How do you imagine the Spirit? The creeds speak of God in three persons, and the Spirit is often referenced as such. Some scholars note that the creeds meant something different than what we mean when we use the word “person.” Perhaps, but it was a terrible choice.
The reason it’s not helpful to identify God or Spirit as a person is because it’s too reductionistic — too narrow and confining. God is so much more. A human person is a unique combination of body and soul, flesh and spirit, material substance and immaterial reality, brain and mind/consciousness that is confined to a particular point in time and space. The divine Spirit is not. Identifying the Spirit as a person is extremely limiting.
On the other hand, it gets no better by thinking of the Spirit like the force in Star Wars, which can be manipulated for good or evil, a kind of non-living, non-personal power that is a part of everything. God is a part of everything, but God relates to us personally. So thinking of the Spirit as a non-personal force is not helpful either.
Spirit is a word used in the scriptures to talk about God relating, speaking, engaging and working in human lives and the creation. Spirit is just another way to talk about the divine presence and power. Spirit is a wonderful word for God’s activity and involvement in the world because it’s a word that is full of mystery. We do not see the Spirit; we can only see the influence and impact of the Spirit.
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