The Holy Spirit of God Almighty
"The Holy Spirit refers to the third person of the Trinity in Christianity. In Judaism the Holy Spirit refers to the life-giving breath or spirit of God, as the Hebrew word for 'spirit' in the Hebrew Bible is ruach (breath). The Greek word for 'spirit' in the New Testament is pneuma (air, wind). The New Testament has a wealth of profound references to the spiritual work of the Holy Spirit among believers and in the Church."
"Now, the principle of Mother is in every,The Holy Spirit
every scripture - has to be there!"Shri Mataji
every scripture - has to be there!"Shri Mataji
The Holy Spirit refers to the third person of the Trinity in Christianity. In Judaism the Holy Spirit refers to the life-giving breath or spirit of God, as the Hebrew word for"spirit"In the Hebrew Bible is ruach (breath). The Greek word for"spirit"In the New Testament is pneuma (air, wind). The New Testament has a wealth of profound references to the spiritual work of the Holy Spirit among believers and in the Church.
The Trinitarian doctrine of the Holy Spirit as a distinct"person"Which shares, from the beginning of existence, the same substance with the Father and the Son was proposed by Tertullian (c.160-c.225) and established through the Councils of Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381). Especially the Cappadocian Fathers were instrumental in helping to establish it. Later a technical disagreement arose about whether the Holy Spirit"proceeds"only from the Father or from both the Father and the Son, eventually occasioning the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism in 1054.
While the work of the Holy Spirit is widely known, we are hard-pressed to arrive at a precise definition. This may be because, compared with the Father and the Son, there is a lack of concrete imagery of the Holy Spirit. One issue is its gender. The Hebrew word for"spirit," ruach, is of feminine gender, while the Greek word pneuma is neuter. Despite the Church's official doctrine that the Holy Spirit is masculine, individuals and groups throughout the history of Christianity, including luminaries like St. Jerome (c.342-420) and Martin Luther (1483-1546), have repeatedly proposed that the Holy Spirit is feminine. In rabbinic Judaism the Holy Spirit is equated with the Shekhinah, The Mother aspect of God. In light of the biblical notion of the androgynous image of God who created male and female in his image (Gen. 1:27), it has been suggested that a feminine Holy Spirit would be the appropriate counterpart to the male figure of the Son, who is manifest in Jesus Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit as comforter, intercessor and source of inspiration could be represented in the ministrations of Mary and other holy women of God.
The Holy Spirit in Judaism
In the Hebrew scriptures, the Holy Spirit enabled the prophets to speak with God's voice. The Holy Spirit in Judaism is not distinguished from God as a "person," but is seen more as an aspect, essence, or attribute of God. The word for spirit in Hebrew is ruach, and it is closely related to the concept of breath. In the Book of Genesis, God's spirit hovered over the form of lifeless matter, thereby making the Creation possible (Gen. 1:2). God blew the breath of life into Adam (Gen. 2:7). The Book of Job affirms that"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4;). God is the God of the spirits of all flesh (Num. 16:22). The breath of animals also is derived from Him (Gen. 6:17; Eccl. 3:19-21; Isa. 42:5).
Thus, all creatures live only through the spirit given by God. However, the terms"spirit of God"And"spirit of the Lord"Are not limited to the sense of God as a life-giving spirit. He"pours out"His spirit upon those whom He has chosen to execute His will. This spirit imbues them with spiritual power or wisdom, making them capable of heroic speech and action (Gen. 41:38; Ex. 31:3; Num. 24:2; Judges 3:10; II Sam. 23:2). The spirit of God rests upon man (Isa. 6:2); it surrounds him like a garment (Judges 6:34); it falls upon him and holds him like a hand (Ezek. 6:5, 37:1). It may also be taken away from the chosen one and transferred to some one else (Num. 6:17). It may enter into man and speak with his voice (II Sam. 23:2; Ezek. ii. 2). The prophet sees and hears by means of the spirit (Num. I Sam. 10:6; II Sam. 23:2, etc). The prophet Joel predicted (2: 28-29) that in the Day of the Lord"I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit."
What the Bible calls"Spirit of Yahweh (the Lord)"And"Spirit of Elohim (God)" is called in the Talmud and Midrash"Holy Spirit" ("Ruach ha-Kodesh"). The specific expression"Holy Spirit"Also occurs in Ps. 52:11 and in Isa. 63:10-11.
In rabbinical literature, the Shekhinah is often referred to instead of the Holy Spirit. It is said of the Shekhinah, as of the Holy Spirit, that it rests upon a person, inspires the righteous, and dwells among the congregation as the Queen of the Sabbath. Like ruach, Shekhinah is a feminine noun, and its function among the congregation and with regard to certain especially holy rabbis, is specifically bride-like.
The Holy Spirit in the New Testament
The baptism of Jesus
Many passages in the New Testament speak of the Holy Spirit. The word for spirit in New Testament Greek is pneuma, which means air or wind. Unlike the Hebrew ruach, it is a neuter noun, and the masculine pronoun is used for it.
The Holy Spirit made a first appearance, coming upon Jesus in the form of a dove at the beginning of his ministry when he was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:31-33). But the real appearance of the Holy Spirit is said to have been recognized in the words of Jesus, speaking to his disciples sometime near his death (John 14:15-18). Jesus reportedly described the Holy Spirit as the promised"Advocate" (John 14:26, New American Bible). In the Great Commission, he instructs his disciples to baptize all men in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Although the language used to describe Jesus' receiving the Spirit in John's Gospel is parallel to the accounts in the other three Gospels, John relates this with the aim of showing that Jesus is specially in possession of the Spirit for the purpose of granting the Spirit to his followers, uniting them with himself, and in himself also uniting them with the Father. After his resurrection, Jesus is said to have told his disciples that they would be"baptized with the Holy Spirit," and would receive power from this event (Acts 1:4-8), a promise that was fulfilled in the events recounted in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. On the first Pentecost, Jesus' disciples were gathered in Jerusalem when a mighty wind was heard and tongues of fire appeared over their heads. A multilingual crowd heard the disciples speaking, and each of them heard them speaking in his or her native language.
The Spirit is said to dwell inside every true Christian, each person's body being God's temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit is depicted as a "Counselor"or"Helper" (Paraclete), guiding people in the way of the truth. The Spirit's action in one's life is believed to produce positive results, known as the Fruit of the Spirit. A list of gifts of the Spirit includes the charismatic gifts of prophecy, tongues, healing, and knowledge.
Third Person of the Trinity
The New Testament talks about the triadic formula for baptism"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost"In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). This formula can also be seen in second-century Christian writings such as the Didache, Ignatius of Antioch (c.35-107) and Tertullian (c.160-c.225) and third-century writers such as Hippolytus (c.170-c.236), Cyprian (d.258), and Gregory Thaumaturgus (c.213-c.270). It apparently became a fixed expression.
However, the exact nature of the Holy Spirit and its relationship to the other components of the Godhead already became a matter of significant debate within the Christian community by the second century. Many criticized the early triadic formula of teaching"three gods"Instead of one. In order to safeguard monotheism, a theological movement called"Monarchianism"emphasized the oneness of the triad. One form of this movement, Modalistic Monarchianism, expressed the operation of the triad as three modes of God's being and activity. Another form of the movement, Dynamistic Monarchianism, saw God the Father as supreme, with the Son and the Holy Spirit as creatures rather than being co-eternal with the Father. The influential Church Father Tertullian responded to this situation by maintaining that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are neither merely three modes of one and the same God nor three entirely separate things, but rather "distinct"from one another. Tertullian used the expression of"three persons" (tres personae). However, the Latin word persona in those days meant legal ownership or a character, not necessarily a distinct self-conscious being. Thus three distinct"persons"Were still of"one substance" (una substantia). It was in this context that Tertullian also used the word Trinity (trinitas). The terms that Tertullian coined considerably influenced the later Councils of Nicea (325) and of Constantinople (381).
In the fourth century, the aftermath of the Arian controversy led to numerous debates about the Holy Spirit. Eunomians, Semi-Arians, Acacians, for example, all admitted the triple personality of the Godhead but denied the doctrine of "consubstantiality" (sharing one substance). The Council of Constantinople established"consubstantiality"of the Holy Spirit with the Father and Son. It also declared that the Holy Spirit was not"created," but that it"proceeded" from the Father. Thus, the Holy Spirit was now firmly established as the Third Person of the Trinity, really distinct from the Father and the Son, but also existing with them from the beginning and sharing the same divine substance.
Procession of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit"proceeds from the Father" (John 16:25). The term"procession" regarding the Holy Spirit was made popular by the Cappadocian Fathers. They even made a distinction between the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit within the Godhead, on the one hand, and the"economic"procession of the same for the providence of salvation in the world, on the other.
The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father is similar to the generation of the Son from the Father because neither procession nor generation means creation. Both procession and generation are immanent operations within the Godhead, although they can also occur in the"economic"sense as well. Procession and generation are also similar because generation is a kind of procession. However, both are different from each other because the procession of the Holy Spirit is usually understood to be the activity of the divine will, while the generation of the Son is rather the activity of the divine intelligence.
There is a controversial technical difference between the views of Eastern and Western Christianity regarding the involvement of the Son in the procession of the Holy Spirit. This is the difference of single vs. double procession. Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father, i.e., from the Father through the Son. By contrast, Western Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant denominations, teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Hence the Roman Catholic version of the Nicene Creed reads: "We believe in the Holy Spirit; who proceeds from the Father and the Son."Historically, this addition of"And the Son" (filioque) was made in Spain in the sixth century, and it was strongly objected to by the Orthodox Church, which eventually declared it a heresy, leading ultimately to the Great Schism between Catholicism and Orthodox in 1054.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following in the first paragraph dealing with the Apostles Creed's article I believe in the Holy Spirit:
"No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God" (152). Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who"has spoken through the prophets"makes us hear the Father's Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who"unveils" Christ to us"Will not speak on his own."Such properly divine self-effacement explains why"The world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him," while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them. (687)
As regards the Holy Spirit's relationship with the Church, the Catechism states:
The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (737) Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity. (738)
Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among his members to nourish, heal, and organize them in their mutual functions, to give them life, send them to bear witness, and associate them to his self-offering to the Father and to his intercession for the whole world. Through the Church's sacraments, Christ communicates his Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of his Body. (739)
Orthodox doctrine regarding the Holy Trinity is summarized in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Eastern Catholics and Oriental Orthodox also coincide with Eastern Orthodox usage and teachings on the matter. The Holy Spirit plays a central role in Orthodox worship: the liturgy usually begins with a prayer to the Holy Spirit and invocations made prior to sacraments are addressed to the Spirit. In particular, the epiclesis prayer which blesses the eucharistic bread and wine is meant to invite the Holy Spirit to descend during the Holy Communion.
Most Protestant churches are basically trinitarian in nature, affirming the belief that the Holy Spirit is a distinct"person"sharing the same substance with God the Father and God the Son, but some of them place unique emphasis on the Holy Spirit or hold particular views about the Holy Spirit that set them somewhat apart from the norm.
The apostles receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, as described in the Book of Acts. For example, Pentecostalism derives its name from the event of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit when Jesus' disciples were gathered in Jerusalem. Pentecostalism also believes that, once received, the Holy Spirit is God working through the recipient to perform the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are portrayed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. The Pentecostal movement places special emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of speaking in tongues. Many Pentecostals hold that the"baptism of the Holy Spirit" is a distinct form of the Christian regeneration, separate from the"born-again" experience of conversion or water baptism. Many believe that Holy Spirit baptism is a necessary element in salvation.
Dispensationalism teaches that the current time is the age of the Holy Spirit, or church age, a teaching that can be found in Medieval writers such as Joachim of Fiore and St. Bonaventure. Late nineteenth-century dispensationalists understood history as a process of seven dispensations, the last dispensation of which would be the thousand-year reign of Christ.
The expression Third Wave was coined by Christian theologian C. Peter Wagner around 1980 to describe what followers believe to be the recent historical work of the Holy Spirit. It is part of a larger movement known as the Neocharismatic movement. The Third Wave involves those Christians who have allegedly received Pentecostal-like experiences, however Third Wavers claim no association with either the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements.
In the belief of many nontrinitarian denominationsChristadelphians, Unitarians, The Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses, for instancethe Holy Spirit is viewed in ways that do not conform to the traditional formula of the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople. For Christadelphians, Unitarians, and Jehovah's Witnesses, the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person of the Trinity but rather merely God's spiritual power. This is similar to the Jewish view. Some Christadelphians even believe that the Holy Spirit is in fact an angel sent by God.
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the Holy Spirit is not a person or a divine member of the Godhead. At his baptism Jesus received God's spirit (Matthew 3:16), but according to Witnesses it conflicts with the idea that the Son was always one with the Holy Spirit. Also, regarding Jesus' statement: "But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32), Witnesses note that the Holy Spirit is conspicuously missing there, just as it is missing from Stephen's vision in (Acts 7:55, 56), where he sees only the Son and God in heaven. The Holy Spirit is thus the spiritual power of God, not a distinct person.
The nontrinitarianism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a little different. It teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate from one another, although they are"one God"In the sense that they are one"In purpose."The Holy Spirit exists as a distinct and separate being from the Father and the Son, having a body of spirit with no flesh and bones, whereas the Father and the Son are said to be resurrected individuals having immortalized bodies of flesh and bone.
Femininity of the Holy Spirit
To begin with, the Hebrew word for"spirit"In the Hebrew Bible is ruach, meaning breath, and its gender is feminine. Also, in Greek, Logos is the masculine term for Word, and its feminine counterpart is Sophia, meaning Wisdom; so, if the Son is the incarnation of the Logos, the Holy Spirit could be considered to to have something to do with the Sophia, thus being feminine. For these and other reasons, numerous Christian individuals and groups have considered that the gender of the Holy Spirit is feminine, contrary to the official Church view of the Holy Spirit as masculine. Some early Christians apparently took this view. For example, the Gospel of Thomas (v. 101) speaks of the Holy Spirit as Jesus'"true mother," and the Gospel of the Hebrews refers to "my mother, the Holy Spirit."Excerpts of the Gospel of the Hebrew on this point survived in the writings of Origen (c.185-c.254) and Saint Jerome (c.342-420) who apparently accepted it.
Syriac documents, which remain in today's Syrian Orthodox Church, refer to the Holy Spirit as feminine because of the feminine gender of the original Aramaic word"spirit."Coptic Christianity also saw the Holy Spirit as The Mother, while regarding the two persons of the Trinity as the Father and Son. So did Zinzendorf (1700-1760), the founder of Moravianism. Even Martin Luther, the driving force of the Protestant Reformation, was reportedly"not ashamed of speaking of the Holy Spirit in feminine terms," but his feminine terminology in German was translated into English masculine terms.
More recently, Catholic scholars such as Willi Moll, Franz Mayr, and Lena Boff have also characterized the Holy Spirit as feminine. According to Moll, for example, when the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is passive and the other two persons active; so, the Holy Spirit is feminine, while the other two are masculine. Numerous Catholic artworks have made a special connection between the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, implying a feminine aspect to the Holy Spirit.
Interestingly, the"Messianic Jewish"Christian movement B'nai Yashua Synagogues Worldwide headed by Rabbi Moshe Koniuchowsky, also holds to the feminine view of the Holy Spirit. Based in part on the rabbinical teaching of the femininity of the Shekhinah, there are several other Messianic Jewish-Christian groups with similar teachings. Some examples include Joy In the World, The Torah and Testimony Revealed, and the Union of Nazarene Jewish Congregations/Synagogues, which also counts as canonical the fragmentary Gospel of the Hebrews which has the unique feature of referring to the Holy Spirit as Jesus'"Mother."
There are some scholars associated with"mainstream"Protestant denominations, who while not necessarily indicative of the denominations themselves, have written works explaining a feminine understanding of the third member of the Godhead. For example, R. P. Nettlehorst, professor at the Quartz Hill School of Theology (associated with the Southern Baptist Convention) has written on the subject. Evan Randolph, associated with the Episcopal Church, has likewise written on the subject.
Depiction in Art
The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove, based on the account of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus in the form of a dove when he was baptized in the Jordan. In many paintings of the Annunciation, the Holy Spirit is shown in the form of a dove, coming down toward Mary on beams of light, representing the Seven Gifts, as the Angel Gabriel's announces Christ's coming to Mary. A dove may also be seen at the ear of Saint Gregory the Great - as recorded by his secretary - or other Church Father authors, dictating their works to them.
The dove also parallels the one that brought the olive branch to Noah after the deluge (also a symbol of peace), and Rabbinic traditions that doves above the water signify the presence of God.
The Book of Acts describes the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles at Pentecost in the form of a wind and tongues of fire resting over the apostles' heads. Based on the imagery in that account, the Holy Spirit is sometimes symbolized by a flame of fire.
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is rather enigmatic because, as compared with the Father and the Son, of whom we can have concrete human images, the Holy Spirit lacks concrete imagery except non-human images such as dove and wind. Furthermore, whereas the Son can refer to Jesus in history, the Holy Spirit normally cannot refer to any agent in the realm of creation. These can perhaps explain the diversity of views on the Holy Spirit. But, amidst the diversity of views, whether they are trinitarian or nontrinitarian, or whether they are Eastern or Western, there seems to be one trend which has incessantly popped up in spite of the Church's official rejection of it. It is to understand the Holy Spirit in feminine terms. It cannot be entirely rejected if Genesis 1:27 is meant to say that the image of God is both male and female. Also, if it is true that men and women were created in this androgynous image of God, we can surmise that just as the Son is manifested by a man—Jesus, the feminine Holy Spirit is linked to, or can be represented by, a woman. Spiritually, then, the Holy Spirit would represent the Bride of Christ. Perhaps this can help to address the enigmatic nature of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
1. Angel www.aletheiacollege.net. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
2. Holy Spirit. www.watchtower.org. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
3.  Retrieved January 9, 2008.
4.  Retrieved Janauary 9, 2008.
5. Willi Moll. The Christian Image of Women. (Notre Dome: Fides, 1967).
6. Messianic Jews/ yourarmstoisrael.org. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
7. R.P. Nettelhorst," More Than Just a Controversy: All About The Holy Spirit." .www.theology.edu.Retrieved February 18, 2008.
8. ."Pneumatology: Doctrine of the Holy Spirit"Www.theology.edu.Retrieved February 18, 2008.
9."The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.".www.theology.edu. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
10. Church Fathers believed Holy Spirit was Feminine Quotes. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
11. Evan Randolph Sources for research on the Holy Spirit. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
Burgess, Stanley M. The Holy Spirit: Eastern Christian Traditions. Hendrickson Publishers, 1989. ISBN 9780913573815
Kng, Hans, and Jrgen Moltmann. Conflicts About the Holy Spirit. Seabury Press, 1980. ISBN 978-0816420353
Schandorff, Esther Dech. The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit: A Bibliography Showing Its Chronological Development. ATLA bibliography series, no. 28. Scarecrow Press, 1995. ISBN 9780810825239
Schaupp, Joan P. Woman: Image of the Holy Spirit. International Scholars Publications, 1996. ISBN 9781573091152
Stanton, Graham, et al. The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins: Essays in Honor of James D.G. Dunn. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2004. ISBN 9780802828224
Stephens, Bruce M. The Holy Spirit in American Protestant Thought, 1750-1850.
Studies in American religion, v. 59. E. Mellen Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0773491939
Wright, Christopher J. H. Knowing the Holy Spirit Through the Old Testament. IVP Academic, 2006. ISBN 9780830825912
All Retrieved on October 12, 2007.
Holy Spirit Interactive. www.holyspiritinteractive.com.
Who or What is the Holy Spirit? Christian page. www.blessedlady.com.
Holy Spirit: Scripture Reference Guide. www.blessedlady.com.
a Lutheran's view of what the Holy Spirit does. www.spirithome.com.
Lois Roden's studies on the Feminine aspect of the Godhead. www.the-branch.org.
How To Live By The Power Of The Holy Spirit Protestant-Christian.
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The Holy Spirit - God's Divine Power
"The Holy Spirit, rather than being a distinct person, is spoken of in the Bible as being God's divine power. The Anchor Bible Dictionary, in its article on the Holy Spirit, describes it as"The manifestation of divine presence and power perceptible especially in prophetic inspiration" (Vol. 3, Doubleday, New York, 1992, p. 260).
Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as the power of God (Zechariah 4:6; Micah 3:8). Paul told Timothy that it is the"spirit of ... power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7, emphasis added throughout).
Luke 4:14 records that Jesus Christ began His ministry"In the power of the Spirit."Speaking of the Holy Spirit, which would be given to His followers after His death, Jesus told them," You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you ..." (Acts 1:8).
Peter relates how"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, [and Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). The Holy Spirit is here associated with the power by which God was with Him - the power through which Jesus Christ performed mighty miracles during His earthly, physical ministry. The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God's power actively working in His servants.
According to various Jewish/Christians scholars the Holy Spirit in the Bible is regarded as:
1. Some mysterious, creative power of God, possessing and inspiring humans;
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Now the Lord is that Spirit: And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:17
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God
Rom. 8: 14
Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: For we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
But the Spirit itself makes intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And he that searches the heart know, what is the mind of the Spirit,
Because She makes intercessions for the saints, according to the will of God.
Rom. 8: 26-27
2. The Spirit of God;
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost will come unto thee:
Therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."
For what man knows the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him?
Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;
That we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches,
But which the Holy Ghost teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2: 13
3. The inner principal in the 'new life' in Christ;
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because She hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
She hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised
4. A quasi-physical force in the form of wind;
But knowest not whence it comes and where it goes; thus is every one that is born of the Spirit.
5. The personal activity of God Himself;
Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
6. A supreme Spirit in prophecy;
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:
But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter 1:21
7. The Spirit which baptizes;
For John truly baptized with water;
But ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
Acts 1: 5
8. The mode of God's activity in history;
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father,
Even the Spirit of Truth, which proceeds from the Father, She shall testify of Me.
"We might go so far, as to consider the Holy Spirit, God's feminine presence in the world. The primary attribute of the feminine principle is receptivity. Therefore, the Holy Spirit demonstrates itself through it receptivity to others. I have mentioned before, the Kabbalist look upon Shekinah, a Hebrew term which means God's presence, as the feminine expression of the Divine. Likewise, in the Genesis story, the Spirit of God is said to be"hovering"over the void and formless world just before creation. In college, my Old Testament Professor remarked," It's the idea of a hen hovering over her egg, waiting for it to hatch."In this sense, the Holy Spirit, is mother God, who loves and shelters all her children without condition."
9. The living energy of a personal God;
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you.
10. The breath of the Almighty;
By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
Psalms 33: 6
The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life.
Job 33: 4
Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth.
Psalms 104: 30
The grass withers, the flowers fade: Because the Spirit of the Lord blows upon it.
The other word used most often of the Holy Spirit is the Greek word pneuma. It is translated as"breath"or"spirit"And means breath, breeze, wind or spirit."
"The term"Spirit"translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit."
J. Cardinal Ratzinger, Catechism of the Catholic Church
(J.C.R., Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, p. 182.)
11. The Spirit in supernatural endowments of ethical and spiritual understanding;
I have heard of thee that the Spirit of the Gods is in thee,
And the Light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11: 2
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man, to profit withal.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; To another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; To another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; To another discerning of spirits;
To another diverse kinds of tongues; To another the interpretation of tongues;
But all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit.
1. Corinthians 11: 7-11
12. The Spirit of wisdom and judgement;
But there is a Spirit in man: And the inspiration of Almighty gives them understanding.
Great men are not always wise: Neither do the aged understand judgement
Turn you at My reproof: Behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My Words unto you.
13. The mode of human communion with God;
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions, and also upon the servants and upon the handmaidens,
In those days will I pour out My Spirit.
14. The mode of transmitting God's revelation to humans;
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me,
To peach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.
15. The Spirit which liberates;
Now the Lord if that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:17
16. The Spirit which brings renewal;
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,
By the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Titus 3: 5
17. The Spirit which brings hope;
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts,
By the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all the joy,
And peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
18. The Spirit which comforts;
I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter,
That may abide with you forever.
John 14: 16
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father,
Even the Spirit of Truth which preceedeth from the Father, She shall testify of me.
And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
John 15: 26-27
Supporting evidence that the Holy Spirit is Feminine
If any of you lack wisdom [Sophia], let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
- James 1:5
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
- Luke 11:13
Perhaps the first argument which can be offered in support of the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit is Her association with"The spirit of wisdom" (Exodus 28:3; Ephesians 1:17). In both the Old and New Testaments, Wisdom is often personified in the feminine gender:
"Say that Wisdom is thy sister" (Proverbs 7:4)
"Wisdom has built a house for herself, and set up seven pillars" (Proverbs 9:1)
Proverbs chapters 8 and 9 are in fact an extended allegory of Wisdom depicted as a woman.
"Wisdom is known by her children" (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35)
"Therefore also said the Wisdom of God, I will also send them prophets and apostles ..." (Luke 11:49). In this text our Lord is equating the"Wisdom of God"With the Holy Spirit who provided Divine inspiration to those who wrote the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21). He refers to Wisdom in the feminine gender.
The Old Testament word for"Wisdom" is chokmah which has the feminine ending.
The New Testament word - in the Greek - is sophia - also feminine. In fact"Sophia" is the name for a goddess of wisdom in the Greek pantheon. It should be obvious that the Early Church, when reading the Greek Septuagint - the translation of the Old Testament for the Greek-speaking Jew - would have made the connection between that goddess and the Holy Spirit. Of course, a Gentile Christian would have known that the Holy Spirit was not a Greek goddess. Rather, he would have confessed that the Holy Spirit was the true Sophia in contrast to the pagan imitation.
The connection between the Holy Spirit and Sophia is more pronounced in the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha are writings from the Intertestamental Period which was contained in the Septuagint but are not included in our modern Bibles. (They are regarded as deutero- canonical by the Anglican Church).
For Sophia is a loving spirit... For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world.
- Wisdom of Solomon 1:5,7
For Sophia, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit, holy, one only... For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty ... And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God and prophets. For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with Sophia.
- Wisdom chapter 7 (excerpts)
And thy counsel who hath known, except thou give Sophia, and send thy Holy Spirit from above?
In the writings of the Early Church, Wisdom (Sophia) is preserved as feminine (e.g. the Shepherd of Hermes)
Jesus associates the"spirit of truth"With the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). Sophia and the Holy Spirit share identical roles (1 Corinthians 2:7-11; Romans 5:5; 1 John 5:6-7 KJV). Were it not for the masculine bias of later theologians, the Church would likely have acknowledged the allegorical associations in the Old Testament as literal theophanies of the Holy Spirit.
The second argument which can be offered in support for the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit is found in the very names ascribed to God and the Holy Spirit. The name for God in the Hebrew language is"Elohim." Most scholars acknowledge that this word has a plural ending, which some use to suggest an Old Testament anticipation of the Trinity. What most scholars either do not know or care not to inform their constituents is that"Elohim" is not the plural of"El" the masculine form of the name. It is plural of the feminine," Elowah." Strictly speaking, we can translate the Old Testament name for God as"goddesses."
Such a fact is naturally shocking to traditionalists who are largely ignorant of the origins of their faith. We do not favor, however, a translation of the name for God into the feminine because masculine pronouns are used in association with"Elohim." But we do argue that the use of the feminine ending by Divine Revelation ought to settle unequivocally that God's being encompasses both the masculine and feminine genders. Indeed, when describing man as made in God's image, the Scriptures say,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
- Genesis 1:27
Thus indicating that both genders exist in the Godhead.
That the Holy Spirit is the designated representation of the feminine principle is further supported by the Hebrew word for"spirit." I quote now Jerome, the author of the Latin Vulgate:
In the Gospel of the Hebrews that the Nazarenes read it says," Just now my mother, the Holy Spirit, took me."Now no one should be offended by this, because"spirit"In Hebrew is feminine, while in our language [Latin] it is masculine and in Greek it is neuter. In divinity, however, there is no gender.
- Jerome's Commentary on Isaiah 11
This explanation contains an astonishing admission. First, it tells us that there was a tradition among a sect of Early Christians which believed that the Holy Spirit was our Lord's spiritual mother. Second, Jerome - a more orthodox figure cannot be imagined - admits that the Hebrew word for"spirit" (ruach) is feminine, meaning that for the 1st Century Christians - who were largely operating in the Aramaic world (Paul's churches were tiny in comparison) - the Holy Spirit was a feminine figure. It was lost in the translation from the Hebrew into the Greek, and then it was changed to a masculine gender when it was translated from the Greek into the Latin.
Finally, Jerome's theological bias leads him to believe the distinction of gender is unimportant. He believes there is no gender in God, therefore, it does not matter whether God is referred to as a"he"or a"she"or an"It", presumably. With many centuries of misogynist behavior by Christian leaders behind us, I think it does matter. We are not allowed to change one"jot or tittle"of the Law, and if God is represented as a being encompassing both the masculine and feminine genders, then we are foolish to hide that fact in our translations of the Sacred Text.
The third argument which can be offered is the example of early Christian leaders in how they handled this doctrine. In his Homily on Jeremiah 15, the learned Origen argued the case that the Holy Spirit was Christ's mother. In a more practical application, Methodius - also a leader with an impeccably orthodox reputation - states directly that the family is meant to reflect analogously the blessed Trinity:
[T]he innocent and unbegotten Adam being the type and resemblance of God the Father Almighty, who is uncaused, and the cause of all; his begotten son [Seth] shadowing forth the image of the begotten Son and Word of God; whilst Eve, that proceedeth forth from Adam, signifies the person and procession of the Holy Spirit.
- Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 6, p. 402
The Didascalia, a 3rd Century clergy manual, commanded the churches that," the deaconess should be honored by you as the Holy Spirit is honored." Thus, officially confirming that the role of the Holy Spirit is of a feminine nature.
It should be emphasized that we are not saying that the Holy Spirit is a woman. Neither is God the Father a man. We are made in God's image. God is not made in our image. We must maintain a theistic perspective, rather than a humanistic one. The Holy Spirit is not married to the Father, nor is She His wife in any human sense of the word. Rather, marriage is a creaturely reflection of the glorious unity which exists within the Trinity. As long as we remain loyal to the Ecumenical Creeds, we will not go astray with this doctrine.
In conclusion, we affirm that it is not impious, nor does it in any way diminish the deity of the 3rd Person, to address the Holy Spirit as a"She"rather than as a"He." While we do not favor the call for a gender neutral Bible, we do believe that a new translation of the Scriptures is in order - under the supervision of the Desposyni - which will correct the Latin biases which have been carried over from the Vulgate.
Supporting evidence that the Holy Spirit is Feminine
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