The Instigator
daley
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Blynnd
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Bible teaches that The Holy Spirit is a Person

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,620 times Debate No: 15855
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

daley

Pro

Let's not waste space detailing lots of rules for this debate. Let's just deal with the evidence.

Wikipedia defines person this way: "A person (plural: persons or people; from Latin: persona, meaning "mask")[1] is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes associated with personhood, for example, in a particular moral or legal context.[2] Such capacities or attributes can include agency, self-awareness, a notion of the past and future, and the possession of rights and duties, among others."

The deinition I find concise is a being which posesses intelligence, rationality and consciousness. This definition still squares well with wikipedia.

The Holy Spirit has a Mind and Knowledge (intelligence)

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:27)

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (1Corinthians 2:11)

The Holy Spirit Reasons (rationality)

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; (Acts 15:28)

The Holy Spirit is Self-Aware (consciousness)

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2)

This should be sufficient to prove that the Holy Spirit is a Person, but I'll continue to build the case.

Any oppoent who accepts this challenge needs to state if he agrees with my criteria for pesonhood; and if he doesn't, he must state what his criteria is, and show that the Holy Spirit does not fit this criteria. He must also show why his criteria is preferred over mine.

In Acts 13:2 (quoted above) the Holy Spirit refers to Himself as "me" (Gk: moi) and also "I" ("I have called" – Gk: proskeklēmai). Likewise in John 15:26 and 16:13, the Holy Spirit is referred to by the masculine pronoun "He" (Gk: ekeinos). Thus we have a personal Spirit.

We must also take into account that the Holy Spirit has emotions—for example, The Holy Spirit Loves (Romans 15:30) and can be Grieved (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30). Emotions are personal characteristics, not impersonal.

To add to the evidence I would mention that the Holy Spirit Speaks (2 Samuel 23:1; Acts 8:29; 1Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:7-8; Revelation 2:7). He can be Lied to (Acts 5:3), Resisted (Acts 7:51), Tested (Acts 5:9), and Blasphemed (Matthew 12:32).

We can also see the personality of the Holy Spirit in His many functions. Functionally the Holy Spirit Witnesses (Acts 5:32, 1John 5:7), Glorifies Jesus (John 16:14), Teaches (John 14:26; 15:26), Makes Intercession (Romans 8:26), Anoints (1John 2:27), Appoints (Acts 20:28), and Convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). Surely these are not impersonal acts. The Holy Spirit even send out disciples to work. (Acts 13:4)

Now, we know that the angel Gabriel is a peron; but there is more evidence for the Holy Spirit being a person than there is for Gabriel; so I'm asking if someone can show me one piece of criteria for personhood that Gabriel meets that the Holy Spirit does not?

I look forward to any reasons anyone can find in the Bible why the Holy Spirit is not a person; and if he is not a person, what is he? Prove it by the Bible; any takers?
Blynnd

Con

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for the topic. It is quite the intriguing one, and I, for one, will gladly see to it that it is debated with the most serious of thought and care.

Now then, my opponent states that The Holy Spirit would qualify as a person, as according to the Bible. His reasoning is as such: The Bible states that the Holy Spirit has many of e characteristics he believes make up what we would qualify as a 'person.' Things such as thought, intelligence, emotion, the ability to speak and the ability to interact with others. However, I would like to put forward that these qualities, along with the other he has mentioned, alone do not form what we would view as a person.

The Holy Spirit lacks one very important thing crucial to person-hood: physical presence. Allow me to elaborate. The Holy Spirit, being a spirit, obviously lacks a physical form. It is truly more of an influence than a being. Let us take a sleeping man for example. Although his thoughts maybe in a far away place, not necessarily even connected to this Earth, we still consider the sleeping man to be a person. Why? Because he is still physically there. The man's body has not go anywhere, while everything that makes the man himself is lost to the world of sleep. It is that physical shell, that mortal husk that provides what it means to be a person, as opposed to a deity, or a influence.

To say that the Holy Spirit is a person would be to say that every device the Christian God ever used to communicate to mortal man is a person. If we would not consider the burning bush he spoke to Moses to a person, why would we anymore consider the Spirit to be one? The Holy Spirit, as according to the Bible, is certainly an entity, but unlike Jesus, Michael, Gabriel and even God himself, he is never said to have any physical attributes. Even God, The Father, is physically said to have a face, and therefore a physical form.

I believe the Holy Spirit qualifies for more as divine influence. Not so much a person as God's will given form, not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense, such as the way one may think of a character in a story.
Debate Round No. 1
daley

Pro

"The Holy Spirit lacks one very important thing crucial to person-hood: physical presence."

God is spirit. (John 4:24) He has no physical body.

God is omnipresent. (Ps 139:7-10; Jer 23:23-24) Since he is omnipresent, where then will his physical body be? Are the legs of God the Father streached out across the universe? Is his left eye in the moon and his right eye in the sun? A physical body could never be omnipresent.

My opponent has made the mistake of taking literally what are obviously figurative expressions; these descriptions employ metaphors and similes, likening Yahweh's appearance to things known to humans. He is even described as though he had certain human features such as references to God's "eyes," "ears," "face" (1Pe 3:12), "arm" (Eze 20:33), "right hand" (Ex 15:6), and so forth—it is obvious that such expressions are necessary for the description to be humanly comprehensible. For Jehovah God to set down for us a description of himself in spirit terms would be like supplying advanced algebraic equations to persons having only the most elementary knowledge of mathematics, or trying to explain colors to a person born blind.—Job 37:23,�24.

The so-called anthropomorphisms, therefore, are never to be taken literally, any more than other metaphoric references to God as a "sun," "shield," or "Rock." (Ps 84:11; De 32:4,�31) Jehovah's sight (Ge 16:13), unlike that of humans, does not depend on light rays, and deeds done in utter darkness can be seen by him. (Ps 139:1, 7-12; Heb 4:13) His vision can encompass all the earth (Pr 15:3), and he needs no special equipment to see the growing embryo within the human womb. (Ps 139:15,�16) Nor does his hearing depend on sound waves in an atmosphere, for he can "hear" expressions though uttered voicelessly in the heart. (Ps 19:14) It is obvious then that he has no literal physical eyes or ears that depend on how light reflects off the retina or on sound waves.

"The Holy Spirit, being a spirit, obviously lacks a physical form."

Since the Devil is also a spirit it stands to reason that he also lacks physical form, and yet Scripture reveals him to be a person. (Job 1 and 2; Matt 4:1-11) I dare my opponent to show me in the Bible the Devil's physical form. Lacking such physical appearance does not prove the Devil is not a person, nor does it prove the Holy Spirit is not a person.

"Let us take a sleeping man for example. Although his thoughts maybe in a far away place, not necessarily even connected to this Earth, we still consider the sleeping man to be a person. Why? Because he is still physically there. The man's body has not go anywhere, while everything that makes the man himself is lost to the world of sleep. It is that physical shell, that mortal husk that provides what it means to be a person,"

My opponent's argument is that when a man sleeps his other attributes disappear and the physical body alone makes him a person. But cats and dogs have physical bodies when they sleep too, and surely having a physical shell does not make a cat or a dog a person! So personhood cannot be defined by having a physical shell. A car has a physical appearence, but it isn't a person. Cats, dogs and cars have physical shells, but they do not have the characteristics that make one a person. Therefore, prsonhood is independent of having a physical body. Spirit beings like angels are not made of fleshly shells and yet they are persons.

"To say that the Holy Spirit is a person would be to say that every device the Christian God ever used to communicate to mortal man is a person."

No, it wouldn't. Con has not shown from the Bible that the Holy Spirit is even in the catgory of a device used for communication. And I have given him evidence he is yet to answser where the Holy Spirit (not God speaking through the Holy Spirit) literally spoke and sent out disciples. (Acts 13:1-4) Also, you can lie to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:3-4) You cannot lie to a communications device. You can't lie to a telephone or a radio. Why? These are not persons. My opponent has not dealt with these. Nor has he given any evidence that all the other Scriptures I gave showing the personality of the Holy Spirit are figurative and not literal.

"If we would not consider the burning bush he spoke to Moses to a person, why would we anymore consider the Spirit to be one?"

Because the Bible never said that the burning bush spoke; it says that Yahweh spoke out of the bush, meaning Yahweh was there in the bush and he spoke. So the bush is not said to do what only persons can do; but the Holy Spirit is, and I have given you the verses in my opening post to prove it.

"Even God, The Father, is physically said to have a face, and therefore a physical form."

The Bible never says Satan has a face, does that mean Satan is not a person? If not, then it need not say the Holy Spirit has a face for him to be a person.

Gen 1:2 mentions "the face (panim) of the waters." The same Hebrew word for face applied to God is applied to the ocean. Does this mean that the water is a person in Gen 1:2? This shows that having a face is not what determins personhood.

The Bible prohibits making images of God and warns that God does not look like anything we can imagine. (Exo 20:4; Acts 17:29-30) If God had a face, and we know what a face is (two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth on a head), then it would be possible to imagine what God looks like and make images of him. Since we can't, it is obviously God doesn't have a physical face as we normally use the word.

If God has a face, I ask my opponent what does God have a nose for? Does he depend on air in the atmosphere heaven to smell? Wikipedia says: "Physically a nose is an organ on the face. Anatomically, a nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which admit and expel air for respiration in conjunction with the mouth." Does this apply to God? If not, then he doesn't literally have physical appearance.

"It is truly more of an influence than a being."

Con did not offer even one single verse of Scripture to support his view that the Holy Spirit is an influence, nor did he give any Scriptures to show that the Holy Spirit is not a person. It is obvious from his post that he relied on his own opinion and not the Bible. I hope his next post will use the Scriptures. Just because Con believes something, doesn't make it Biblical. The title of this debate is "THE BIBLE TEACHES that the holy spirit is a person," and it is clear that I relied on the Bible so far and my opponent did not. In any case, I believe I have already refuted his objections.

Let me remind Con of a few bits from my opening he has not adequately dealt with. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (1Corinthians 2:11) Here the Holy Spirit is said to "know" in the same way man is said to "know." Also, note the expression "knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." The expression "knoweth no man, but" is found at Mark 13:32 "knoweth no man..but the Father," and is used only of persons. The Greek term here for "no man" is oudeis (literally, "no one"). The term "no one, but" could only refer to a person, and the fact that man is mentioned with the Holy Spirit in this verse shows it was talking about persons.

At Acts 25:38 "it seemed good" not only to the Holy Spirit, but also to the apostles. Now if "it seemed good" is a personification, then it is personifying the apostles because it is applied to them as well as the Holy Spirit. But you can't personify a person, therefore, it isn't a personification, it's literal. It literally seemed good to the apostles and to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit literally has opions the same as the apostles do. Only a person can do that!

Can you have fellowhip with an influence or force? (Phil 2:1) No. Only with a person.
Blynnd

Con

I seem to have taken on this debate with the wrong ideas in mind. I set out to show that the Holy Spirit is not in fact a person, while e debate is over the fact that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is indeed possessing of the characteristics of a person. I will step down from this debate, as I can not discredit the Bible, regardless of how I feel about it in terms of fictionalization.
Debate Round No. 2
daley

Pro

"I seem to have taken on this debate with the wrong ideas in mind. I set out to show that the Holy Spirit is not in fact a person,"

And Con was supposed to show this using the Bible, not just his reasoning power.

"while e debate is over the fact that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is indeed possessing of the characteristics of a person."

The debate is over the fact that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit IS a person. Obviously, it teaches that he is a person in the same way it teaches that Satan is a person; but showing he has all the attributes necessary for personhood while mentioning nothing about him that would be against personhood.

"I will step down from this debate, as I can not discredit the Bible, regardless of how I feel about it in terms of fictionalization."

Well, the title of the debate is "THE BIBLE TEACHES that the holy spirit is a person;" so wheather you believe in the Bible or not is irrelevant, wheather it is fictional or not is irrelevant, the relevant point is, DOES THE BIBLE TEACH the holy spirit is a person, or not?

Thank you for accepting the debate, and for conceeding that you could not prove that the Bible does not teach the holy spirit is a person. I enjoyed this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
daley

Pro

Thank you
Blynnd

Con

Blynnd forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Blynnd

Con

Blynnd forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by phantom 6 years ago
phantom
The holy spirit is a holy spirit.
Just saying.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 6 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
Acts 15:28, "Holy Ghost"
Just saying.
Posted by Bob_Gneu 6 years ago
Bob_Gneu
Which version of the bible?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
daleyBlynndTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits. For future reference, http://www.debate.org/forums/debate.org/topic/3386/