. 1:12]
Since the Holy Spirit has been sent by the Father as Jesus was sent by the Father, it is then safe and truthful to conclude (and all would surely agree) that the Holy Spirit also enjoys life in Himself so He can complete His mission of building up the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. (CCC. # 689, 702) The Holy Spirit could not teach [Jn. 14:26] the faithful if He did not have life in Himself.
Therefore, based on the review of the previous Bible passages, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, nor the Son.(CCC. # 254) Rather, He is a separate Divine Presence, apart from the Father and the Son. He cannot be the Father because the Father sent Him. He cannot be the Son because He has been sent to remind the world of all what Jesus has said.
Diagram 16: The Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit each has life in Himself.
Note: In Diagram 16, we see that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each has life in Himself.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A DOVE
The christian community commonly uses the dove in reference to Baptism as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. (CCC. # 701) One may wonder, "Is the Holy Spirit a dove?" Such a question would be based on the following Bible passage:
"And they saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him." [Mt. 3:16]
The above passage clearly says that the Spirit of God descended 'like' a dove. It does not say that the Holy Spirit 'is' a dove, but rather, that He descended like a dove to make His presence known to the world.
If the Holy Spirit who descended in the form of a dove is not a dove, nor fire, nor water or oil, what does He look like? Does the Bible reveal anything about His image? Let us proceed so we can determine if such a conclusion is possible from the teachings that are found in the Holy Bible.
THE DIVINE NATURE OF GOD
In the Letter to the Romans, we read and learn that the Divine nature of God, although invisible, can be understood from the things that God has created.
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His eternal power and Divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made. So they are without excuse." [Rom. 1:19-20]
The above passage teaches us that the Divine nature of God is not a mystery, that the human mind is able to understand God.
Note: The following should be noted regarding the above passages in Romans 1:19-20:
1. This passage does not refer to new revelations. "No new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ." (CCC. # 66)
2. The passage speaks of "things He has made." Jesus, the eternal Creator, was not created by God. As such, the Divine nature of God, invisible though it is, can be understood and seen from the things that God has created.
3. From the revelations that we have received through Jesus, this Divine knowledge being combined with what God has created, we can gradually grasp the Divine nature of God.
4. "Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries." (CCC. # 66)
To understand how the Holy Spirit is made known, it is necessary to have a general understanding of how God the Father is revealed. While the Divine Presence of the Heavenly Father will be reviewed in the next chapter, at this point, we will only touch on this subject.
Jesus said, "If you knew Me, you would know My Father also." [Jn. 8:19]
And he added, "If you know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him." [Jn. 14:7]
"Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?'" [Jn. 14:9]
"And whoever sees Me sees Him who sent me." [Jn. 12:45]
As will be shown later, the above Bible passages provide clues as to the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit. Since the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One, can the Holy Spirit be known by the fact that those who have seen Jesus, have seen the Father? By knowing Jesus, can the Christian also know the Holy Spirit? Let us continue...
THE HIDDEN GODHEAD
In the following passage of the Holy Bible, we are told that Jesus has the authority to reveal the Father to those He chooses to do so.
"All things have been handed over to me by My Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." [Mt. 11:27]
Since Jesus has the authority to reveal the Father to those He chooses to do so, does Jesus also have the authority to reveal the Holy Spirit to those He chooses to do so? Or does the Holy Spirit have the authority to reveal Himself to those that He chooses to do so? Or again, is the Holy Spirit revealed in the Holy Bible in support of Romans 1:20-1 that states the invisible Godhead is known by the things that God has created, man being without excuse for not knowing God?
In the Bible, in the Words of Jesus, it is stated:
"To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given." [Mt. 13:11]
"The reason that I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.'" [Mt. 13:13]
From these two passages of the Holy Scriptures, it is learned that the opportunity to understand spiritual things, the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, including the Godhead, is limited to those who have a spiritual mind and a sincerity of heart. Therefore, these Bible passages support that the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit, this consisting of spiritual knowledge and a secret of Heaven as far as the nature of the Godhead is concerned, can be made known to the Christians who are properly disposed.
Decrees of the First Vatican Council: 1869
The same holy mother church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason: ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. [Rom. 1:20]
It was, however, pleasing to his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal laws of his will to the human race by another, and that a supernatural, way. This is how the Apostle puts it: In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son. [Heb. 1:1-2]
2. On revelation
1. If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty; from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: Let him be anathema. (Note: 'anathema' means 'excommunicated.')
THE DEPARTURE OF JESUS
Jesus provides us with a key as to the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit in the following passage:
"I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." [Jn. 16:7]
Why was it necessary for Jesus to depart from this world to assure the coming of the Holy Spirit? Why could the Holy Spirit not come if Jesus remained in this world? These questions will be answered as we proceed.
THE GREEK TRANSLATION OF 'HOLY SPIRIT'
In the writing of the Old Testament, when reference was made to the Holy Spirit, the Greek word 'Ruach' and the Hebrew word 'Ruab' were used. The English translation of these two words means 'breath', 'air' and 'wind' in its primary usage. (CCC. # 691) There are close to 400 references to 'Ruach' in the Old Testament.
In the writing of the New Testament, when reference was made to the Holy Spirit, the Greek word 'Pneuma' was used. The English translation of this word has been translated to mean 'Spirit'.
Exceptions are found in the New Testament when the words 'Holy Ghost' were used. In older version of Bible translations, both, the 'Holy Spirit' and the 'Holy Ghost' were applied during translations. In modern versions of the Bible, the words 'Holy Ghost' have been removed to be replaced with 'Holy Spirit.' Because of this change of words, the mystery of the Holy Spirit has been further concealed.
(The words "Holy Ghost" remains intact to this date in the English translation of the Latin Vulgate Version of the Holy Bible.)
THE HOLY GHOST
In the New Testament, in at least 94 instances, the 'Holy Spirit' is referred to as the 'Holy Ghost'. It is interesting to note in what particular Bible passages that the words 'Holy Ghost' are used in the inspired writings of the Holy Spirit. In the four Gospels, emphasis is on the words 'Holy Ghost' rather than on 'Holy Spirit.' Examples of Bible passages that refer to the Holy Ghost are:
- John the Baptism's prophecy about Jesus' coming [Lk. 1:15];
- the Annunciation and conception of Mary [Mt. 1:18, 1:20; Lk. 1:35];
- Elizabeth being filled with the Holy Ghost [Lk. 1:41];
- Zachariah being filled with the Holy Ghost [Lk. 1:67];
- the Holy Ghost resting on Simeon [Lk. 2:25-6];
- the baptism by the Holy Ghost and fire by Jesus [Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33];
- when Jesus was forty days in the wilderness [Lk. 4:1];
- the Holy Ghost descent on Jesus at His baptism [Lk. 3:22];
- blasphemy against the Holy Ghost [Mt. 12:31, 12:32; Mk. 3:29; Lk. 12:10];
- the prophecy of David regarding the promised Messiah [Mk. 12:36];
- the Holy Ghost speaking for those who are brought to trial [Mk. 13:11; Lk. 12:12];
- the promise of living water [Jn. 7:39];
- the promise to send the Holy Ghost [Jn. 7:39];
- the death of Jesus, giving up the Holy Ghost [Mt. 27:50; Mk. 15:37, 15:39; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 19:30];
- Jesus' command to baptize in the name of the Trinity [Mt. 28:19];
- and Jesus giving the Holy Ghost to His disciples [Jn. 20:22] The above passages reflect all the main parts of the life of Jesus. Other emphasis on the work of the Holy Ghost that is found in the New Testament are:
The anointing of Jesus with the Holy Ghost [Acts 10:38];
- Jesus instructing the Apostles through the Holy Ghost [Acts 1:2];
- baptism of the Holy Ghost [Acts 1:5, 10:47, 11:16];
- receiving the power of the Holy Ghost [Acts 1:8];
- David's prophecy of the Holy Ghost [Acts 1:16];
- being filled by the Holy Ghost [Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:31, 6:3, 6:5, 7:55, 9:17, 11:24, 13:9, 13:52];
- the sending of the Holy Ghost [Acts 2:33; 1 Pet. 1:12];
- the gifts of the Holy Ghost [Acts 2:38, 10:45; Heb. 2:4; 2 Pet. 1:21];
- lying to the Holy Ghost [Acts 5:3];
- the indwelling of the Holy Ghost [Acts 5:32, 8:15, 8:17-9, 10:44, 11:15, 15:8, 19:2 (x2), 19:6; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 6:19; 1 Thess. 1:6; Heb. 6:4];
- opposing the Holy Ghost [Acts 7:51];
- the comfort of the Holy Ghost [Acts 9:31];
- the speaking of the Holy Ghost [Acts 13:2, 20:23, 21:11, 28:25; 1 Cor. 12:3; Heb. 3:7; Heb. 9:8];
- guidance of the Holy Ghost [Acts 13:4, 15:28, 16:6];
- appointment by the Holy Ghost [Acts 20:28; 2 Tim. 1:14];
- the Holy Ghost is a witness to the truth [Rom. 9:1; Heb. 10:15; 1 Jn. 5:7];
- the joy of the Holy Ghost [Rom. 14:17];
- the power of the Holy Ghost [Rom. 15:13; 1 Thess. 1:5];
- sanctification by the Holy Ghost [Rom. 15:16; Tit. 3:5];
- the teachings of the Holy Ghost [1 Cor. 2:13];
- the holiness of the Holy Ghost [2 Cor. 6:6];
- and praying in the Holy Ghost [Jude 1:20] One would wonder why the New Testament has placed so much emphasis on the words 'Holy Ghost' rather than on 'Holy Spirit' in each of those passages. Was the inspired Word of God trying to tell something to the Christians? What difference is there between the Word 'Ghost' and the word 'Spirit?'
THE MEANING OF THE WORD 'GHOST'
What does the word 'ghost' mean? Common English dictionaries define a ghost as 'a supernatural being' or 'the spirit of a dead person, appearing as a pale, shadowy apparition.' As is noted from these definitions, the words 'ghost' and 'spirit' are synonymous, both meaning the same thing. Some people find the word 'spirit' more acceptable than the word 'ghost', the later often being associated with scary experiences or of an evil nature.
The above definitions also tell us that a ghost or a spirit, being a supernatural being, has life in itself. If the ghost or the spirit did not have life in himself, there would be no such thing as a ghost or a spirit. It would simply be a spiritual form.
Based on the above knowledge, one then wonders if the definition of a ghost or spirit can be associated with the words 'Holy Ghost' or 'Holy Spirit.' To answer that suggestion, it is necessary to know if the writers of the Scriptures believed in ghosts or spirits in the days of Jesus when they wrote about the Holy Ghost. Some Bible passages do support that the Apostles believed in ghosts and thought that they had seen one.
"And early in the morning He [Jesus] came walking toward them on the sea. [Mt. 14:25; Mk. 6:48; Jn. 6:19]
But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, 'It is a ghost!'" [Mt. 14:26; Mk. 6:49]
Diagram 17: Jesus who was walking on the water.
Note: In Diagram 17, we see Jesus in His physical body, the one that the disciples saw walking on the water.
Diagram 18: The Spirit of Jesus.
Note: In Diagram 18, we see the Spirit of Jesus that the disciples thought they had seen walking on the water.
Surely, when the disciples thought that they had seen a supernatural being walking on the sea, they must have though that Jesus had died and that they were seeing His Ghost. As the Holy Bible tells us, "they were terrified!" This passage clearly tells us that in the days of Jesus, His disciples believed in ghosts (or spirits) in the same way as we believe in them today.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus Himself tells us what the people of His days believed as to the characteristics of a ghost:
"While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, 'Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." [Jn. 24:36-40]
Based on these two passages alone, it is perceived that a ghost has a spiritual body (or form) that is not solid as shown in Diagram 18. It may or may not be solid in appearance, but it can clearly be told apart from a physical body. A ghost is in the image of the person that it is assumed to be. Note above how the appearance of Diagram 18 is an image of Diagram 17.
THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY GHOST
Based on the facts that have been presented until now and the undeniable inspired truths that are found in the Holy Bible, when the inspired writers of the Holy Bible wrote about the Presence of the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit], their intended meaning was exactly as stated. The Holy Ghost was intended to mean the human Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus, He who gave life to the physical body of Christ while Jesus enjoyed the human nature. [Jas. 2:26] The Presence of the Holy Spirit confirmed that Jesus truly enjoyed a human nature as man enjoys a human nature, with a soul, a spirit and a physical body.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Lord [Is. 61:1; Lk. 4:18; Acts 8:39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 8], the Spirit of God's Son [Gal. 4:6], the Spirit of Christ. [Rom. 8:9]
From these truths, it is learned that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God, He being a Divine being who has life in Himself.
To further support this truth, the Holy Bible reveals to us why the Holy Spirit could not have come to us until such time as Jesus had left the physical world. Unless Jesus had died on the Holy Cross as was foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament, His Spirit could not be sent into the world.
For Jesus to be truly human as we are human, His body needed the coexistence of a spirit, nothing less than the Holy Spirit because of the Divinity of Jesus, to give life to His physical body. For a body without a spirit is dead. [Jas. 2:26]
Did Jesus not say that He had to leave before the Advocate could come?
"I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." [Jn. 16:7](CCC. # 730)
As previously explained in the first chapter and as the Holy Bible teaches us, human beings enjoy a body, a spirit and a soul. [1 Thess. 5:23] As the Holy Catholic Church teaches us, Jesus assumed that same human nature. To enjoy the human nature, Jesus had to have a Soul, a Spirit and a body.
The Holy Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit of Jesus came upon the Virgin Mary at her conception. [Lk. 1:35] He departed when Jesus gave up His Spirit to the Heavenly Father when He died on the cross. [Lk. 19:30] In James 2:26, we learn that, "a body without a spirit is dead." All these inspired passages of the Sacred Scriptures reveal to us the image of the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus had not enjoyed a Spirit as every human being has a spirit, Jesus could not have been a man, nor have the human nature, nor qualify as the perfect human sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. Jesus was truly human in nature and truly God by His Divine nature. Based on these Biblical truths, the Holy Ghost coexisted with Jesus while the Lord walked on the earth.
As the Holy Bible reveals to us, Jesus had to die before the Holy Ghost could be sent into the world apart from Jesus as a separate Divine Presence of God. As an invisible and supernatural Divine being, the Presence of the Holy Ghost has life in Himself. Coexisting with Jesus as the Holy Ghost of God the Father and of Jesus, the Holy Ghost is of Divine nature, being the third Divine Presence of the Holy Trinity.
We also learn from the Bible that God is invisible. [Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27] While some Bible passages do refer to God the Father as being invisible, other passages actually refer to the Holy Spirit. Because a spirit, being spiritual in form and nature, is considered invisible to the naked eye of the physical body, it cannot be seen. As in the following passage, when the Bible teaches that God is invisible or a spirit, it is also a reference to the Holy Spirit of God who is invisible.
"God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." [Jn. 4:24]
When Jesus walked on the earth, He was "the image of the invisible God." [Col. 1:15] "For in Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwelled bodily." [Col. 2:9] In Jesus coexisted the fullness of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
"The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a Father's only Son, full of grace and truth." [Jn. 1:14](CCC. # 423, 461)
Since Jesus was the image of the invisible God as Colossians 1:15 teaches us, what is the image of the Holy Spirit versus the image of the Heavenly Father or that of Jesus? Does the Holy Ghost have a form or an image other than a Dove, fire or water? Yes, He does!
As the image of the ghost of a man resembles his physical appearance, as shown in Diagram 18 and believed by the early Church Father, the Holy Ghost of Jesus is in the image of the physical appearance of Jesus. The Holy Ghost is the image of Jesus as Jesus is the image of the Father. Jesus was the physical and visible image of the invisible God, the Holy Ghost being the spiritual and invisible image of the invisible God.
Note: St. Gregory Thaumaturgeus wrote that the Holy Ghost is the image of Jesus as Jesus is the image of the Father. The Holy Catholic Church recognized his writings as being authentic and divinely inspired. This truth was assumed by St. Athanasius against heresies. While this doctrine has been held and could not be explained in the past, it is now being presented in a way that it can be understood by the average person.
Quote: "The doctrine that the Spirit is the image of the Son, as the Son is the image of the Father, is characteristic of Greek theology. It is asserted by St. Gregory Thaumaturgeus in His Creed. It is assumed by St. Athanasius as an indisputable premise in his controversy with the Macedonians (Ad Serap., I, xx, xxi, xxiv; II, i, iv)"
(Subject: "The Blessed Trinity"; From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright 1996 by New Advent, Inc.) While Jesus and the Holy Ghost are One in God, because each one has life in himself through His individual mind, they are separate Divine Presences in the Holy Trinity of God. It is not only the resurrected and glorified Jesus Who walks on the earth today, but also the Holy Ghost who's mission it is with Jesus to build the Holy Catholic Church.
Because of the spiritual resemblance that exists between the Holy Spirit and the resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus who is the Firstfruit of many to follow, it is possible for one to see the Holy Ghost while believing that he has seen Jesus or vice versa.
In the first line of the following Bible passage, the Holy Ghost is perceived as God, being One in God, while also being perceived as the Ghost of the Lord, being separate from the Lord.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit." [2 Cor. 3:17-8]
This Bible passage also reveals how Christians are being transformed into a new creation [Gal. 6:15; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12] (CCC. # 537, 614, 628, 1214) of the seed of God. [1 Jn. 3:9, 5:18] (CCC. # 2852) The old creation, the old spirit, has died. [2 Cor. 5:17](CCC. # 1214, 1265) The Christian is reborn, having received a new spirit. When the body of the Christian resurrects, his new body will coexist with his new spirit, becoming one in the image and glory of the Lord Jesus.
ENJOYING A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Knowing and understanding what has been said until now, how does one proceed to have a daily relationship with the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit? First of all, there has to be a change of attitude! Embracing the truth that the Holy Spirit has life in Himself, it becomes necessary to stop referring to His Divine Presence as "it." Any reference to the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit should be to "He", of the same gender as the Lord Jesus. For the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son.
Secondly, some claim that it is not biblical to pray to the Holy Spirit. To draw such conclusions is to be disrespectful to the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit who's mission it is with Jesus to build the Church of today.
When Jesus stated that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to teach the Christians everything and remind them of all that He, Jesus, had taught, [Jn. 14:26] Jesus was telling us that as true believers in the Trinity of God, we should enjoy a daily personal relationship with the Holy Spirit in the same way as we enjoy a daily personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Himself.
The Holy Spirit is the Teacher of the Christians. (CCC. # 729) Without intending any disrespect towards the Holy Spirit, what good is any teacher if a student cannot communicate with him? Such an experience would resemble listening to a tape recorder. The Holy Spirit is not a tape recorder but rather the Third Divine Presence of God, enjoying life in Himself, being God Himself. The Holy Spirit has been given to each and everyone of us to guide us and teach us in the Divine truth. When a student does not understand something, He asks his teacher for clarification. In the same way, for a Christian to seek spiritual knowledge and understanding of the wisdom of God, he must have a daily personal relationship with the Holy Spirit Who is his Teacher. He must ask questions to the Holy Spirit. How else can a student receive Divine inspirations if He does not ask?
In the days of the Old Testament, the Heavenly Father was the known Divine Presence of the Godhead who guided the people. In the days of Jesus, all authority was given to Him. Since Jesus has died on the cross for our salvation, the Divine authority to build the Holy Catholic Church is being shared between Jesus and the Holy Spirit who has been sent by the Father and the Son.
Although invisible because of His spiritual nature, the Holy Spirit walks on the earth today in His Divine Presence and spiritual form as much as Jesus Christ walked on the earth in the past in His Divine Presence and physical form. The Holy Spirit is here for all those who will reach out to Him, seeking His Divine guidance.
Christians should seek to know the Holy Spirit for Who He truly is as the Heavenly Father knows Him. The Christian who maintains a daily personal relationship with the Holy Spirit can actually feel His warm Divine Presence. To him, the Holy Spirit is not perceived as a 'it'. Nor is He perceived as water, oil or a Dove, these all being symbols of His powers. To the enlightened Christian, the Holy Spirit is a real Divine Presence, invisible, but always present and assisting those in need.
Will you take the time to reflect on these truths and get to know the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit for who He truly is, knowing and understanding Him as God knows and understands Himself? Having a greater knowledge and understanding of the Holy Spirit will help you in your spiritual growth.
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