Tuesday: The Holy Spirit
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If God can be “one,” with the two Persons of the Father and the Son, adding a third Person to the Godhead should not particularly add more difficulty. We are talking here about the Holy Spirit.1

Read Genesis 1:2. What does this tell us about the role of the Holy Spirit, who appears so early in the biblical record? 



How does Matthew 28:19 draw attention to the three members of the Godhead? 



Three Persons of the Godhead are mentioned when Jesus instructs how new believers are to be baptized. Indeed, this baptismal “formula” is still used in most Christian baptisms today. The person who has chosen to follow Jesus is baptized into the “Name” (singular, not plural, in the Greek), though three Persons are included. Three Divine Beings are viewed as One.

At the baptism of Jesus, all three Persons of the Trinity appear together. Read Mark’s dramatic description of that baptism (Mark 1:9–11). Mark’s description of the heavens as “parting” (vs. 10, NKJV) would be better translated “torn open” (NIV). Mark draws attention to all three Members of the Divine Godhead in an awesome revelation of God that affects even nature itself.

As with Jesus, the work of the Holy Spirit is linked with and attributed to the actions of God. Review the following portrayals of the Holy Spirit’s actions:

1. When announcing the birth of Christ, the angel tells Mary that her Child will be called “holy” because the Holy Spirit will come upon her (Luke 1:35).

2. Jesus claimed that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, anointing Him to preach (Luke 4:18).

3. He also claimed to be driving out demons by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28).

4. The Spirit, who is to carry on Christ’s work after His departure, is another Counselor of the same kind (John 14:16).

5. Jesus breathed out the Holy Spirit upon His followers (John 20:22).

6. New Christians will have both the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:17) and also the Spirit of Christ (Gal. 2:20Col. 1:27).

Christ and the Holy Spirit are intimately linked with each other’s ministry. Moreover, there are biblical references that identify the Holy Spirit as God. Read Acts 5:1–11. How does this incident help us understand the deity of the Holy Spirit, as well?

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Tuesday: The Holy Spirit — 27 Comments

    • Indwelling holy spirit, is the one in your heart as a Christian guiding you to live like wise, the Spirit of Christ is the that will guide to be like Christ.

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    • the holy spirit is the spirit/life of Christ that dwells in us and transforms our minds, giving us a new nature that shuns all sin.

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      • Ellen White on The Indwelling of the Spirit.-"The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as in another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the Spirit reveal the fruits of the Spirit--love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith" (MS 41, 1897). {6BC 1112.1}

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  1. @Mudzingwa joseph who asked:
    "What is the difference between the indwelling holy spirit and the spirit of christ?"

    This question appears based on the lesson point 6: "New Christians will have both the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:17) and also the Spirit of Christ (Gal. 2:20, Col. 1:27)."

    I believe the wording in this question is unfortunate and misleading. (Perhaps a proof-reading error??)

    When Paul writes in Gal 2:20 that "Christ lives in me," he is referring to the experience possible through the agency of the mighty Third Person of the Godhead. Christ promised this in John 14:16-17. Note that in John 14:16, Christ promised to send "another" advocate, the Spirit of Truth. The original word "another" here implies someone who is of the same kind or nature, and that means that the Holy Spirit is Christ's personal representative who acts in Christ's stead in the believer's life. Col. 1:27 refers to the same experience.

    Thus the answer to Mudzingwa's question is that there is NO difference between the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ within the believer. There are no two "Spirits" that dwell in the new believer!!

    Del's comment also clarifies this question. (Thanks, Del. :) )

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    • Hello Inge. I'm happy that my comment has helped in any way. However, I believe I should be honest and mention that I have many questions regarding the doctrine of the trinity and I'm still doing my personal research. One of the things I find difficult is the teaching that Jesus Himself doesn't come to dwell in me but rather sends someone else. After all, Paul did say "Christ lives in me". I understand your thoughts thus far but please share any others you may have. much thanks

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      • Del, is it all right if I enter into this conversation? I feel that I may have a thought to share. Jesus told Philip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) The unity within the Godhead is evidently so close that one Person is the equivalent of another. As I see it, Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit as His personal respresentative, and the unity between Them is so complete that the one who has the Holy Spirit in his or her heart has Jesus there. Does this help?

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        • Certainly R.G. And I appreciate your thought. I'm thinking of 1 John 1:3 where John says "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." This indicates that it is really and truly Jesus and His Father that comes into our hearts personally and not someone else. Isn't/aren't there a fundamental difference/differences between the Father and Jesus? Aren't they distinct personalities despite the unity between them? And in John 14:9, what did Jesus really mean? Was He saying that He looks just like the Father or was He referring to nature?

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        • Thank you for the good questions, Del. In John 14:9, I believe that Jesus was referring to the extreme unity between Himself and the Father -- something for which there is no real earthly parallel. Thus, while there are, in my view, three Persons in the Godhead, the question of which Person we are dealing with is of no real consequence to us.

          As I see it, this is why I John 1:3 can say that our fellowship is with the Father and the Son, even though we are actually enjoying the physical presence and communion of the Holy Spirit. That's how close the three really are!

          May God bless you, Del.

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        • @ Del who wrote:
          "One of the things I find difficult is the teaching that Jesus Himself doesn’t come to dwell in me but rather sends someone else. After all, Paul did say “Christ lives in me”."

          We need to remember that Christ took on a human body, and when He was resurrected, it was with that same human body. Through the incarnation He has linked Himself with humanity for eternity. As such, He has limited Himself to a human, though glorified, body. That's why He said that it was "good" that He would go away, so the Holy Spirit would come. (John 16:7) He could no longer be present in more than one place at a time, due to His human body, but the Holy Spirit is not limited thus and represents Christ to every believer.

          Del also wrote:
          "Isn’t/aren’t there a fundamental difference/differences between the Father and Jesus? Aren’t they distinct personalities despite the unity between them?"

          It was just such a concept that the teaching of ONE God in three Persons is designed to prevent. The unity between the three Persons of the Godhead is much more than we can imagine between three human persons.

          Just as Jesus said that he who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9), so those who experience the presence of the Spirit, are experiencing the presence of Jesus.

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        • Hello R.G. You may be familiar with this explanation of the godhead according to the church: “A plan of salvation was encompassed in the covenant made by the Three Persons of the Godhead, who possessed the attributes of Deity equally. In order to eradicate sin and rebellion from the universe and to restore harmony and peace, one of the divine Beings accepted, and entered into, the role of the Father, another the role of the Son.” (Gordon Jenson, Adventist Review, October 31, 1996, p.12 Week of Prayer readings, ‘article ‘Jesus the Heavenly Intercessor). Even according to this, it seems that there is significant consequence when it comes to which member we are dealing with. And where is our Scriptural evidence for this idea that roles are being played by the Godhead?
          Also, since we say that it is the holy spirit who is here with us, are we limiting the omnipresence of the Father and Jesus? Are They not also with us themselves personally?
          God bless

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        • Dear Del,

          You have asked me a number of questions, so I'll just try to take them one at a time.

          1) You quoted Gordon Jenson, saying that this was an explanation "according to the church." Umm... Mr. Jenson is not the church, nor can I agree with his (I think, rather speculative) view of this matter, as quoted by you.

          2) My view that the question of which divine Person we are dealing with is of no consequence is based primarily on two Bible texts. In John 14:9, Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." In John 16:7, Jesus said that it was to our advantage that He was going away and was being personally replaced, on this earth, by the Holy Spirit. I understand that this is because the permanent humanity of Christ eliminates His personal omnipresence, while (again) one Member of the Godhead is the equivalent of another.

          3) Where is the Scriptural evidence of roles? If by roles, you mean the fact that the Three perform different functions, I find the evidence abundant. In such verses as John 5:26 and Matthew 28:18, we have evidence that the Father is the ultimate authority. In the ministry and sacrifice of Christ, we see that the Son is in the role of Saviour of mankind. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in the name of the Son. Paul taught us to pray in the Holy Spirit. One could go on and on.

          My foremost suggestion is that we let God be God, and that we recognise the limitations of our understanding.

          God bless!

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  2. The apostle Paul opens all his epistles with a greeting “from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. e.g. Romans 1: 7 - "To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (NIV). Since the trinity doctrine believes there are 3 persons, but yet 1 God, why is the “3rd” person missing in these greetings? As coequal persons in a trinity, should they not all be mentioned together and especially when these greetings come from God to His churches? Can we not say that this demonstrates the early church never knew about the trinity until 325AD when the Nicene council 'created' the trinity and affirmed the personhood of the Holy Spirit in the trinity in 381AD?

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  3. Hello Inge, sorry for this new thread I had some difficulty continuing in the previous one. I do appreciate your thoughts. I understand that Jesus emptied Himself of divine power when He became a man, but isn't it also true that He has taken again these divine powers, including omnipresence?

    I also have the following statement from Ellen White in Manuscript Release #14: "Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall (although unseen by you), [THIS PHRASE WAS ADDED BY ELLEN WHITE.] teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" [John 14:26]. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will come not unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" [John 16:7]. {14MR 23.3}

    My question is, when was the Holy Spirit a human? (He would have to have been a human in order to be divested of the personality of humanity). It seems that the Holy Spirit is the means by which Jesus is omnipresent, personally. And if we believe that the Holy Spirit is a separate person from Jesus and the Father then we would have to conclude that Jesus and the Father are not here at all with us. So we have to try to understand the identity of the Holy Spirit (we cannot understand the nature of the Spirit, meaning the means by which the Spirit is omnipresent). I don't believe we should limit the omnipresence of Jesus and the Father when we have so many Scriptures that tells us of Their personal presence with us.

    As to Jesus and His Father being distinct personalities, here is another statement from Ellen White: "Christ is one with the Father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages. Read the prayer of Christ in the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will find this point clearly brought out. How earnestly the Saviour prayed that his disciples might be one with him as he is one with the Father. But the unity that is to exist between Christ and his followers does not destroy the personality of either. They are to be one with him as he is one with the Father. By this unity they are to make it plain to the world that God sent his Son to save sinners. The oneness of Christ's followers with him is to be the great, unmistakable proof that God did indeed send his Son into the world to save sinners. But a loose, lax religion leaves the world bewildered and confused." {RH, June 1, 1905 par. 14}

    I agree that the unity between Jesus and the Father is one that is beyond our understanding, but this doesn't necessarily take away from the fact that Jesus is Jesus and the Father is the Father; distinct personalities despite their complete unity.

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    • Del, I would interpret Ellen White's statements in this case to refer to the fact that, in contrast to Christ's being "cumbered" with humanity, the Holy Spirit is not "cumbered" with humanity and can therefore be present in every place personally. Not agreeing with her usage of the word "divested" seems insufficient grounds for rejecting the whole statement. Of course, rejecting Ellen White's statements because you do not consider them inspired is your privilege.

      Quite apart from that, I am interested to know how you interpret Christ's words in John 16:7: "it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."

      If it is not because the Holy Spirit can be omnipresent when Christ cannot, why was it good for Christ to "go away"?

      You also wrote:

      It seems that the Holy Spirit is the means by which Jesus is omnipresent, personally. And if we believe that the Holy Spirit is a separate person from Jesus and the Father then we would have to conclude that Jesus and the Father are not here at all with us.

      I believe that your suggestions that if the Holy Spirit is a Person just as Jesus and the Father, then "we would have to conclude that Jesus and the Father are not here with us at all" is a mistaken conclusion. The Bible repeatedly tells us of the "oneness" or "unity" of the Godhead. That means that when Jesus was with the disciples, He was God with them. So when He promised that the Holy Spirit would be with the disciples in His stead, that was a promise of God with them, just like He was with the disciples. (Again, I recommend re-reading John 14, John 15, John 16, and John 17)

      But it seems you disagree. If "oneness" does not mean what I perceive it to mean, what does it mean? What does it mean that the Lord our God is "one God"?

      Thanks for clarifying this. I'm trying to understand your thinking.

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      • Hi Inge. I accept all of Ellen White's statements because I do believe that she was inspired of God. The problem is that, just as the Bible, many of us interpret her statements in different ways. But I assure you that I accept her as God's messenger to the adventist church. In the quote, she says that the holy spirit is divested of humanity. I believe that she did mean to us the word "divested". Tying this into your next question about John 16:7, here is what I believe. From my reading of John 14:15-23 I understand Jesus to be speaking of Himself as the Comforter. In verse 17 Jesus tells the disciples that the Comforter is living with them (this is strange considering that He was also telling them that the Comforter was yet to be sent). He also tells them that the Comforter shall be in them when He comes. Since Jesus was cumbered with humanity at this point, He could not be omnipresent and therefore could not be in anyone. But when He returned to His Father and was glorified (John 7:39) He could again be omnipresent by His holy spirit and therefore could be in His disciples. Verse 18, Jesus tells the disciples that He will come to them and He will comfort them, Himself, but not in His present bodily form. Verse 22, Judas asked a question that makes it plain that Jesus really was coming back to be in His disciples (this couldn't be the second advent) and Verse 23 answers it clearly. My belief is that the holy spirit is Jesus and the Father omnipresent, but not bodily. The spirit is personality without individuality. It is indeed the third person, but not an individual third person separate from God and Jesus. Look at this wonderful promise that Jesus makes to us: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20. Jesus Himself is with us. Our Lord Himself. This cannot but make us happy. Another good verse is 1 Corinthians 3:17 which says "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Paul always refers to Jesus as Lord and here he tells us that Jesus is the holy spirit.

        When the Bible tells us that the Lord our God is one Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4), Moses meant that He is numerically one. The book of Deuteronomy is full of warnings to the people concerning idolatry because God is a jealous God and He doesn't want His people to go after other gods. Other gods were not one, but rather many. This isn't speaking of unity oneness, but rather mathematical oneness. Personal pronouns are very important and we see God referred to as "He" and "Him" all through the Bible. Never "they" or "them" as is used for other gods. Jesus is indeed God, but this doesn't mean He is the supreme Being God. That is the Father. But Jesus is God in the sense that He is a divine Being, the only-begotten Son of the one true God. God refers to the quality of being divine. So even when Jesus laid aside His divine powers and became a man, He was still fully God. Divine powers doesn't make Him God, but rather His divine nature. So since He is God by nature, the fact that there is one supreme Being of the universe of whom are all things, is perfectly true as this supreme Being is the Father. This is why Jesus could call His Father the only true God (John 17:3). And John 1:1 simply tells us that Jesus is a divine Being (God by nature). And He was with the supreme Being, His Father.

        1 Corinthians 8:5-6 "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

        God bless

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      • The oneness of God is primarily about the nature of God: the harmonious character of Father, Son & Holy Spirit is the holiness of the living God, not the very basis of monotheism. That God is personal and not a numerical trinity without real names and identities - unlike us though we be created in God's image - is quite important, in the end.

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  4. @Del
    This Scripture may speak to your question.

    "Jesus answered and said unto him, 'If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him." (Jn 14:23)

    The Bible appears to teach that the Father sends us his own Spirit in Jesus' name which Spirit is their omnipresence. That would mean that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the personal, divine nature of both Father and his Son. Receiving the Spirit from them is receiving them personally, directly, partaking of their divine nature by their indwelling Spirit.

    @R.G.
    Jn 14:9 is so important: thank you for quoting it. The unity between the Father and the Son is based on them having the one divine nature, and the character to match. The Spirit of Jesus is from Jesus and from God the Father, of their deity and from them personally. Would God and Christ be individual persons if and while the Spirit, representing them, were also an individual person?

    @Inge
    "Del also wrote:
    “Isn’t/aren’t there a fundamental difference/differences between the Father and Jesus? Aren’t they distinct personalities despite the unity between them?”

    It was just such a concept that the teaching of ONE God in three Persons is designed to prevent. The unity between the three Persons of the Godhead is much more than we can imagine between three human persons."

    What do you mean, please?

    Then, this:
    "Just as Jesus said that he who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9), so those who experience the presence of the Spirit, are experiencing the presence of Jesus."

    Isn't there the difference between harmonious character and separate persons in whom is the fulness of the Godhead? - the HS may represent the character of God to us, but the HS is a different person to Christ, so how can he be the same presence as Christ? I hope I put that clearly enough. :)

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    • @Colin, I agree with your points. John 14:23 is a wonderful text that assures us that Jesus and His Father come into our hearts themselves, by their Spirit, and do not send a third separate being.

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      • Del,

        What do you think Jesus means in John 14:7-11 when He says, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

        Recall, that at this time, the disciples had only seen Jesus in person, yet Jesus say, "from now on you know Him and have seen Him [the Father]"

        Could an understanding of this text and following ones help in understanding what Jesus is talking about in John 14:23?

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        • Hi Inge. Here are my beliefs on this:

          Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God. God has given us the privilege of reproduction, as we are made in His image. It is not impossible that God actually begat a Son. Just as my son would be no less human than I am, God's only begotten Son is no less God than God is. Jesus inherited, by birth His Father's divine nature. All the fulness of the godhead (divinity) dwells in Jesus. Divinity is wholly good. Jesus says in Matthew 19:17 that only His Father is good. But we know that Jesus is also good and the reason He is good is because He is the only-begotten Son of the living God and He has all the qualities of goodness in Him, exactly as His Father does. So when Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus could say that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father because Jesus is the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3). The Pharisees didn't really know Jesus because they didn't really know God. If they had known God and His goodness, they would have accepted His Son, who is perfectly good like His Father. So the disciple knew the Father because they knew the Son.

          This does help us in understanding John 14:23. When we accept Jesus we are accepting the Father and both Jesus and His Father come into our hearts and enable us to do good. We become partakers of the divine life of the Father and His Son and they in us cause us to become good, as they are good.

          God bless you

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  5. No, Bennett, I think this is hardly sufficient evidence to support such a big conclusion as that "the early church never knew about the trinity until 325 AD." :)

    In fact, in another place Paul referred to all three members of the Trinity: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen." 2 Cor 13:14 NKJV

    Throughout his writings, Paul often refers to the Holy Spirit in terms of personal qualities. (Some instances are these: Rom 8:26,27; Rom 9:1 CEV; Rom 14:17 NKJV; Rom 15:30; I Cor 2:13; I Cor. 6:11; II Cor 3:17; Gal. 5:18; Eph 4:30; I Thess 1:6; II Thess 2:13; I Tim 4:1) Peter also refers to all three members of the Godhead in 1 Pet. 1:2.

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  6. @Inge
    Yes, the Apostle Paul often ended his letters with mention of fellowship in the Spirit of God, but he opened his letters with mention only of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Spirit is God's infinite, independent agency manifesting his personal presence - indeed presence of Father and Son together - among us and within us. There is, truly, personality there, but it's the omnipresence of Christ and our Father. There are definitely three persons! Yet, the Spirit, whose influence in us is the life of Christ himself, is a somewhat different type of person than God and Christ, from what the Bible and Sister White say.
    It is the Spirit of and in the self-existence of the Father and Son individually, belonging to their divinity, naturally searching the things of God, the Bible says. That IS a mystery!

    The 'late' start of the history of the doctrine of the trinity isn't a factor against it - its history must speak for itself, for it had a very rough start! - nor need that doctrine assist the words of the Bible about the living God to make God true, for the Bible speaks for itself in establishing the deity of Christ and the Spirit. As we study the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy thoroughly, the personages of Father and Son are clearly revealed with their infinite Spirit. A formulated doctrine may expand that simple truth too much.

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    • Colin, you explain the "binitarian" or "modified Arian" position very well, and for a lot of people it seems easier to accept than the trinitarian position of one God in three Persons.

      As I suggested, it is easy enough to find this view advocated by our pioneers, because the move from this position (as taught by the Christian Connection) to an understanding of the Triune nature of God was gradual, done with much study, and took upwards of 50 years.

      I highly recommend a thoughtful, prayerful study of the teachings of Christ, paying particular attention to the relationship between Him and the Father and the Spirit: John 14, John 15, John 16, John 17.

      Ellen White was foremost in championing the triune nature of God, and she comments on the words of Jesus thus (bolding added by me):

      In describing to His disciples the office work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sought to inspire them with the joy and hope that inspired His own heart. He rejoiced because of the abundant help He had provided for His church. The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.
      Of the Spirit Jesus said, “He shall glorify Me.” The Saviour came to glorify the Father by the demonstration of His love; so the Spirit was to glorify Christ by revealing His grace to the world. The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of His people. (Desire of Ages, p. 671)

      And this from the book, Evangelism:

      The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.—Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63. (1905). (Evangelism p. 615)

      Yet the debate continues, as testified by comments on this blog.

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      • Certainly the "trinity" debate continues, but maybe only because otoh what we each think the "trinity" means is so different, and otoh trinitarians quite likely miss the point we raise when resisting the doctrine. Also, it takes time and space to sort out the details. We can do but little, here, sadly.

        Thank you for an abbreviated history of our beliefs. Yet, We remained non-trinitarian till 1980, remember, because 50 years after 1850 we also weren't trinitarian. By non-trinitarian I mean teaching positions in our literature consistent with God's only begotten Son being literally true and the Holy Spirit proceeding jointly from God and Christ's divine nature to bring us their presence - not consistent with our current theology. Yes, publishing and believing that till decades after Ellen White's death.

        The 1936 4th quarter Sabbath School, one in a long series on our beliefs, stating categorically Christ's actual, divine Sonship of the Father, based on John's Gospel. Some spoke differently, also in the 1930s, and a few earlier than that, too, most notably LeRoy Froom and A G Daniels and maybe W W Prescott, but in 1919 the vast majority of VIP invitee Bible teachers, including Prescott it appears, at that Bible conference resisted the notion that Christ is not begotten of the Father, co-existent with him - the very point of today's doctrine. Opinion changed over nearly 150 years, not just up to 50. The 1960s saw the last theologians die who opposed the doctrine, on Biblical grounds, since Ellen White's lifetime.

        Are the three persons of the Godhead all exactly alike personally as they are alike in possessing deity? That's one of the biggest questions left by our trinity doctrine, causing debate: is it the Spirit personally indwelling us or Christ personally indwelling us by his Spirit, for example? The latter is pretty clearly the Bible and SOP teaching, for which quotes I thank others here. Moreover, the very notion of one God made up of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is at least confusing and otherwise leaves the question of what happened to the Father being the one, living God whose one, begotten Son is also the infinite God with his Father, personally the infinite God. We may talk in both directions, even in this week's lesson text, but MAY we?

        There's Sabbath afternoon's three-in-one triune God: God is three persons and can't be one or two or more persons. Then, on Thursday's it's "God himself in the person of Christ" dying on the cross. That's actually non-trinitarian language, btw, Ellen White's speciality, too.

        As some of us have been suggesting this week - how long shall we debate here after this week? :) - there are personal differences between the Spirit and God & Christ. This is because of Bible and Spirit of Prophecy statements. It appears that the Spirit is an intrisic part of the divine nature of Father and Son, and not an independent, physical person just like them. This preserves the unity of God, btw, but maybe not a formulated doctrine (see below).

        That there are three persons is beyond question!! The trinity debate isn't about who is God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

        That Evangelism quote you cited differentiates notable between Father & Son, and the Spirit is again different to them. The Father is God bodily, hid from our sight; the Son is God bodily, revealed to us; the Spirit, sent of God and Christ, is fully of the Godhead, making their presence manifest...: she does NOT say the Spirit is God bodily, which leaves God's personal omnipresence. There are three, but, while they are each divine and of one deity, they are not all alike in every way, personally.

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        • Colin, I'll just reply to your last paragraph. You are correct that Ellen White does not say that the Spirit is God bodily. The issue is not about whether or not the Spirit is revealed bodily, but whether the Spirit is a person or just some kind of extension of the Father and/or the Son.

          It seems to me that you are sometimes addressing a straw man of someone else's concept of the Trinity, not the Seventh-day Adventist Statement of Fundamental beliefs. Please review our statement, because it differs significantly from others:

          There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)

          That is all the statement says, leaving you to deduce any further details from the Bible itself. However, it may be prudent not to attempt to define the Godhead in more detail.

          Ellen White also writes clearly that "There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." One God in "three living persons" is precisely what our fundamental belief specifies.

          What you have written previously has sounded very much binitarian, because you have consistently argued against the Holy Spirit being individual Person, leaving only two divine Persons with something you describe as "their spirit."

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