Dear Mr. Zukeran,
I do not believe the holy spirit is a person, mainly because it does not have a name. The names you give all have the word “the” preceding it. This indicates that the following word is a title, not a name. (For example “the President”, obviously “President” is not a name.) Also, the words “holy spirit” are at times in lower case. Of course you know names are never in lower case.
Thank you for your question. The Holy Spirit gives a command (Acts 13:2), He can be lied to (Acts 5), and He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). This shows the Holy Spirit is an intelligent thinking person. One cannot lie to an inanimate force like electricity or fire. You cannot even lie to a cat or dog–it must be an intelligent cognitive thinking person. Also why does Jesus use personal pronoun “He” and “Him” in addressing the Holy Spirit (John 16)?
Regarding a name. Respectfully, that really is not much of an argument. The previous verses show the Holy Spirit has the qualiites of a person; this makes Him a person. You stated because He does not have a personal name you think he is not a person. Allow me to use an illustration. If I say, “the King of Jordan is coming” what do I mean? Do I mean an impersonal, non-living entity is coming, or do I mean a person who rules over Jordan is coming? Obviously I mean a person is coming. Even if I do not know his personal name, we all know I am talking about a person. Just because I do not know if his name is George, Fred, or John but know him as “The King of Jordan” does that mean he is not a person?
The Holy Spirit has all the attributes of a person. He speaks, He thinks, He can be grieved, He can be lied to, etc. . . . Just because we do not address him as Fred or George but by His title “the Holy Spirit” does not mean He is not a person. I may never know the pesonal name of the King of Jordan, but whenever I speak of the King of Jordan, I am referring to a person.
Thanks for writing.
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Dr. Patrick Zukeran, former Probe staffer, is the founder and Executive Director of Evidence and Answers, a research and teaching ministry specializing in Christian apologetics, the defense of the Christian faith. He is the host of the radio show Evidence and Answers (www.evidenceandanswers.org). Pat is the author of several books including The Apologetics of Jesus co-authored with Norman Geisler; God, Eternity, and Spirituality (ed.); and Unless I See . . . Is There Enough Evidence to Believe? Pat is a popular conference speaker and he also serves as an adjunct faculty for several colleges and institutes worldwide. He earned a B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University, a Master of Theology (Th.M.) from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min.) in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. Pat lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and can be reached at [email protected].
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