top of page

De Moor V:24: The Spirit as a Distinct Person

Second, it is to be believed that the Holy Spirit is a Person Distinct from the Father and the Son; which we prove:

α. From the personal Name of the Holy Spirit. The Triune God is predicatively called Spirit, John 4:24, to declare His spiritual Essence, which is also declared to be Holy, Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 15:4. The Deity of the Son, although more rarely, also comes under the name of Spirit, 1 Timoth 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18; once under the name of eternal Spirit, Hebrews 9:14; and under the name of Πνεύματος ἁγιωσύνης, the Spirit of holiness, Romans 1:4: compare SPANHEIM, Decadum Theologicarum V, § 10, number 2, opera, tome 3, column 1224. But the Name Spirit taken subjectively occurs everywhere to designate the third Person of the Deity; and indeed the Name Holy Spirit in this connection is proper to this Person alone, that is, applicable to Him on account the specific reason taken from the personal Property and economic Operation of this Person, that is, on account of that hidden Spiration, concerning which § 11, and Holiness, not only proper, which He has in common with the Father and the Son, but also communicated, as the Sanctification of the Elect is especially attributed to Him in Sacred Scripture, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2: compare likewise § 11 above. Therefore, just as the Father and the Son have their Names from their personal properties, so the Holy Spirit is distinguished as His own Person by this His personal Name from the Father and the Son.

β. From the Distinct Enumeration of the Spirit, Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 1 John 5:7, where He is joined with the Father and the Son as a suppositum of rational actions, and as a true Person of the same Essence and dignity, but at the same time is distinguished from them as a third, who is added to the other two. But if the Holy Spirit were only the Power of God, not personally distinct from God the Father, only two Witnesses in heaven, not three, would be mentioned here, the Father and the Son: see compare ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter VI, de munere Christi Prophetico, questions 13, 14, § X, XI, page 463: see also this Chapter’s § 17-19 above, and § 25 below: and compare the Confessionem Fidei presented by the African Bishops to King Huneric, in the Bibliotheca Patrum, published at Paris in 1644, tome 4, part I, columns 406, 407.

γ. From the Personal Distinction, no less express, since, 1. as Another from the Son, no less than a true Person, is He set forth, but yet as one different from the Son; and to be sent by the Father, from whom He is hence no less distinguished, John 14:16. Smalcius tries to deflect the force of this argument without good reason, explaining the another, not of a Person, but by some other thing: against which ARNOLDI defends the genuine sense of the text in his refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter VI, de munere Christi Prophetico, questions 13, 14, § VIII, IX, pages 462, 463. 2. A peculiar, Characteristic Property is ascribed to Him, John 15:26,[1] namely, Ἐκπόρευσις/Procession, in which passage the Spirit is no less expressly distinguished as a true Person from the other two divine Persons, when the Lord says concerning Him, ὁ Παράκλητος, ὃν ἐγὼ πέμψω ὑμῖν παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός, the Comforter, whom I will send unto you from the Father: see § 11 above.

The Socinians Object, who sometimes maintain that the Spirit is not distinct from the God whose Spirit it is: that is, when they, reduced to straits, are compelled to acknowledge that the Spirit is indeed set forth as a Person and divine: see Volkelius’ de vera Religione, book V, chapter XIV, in MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 428, 429, 439, 447. Catechesis Racoviana, in the chapter cited, question 12, pages 213, 214: “That the Holy Spirit is not a person in the deity, you are able to learn from this: …Next, the same is evident from this, that it is not by nature outside of God, but in God Himself. For, unless it were in God by nature, Paul would not have been able to compre the Spirit of God with the spirit of man, which is in man by nature, 1 Corinthians 2:11. But, while the Holy Spirit is in God, yet it is not able to be said reciprocally that God is in the Holy Spirit; hence it appears that the Holy Spirit is not a Person…. Finally, if the Holy Spirit were a Person, it would be necessary for Him also to have the divine Essence; for things that are proper to the divine essence are attributed to Him: but we taught above that the divine substance is one in number, and is not able to be common to three persons.” Upon which pericope carefully compare ARNOLDI’S refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, pages 458, 459, § XIV-XVIII; and LAMPE’S Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation IV, chapter III, § 24, page 141. So also does the Catechesis Racoviana, in the same place, question 13, page 216, have it: “But since the Holy Spirit is the power of God, hence it is that thing that belong to God are attributed to the Holy Spirit, and God Himself is often understood under the name of the Holy Spirit, since God exercises His power through His Spirit.” Moreover, Enjedinus, in Explicationibus locorum Veteris et Novi Testamenti, on 1 Corinthians 12:4, pages 288, 289, writes concerning the Holy Spirit: “If we consider this power, as it is, and with respect to God: it will be a substance, and essential indeed. Because whatever is in God, is substance…. When we do not concede that power to be substance, we do not considered God Himself apart, and His power apart, but understand one and the same thing; in such a way that God is that power, and that power is God Himself. Therefore, in this sense it is the same thing: God works, and, the Holy Spirit works: just as also the Apostle indifferently makes use of both, both in other passages, and in this very passage; for, what he says concerning God the Father, verse 6…he affirms concerning the Holy Spirit, verse 11…. For, what one does by his own force and power, that he is said to do. But, what our adversaries maintain, that the Holy Spirit is a substantial person distinct from God Himself; this we deny in the strongest terms.” Thus Hobbes also denies that the Holy Spirit is another, distinct from God the Father: see COCQUIUS’ Anatomen Hobbesianismi, locus VI, chapter XIII, § 7, page 133. In this way the Socinians imitate the Ancient Macedonians, of whom AUGUSTINE speaks, de Hæresibus, chapter LII, “Of the Father and the Son they think rightly, that they are of one and the same substance or essence: but they refuse to believe this of the Holy Spirit, asserting that He is a creature. Although by some they are regarded as saying that the Holy Spirit is not God, but the deity of the Father and the Son, and has no proper substance.”

Objection α. The Name Spirit is attributed to God. I Respond: Then that is only understood of His Spiritual Nature, and so is taken οὐσιωδῶς/ essentially, not ὑποστατικῶς/hypostatically/personally.

On Objections β and γ, see our AUTHOR.

I shall not add the substantial but less solid thoughts of others concerning the Threefold Economy, and that yet future of the Spirit, says our AUTHOR: which things, nevertheless, are also found in SPANHEIM’S Decadum Theologicarum IV, § 3, opera, tome 3, column 1209, with the words to be cited below in § 26.

[1] John 15:26: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth (ἐκπορεύεται) from the Father, he shall testify of me…”

bottom of page