The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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The Holy Spirit is a Person, He is not a "force," He is not God's "power."

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 379 times Debate No: 84153
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
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Con must prove the Bible teaches the Holy Spirit is God's active force and is not a person. I will prove the Bible teaches he is a person. Con must present his evidence for the Holy Spirit being a "force," or "God's power" in round 1. No rebuttals in round 1. All other rounds for rebuttals, including the final round (round 5). Closing statement optional but not a requirement.

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 an individual 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). Matthew 10:20 says "for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." He can be Lied to (Acts 5:3) [and you can't lie to a force], 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, 1 John 5:7), Glorifies Jesus (John 16:14), Teaches (John 14:26; 15:26), Makes Intercession (Romans 8:26), Anoints (1 John 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 person; but there is more evidence for the Holy Spirit being a person than there is for Gabriel. Also, the Abaddon is a person (Rev 9:11), yet the Bible doesn't mention him as having half as many personal traits as the Holy Spirit. So if these beings pass the test of personhood, then so does the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said the Father would sent "another" comforter. (John 14:16) "Heteros" is the Greek word for a helper/comforter of a different kind, but Jesus here uses the word "allos" which mean "another of the the SAME kind." So Jesus is a person, and the Holy Spirit is another helper of the same kind, that is, a personal helper.

The word "parakletos" is used for the Holy Spirit in John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; 14:16 and once of Christ in 1 John 2:1. It means "a helper, comforter, or advocate." When we combine this with the fact that Jesus said the Holy Spirit was another helper, Gr "allos", "another of the same kind", the personality of the Holy Spirit is reinforced even stronger. The Greek word "parakletos" that is used in all these verses was always applied to persons, not things. So the fact that both Greek words "allos" and "parakletos" TOGETHER in the same phrase in reference to the Holy Spirit is irrefutable proof that the Holy Spirit is portrayed as a person.

Parakletos means: "lit., called to one's side, i.e., to one's aid, is primarily a verbal adjective, and suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid. It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defence, an advocate; then, generally, one who pleads another's cause, an intercessor, advocate." (W. E. Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p.111)

Masculine pronouns are used in reference to the Holy Spirit despite the fact that "Spirit" (Greek--pneuma) is neuter (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:8, 13f, Greek--ekeinos.

The Holy Spirit can be fellowshipped: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all" 2 Cor 13:14. You can't have "fellowship" with a force.

"Yahweh/Jehovah" was one of the Old Testament names of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit has a name according to Matthew 28:18, 20. When the Old Testament says Jehovah was speaking, the New Testament reveals it was actually the Holy Spirit speaking on that occasion:

Heb 10:15-17 (Jer. 31:33-34) And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And upon their mind I will write them," HE THEN SAYS, "And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

Heb 3:7-11 (Ps. 95:7-11)Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit SAYS, "Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked ME, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. "Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart; And they did not know My ways'; As I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest."

Isa. 6:8-10 and Acts 28:25-27 shows it's Holy Spirit who actually spoke: "The Holy Spirit rightly SPOKE through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, 'go to this people and say, "you will keep on hearing, but will not understand"".

The Holy Spirit is called a "WHO" in the Bible:
1 Cor 2:11 "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so NO ONE knows the things of God EXCEPT the Spirit of God." Notice here the term "no one....except," would indicate its talking about a person. This is the same as Mark 13:32 which says "no one...but only," and in that case we know it refers to a person.

Now, there is no evidence that the Holy Spirit is God's active force. The Hebrew term for "active force" כוח פעיל is never applied to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, and since God the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24), a spirit must be a person. Angels and demons are spirits and we know these too are persons.

Zec 6:4 distinguishes between God's Spirit and his power: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit." So does Luke 1:35: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, AND the power of the Most High will overshadow you." So the Holy Spirit isn't God's power. He is mentioned separate from God's power.


Let's begin the debate

Debate Theory

The job of CON in this debate: As the con all I have do is prove the resolution is false in some way. I must only prove one of three things is false; that the "holy spirit" is not a person and/or that "he" is not a force and/or that "he" is god's power. That is my sole job, because of this I'm denying Pro's claims to the contrary.

Kritik of God's existence
Because Pro must prove that the "holy spirit" is a person, he is neccesarily assuming that the "holy spirit" exists. I'm denying the existence of any diety and therefore the existence of the "holy spirit." And because he has the burden of proof (bop) to show that the "holy ghost" exists he neccesarily MUST prove that god exists first. There is also another reason he has BOP to show god exists, which is simply that we have no apparent way to know if a god exists or not. If a person comes up and tells me there is an invisible man doing backflips right infront of me, yet nothing is there, its certainly his responsibility to substantiate his claim, otherwise I have no reason to believe him or her. Even if Pro proves god is real, however, he still must prove that it is the Christian god that exists (bc the existance of A god doesn't mean its THE god that goes with a holy spirit).

Debate Round No. 1


As I laid out the rules in the beginning of this debate:
"Con must prove THE BIBLE TEACHES the Holy Spirit is God's active force and is not a person. I will prove the Bible teaches he is a person. Con must present his evidence for the Holy Spirit being a "force," or "God's power" in round 1."

This debate is about what the Bible teaches on this matter of the Holy Spirit, not about the existence of the Holy Spirit or the existence of God in general. My opponent chose to ignore what the debate is about. Con should not have accepted this debate.


Let's Begin the debate

Debate Theory
My opponent claims that by accepting this debate I have somehow accepted his description of how he thought con should argue. Nowhere in the first round did PRO say that if I accepted this debate I forfeited my right to argue about anything else besides evidence for the holy spirit being a force. PRO made his first round his argumentation round, so how was I supposed to know that his description of how CON should argue was actually a mandated rule? As far as I knew he was just giving his take on the resolution, which brings me to my next point.

I'm formally arguing that the ONLY thing that determines the way con should argue is the resolution, not descriptions of the reslution and how it COULD be argued. The given resolution that I actually agreed to says: "The Holy Spirit is a Person, He is not a "force," He is not God's "power."" and that is the only thing I am concerned with.

The topic is clearly making a truth claim about the "holy spirit's" existance by saying "The Holy Spirit IS." I encourage my opponent to find the portion of the resolution which says we are debating what the bible TEACHES and not about the state of existance concerning the "holy spirit." (..heads up, its not there).

The resolution is the ONLY stable advocacy in this round, it is the only thing which can't change. When one accepts a debate, they are accepting the resolution first and foremost, they can't change the entirety of the debate DURING their arguments, that's called shifting out of your advocacy.

Kritik of god's existance
Becuase I have successfully proven that all I should ever have to follow is the resolution, I draw my attention back to the kritik. I again point out that the resolution I agreed to is about the state of existance which the "holy spirit" takes on. And I again point out that becuase he is fundementally assuming that such an entity exists, it is his burden to substantiate that before we can even consider his other arguments.

So far he's not doing so hot. He conceeded his burden to prove god first which means right now you're voting solely on burden of proof. All PRO did last round was waste time. Hopefully he can accept that he has a faulty debate setup and that he should move on and first argue that god exists.

Here is why I'm winning
-you aren't considering pro's argument that I somehow broke a rule becuase pro's format made me think, and would make any reasonable person think, that it was just his spin on how the resolution could be argued. he never actually says its something I agree to just by accepting the debate or that not doing what he suggested means I lose the debate.

-Its unfair to make me debate anything but the resolution and the resolution is talking about what is and what is not. It does Not talk about what is and what is not according to the bible. If that was Pro's intention, all he had to do was add that into the resolution. If someone has an unfair rule, it shouldn't be accepted.

-This means I am allowed to question and prodd the resolution in anyway I like, including questioning the underlying assumptions about the very existence of god and the holy spirit. If god isn't real we know that the resolution is false becuase something which does not exist cannot be a person.

-he concedes my arguemnt that he has burden to prove god's existence, so you're voting against PRO because of this unfulfilled burden right now.

Debate Round No. 2


This debate is about what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit, not the existence of God.


TinyBudha forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


daley forfeited this round.


TinyBudha forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


daley forfeited this round.


TinyBudha forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TheKryken 9 months ago
Kritik of God's existence means nothing.

"Ron Weasley is a Person" is a possible contention (though an obvious truism) yet he does not exist.

God need not exist for the Holy Spirit to be a person. Persons can be fictional or real.
Posted by TheRealGod 10 months ago
The Holy Spirit is just that a Spirit, I would know I named it as it is my own power.
Posted by Smithereens 10 months ago
@Patrick, If you read R1, Pro details exactly what the debate assumes. We don't disrespect debates about the morality of actions depicted in Game of Thrones simply because it never happened. Furthermore we assume members are smart enough to realise that.
Posted by PatrickTheWise 10 months ago
Your debate topic is non-sequiter. God has no objective evidence of existence. A person does have objective proof of existence. You lose by default because you must prove that god physically exists.
Posted by daley 10 months ago
No, I'm not Pentecostal. My faith is Apostolic however. What is your view of the Holy Spirit?
Posted by Rosalie 10 months ago
I might be interested. This is basically the religion of Pentalcostialism, correct?
Posted by dannyc 10 months ago
Good Luck! This website won't let me verify my account, so I can't even vote anymore.
Posted by vi_spex 10 months ago
holy spirit is the opposite of evil spirit but only the human spirit is good
No votes have been placed for this debate.