De Moor 5:11: The Spirit as "Holy"

But the Epithet of Holy, which is everywhere added to the Noun Spirit, inasmuch as He is called, not only τὸ Πνεῦμα ἅγιον, the Holy Spirit, everywhere in the New Testament, but also רוּחַ קָדְשׁוֹ, the Spirit of the Holiness of Him, namely, of Jehovah, Isaiah 63:10, 11,[1] is wont to be referred to the work of Sanctification economically proper to the Spirit: “The Spirit is Holy, as proceding from both (the Father and the Son), and sanctifying all things,” says RUFFINUS, in Symbolum, opera Hieronymi, tome 4, page 112: compare LAMPE, Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation III, chapter I, § 8-12, pages 105-107.



Nevertheless, it is not able to be denied, that we do not have here an adjectival noun, which denotes a certain transient action and efficiency, which sort is ἁγιάζων, one that sanctifies, used of the Son in Hebrews 2:11,[2] but an adjective, ἅγιον/holy, indicating an especially inherent quality. Now, Holiness inherently regards the third Person, no more than the other two of the Trinity. And hence arises the occasion for consideration, whether that epithet, ἅγιον/holy, in the denomination of the third Person of the Trinity, is able to be explained in some other way; which sort, regarding equally both the name of Spirit and the divine Mode of His subsistence, the Most Illustrious WESSELIUS supplies for us, Nestorianismo et Adoptianismo redivivo confutato, Preface, *** 4, ****1: “Finally, with respect to the name of THE HOLY SPIRIT, given to the Third Person, the Adversaries of the Orthodox terribly abuse the doctrine, who have said that this name was given to the Third Person, both on account of His Natural Procession, and on account of His Economic Precession, when from this they draw a conclusion that the Name of the Son of God is to be explained in like manner, as given to the Second Person because of His Generation, both Natural and Economic. For without any danger this could be stated, that the Third Person is so called on account of both those causes, because relatively to God the Father and the Son, He is not only expressly called the Spirit of God and of the Son, but He also receives the Name of the Spirit, where He is described by His Operations in creatures, which He moves, vivifies, recreates, regenerates. But the Second Person’s Name of THE SON OF GOD, as I have already quite frequently advised, is ascribed relatively to the First alone; if He is thought to be His natural Son on account of Deity, His economic Son on account of His Humanity, the Unity of the Person is manifestly is shattered. At the same time, I myself would be altogether persuaded that the Name of THE HOLY SPIRIT, which is given to the Third Person when the Mystery of the Trinity as a necessary object of our faith is set forth, Matthew 28:19; 1 John 5:7; etc., is not given to Him on account of the benefit of our Sanctification, ascribed to Him economically, but to indicate His natural and personal property, whereby He is distinguished from the Father and the Son in the manner of His having the Divine Essence. That is, so that there might be an indication that the Name of SPIRIT, which is applicable essentially to the whole Trinity, is applied to the Third Person in a certain altogether singular, peculiar, and Separate manner, the epipthet HOLY is added. For, it is well-known that THINGS SEPARATED from common use are called HOLY. God essentially considered is called SPIRIT, to indicate His immaterial nature: but the Third Person is called SPIRIT for another reason, and on proper to Himself only, namely, that He possesses the same Spiritual and Divine nature in a manner altogether Separate, that is, through His natural provession from the Father and the Son; while the Father has it of Himself, and the Son has it of the Father through generation. And, to denote this His Characteristic property, He is called the HOLY SPIRIT. ERICUS, a writer of the ninth Century, in COCCIUS’[3]Thesauro, Tome I, page 54, column 2: It is to be known by all the faithful, that the whole Trinity as God is Spirit, as the Lord says, God is Spirit.[4] Therefore, the Father is Spirit, and the Son is Spirit, and so, so that there might be a distinction made between the Father and the Son, the Third Person of the Trinity is not now called Spirit absolutely, but the HOLY SPIRIT with the Epithet. In the same COCCIUS, Tome I, page 100, are alleged these words of the Council of Worms held in the ninth Century: But in the case of the relative names of the Persons, the Father is referred to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the HOLY SPIRIT to both: as if the Council meant to indicate that both Terms, SPIRIT and HOLY, are to be referred to the Divine Nature and the manner of having it, but not to Economy.” But whether both passages cited expressly indicate what the Most Illustrious WESSELIUS elicits from the same, and so whether they prove what was to be proven, I am not yet altogether persuaded: Let the Reader himself diligently weigh the words cited. In addition, let him note that the Father and the Son possess the divine Essence in a separate mode, no less than the Holy Spirit; since the Mode of subsistence of all three divine Persons is altogether Incommunicable to another Person. Moreover, let him judge whether the epithet, ἅγιος/holy, which commonly denotes a inherent quality, is not able also to connote an action of the Spirit passing unto others for their sanctification, by a similar usage of other substantive and adjectival terms in such a pregnant sense in the New Testament, concerning which see PETRUS ZORNIUS,[5]Dissertatione de Verbo otioso on Matthew 12:36, tmemate I, § 4, number 3, in HASE’S[6] and IKEN’S[7]Thesauro Novo Dissertationum in Novum Instrumentum, page 214.

[1] Isaiah 63:10, 11: “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit (אֶת־ר֣וּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ): therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit (אֶת־ר֥וּחַ קָדְשֽׁוֹ׃) within him?” [2] Hebrews 2:11: “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified (ὅ τε γὰρ ἁγιάζων καὶ οἱ ἁγιαζόμενοι) are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…” [3] Jodocus Coccius (1581-1622) was a German Jesuit, and Professor of Theology at Molsheim in Alsatia. [4] John 4:24. [5] Peter Zorn (1682-1746) was a German Lutheran theologian, historian, and linguist. He held a variety of academic posts. [6] Theodor Hase (1682-1731) was a Reformed theologian and philologist. He served as Professor of Theology at Bremen from 1708 to 1731. [7] Conrad Iken (1689-1753) was a Reformed theologian and philologist. He served as Professor of Theology at Bremen from 1723 to 1753.

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ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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