Tuesday, 29 June 2021

CONTRA GENTILES: BOOK FOUR: SALVATION - Chapter 16 ARGUMENTS WHICH MADE SOME THINK THE HOLY SPIRIT A CREATURE

[1] Now, in the opinion of some, the Holy Spirit is a creature exalted over other creatures. They used the testimony of sacred Scripture for this assertion.

[2] Amos (4:13) says, if we take the Septuagint literally: “Behold He who forms the mountains and creates the spirit and declares His word to man.” And Zechariah (12:1): “Thus says the Lord who stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundations of the earth, and creates the spirit of man in it.” It seems, then, that the Holy Spirit is a creature.

[3] Moreover, our Lord says, speaking of the Holy Spirit: “He shall not speak of Himself, but what things soever He shall hear, He shall speak” (John 16:23), and from this it appears that He speaks not with the authority of a further power, but to one who commands He is in a service of obedience, for to speak what one hears is proper to a servant. Therefore.’the Holy Spirit seems to he a creature subject to God.

[4] Again, “to be sent” appears proper to an inferior, since there is in the sender an implication of authority. The Holy Spirit, of course, is sent by the Father and the Son, for our Lord says: “The Paraclete, the Holy Ghost~ whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things”; and: “Men the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father” (John 14:26; 25:26). The Holy Spirit, therefore, appears to be less than the Father and the Son.

[5] Moreover, divine Scripture, associating the Son with the Father in matters of divinity, makes no mention of the Holy Spirit. This is clear from Matthew (11:27), when our Lord says: “No one knows the Son but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father but the Son,” making no mention of the Holy Spirit. And John (17:3) says: “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent.” There, again, no mention is made of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle also says: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 2:7); and: “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things and we by Him” (1 Cor. 8:6); and in these places also there is nothing said about the Holy Spirit. It seems, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is not God.

[6] There is more. Whatever is moved is created, for it was shown in Book I that God is immobile. But to the Holy Spirit motion is attributed by divine Scripture. One reads in Genesis (1:2): “And the Spirit of God was moved over the waters”; and in Joel (2:28): “I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh.” It seems, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is a creature.

[7] Moreover, everything that can be increased or divided is mutable and created. These seem to be attributed to the Holy Spirit in sacred Scripture. For the Lord said to Moses: “Gather unto Me seventy men of the ancients of Israel; and I will take of your spirit, and will give to them” (Num. 11:16-17). And 2 Samuel (2:9-10) says that Elishah begged of Elijah: “I beseech you that in me may be your double spirit”; and Elijah answered: “If you see me when I am taken from you, you shall have what you asked.” The Holy Spirit, therefore, appears to be mutable and not to be God.

[8] Again, no sorrow can come upon God, since sorrow is passion of a sort and God is not subject to passion. But passion does come upon the Holy Spirit; as the Apostle reveals: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30); and Isaiah (63:10) says: “They provoked to wrath and afflicted His Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, therefore, seems not to be God.

[9] What is more, it is not suitable for God to entreat, but to be entreated. But to entreat is suitable to the Holy Spirit; we read in Romans (8:2.6): “The Spirit Himself asks for us with unspeakable groanings.” Therefore, the Holy Spirit appears not to be God.

[10] Moreover, no one makes a thing a gift appropriately unless he has dominion over it. But God the Father gives the Holy Spirit, and so does God the Son. For our Lord says: “Your Father from heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask Him” (Luke 11:13); and Peter speaks of “the Holy Spirit whom God has given to all that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).

[11] For these reasons it seems, then, that the Holy Spirit is not God.

[2] Once again, if the Holy Spirit is truly God, He ought to have the divine nature. Thus, when the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father” (as John 15:26 has it), necessarily He receives the divine nature from the Father. Of course, what receives its nature from a thing which produces it is generated by that thing. For it is proper to one begotten to be produced unto a similarity in species to its principle. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will be begotten and, consequently, the Son. And this is repugnant to sound faith.

[13] If the Holy Spirit, furthermore, receives the divine nature from the Father and not as one begotten, the divine nature must be communicated in two ways: by way of generation in which the Son proceeds, and in that way in which the Holy Spirit proceeds. But one nature seems not to have two fitting modes of communication if one examines natures universally. It seems, therefore, that the Holy Spirit, since He does not receive the divine nature by generation, does not receive it in any way at all. He thus appears not to be true God.

[14] Now, this was the position of Arius, who said that the Son and the Holy Spirit were creatures: the Son, to be sure, greater than the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit the servant of the Son; just so, he said that the Son was lesser than the Father. Arius was followed in respect of the Holy Spirit by Macedonius, “who rightly held that the Father and the Son were of one and the same substance, but was unwilling to believe this of the Holy Spirit. He said that the Holy Spirit was a creature.” Hence, some call the Macedonians Semi-Arians, because they are in partial agreement with the Arians, and in partial disagreement with the same group.

Next - CONTRA GENTILES: BOOK FOUR: SALVATION - 
Chapter 17 THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TRUE GOD

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