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Question 381

My question is how do we know that the Holy Spirit existed with God and the Word and not after the resurrection? Thank you   



Answer to Question 381


Very good question. Many passages in Holy Scripture testify to the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Countless times, in the Old Testament He is called the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the Lord, yet, in spite of these testimonies, the personal character of the Holy Spirit has never been fully manifested and one might say that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has the character of a secret, a partially revealed tradition.


St. Gregory Nazianzen points to a mysterious economy in the knowledge of the truths, which concern the person of the Holy Spirit: “The Old Testament”, he says, “manifested the Father plainly, the Son obscurely. The New Testament revealed the Son and hinted at the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Today the Spirit dwells among us and makes Himself more clearly known. For it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son; nor when that of the Son was not yet received to burden us further [if I may use so bold an expression] with the Holy Spirit… but rather that by gradual addition, advances and progress from glory to glory, the light of the Trinity might shine upon the more illuminated… Our Saviour had some things which, He said, could not be borne at that time by His disciples [though they were filled with many teachings]… and again He said that all things should be taught by the Spirit when He should come to dwell among us. Of these things one, I take it, was the Deity of the Spirit Himself, made clear later on when such knowledge should be opportune and capable of being received after our Saviour’s restoration when the knowledge of His own Deity should be established. The Godhead of the Son is established by the Church and preached throughout the whole universe. We confess, too, the Deity of the Holy Spirit in common with that of the Father and that of the Son: we confess the Holy Trinity, but the very Person of the Holy Spirit who reveals these truths to us and who renders them inwardly luminous, manifest, almost tangible to us, nevertheless remains Himself undisclosed and hidden, concealed by the deity He reveals to us, by the gift which He imparts”.


 Even though the Person of the Holy Spirit has not been fully manifested, the New Testament clearly and expressively calls Him God: in the instance where Ananias lied to Peter about the price for which he and his wife Sapphira sold their property. Then Peter, censuring Ananias’ wilful sin, said to him: “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God” (Acts 5: 3,4).