De Moor V:26: Defense of the Deity of the Holy Spirit, Part 1



Finally, fourth, it is to be asserted that the Holy Spirit is a Person truly Divine, or God, against all Pneumatomachi, Ancient and Recent; of which sort especially are the Macedonians of old, called Pneumatomachi, Spirit-fighters, from their error, as AUGUSTINE notes, de Hæresibus, chapter LII: “The Macedonians are from Macedonius, Bishop of the Church of Constantinople, whom the Greeks also call πνευματομάχους/Pneumatomachi, because they quarrel over the Holy Spirit. For, they believe rightly concerning the Father and the Son, etc.” These are related to have held that the Holy Spirit is not a divine Person, but a created power, ministering to the Son, as the Scripture represents the Angels, and who would be in all Spirits. Likewise, the Arians are remembered as affirming that the Holy Spirit is a Creature of the Son, less than the Father and the Son, but cooperating in the Creation. And also it is ascribed to the Photinians, that they say that the Holy Spirit is not God, nor a Person of the Trinity: see SPANHEIM’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century IV, chapter X, § 4, columns 890, 891, § 1, number 5, column 883, § 2, column 889. Against the Macedonians, the Fathers at the Second Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople in 381, to the Symbol’s words εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, in the Holy Spirit, added τὸ κύριον, τὸ ζωοποιοῦν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets: see SPANHEIM’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century IV, chapter XI, § 2, column 904. It is also counted among the blemishes of ORIGEN, that he pronounced the Holy Spirit a Creature; see AUGUSTINE, de Hæresibus, chapter XLIII, and DANÆUS on this passage in his Opusculis, page 964. Among the more recent Pneumatomachi are chiefly the Socinians, who, openly denying the Personality of the Holy Spirit, concerning Him in their Catechesi Racoviana, de Prophetico Christi munere, chapter VI, which is de Promisso Spiritus Sancti, question 12, pages 213, 214, also attempt positively to construct at length, that He is not a Person in the Deity, nor a divine Person, but the power of God. But, while the Socinians thus call the Holy Spirit the Power of God, they dispute among themselves what specifically is to be understood by this Power. Some suppose that a mere gift and effect is signified, and consequently some created thing; but others think that a certain divine quality is indicated, and so a property in God; again, there are those that persuade themselves that both notions are to be conjoined: finally, others teach that some medium thing between God and a created thing is indicated, as it appears in the places already cited on § 23. With the Socinians, our AUTHOR mentions Bidle, who somewhat differently than those did indeed admit the true ὑπόστασιν/hypostasis of the Spirit, but denied Him to be a Divine Person. Of course, this is John Bidle, Prefect of the Gloucester School; but, since he was disseminating the error of the Anti-trinitarians, he was ordered to depart from his province. And so he withdrew to London, and there in 1647 he published Twelve Arguments Drawn out of the Scripture; wherein the commonly Received Opinion, Touching the Deity of the Holy Spirit, Is clearly and fully Refuted. As in this writing he wanted to undermine the truth that we know about the Holy Spirit from the divine Books; so in his Confession of Faith touching the Holy Trinity of 1648, published in English. What he was thinking concerning the Holy Spirit, he himself declared in this manner: “I believe Him to be some principle minister, or an Angel of God and Christ, sent in a singular manner from heaven to sanctify the Church, who, being distinguished from the remaining number of God’s Angels and ministers because of His excellence and familiarity with God, and admitted into the holy Trinity, constitutes its third Person, who is the Holy Spirit, minister of God and of Christ:” against him, see CLOPPENBURG’S Vindicias pro Deitate Spiritus Sancti adversus Pneumatomachum Johannem Bidellum, Anglum, opera, tome 2; and NICOLAUS ARNOLDI’S Atheismum Socinianum, a Johanne Bidello Anglo, nuper sub specioso Scripturæ titulo orbi obtrusum, jam detectum atque refutatum. Compare the list of More Recent Pneumatomachi in WALCH’S Appendicem Miscellaneorum Sacrorum, Meditation VII, pages 803-810. LAMPE deploys a notable array of the Pneumatomachi, both Ancient and More Recent, chapter V de Spiritu Sancto, § 1-14, Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation V, pages 176-186: add GERHARD’S Loca Communia, tome I, loco de Spiritu Sancto, chapter VI, page 167; PETAVIUS’ Dogmata theologica, tome 2, book I, chapter XIV; VAN CATTENBURGH’S Spicilegium Theologiæ Christianæ, book II, chapter XVI, dissertation II, pages 182-184. At the same time, on behalf of the true Personality, and true and eternal Deity, of the Holy Spirit, of the ὁμοουσίου/homoousios, same substance, and of the ἰσοτίμου, same honor, with the Father and the Son, and to be worshipped with the Father and the Son, the genuine Mennonites with Menno stand; see RYSDYK, Verdediging van de Rechtzinnigheid der ware Mennoniten, § 29, 31, pages 79-81, 104-112.


Against all these, we make use of a fourfold argument in turn for the true Deity of the Spirit:


1. [From Names:] So much the more, since the Socinians trifle that the Holy Spirit is nowhere in the Scriptures expressly called God, Catechesi Racoviana, de Cognitione Dei, chapter I, question 30, page 35.


Jehovah, Numbers 12:6[1] compared with 2 Peter 1:21, upon which passage see my Commentary on 2 Peter 1: Isaiah 6:9 compared with Acts 28:25, where, what Peter teaches in general, concerning prophecy formerly revealed to the Prophets through the Spirit, Paul asserts specifically with respect to the prophecy found in Isaiah 6, in which chapter אֲדֹנָי/Adonai,[2]יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, Jehovah Sabbaoth,[3] is manifestly indicated to speak.


The God of Israel, 2 Samuel 23:2, 3, where there are those that refer both the Names אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל, the God of Israel, and צ֣וּר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל, the Rock of Israel, to ר֥וּחַ יְהוָ֖ה, the Spirit of Jehovah, mentioned in the first place,[4] to whom thus are with good reason attributed those divine Names also according to the divine Work. While others after the mention of the Spirit of Jehovah distinguish those two, the God of Israel and the Rock of Israel, from each other and from the first: in such a way that the Name the God of Israel denotes God the Father, who enters into covenant with them in a Mediator; and the Name the Rock of Israel, God the Son, as the true refuge of believers, coming under the name of Rock elsewhere also: in which manner they here find the Trinity, or the Tree in Heaven bearing witness together, without any appearance of an inane multiplication of words. Either way, an argument for the Deity of the Holy Spirit is established from these words, although perhaps stronger in the first manner: compare WITTICH’S Causam Spiritus Sancti, § X, pages 17-22; and our AUTHOR’S Exercitation VIII, § V, Part VI, Exercitationibus Textualibus.


God absolutely, 1 Corinthians 3:16, in which believers are called temples of God, on account of the Holy Spirit inhabiting them. But temples belong to the one that dwells in them as His temples. But if perchance on the preceding passage one should wish to take exception, that the Spirit is only called God there relatively to Israel; here He is now called God absolutely. Just as also,


In Acts 5:3, 4, where Peter, in order to aggravate the sin of Ananias, asserts that, by lying to the Holy Spirit, he lied not only to men, the Apostles, but to God Himself; arguing thus, that the Holy Spirit dwelling in the Apostles and working through them is very God. Thus one may argue from his words:


To whomever, besides the Apostles, Ananias lied at that time, He is very God.

But Ananias at that time lied to the Holy Spirit, as well as to the Apostles.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is very God.


For, if the Holy Spirit is neither God nor man, Peter’s contrast would not be natural.


And no Exception out to be taken, that in verse 3 ψεύσασθαι, to lie, is construed with an accusative,[5] in which manner the Latins say mentiri sexum, to disguise one’s sex.[6] For Ananias is convicted, not so much concerning this, that he displayed himself to be endowed with the Holy Spirit, as that he tried to deceive the Apostles, and thus to test the divine Spirit dwelling in them, whether He by Omniscience and the searching of hearts might reveal to the Apostles this fraud. Now, the Greek ψεύσασθαι in the sense of lying is construed with the dative and with the accusative of person, as it is in the Septuagint of Isaiah 57:11, καὶ ἐψεύσω με, καὶ οὐκ ἐμνήσθης, οὐδὲ ἔλαβές με εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν, and thou hast lied to me, and hast not remembered, nor taken me into thy mind: in the place of the Hebrew, כִּ֣י תְכַזֵּ֔בִי וְאוֹתִי֙ לֹ֣א זָכַ֔רְתְּ וגו״, that thou hast lied, and me thou hast not remembered, etc. And so here, in verses 3 and 4, that verb, construed in both ways, is able to be said to occur in the same sense.[7] Or if you prefer that ψεύσασθαι with the accusative means rather to deceive, to mislead, this will also be able to be said of Ananias, that at the instigation of Satan he tried to deceive the Holy Spirit, in the doing of which he had lied to God, with the force of the argument remaining the same: since he whom we mislead or deceive is a true Person, not a mere quality; just as also in verse 9 by the same sin they are said πειράσαι τὸ Πνεῦμα Κυρίου, to have tempted the Spirit of the Lord: but temptation also requires a true Person as an object; but which Peter in verse 4 declares, not to be human, as they were thinking, but divine: compare ARNOLDI, enervating the Exception of the Socinians on this passage, in his refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, de Cognitione Dei, chapter I, question 30, § CXXVII-CXXXI, pages 132-134; likewise BECMANN, Exercitationibus Theologicis XI, pages 154, 155; WITTICH’S Causam Spiritus Sancti, § XVII, pages 41-44; MARESIUS’ Defensionem Fidei Catholicæ adversum Curcellæum, Dissertation I, section X, § 95-99; and also LAMPE, de Spiritu Sancto, chapter IV, § 7, 8, Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation V, pages 155, 156; EPIPHANIUS in Ancorato, § IX, opera, tome 2, pages, 13, 14, Φησὶ οὖν ὁ μακάριος Πέτρος τοῖς περὶ Ἀνανίαν· τί ὅτι ἐπείρασεν ὑμᾶς ὁ Σατανᾶς ψεύσασθαι τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ ἁγίῳ; καὶ φησι, οὐκ ἐψεύσω ἀνθρώποις, ἀλλὰ Θεῷ. ἄρα Θεὸς ἐκ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ τὸ Πνεῦμα, ᾧ ἐψεύσαντο οἱ ἀπὸ τοῦ τιμήματος νοσφισάμενοι. ὡς καὶ ὁ Παῦλος συνᾴδει τῷ λογῳ τούτῳ, λέγων· ὑμεῖς δὲ ναὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστε, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τοῦ Θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν. ἄρα οὖν Θεὸς τὸ Πνεῦμα, ὡς προεῖπον. διὸ ναὸς Θεοῦ κληθήσονται καὶ οἱ ἅγιοι ἄνθρωποι κατοικήσαντες ἑαυτοῖς (κατοικίσαντες ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, ) τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ Θεοῦ Πνεῦμα, Blessed Peter, therefore, saith to them concerning Ananias: How is it that Satan hath tempted you to lie to the Holy Spirit? and saith, thou hast not lied to men but to God: The Spirit, then, is God from the Father and the Son, to whom those robbing Him of the valuation lied: Just as also Paul harmonizeth with this word, saying: but ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you: Therefore, the Spirit is God, as I said before: On which account they will be called the temple of God, even holy men settling the Holy Spirit in themselves.


Lord, 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18, ὁ δὲ Κύριος τὸ Πνεῦμά ἐστιν· οὗ δὲ τὸ Πνεῦμα Κυρίου, ἐκεῖ ἐλευθερία. —καθάπερ ἀπὸ Κυρίου Πνεύματος, now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. …even as by the Spirit of the Lord, where the Spirit is called the Lord, or the Lord the Spirit in the same sense: and at the end of verse 18 we are equally able to translate it, even as by the Lord the Spirit, and perhaps better as by the Spirit of the Lord. But if then by Πνεῦμα, the Spirit, here we ought to understand the third Person of the Trinity, in the name Lord given to Him will be an argument for His Deity: compare MARESIUS, Defensione Fidei Catholicæ adversum Curcellæum, Dissertation I, section X, § 89-94; LAMPE, de Spiritu Sancto, chapter IV, § 3, 4, Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation V, pages 152, 153. But the DUTCH TRANSLATORS in their notes on verse 17, among other interpretations, mention one that not so long ago the Most Illustrious WESSELIUS illustrated at length and generally commended, in his Dissertation on this place, which is the ninth in the Fasciculo Dissertationum, in which place see § 10-27. He observes that in the mention of the Πνεύματος /Spirit in verses 17 and 18 regard is to be had to those things that had preceded in verses 6 and 8. Now, there, by the Πνεῦμα/Spirit set in opposition to τῷ γράμματι, the letter, he notes that by this expression peculiar to Paul, and used by him in a similar sense, Romans 2:27, 29; 7:6, is signified the End of the letter of the Law, which might be called the Spirit by Paul, 1. because it was not clearly offered to the mind by the external letter, but was obscurely revealing itself to one attending, and comparing the Law with the promise: 2. because the Law of Moses without this, its end was a Body without a Soul, and a dead Letter, which was not able to give life to sinner through his works. But he teaches that End of the Letter of the Law to be Christ, promised to the fathers already in the Garden. And this he also confirms with an argument sought from verse 17, writing in § 21: “That by the Spirit of the Letter the Apostle understood Christ as the End of the Law, he appears to me manifestly to declare in verse 17, where he say: For (δὲ/but/now in the place of for) the Lord, namely, Christ, which is evident from verse 16, is that Spirit, namely, of the letter, of which he had spoken in verses 6 and 8. Now, where that Spirit of the Lord, that is, that Spirit the Lord (with the genitive put in the place of a nominative, joined subsequently by apposition) is, there is Liberty; from the Law, condemning and exacting personal and perfect obedience as the condition for Life; and hence there is Liberty there from guilt, stain, and dominion of sin.” While he takes those words at the end of verse 18, even as by the Lord the Spirit, in the same sense, § 27. If this exposition is to be adopted, as it is certainly most probable; then this passage does not make for the present matter, that the Deity of the Holy Spirit might be proven thence. At the same time, although at the beginning of verse 17 and at the end of verse 18, ὁ Κύριος, the Lord Jesus is called τὸ Πνεῦμα, the Spirit, not inelegantly could τὸ Πνεῦμα Κυρίου, the Spirit of the Lord, in the second part of verse 17, by antanaclasis[8] or paronomasia,[9] with a signification more common, be taken of the third Person of the Trinity, who is also elsewhere called the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of the Son of God; in which case it will not be needful there in the case of the term Κυρίου, of the Lord, to turn to an enallage of the genitive for the nominative.


This Argument for the true Deity of the Holy Spirit, sought from the Divine Names, PLACÆUS vindicates against Crellius, Opera, tome 2, pages 1105-1154. BULL, Defensione Fidei Nicænæ, Section II, chapter VII, § 6, page 96, observes that TERTULLIAN, adversus Praxeam, chapter XIII, expressly pronounces the Holy Spirit to be God, equally with the Father and the Son, against Erasmus in his Præfatione ad Hilarium, α, 6, asserting that for some time, namely, unto the times of Hilary, the Ancients did not dare to call the Holy Spirit God.

[1] Numbers 12:6: “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord (יְהוָה/Jehovah) will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” [2] Isaiah 6:1: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord (אֶת־אֲדֹנָי) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” [3] Isaiah 6:3: “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts (יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת): the whole earth is full of his glory.” [4] 2 Samuel 23:2, 3: “The Spirit of the Lord (ר֥וּחַ יְהוָ֖ה) spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel (אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל) said, the Rock of Israel (צ֣וּר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל) spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” [5] Acts 5:3: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost (ψεύσασθαί σε τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον), and to keep back part of the price of the land?” [6] As in the Greek of Acts 5:3, a deponent Latin verb for lying also takes an Accusative. [7] Acts 5:3, 4: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost (ψεύσασθαί σε τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον), and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God (οὐκ ἐψεύσω ἀνθρώποις, ἀλλὰ τῷ Θεῷ).” [8] That is, the repetition of term, but with a different meaning. [9] That is, a play on words.

38 views1 comment