Summary Against Modern Thought: Understanding The Trinity IX

Summary Against Modern Thought: Understanding The Trinity IX

Previous post.

There are about five or six more chapters on the Holy Ghost until we get to the filioque. And won’t that be fun.


1 But, since some assert that the Holy Spirit is not a subsistent person, but, rather, the divinity of the Father and the Son (so some Macedonians are held to have said); or even an accidental perfection of the mind bestowed on us by God—wisdom, for instance, or charity or something of this sort (and these are participated by us as certain created accidents); one must on the contrary show that the Holy Spirit is nothing of this kind.

2 For accidental forms have no proper operations; instead, one has them in accord with the decision of his will, for the wise man uses wisdom when he wills. But the Holy Spirit operates in accord with the decision of His will. This has been shown. One must not, therefore, think of the Holy Spirit as an accidental perfection of the mind.

3 The Holy Spirit, again, so we are taught by Scripture, is the cause of all the perfections of the human mind. For the Apostle says: “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5)” and: “To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom, and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:8), and so of the rest. The Holy Spirit, therefore, must not be thought of as an accidental perfection of the human mind, since He is, of all perfections of this kind, the existing cause.

4 Of course, that in the name of the Holy Spirit the essence Of the Father and Son is designated so as to be personally distinguished from neither of them conflicts with what divine Scripture hands on to us about the Holy Spirit. It says that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father” and that He receives from the Son (John 15:26; 16:14). And this cannot be understood of the divine essence, since the divine essence neither proceeds from the Father nor receives from the Son. One must, then, say that the Holy Spirit is a subsisting Person.

5 Again, sacred Scripture manifestly speaks of the Holy Spirit as of a subsisting divine person, for it says: “As they were ministering to the Lord, and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them: “Separate Me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them”; and later: “So they, being sent by the Holy Spirit, went” (Acts 13:2). And in Acts (15:28) the Apostles say: “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us, to lay no further burden upon you,” and so forth; and these things would not be said of the Holy Spirit if He were not a subsistent person. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, a subsistent person.

Notes Not the place for this, perhaps, but it never really hurts to point out the importance of fasting, the control of your desires.

6 Furthermore, since the Father and Son are subsisting persons and of the divine nature, the Holy Spirit would not be numbered along with them unless He also were a person subsisting in the divine nature. He is numbered with them, of course. This is clear from Matthew (28:19), where our Lord says to the disciples: “Go, therefore, teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”; and from 2 Corinthians (13:13): “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communication of the Holy Spirit be with you all”; and from 1 John (5:7): “There are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.” From this it shows clearly that He is not only a subsistent person like the Father and the Son, but has unity of essence with them.

7 One could, of course, calumniate against the foregoing, saying that the “Spirit of God” is one thing and the “Holy Spirit” another. To be sure, in certain of the authorities set down, the “Spirit of God” is named, and in certain others “the Holy Spirit,” but the identity of the “Spirit of God” and “the Holy Spirit” is clearly shown from the words of the Apostle, when he had premised: “God has revealed them, by His Spirit,” by way of confirmation he says: “the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God”; and finally he concludes: “so the things also that are of God no man knows, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:10-11). From this there is manifestly apparent the identity of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God.

8 The same point is apparent from this: our Lord says in Matthew (10:20): “It is not you that speak but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you.” But in place of these words Mark says (13:11): “It is not you that speak, but the Holy Spirit.” Manifestly, the Holy Spirit is the same as the Spirit of God.

9 Since from the authorities set down it is clear in so many ways that the Holy Spirit is not a creature, but true God, it is accordingly manifest that we are not compelled to say that one must understand the Holy Spirit filling and dwelling in the minds of the saints in the same way that one understands the devil to be filling and dwelling in some minds.

One finds in John (13:27): “After the morsel, Satan entered into him”; and in Acts (5:3) Peter says—so some books have it: “Ananias, why has Satan tempted your heart?” For, since the devil is a creature, as was manifested in the foregoing, he fills no one by a participation in himself, and he cannot dwell in a mind through his substance; rather, he is said to fill some men by the effect of his wickedness.

Hence, Paul says to a certain one: “O full of all guile and of all deceit” (Acts 13:10). The Holy Spirit, of course, since He is God, dwells in a mind by His substance and makes men good by participation in Himself. For He is His own goodness, since He is God. And this can be true of no creature. Neither does this, for all that, change the fact that by the effect of His power He fills the minds of the holy.


  1. Oldavid

    It’s jolly good of ole Tom to show up and embellish my crude summary with his minutiae.

  2. spudjr60

    >>> Not the place for this, perhaps, but it never really hurts to point out the importance of fasting, the control of your desires.

    Perhaps, but as our Blessed Lord explained to the disciples; “this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.”

    So, just as we all realize that our country and our civilization needs more prayer, also we need a lot more fasting. Then by the Grace of God, we can ask the Holy Spirit to cast out demons from our woke relatives.

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