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Kristi Sp wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • If the angel Gabriel told Mary Jesus was to be called the Son of God, how can Jesus be God?
  • Also, if Exodus 20:4 and Psalms 115:4,8 state you should not use idols or statues in worship, not even for personal use or for making them, why do Catholics do this?
  • If God is just a title, like "president" and "judge" is, how can God be His name?
  • If God wanted us to know him, why wouldn't he tell his name, like a person being introduced to a new found friend?

Kristi

  { Is Jesus really God and is the Holy Spirit really a Person? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Kristi —

These posting should help clarify the issues you have addressed in your questions:

Hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi, Kristi —

"God" is not a name or a title; it's Who He is. You are a human, He is God, although "God" certainly transcends any category.

He did reveal his name to us. His name is YHWH (blessed be his name). This is usually rendered "LORD God" (small caps) in most modern Bibles, but it is really God's name as revealed to us.
By tradition, however, it is not used, so as to avoid using it in vain and violating the Second Commandment.

As for images, check the links below. Also note a few things. God commanded some images to be made, so images are not inherently sinful:

"Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory, fastening them so that one cherub springs direct for each end. The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, over in the propitiatory with them; they shall be turned toward each other, but with their faces looking toward the propitiatory."

(Exodus 25: 18ff).

  • God also commanded bronze serpents to be made so that the people might be healed. (Numbers 21:9)
  • Solomon carved gourds and flowers for the temple (1 Kings 6:18)
  • and palm trees, too. (1 Kings 6:29).

This was pleasing to the Lord. What the commandment forbids, then, is worshiping idols, not making images per se.

  • How can Jesus be God if he is called the Son of God?

Simple.

  • Can your son be called human if you are human?

Of course. God begets God. Remember, God is not a title or a name, but a type of being. (though God transcends the very category of being.) The Son is a different Person than the Father, and so it is possible for one to beget the other, yet both are God, and together with the Holy Spirit
(a third Person) they form the Most Holy Trinity, three Persons in one God.

Eric

Kristi replied:

Hi, Eric —

Thanks for the reply, but the holy spirit is his active force, not a person.

  • What does YHWH mean in English?

Many think that because his name in Hebrew was a Y, it was a J in English.

  • Did the Israelites ever had idols?
  • What did God think when they made a golden calf at Mount Sinai?

Kristi

Eric replied:

You said:
But the holy spirit is his active force, not a person.

Let me ask you a question.

I was once convinced of that until I read the Scripture, 1 Corinthians 12:11:

"But all these operations the one and the same spirit performs, making a distribution to each one respectively just as it wills."

  • How can an "active force" will?

The very definition of a person is a being who can will. That's what makes a person, a person; thus the Holy Spirit is a person.

Also see John 14:26:

"But the helper, the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I have told you."

  • How can an impersonal force teach anyone anything?

Finally see Acts 5:1-11, the story of Ananias and Sapphira. In verse 3, Peter asks,

"Why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the Holy Spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field?"

The one that was defrauded was "the Holy Spirit." In verse 4, Peter says,

"You have played false, not to men, but to God."

So it was God that was defrauded. The conclusion? That "the Holy Spirit" must be God.

You said:
What does YHWH mean in English?

It's a name. It has no direct translation or meaning. It is related to the verb "to be" however.

You said:
Many think that because his name in Hebrew was a Y, it was a J in English.

That's obsolete scholarship (19th century). All modern scholarship renders it "YHWH" rather than "JHVH". Also note that what happened was that in the manuscripts, the word was written with the vowels of Adonai, which is the word that was read instead of YHWH when the Scriptures were read. (The vowels served as a reminder to say "Adonai".) Those vowels mistakenly ended up migrating to the English rendering of "JHVH", rendering it "Jehovah". (Say "Adonai" and "Jehovah" together and see.) Thus Jehovah has the wrong vowels and half the wrong consonants.

Let me ask you a question.

  • Do you refer to your father by his name?

No, I'd hazard to say you do not, out of respect for him. Similarly, we do not address God by His name. Pagans thought that if they knew a gods name, they could control that god and get them to do what they wanted. How disrespectful it would be to address our God by his name.

You said:

  • Did the Israelites ever had idols?
  • What did God think when they made a golden calf at Mount Sinai?

Israelites worshiped idols, wrongly of course, but as I said, God also commanded them to make graven images, including the bronze serpents, which brought healing. Jesus compared himself to these bronze serpents, prefiguring his crucifixion: (John 3:14: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.")

Eric

Kristi replied:

Yes, but he used his holy spirit to make things.

His active force is also his will. Read Genesis 1.

It doesn't mention the holy spirit. I'll do a little more research.

Kristi

Eric replied:

You said:
Yes, but he used his holy spirit to make things.

Well, yes, all the Persons of the Holy Trinity are always involved in every action of God.

They act in concert just as one contractor might delegate another contractor to do work, so might the Father have delegated the person of the Holy Spirit to make things.

You said:
His active force is also his will. Read Genesis 1. It doesn't mention the Holy Spirit.

Sure it does. You just have to go back to the Hebrew. It says,

"God's ruach was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters."

Ruach is a Hebrew word that means breath, wind, or spirit. (The translation "active force" is not a literal translation — it is a misleading paraphrase.) It is the same word found in:

  • Genesis 6:3
  • Genesis 45:27
  • Exodus 28:3
  • Numbers 5:14
  • Deuteronomy 2:30
  • Psalm 31:5, and
  • Psalm 51:11.

Note that the verse I quoted says nothing about Jehovah. It says:

"The same [holy] spirit performs, making a distribution just as it wills."

The willing is proper to the Spirit.

  • Why would it say this if the will is proper to Jehovah?

It says "it", not "he". That proves it.

Again, a will is not a force. A will is part of one's rational faculties. You have a will.

  • Do you have an "active force" that is your will?
  • Is your spirit not distinct from your will?

Eric

Kristi replied:

Genesis 1 says "his active force", right?

He said "let light come to be".

  • If God himself created everything, where was the Holy Spirit?

John 1:2 says "this one was in the beginning with god".

His Holy Spirit isn't his son and it's not a person.

Matthew 3:16 said it came descending down as a dove.

  • If god is the Holy Spirit too, where did that "Holy Spirit" come from [and/or] who said
    "This is my son" from heaven?

Kristi

Eric replied:

You said:
Genesis 1 says "his active force", right?

No, this is a terrible paraphrase. The Hebrew word, ruach, means "breath, wind, or spirit".
See different translations. Yours is the only one that translates it "active force".

You said:
He said "let light come to be". If God himself created everything, where was the Holy Spirit?

Hovering over the waters, but I thought you said God used the Spirit to create?

You said:
John 1:2 says "this one was in the beginning with god".

You're confusing the Word — Jesus — with the Spirit. (John 1:1, 14)

You said:
His Holy Spirit isn't his son and it's not a person.

But it wills! According to your own translation! Only a Person can will.

You said:
Matthew 3:16 said it came descending down as a dove.

Sure. And if looked at Revelation 5:6 where Jesus is portrayed as a Lamb, if you took this out of context and knew nothing else, you might not think he is not personal, either, but other verses suggest He is, just as other verses suggest the Spirit is.

In Genesis 18, three men visit Abraham. They prophesy the birth of Isaac. It seems that this was a revelation of God, the Holy Trinity (v. 13, vv. 16-17, 22, 33, v. 19:1). So here we have a epiphany of the Holy Spirit where he appears in a personal form rather than an impersonal one.

You said:
If god is the Holy Spirit too, where did that "Holy Spirit" come from [and/or] who said
"This is my son" from heaven?

The Father said "This is my son." I'm not sure what you mean by "where did that 'Holy Spirit' " come from.

  • He came from heaven in the form of a dove; not what we'd expect, true, but who are we to tell God how He is to appear, or make arbitrary judgments about how He can appear?

So my point is don't take the dove appearance out of context, and conclude that the Holy Spirit must be impersonal (i.e. an active force and not a person) because he once appeared as an animal.

Eric

Eric replied:

Hi, Kristi —

Here is something that might help you understand the Holy Trinity.

We know that God is love (1 John 4:8). Love, of its very nature, is not selfish (1 Corinthians 13:5), but is directed toward another person. God exists from all eternity. If God is love, then God must be loving for all eternity, yet one cannot love without another person to love.

This means that it is impossible for God to be love without another eternal person to love, thus it is necessary for there to be more than one eternal person in God. Otherwise, there can be no authentic love, for a solitary person cannot love (nor can God, who is eternal, depend on something not eternal, viz. creation, to be Who He is.)

Eric

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