The Orthodox Faith

 

For St Paul Orthodox Youth Society - Brisbane

By Fr. John Abdel-Karim

December 2009 

 

20 - THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

The Holy Spirit is God. He is equally God with the Father and the Son. He is theThird Person of the Holy Trinity.

 

Only once in the Holy Scriptures is the Holy Spirit explicitly and categorically called God, as follows: "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit . . .? You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts, 5:3-4). What further proof does a Christian need to believe that the Holy Spirit is truly God?

 

It is demonstrated in many verses of the Old and New Testament that the Holy Spirit has divine attributes. We shall give only two examples.

 

"The Spirit of God moved upon the waters" (Genesis, 1:2). This means that the Holy Spirit has divine attributes and authority to give form to and

 to perfect the creation.

 

"May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (II Corinthians, 13:13), St. Paul says, thus placing the Holy Spirit in the same order and position as the Father and the Son.

 

". . . and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who, together with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets" (The Creed of Faith, Article 8). This Article of the Creed contains the entire teaching of our Church concerning the Holy Spirit. He is Lord. He is life-giving; that is to say, He has the attributes of the Father and the Son. The Lord--the Master--the Father; the life-giving Son; the life-giving Holy Spirit. He is truly God. He proceeds from the Father, just as the Son is born from the Father. The Father is the source of divinity. The Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person in the order of divinity, and is equal to the other two Divine Persons. He is co-worshipped and co-glorified with the Father and the Son. And He is the same Spirit referred to in the Old Testament and Who spoke through the mouths of the Prophets.

 

This section of Article 8 of the Creed is exactly the way the Second Ecumenical Council of 381 in Constantinople decreed and dogmatized it. The addition "and from the Son" was made much later and is a falsification of the original document and is unorthodox. That the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father is also proven from the passage, "But when the Comforter comes Whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceeds from the Father" (John, 15:26).

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, Who is the Godhead, and is sent by the Son, Who is the "creative and joining force of the wisdom and power of the All Mighty God." Basil the Great well describes the matter when he says, "the Godly source is One (i.e., the Father), Who creates through the Son and completes it through the Holy Spirit."

 

Our Church places things in correct perspective when it chants, "We worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity undivided, one in essence." One triune God. Three persons, but one God, all of one essence.

 

"The Holy Spirit is the Giver of all; He is the spring of the prophecies; He perfects priests, teaches wisdom to the unlearned, elevates fishermen to theologians, and holds together the institution of the Church," notes the hymnographer. He abides in the Church. He guides it in all truth. He works through the sacraments and sanctifies the faithful.

 

All Christians must know the Holy Spirit and believe in Him, Who is true God, equal with the Son and the Father, Who proceeds from the Father, is sent by the Son, and holds together the institution of the Church and perfects everything. 

 

LET US PRAY

"O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who are present everywhere and fill all things, treasury of all good and the giver of life,