Of God and His Creatures

Replies to Arguments alleged against the Divinity of the Holy Ghost

CHAP. XVI. It was the position of Arius that the Son and Holy Ghost were creatures, the Son however being greater than the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost being His minister, even as he said the Son was to the Father.* After Arius came Macedonius, who was orthodox on the point of the Father and Son being of one and the same substance, but refused to believe the same of the Holy Ghost, and said that He was a creature.

Chap. XXIII. 2. He shall not speak of himself but whatsoever things he shall hear, he shall speak (John xvi, 13). Since all the knowledge and power and action of God is the essence of God, all the knowledge and power and action of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is from another; but that of the Son is from the Father only, that of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son. To hear then, on the part of the Holy Ghost, signifies His taking knowledge, as He takes essence, from the Father and the Son.

3. The Son of God is said to have been sent in this sense, that He appeared to man in visible flesh; and, thus came to be in the world in a new way, in which He had not been before, namely, visibly, although He had always been there invisibly as God. And the Son's doing this came to Him of His Father: hence in this respect He is said to be 'sent' by the Father. In like manner the Holy Ghost too appeared visibly both in the appearance of a dove over Christ in His baptism, and in fiery tongues over the Apostles; and though He did not become a dove or fire, still He appeared under such visible appearances as signs of Himself. And thus He too came to be in a new way in the world, visibly; and this He had of the Father and of the Son, hence He is said to be 'sent' by the Father and the Son, which does not imply inferiority in Him, but procession.* There is yet another way in which the Holy Ghost is said to be sent, and that invisibly. The Son proceeds from the Father as the knowledge wherewith God knows Himself; and the Holy Ghost proceeds from Father and Son as the love wherewith God loves Himself. Hence when through the Holy Ghost one is made a lover of God, the Holy Ghost is an indweller in him; and thus He comes to be in a new way in man, in point of the new special effect of His indwelling in man. Now that the Holy Ghost works this effect in man, comes to Him of the Father and the Son; and therefore He is said to be invisibly sent by Father and Son.

4. Nor is the Holy Ghost excluded from the Divinity by the occasional mention of the Father and the Son without the Holy Ghost (Matt. xi, 27: John xvii, 3: Rom. i, 7: 1 Cor. viii, 6): for hereby the Scripture silently intimates that whatever attribute of divinity is predicated of one of the three, must be understood of them, all, seeing that they are one God. God the Father can never be taken to be without the Word and without Love; and the Word and Love cannot be taken to be without the Father. Hence it is said of the Son: No one knoweth the Father but the Son (Matt. xi, 27): so it is also said of the Holy Ghost: The things that are of God, none knoweth but the Spirit of God (1 Cor. ii, 11): though it is certain that neither the Father nor the Son is excluded from this knowledge of divine things.

7. Habitually in Holy Scripture the language of human passion is applied to God (B. I, Chapp. LXXXIX - [LXC] - LXCI). Thus it is said: The Lord was angered in fury against his people (Ps. cv, 40): for He punishes, as men in anger do: hence it is added: And gave them over into the hands of the Gentiles. So in the text, Sadden not the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. iv, 30), the Holy Ghost is said to be saddened, because He abandons sinners; as men, when they are saddened and annoyed, forsake the company of them that annoy them.,

8. Another customary phraseology of Holy Scripture is the attributing of that to God, which He produces in man. So it is said: The Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings (Rom. viii, 26): because He makes us ask, for He produces in our hearts the love of God, whereby we desire to enjoy Him and ask according to our desire.*

9. Since the Holy Ghost proceeds as the love wherewith God loves Himself; and since God loves with the same love Himself and other beings for the sake of His own goodness (B. I Chapp. LXXV, LXXVI); it is clear that the love wherewith God loves us belongs to the Holy Ghost. In like manner also the love wherewith we love God. In respect of both these loves the Holy Ghost is well-said to be given. In respect of the love wherewith God loves us, He may be said to be given, in the sense in which one is said to give his love to another, when he begins to love him. Only, be it observed, there is no beginning in time for God's love of any one, if we regard the act of divine will loving us; but the effect of His love is caused in time in the creature whom He draws to Himself. Again, in respect of the love wherewith we love God, the Holy Ghost may be said to be given us, because this love is produced in us by the Holy Ghost, who by reason of this love dwells in us, and so we possess Him and enjoy His support. And since the Holy Ghost has it of the Father and the Son that He is in us and is possessed by us, therefore He is aptly said to be given us by the Father and the Son. Your Father from heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask him (Luke xi, 13; cf. Acts v, 32: John xv, 26). Nor does this argue Him to be less than the Father and the Son, but only to have His origin from them.

11. It is reasonable that in the case of the divine nature alone nature should be communicated in more modes than the one mode of generation. In God alone act and being are identical: hence since there is in God, as in every intelligent nature, both intelligence and will, alike that which proceeds in Him as intelligence, to wit, the Word, and that proceeds in Him as love and will, to wit, Love, must have divine being and be God; thus as well the Son as the Holy Ghost is true God.

4.22 : Of the Effects attributed to the Holy Ghost in the attraction of the Rational Creature to God
4.24 : That the Holy Ghost Proceeds from the Son