Skip to comments.The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, in the Fathers.....I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT [Ecumenical]
Posted on 06/05/2008 5:25:50 PM PDT by Salvation
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever..." (St. John 14, 16).
The Holy Spirit is a distinct Person yet the same Lord and God as the Father and the Son. During the period of theological heresies that racked the early Church the divinity of the Holy Spirit was specifically denied, particularly by Macedonius of Constantinople, compelling the Church to add the words "the Lord, the giver of life with the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified" to the Nicene Creed. Sacred Scripture contains ample passages which testify both to the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit and His mission of sanctification: "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5, 3-4): "Likewise the Spirit helps in our weakness the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8, 26-27); "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Eph. 4, 30).
In the language of the Church, the Son is said to be begotten of the Father, while the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from a single principle. According to the understanding of the western Fathers, the Son is the mental Word of God, or God's own knowledge of Himself. The Father contemplates and knows Himself in the Word while the Word simultaneously contemplates and knows the Father. What follows from this mutual knowledge is mutual love, or the Holy Spirit. However, in all this there is nothing that is before or after, nothing that is greater or less: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are eternal and equal in absolutely every thing.
Sacred Scripture attributes distinct divine qualities to the Holy Spirit:
(i) Omniscience, or knowledge of all things: "for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God" (1 Cor. 2, 10);
(ii) Omnipotence, or possession all power: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (St. Luke 1, 35);
(iii) Omnipresence, or having presence everywhere: "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?" (Ps. 139 , 7).
Various names are given to the Holy Spirit: Third Person of the Blessed Trinity; the Holy Ghost; the Paraclete; the Comforter; the Sanctifier; Advocate; Gift of the Most High; Giver of Life; Spirit of Truth; Spirit of Love. Many other titles can be found in the Church's official Litany to the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit has various names, so has He appeared visibly in different forms: in the form of a dove at Our Lords baptism (St. Matt. 3, 16); as a shining cloud at Christs Transfiguration (St. Matt. 17, 5); and as tongues of fire on Pentecost Day (Acts 2, 3). It is considered that the cloud upon which Christ ascended into heaven was also the Holy Spirit.
Invisibly, the Holy Spirit actively abides and works in the souls of the Just: "He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.' Now this was said about the Spirit, which those who believe in him were to receive" (St. John 7, 38-39); "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (St. John 14, 23); "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (1 Cor. 3, 16). The Holy Spirit works in our souls to animate and fill them with the true fire of love, cleansing them from sin and making them holy and pleasing to God: "you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6, 11).
Apart from Himself, the Holy Spirit places into the soul sanctifying grace with the concomitant infused theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, the infused moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Fortitude, Counsel, Piety and Fear of the Lord). Saint Catherine of Siena was permitted by God to see a soul in a state of sanctifying grace and answered, "Oh! If you could but see the beauty of a soul in a state of grace, you would sacrifice your life a thousand times for its salvation It is the image and likeness of God in that soul, and Divine grace which make it so beautiful.1
The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on Pentecost Day is considered to be so-called birthday of the Church. Beforehand, the Apostles had been weak and timid, dull and ignorant. Afterwards, armed with the gift of tongues, they fearlessly went forth and proclaimed Christ in all languages: "...All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability" (Acts 2, 4). The effects of their preaching were immediate and dramatic. St. Peter in one sermon alone converted three thousand: "And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved" (Acts 2, 41; 47).
In this way we witness the beginnings of that visible society of men known as the Catholic Church; and it is by virtue of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles will strengthen and govern the Church: "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" (St. John 14, 26); "Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20, 28). Until the end of time the Catholic Church will be protected by the Holy Spirit, enabling it to withstand all crises, so that "the gates of Hades will not prevail." The Fathers Athenagoras of Athens, Supplication for the Christians 10 (C. 177 AD):
Athenagoras of Athens, Supplication for the Christians 10 (C. 177 AD):
"The Holy Spirit also, who works in those who speak prophetically, we regard as an effluence of God, flowing out and returning like a ray of the sun. Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists, who speak of God the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and who proclaim Their power in union and Their distinction in order?" St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 4, 7, 4 (C. 180 AD):
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 4, 7, 4 (C. 180 AD):
"[The Father] is ministered to in all things by His own Offspring, and by the latters Likeness: that is, by the Son and by the Holy Spirit, by the Word and by the Wisdom, whom all the angels serve and to whom they are subject." Tertullian, Against Praxeas 25, 1 (Post 213 AD):
Tertullian, Against Praxeas 25, 1 (Post 213 AD):
"The Father and the Son are distinguished by what is proper to each. He promises to send the Paraclete also, for whom He will ask the Father, after He has ascended to the Father; and He calls the Paraclete another. How it is that He is another we have already explained. Further, He says, He will receive of what is mine, just as He Himself had received from the Father. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three who, though coherent, are distinct one from another. These three are one, and yet not one: for I and the Father are one was said in regard to their unity of substance, but not in regard to a singularity of number." St. Hilary of Poitiers, The Trinity 2, 29 (Inter 356 - 359 AD):
St. Hilary of Poitiers, The Trinity 2, 29 (Inter 356 - 359 AD):
"Concerning the Holy Spirit, however, I ought not remain silent, nor yet is it necessary to speak. Still, on account of those who do not know Him, it is not possible for me to be silent. However, it is not necessary to speak of Him who must be acknowledged, who is from the Father and the Son, His sources. Indeed, it is my opinion that there ought be no discussion about whether He exists...I think, however, that the reason why some remain in ignorance or doubt about this, is that they see this third name, that by which the Holy Spirit is named, applied frequently also to the Father and to the Son. But there need be no objection to this, for both Father and Son are spirit and holy." St. Athanasius, Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuis 1, 24 (C. 359-360 AD):
St. Athanasius, Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuis 1, 24 (C. 359-360 AD):
"We are all said to be partakers of God through the Holy Spirit. Do you not know, it says, that you are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone ruins the temple of God, him will God ruin; for it is holy, this temple of God, which is just what you are. If the Holy Spirit were a creature, there could be no communion of God with us through Him. On the contrary, we would be joined to a creature, and we would be foreign to the divine nature, as having nothing in common with it...But if by participation in the Spirit we are made partakers in the divine nature, it is insanity for anyone to say that the Spirit has a created nature and not the nature of God." Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
Christ the Lord, speaking of the Holy Ghost, says: He shall glorify me, because he shall receive of mine. We also find that the Holy Ghost is sometimes called in Scripture the Spirit of Christ, sometimes, the Spirit of the Father; that He is one time said to be sent by the Father, another time, by the Son, - all of which clearly signifies that He proceeds alike from the Father and the Son. He, says St. Paul, who has not the Spirit of Christ belongs not to him. In his Epistle to the Galatians he also calls the Holy Ghost the Spirit of Christ: God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, He is called the Spirit of the Father: It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 688: The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
- in the Scriptures he inspired;
- in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
- in the Churchs Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.
No. 689: The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God. Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Churchs faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him.
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Now we have
God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit.
I have always liked this phrase in the Apostles’ Creed, because it seems, for me, to bring the entire creed into the present with the mentioning of the Holy Spirit sent by God the Father and God the Son.
bump for later reading
Thanks for stopping by.
“Now we have
God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit.”
A truly great modern Orthodox theologian, Panagiotis Christou, has discussed +Gregory Palamas’ theology on thethe relations between the hypostasia of the Holy Trinity and how those relationships manifest themselves in man’s natural and supra natural state and point to man’s created purpose. All of this elegant theology is at base an application of the Truth of the Trinity as expressed in the Creeds.
” Gregory gives a broad and dynamic character to the much discussed expression “according to the image”. He finds image in the whole existence of man and refers it to the Trinity. Man is a creature according to the image not vaguely of God, but concretely of the Triune God, since he has been created by the energy of the whole Trinity and may receive the divine light emitted from the whole Trinity, His intellect, reason and spirit constitute an inherent unity, corresponding to the unity of the persons of the divine Trinity, i.e. Nous, Logos, and pneuma (Intellect, Reason, and Spirit). As within divinity the Nous begets the Logos, and the Pneuma precedes as the eros of the Nous towards the Logos, so within man, ` the intellect bears the reason, and the spirit is projected as the eros of the intellect towards the reason. And as the Holy Spirit vivifies the world; so the human spirit vivifies the body[xiii]. Thus the image is extended to the whole man, including the body. The real meaning of Gregorys teaching on this point is: the capability of man to be elevated into a genuine spiritual personality, as an image and symbol of the personality of God. One could call this image microtheos rather than microcosmos. This is the natural state of man.
Moreover the first man had received another gift: the divine spirit which is not a created thing, as are the rest of mans elements, but an ineffable uncreated divine energy. The final destination of man is to be assimilated with the divine archetype[xiv] and united with God in one substance,[xv] so that he may be called “another God”[xvi] Now this destination could be achieved only through that infusion of the divine spirit, by which man was clothed with the divine glory and became a participant of the divine splendour.
This is the supernatural state of man. Whether man abides near or far from God depends, as it does for the rest of the reasonable beings, in his will, which means that it is a voluntary, not a natural condition [xvii] He is receptive of contrary spiritual qualities, goodness and evil, and may turn towards either[xviii]. Abiding in goodness means preservation of the divine spirit and of participation in God. Turning towards evil means moving away from God, and such a movement is equal to the death of the soul [xix] God neither created nor caused the death of the soul and of the body[xx] Death is the fruit of sin which was produced by the will of man.[xxi]
I recall a rather simplistic explanation once that stuck.
As a man, you are a father to your , son. A son to your father. A husband to your wife. A friend to your friends.. God's nature has many aspects, but that doesn't mean He is many gods. I remember how the Israelites had many names for God Iehouah (Jireh, Rapha, Nissi) which described different attributes. Just because they placed different names to describe different attributes, it doesn't describe three separate Gods.
I wonder how the Israelite descriptive names can be attributed to the Trinity's attributes?
Jireh: The Lord Who Provides
Rapha: The Lord Who Heals
Nissi: The Lord Our Banner
Just typing to ‘think out loud’ for now.
Those names remind me of the Archangels:
Michael — the one who protects.
Raphael — the one who heals.
Gabriel — the one who brings messages.
There are many more, but those are the ones we have names for from the Bible.
The different names for God are very interesting. Never quite thought of it that way.
**This is the supernatural state of man. **
Wow! I never thought about it that way before. Humility, here.