Down through the history of the Christian church, people have held different views about the personality of the Holy Spirit. 1 Some view Him as the personification of holy power in the same sense that they view Satan as the personification of evil power, and they conclude that neither Satan nor the Holy Spirit is a personal being. 2 Others see the Holy Spirit as the energy of God, an impersonal power God uses to activate His will in the universe, 3 and still others maintain that the Holy Spirit is a person and that He was active with the Father and the Son in creation, incarnation, and redemption.4 These conflicting views raise the following question: Is the Holy Spirit an impersonal power of God, mere energy that God uses to activate His will in the universe, or a personal being? The primary purpose of this article is to show that the Holy Spirit as a member of the Trinity is a personal being as opposed to an impersonal force. In this study, I investigate and develop a theological and biblical understanding that supports this view. In order to do so, I first give a brief historical overview of the understanding of the personality of the Holy Spirit from the patristic period to the twentieth century. Secondly, I investigate contemporary pneumatologiesin order to establish whethersuch pneumatologies have been able to settle the longtime question of the personality of the Holy Spirit. 5 I then give four biblical and theological arguments to show that the Holy Spirit is a personal being and not an impersonal force or power. Finally, I make concluding remarks based on the insights gained from the investigation. Issues of the nature and function of the Holy Spirit, while closely related to this subject, are beyond the scope of this investigation. They may be mentioned or alluded to when relevant but are not discussed in detail because of time and space limitations. With this road map in mind, let us now turn to the historical overview of the study of the personality of the Holy Spirit from the patristic period to the twentieth century.
Mwashinga, Christopher R.
"Personality of the Holy Spirit: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation,"
Journal of the Adventist Theological Society: Vol. 30:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/jats/vol30/iss1/4
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