AGAINST TRINITY V The Holy Spirit
(original authors title: Paganistic False Views of God)
By P.S.L. Johnson
Having proven that our Lord is not God Almighty and hence that the trinity doctrine is not true, we will now proceed to discuss the Holy Spirit in relation to the trinity doctrine, as our twelfth general argument against it. We will first briefly define the Holy Spirit: It is (1) the power of influence, and (2) the disposition of God, either in Himself or in those in harmony with Him. One or the other of these two definitions will fit every occurrence of the expression Holy Spirit in the Bible. We will now give, first in its first sense, afterward in its second sense, proof of the correctness of this definition. That the Holy Spirit is God's power or influence is evident from Luke 1:35: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee; and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." Here the Holy Spirit is defined as the power of the Highest. How do we know this? Because Gabriel in using this language used a parallelism, which is one of the ways the Hebrews made their poetry. While English poetry is made by rhythm of words, often accompanied by rime of words, Hebrew poetry, among other ways, is made
by rhythm of thought, whereby the same thought is repeated in different words, called parallelism. Accordingly the expression, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee," means the same thing as, and is defined by the expression, "The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." This parallelism proves that the word kai, which in Greek means and, also and even, in this passage means even. Hence this passage proves that the Holy Spirit means the power or influence of God. Luke 24:49 defines the Holy Spirit "power from on high," which also proves the first sense of our definition. So also does John 20: 22, 23 prove the first sense: "He (Jesus) breathed on them and said unto them, Receive a [so the Greek] Holy Spirit [power. That holy power is shown in the immediately following words to be the holy power to declare as God's mouthpieces the forgiveness of sins to penitent believers and the retention of sins to the impenitent]; whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." In other words, Christ by His death, providing the ransom price as the basis for forgiveness of sins, in John 20:22, 23 gave the disciples the holy power to act as His representatives in declaring the basis and conditions on which sins are to be forgiven or retained, and to assure those concerned of these two facts. Before Pentecost (when for the first time the Holy Spirit was given in the sense of the spiritual disposition to any of Adam's fallen race, John 7:39) whenever the Spirit is spoken of as acting in nature or on fallen men, it is always in the sense of God's holy power or influence. This is implied in John 7:39, since it shows that before Pentecost the Spirit was not on or in any fallen man in the sense in which it has been since Pentecost.
The second sense of the words Holy Spirit is the disposition of God in Himself and in others, i. e., those who are in harmony with His disposition, His Spirit. It is in them a holy mind, holy affections and a holy
will. During the Gospel Age this is in saints a spiritual disposition begun in them at their begettal of the Spirit, and developed in them unto perfection by the Spirit (in the sense of power), Word and providences of God, working in and upon them. In the saints it is therefore called: the Spirit [disposition] of God and Christ (Rom. 8:9, 14; Phil. 1:19; 1 Pet. 4: 14) ; the Spirit [disposition] of Holiness (Rom. 1:4); the Spirit of sonship [a filial disposition Godward], in contrast with a servile, cowardly and time-serving disposition (Rom. 8: 14, 15); the Spirit of meekness [a meek disposition] (Gal. 6:1); the Spirit of power [a strong disposition], of love [a loving disposition] and of a sound mind [a wise disposition], in contrast with the spirit of fear [a cowardly disposition] (2 Tim. 1:7) ; the Spirit of the Truth [the disposition worked in us by the Truth, John 17: 17] (John 14: 17) ; the Spirit [disposition] of the Truth, contrasted with the spirit of error [erroneous disposition] (1 John 4:6) ; the Spirit of the promise [the disposition wrought in us by the Oath-bound promise] (Eph. 1:3, 14); a watchful Spirit [disposition] in contrast with the spirit of slumber [a sleepy disposition] (Rom. 11:8; 1 Cor. 16: 13) ; the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and reverence [a disposition that is wise, understanding, practical, strong, intelligent and God-fearing] (Is. 11:25 the Spirit of glory [the glorious disposition, because transforming our characters into God's glorious likeness (1 Pet. 4: 14); the Spirit which is of God [the Divine disposition], in contrast with the spirit of the world [worldly disposition] (1 Cor. 2: 12), and the Spirit [spiritual disposition], in contrast with the flesh [fleshly disposition] (Rom. 8:5-9; Matt. 26: 41; Gal. 5: 16-25),
These passages all clearly prove that God's Spirit therein referred to is His disposition, either in Himself or in those in harmony with Him in disposition. Especially do the contrasts between the filial and the servile
and cowardly spirit in Rom. 8:15, between the cowardly spirit and the strong, loving and wise spirit in 2 Tim. 1:7, between the Spiritual and fleshly spirits in Rom. 8: 5-9; Matt. 26:41; Gal. 5:16-25, between the Truth Spirit and the erroneous spirit of 1 John 4:6, between the watchful Spirit and sleeping spirit of Rom. 11:8; 1 Cor. 16:13, between the Divine Spirit and the worldly spirit In 1 Cor. 2: 12, prove that the Lord's Spirit is His disposition. Certainly the servile, cowardly, erroneous, sleeping and worldly spirits of these passages are not spirit beings, but are dispositions; hence the filial strong, loving, wise, heavenly, Truth and Divine Spirits of these passages are, by the contrasts drawn between them and the servile, cowardly, worldly, erroneous, earthly and sleeping spirits, shown to be dispositions. Hence these passages prove that the Holy Spirit in its second sense is God's Holy disposition, in Himself and in all in harmony with Him--Christ, the good angels and the saints.
We ought also to remember that in Is. 11:2 a definition of the Holy Spirit is given. "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him [the Christ]--the Spirit [disposition] of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit [disposition] of counsel and might, the Spirit [disposition] of Knowledge and reverence of the Lord. Please note that in John 14: 17; 15:26; 16:13 the Holy Spirit is defined as the Spirit of the [so the Greek] Truth, i. e., the disposition that God's Word, the Truth (John 17: 17), works in His people. So in Eph. 1:13 it is defined as the Spirit of the [so the Greek] promise [the disposition that the Oath-bound promise works in the saints]. These definitions prove that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but is God's disposition, in Himself, His Son, Jesus, His saints and the good angels. The same conclusion follows from St. Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 2: 10, where we are told that "the Spirit searches [studies out] all things, even the deep things of God." If the Spirit were God Al-
mighty, It would know all things intuitively, as God does, and would not study out anything; but God's mind, disposition in the saints, does not know everything, and must study out the deep things of God to understand them. This same thought is implied in Rom. 8:26, 27, where we are told the Spirit groans, unable to express its feelings. But God Almighty neither groans nor is We unable to express His feelings; but His disposition in His saints often groans (Rom. 8:23), and often is unable to express its feelings. Again, when we are exhorted in 1 Thes. 5:19 not to quench God's Spirit, we are admonished not to do anything that would put out the holy fire of God's disposition in us. To understand God's Spirit here to mean Almighty God would imply that we can put God Almighty out of existence ! Every passage in the Bible using the expression Holy Spirit, not using the words, Holy Spirit, in the sense of power, influence, uses them in the sense of God's disposition, in Himself and in His faithful--the mind, heart, will of God. This view stands all tests of the Bible.
While God is a person and while Jesus is a person, The Holy Spirit is not a person. There is no Scripture, apart from mistranslation, that speaks of It as a person, yet numerous passages do speak of God and Christ as persons. The trinitarian mistranslation, Holy Ghost, and certain other mistranslations, suggest this thought, which translation--Holy Ghost--was rightly rejected by the A. R. V., etc., in favor of Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Bible statements with reference to It are of such a kind as are incompatible with the thought that It is a person. That the Holy Spirit is not God Almighty is evident from the fact that It can be quenched by us (1 Thes. 5:19), which would mean, if It were God Almighty, that we can destroy God Almighty! How Almighty would God be, if we could quench, destroy Him ? The Bible says that Jesus (Acts 10: 38) and the saints (2 Cor. 1 :21) are anointed with
the Holy Spirit. It is absurd to say that we could be anointed with a person, i. e:, that a person is the symbolic oil with which the anointing is done. But how reasonable is the thought that we can be anointed with God's disposition, His thoughts, affections, graces and will; for this is just what the anointing is (Is. 11:2, 3; 61: 1-3). Again, the Bible teaches that we are baptized with (not by) the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; John 1:33; Acts 1:). How could we be baptized with, as distinct from by, a person' But we can be and are baptized with God's disposition and into God's disposition (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12: 13, the phrase "by one Spirit," in the Greek reads, "in one Spirit"). Again, we are exhorted to be filled with God's Spirit (Eph. 5:18). How could we be filled with the Spirit, if the Spirit is God Almighty, a person? But we could be and are filled with God's disposition. Again, if the Spirit is God Almighty, a person, how could He be given (Luke 11:13) to us and thus be owned by us? But if It is God's disposition begun, developed and completed in us, we see that It has been given to and is owned by us (Rom. 8: 15; 2 Tim. 1:). So, too, the Bible assures us that the Spirit was given to Jesus not by measure (John 3:34) i. e., not with any limitations, because of His perfection, while, by reason of our imperfection (2 Cor. 4:7), to us it is given by measure, limitedly, and that variously (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:11-14, 27; Eph. 4:7). But how could a person be given to one without limitations and to others by limitations? But a disposition could and must be so given as between perfect and imperfect beings and the varying imperfections of imperfect beings. Then, the Bible tells us that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph, 1:13, 14). A person cannot be a seal and thus be used as a seal of others; but God does seal us as His own by giving us His holy disposition. If the Holy Spirit were a person, how could He be poured out (Joel 2:28, 29; Matt. 3: 16;
Acts 2:1-4; 10:44, 45) ? If It is a holy power and a holy disposition, we can see how this can be. In a prophecy (Ps. 133:1-3) the Spirit is shown (v. 1) to be the good and pleasant disposition of the saints in unity, the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace (Eph. 4:3). In v. 2 its bestowment is spoken of as pictured by the anointing of Aaron. Then in v. 3 it is represented by the dew of Herman descending on Zion's mountains, because It tempers the heat of temptation and produces the blessing that gives everlasting life, i. e., a character like God's--God's disposition. Other things Scripturally said of the Holy Spirit could be brought forward, proving that It is not God Almighty, a person; but is God's power and disposition, in Himself and in all in harmony with Him; but enough has been given, we believe, proving this thought. Accordingly, we will now end this feature of our discussion, and will leave for study later on the examination of the arguments that trinitarians use as alleged indirect proofs of their doctrines, since in this installment we have reviewed their alleged direct proofs.