THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
A few days ago we were accused, we, the ones who reject the doctrine of the Trinity that we do not believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit. This accusation is not true and comes from someone who probably is not properly informed about what we really believe. Certainly we believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit but we do not believe the theory of the Trinity according to which the Holy Spirit is a separate being from the Father and the Son that together make one triune God. Why don’t we believe this theory? Simply because we do not find a clear “Thus says the Lord” to support it and because we want to remain loyal to the revelation that God gave us on this issue.
Every honest student of the Spirit of Prophecy will admit that Sister White talked about the Holy Spirit as a "person" or “personality” on several occasions. These statements seem to support the doctrine of the Trinity as it is accepted by the majority of the Seventh-day Adventists namely that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three separate beings which together form a family or a unity called God.
However, when we study the Spirit of Prophecy and when we pay attention to all the evidences, we can see that the truth is quite different. This is the point where those who believe the doctrine of the Trinity go wrong. They hold on to some apparently Trinitarian statements while the weight of the evidences from the Spirit of Prophecy is definitely on the side of those who reject the idea of three coequal and coeternal beings in one God. In this study we will look at some of the evidences.
Although sister White wrote about the Holy Spirit as a "person" and that there are "three persons" or "three powers" she also did several very clear statements that in all the universe there are only two divine Beings: the Father and the Son. Here are just some examples:
In the book "The Great Controversy" on page 493 we read:
“Christ the Word, the Only Begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,- one in nature, in character, and in purpose,--the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” (GC 493)
Read carefully! Sister White says that Christ was "the only being in all the universe who could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God”. The term "the only being" tells us that there is not another being, except Jesus, who can enter God’s counsels and purposes. The Bible is also very clear and it agrees with Ellen White, for we read in Zechariah 6:13:
“… the counsel of peace shall be between them both”. Zech. 6: 13
Here is another resembling quote:
“God will not accept the inventions of men who in their work enter the inner circle of God, where only the Holy One, whose form is that of the Son of God, has a right to tread.” (RH August 9, 1898)
In "The Signs of the Times" in 1897 we read:
“In order that the human family might have no excuse because of temptation, Christ became one with them. The only being who was one with God lived the law in humanity…” (ST October 14, 1897)
We saw above that Jesus was the only Being that could enter God’s counsels and now we see why He alone had this right. The reason is because He was "the only being who was one with God". Again the phrase "the only being" tells us that there is not another being except Him that is one with God, which would have been entirely wrong if the Holy Spirit had also been a being like the Father and the Son. How come a divine being does not have access to the heavenly counsels and isn’t one with God? It is impossible! But what do the supporters of the Trinity do with these quotes? From my past experience I can tell you that they simply ignore them.
Let's look at some other quotes. In the book "Story of Redemption" on page 20 we read these:
“The Father and the Son engaged in the mighty, wondrous work they had contemplated--of creating the world… After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God said to His Son, "Let us make man in our image." (SR 20)
Here we read that at man's creation participated only two Beings, the Father and the Son. This is logical because, as we have seen, only the Father and the Son are One, and it’s only them two who are part of the heavenly counsels. The advocates of the doctrine of the Trinity claim that they were three, but there is not one verse or quote to prove this.
After seeing how many divine beings are One, and how many beings are part of the heavenly counsels and also participated in the creation of the man, it is logical to see how many divine beings have the right to receive worship too. We read about this in the following quote from 1898:
“The Father and the Son alone are to be exalted”. YI, July 7, 1898
Here we are told that we must worship only two Beings. Again, the word "alone" shows us that there is nobody else out of the Father and the Son to have the right to our worship. Again, I repeat, this is logical because only the Father and the Son are One, it’s only them two who are part of the heavenly counsels and it’s only them two who participated in the creation of the man. I ask again, how is it possible that we do not have the right to worship the Holy Spirit if He is the third Being of the Trinity? Of course, the Trinitarians will ignore again these testimonies and will claim that the Spirit is a divine being and “He” is also entitled to receive our worship as we can read from the book written by three theologians and teachers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church:
“But what about direct prayer to the Holy Spirit? While we have no clear example of or direct command to pray to the Spirit in Scripture, doing so does have, in principle, some implicit biblical support… It only seems logical that God's people can pray directly to, and worship the Holy Spirit.” (Jerry Moon, Woodrow Whidden, & John W. Reese „Trinity”, pag. 273)
"It only seems logical" to pray and worship the Spirit without having a command or a clear example of the Scripture! Brothers, do you think we are safe if we do what seems only logical without having a clear "Thus saith the Lord"? Think about it.
All the examples I've cited are only a fraction of the many examples where Sister White talks explicitly about the existence of only two divine Beings and that is one of the reasons we cannot accept the existence of the three separate divine Beings, coequal and coeternal. The Spirit of Prophecy can never contradict itself.
If this is true, if indeed there are only two divine Beings, then how can we understand Sister White’s statements where she says that the Holy Spirit is a "person"? It is a logic question that needs an answer. Before doing so I want to clarify something, namely that we will not discuss about the nature of the Holy Spirit which, as we are told, is a mystery that we are not clearly revealed, but we will discuss about the identity of the Holy Spirit, which is something else. While we cannot understand and explain the nature of the Spirit, however we need to understand who is He, for our salvation depends on understanding Him whom we worship. A failure at this point means to lose the eternal life. We shall begin with a quote from the book "The Spirit of Prophecy”, vol. III page 242:
“All professions of Christianity are but lifeless expressions of faith until Jesus imbues the believer with his spiritual life, which is the Holy Ghost”. (3SP, 242)
In this quotation sister White says that the Holy Spirit is "the spiritual life" of Jesus Christ.
The following quote says the same thing:
“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. Thus the disciples received their commission. They were to teach and to preach in Christ's name. The instruction given them had in it the vital, spiritual breath that is in Christ. He alone could give them the oil which they must have in order to work successfully…The Holy Spirit is the breath of life in the soul. The breathing of Christ upon his disciples was the breath of true spiritual life... The impartation of the Spirit was the impartation of the very life of Christ, which was to qualify the disciples for their mission. Without this qualification their work could not be accomplished. Thus they were to fulfil the official duties connected with the church. But the Holy Spirit was not yet fully manifested, because Christ had not yet been glorified. The more abundant impartation of the Holy Spirit did not take place till after Christ's ascension.” (RH, June 13, 1899)
Again, we are told that the Holy Spirit is “the life of Christ”. Note that in this passage she cites John 20, 22 where it is written that Jesus breathed on the disciples and told them: "Receive the Holy Spirit". This means that the Holy Spirit is the spiritual life of Jesus and it resides in His person, and He also can share it with the others.
Is it true that the Holy Spirit resides in Jesus and can be shared with others? Let’s read the next two passages:
“The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only begotten Son of God, binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ.” (RH, April 5, 1906)
“The sap of the vine, ascending from the root, is diffused to the branches, sustaining growth and producing blossoms and fruit. So the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Saviour, pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and brings even the thoughts into obedience to the will of God, enabling the receiver to bear the precious fruit of holy deeds.” (AA 284)
From all these quotes that I have mentioned before, we conclude that the Holy Spirit is not a separate individual from the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is His spiritual life which proceeds from His being and fills the believer.
With this conclusion in mind, let’s read the next paragraph from 1906 that explains us what is this life that proceeds from Jesus, what exactly is the Holy Spirit:
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to his person, the divinity of his character.” (RH, April 5, 1906)
This quote is very important. After seeing that the Holy Spirit is the spiritual life of Jesus, which proceeds from His Being, now Sister White tells us that this Spirit, this life, is nothing more than His person or the divinity of His character. What it means? The following quote will help us give a correct answer to this question:
“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent.” (14MR, 23. 1895)
Step by step the picture becomes clearer. Read carefully, Sister White says that the Holy Spirit is Jesus Himself but divested of His human personality. A little before we have seen that the Holy Spirit is described as the person or “the divinity of his (Christ’s) character”. Putting together all these quotes, the only conclusion is that the Holy Spirit in fact is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in His divine personality which, independently of his human personality (His human body), is "present in all places, as Omnipresent". In other words, while Jesus in His human personality (the human body), is in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and serves in our favor, at the same time, by His divine personality (His Spirit), He is present in all places. This thing is definitely asserted in the following quote from "The desire of Ages", page 166:
“While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church.” (DA 166)
See what the prophet says, “He is” and not somebody else! Jesus Christ serves in His Church on earth but not in the human nature, but by His Spirit who is “His energizing presence” and His divine personality or character. He is our Comforter. The following quotations confirm this:
“Christ tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost… This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter.” 14MR 179
“The Saviour is our Comforter. This I have proved Him to be.” (8MR 49)
“Christ comes as a Comforter to all who believe. He invites your confidence.” (8MR 57)
“As by faith we look to Jesus, our faith pierces the shadow, and we adore God for His wondrous love in giving Jesus the Comforter.” (19MR 297)
„O how precious are these words to every bereaved soul! Christ is our Guide and Comforter, who comforts us in all our tribulations ” (SDA BC, vol. 6, p. 1077)
All these tell us that our Savior is a single being or a single individual but has two distinct personalities, a human personality, which serves in the heavenly Sanctuary, and a divine personality, spiritual, by which He is present in all places, by which He gives life to all creation and by which He serves in His church on earth. In His human personality He is called Jesus Christ, but in His divine personality He is called the Holy Spirit. Two distinct personalities but one Being.
Now, I want to clarify something here that should not be misunderstood. As we have seen, God's Word clearly says that the Holy Spirit is a divine personality who proceeds from the Son of God and through which He is present in all places. However, the Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father too. We see this in John 15:26:
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” John 15: 26
The Spirit of Prophecy also says that the Holy Spirit represents the mean by which the Father is present everywhere. Let’s read:
"The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. "The Lord's throne is in heaven" (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present.” (Ed. 131)
What it means? It is very simple; it means that the Father and the Son share one Spirit. They are two separate personal beings but united by one Spirit. Therefore the Spirit is called the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ such as in Romans 8: 9:
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8: 9
In other words, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father that the Father gave the Son as part of His divine heritage. The Son, being a divine Being, inherited all things from His Father including His omnipresence which is the Holy Spirit. Let’s read the Word as a confirmation:
“All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father's life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life.” (DA 21)
“Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that in giving his Holy Spirit he is giving to them the glory which the Father has given him, that he and his people may be one in God.” (ST, October 3, 1892)
All these tell us that there are only two divine Beings, the Father and the Son but three personalities, powers or divine agents, the Father, the Son and their omnipresent Spirit.
Further, in a quote above, we have read that the Spirit is called the person of Jesus, the divinity of His character (Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to his person, the divinity of his character.” (RH, April 5, 1906). From what we have seen so far, we have understood that the Holy Spirit is not a separate being from Jesus but the personality or His spiritual life and here we are told that this spiritual personality is His person. This shows that Sister White did not always use the word "person" in the sense of „being”, as many understand it today. The reality is that this word has different meanings and therefore we must be very careful in our search to understand correctly the sense. To read another quote to understand more clearly what I mean. In “The Early Writings”, page 54 we read:
“I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus' countenance and admired His lovely person. The Father's person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered Him. I asked Jesus if His Father had a form like Himself. He said He had, but I could not behold it, for said He, "If you should once behold the glory of His person, you would cease to exist.” (EW, 54)
Read carefully. Sister White looked at the countenance of Jesus and admired His wonderful person. The Father's person she could not see. Therefore, she asked Jesus if the Father had a form, a figure or a body. He said that He does but added that: “If you look once the glory of His person…” So in this quotation, the word “person” mentioned three times, refers to the appearance of the Father and of the Son, their physical forms. This physical shape, which sits on the heavenly throne, is the person of God. Also, the appearance of Jesus is His person. But besides these physical forms, we have seen that the Father and the Son also have a Spirit by whom, independent of their physical forms, they are present in all places. What is the Spirit? Is He a kind of energy which lacks personality? From what we have seen so far the answer is no! The Holy Spirit is the omnipresent person of the Father and of the Son. Sister White makes this clear by saying that the Spirit is the person of Jesus as we have read above. Thus, in the quotation from “The Early Writings” the word “person“ is used not in the sense of being, but in terms of describing the two aspects of the being of Jesus (or of the Father) the physical and the spiritual aspect.
The different meaning of the word "person" was clearly understood by the pioneers. Still in 1877 Joseph Waggoner wrote the following:
“There is one question which has been much controverted in the theological world upon which we have never presumed to enter. It is that of the personality of the Spirit of God. Prevailing ideas of person are very diverse, often crude, and the word is differently understood; so that unity of opinion on this point cannot be expected until all shall be able to define precisely what they mean by the word, or until all shall agree upon one particular sense in which the word shall be used. But as this agreement does not exist, it seems that a discussion of the subject cannot be profitable, especially as it is not a question of direct revelation. We have a right to be positive in our faith and our statements only when the words of Scripture are so direct as to bring the subject within the range of positive proof. We are not only willing but anxious to leave it just where the word of God leaves it.” (JH Waggoner, The Spirit of God, It's attributes and manifestations, p. 8, 9, 1877)
Hence we see that two people can use the word "person" but with different meanings. This problem can be seen very well today in all these discussions about the personality of the Holy Spirit. Both those who believe in the Trinity and those who don’t, say that the Holy Spirit is a person, but the understanding of this word, as we have seen in this study, is different. Therefore any such charge that the non-Trinitarians do not believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit is false. The Trinitarians may not agree with our understanding of this word but they cannot accuse us because we do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a person.
It is interesting that this problem is not something newly appeared among the people of God but it existed a hundred years ago. In the early twentieth Century, the Seventh-day Adventist Church went through a great crisis which threatened to divide the people of God and that would have happened if it weren’t for the prophet of God, Sister White. The main figure in this crisis was Doctor John Harvey Kellogg, head of the medical work of the church and the medical administrator of the Battle Creek Sanatorium. In 1903 he wrote a book that contained, as Ellen White said, theories which were "akin to pantheism". In other words, the doctor claimed that God is an essence that fills all the nature. Sister White called these theories "Alpha of the deadly heresies" and warned us that soon it will follow another heresy, a much greater one, that she called "Omega".
Let’s read now a paragraph from a letter in which Dr. Kellogg summarizes the whole question of this period. The letter was addressed to Butler, the former President of the General Conference. Dr. Kellogg says:
"As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in ‘The Living Temple’, the whole thing may be simmered down to the question: Is the Holy Ghost a person? You say no. I had supposed the Bible said this for the reason that the personal pronoun ‘he’ is used in speaking of the Holy Ghost. Sister White uses the pronoun ‘he’ and has said in so many words that the Holy Ghost is the third person of the Godhead. How the Holy Ghost can be the third person and not be a person at all is difficult for me to see.” (Letter from JH Kellogg to GI Butler, 28 October 1903).
So in this letter we see that, according to Kellogg's understanding, the whole problem could be reduced to a single question: is the Holy Spirit a person? As we see, the doctor believed that the Spirit was a person, and claimed that with the support of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. We also see, from the words of Kellogg that Butler did not agree with him. Finally the doctor asked puzzled: "How can the Holy Spirit be the third person and not a person at all, it is very difficult for me to understand that".
Now, Butler certainly was aware that Sister White said that the Holy Spirit was a “person”, but he did not agree with Kellogg. Does that mean that he did not agree with Sister White too? From the letter it could be drawn such a conclusion but let’s see if it is so. We will read an excerpt from another letter of Kellogg also sent to Butler, but written a few months later. We read:
“I believe this Spirit of God to be a personality you don’t. But this is purely a question of definition. I believe the Spirit of God is a personality; you say, No, it is not a personality. Now the only reason why we differ is because we differ in our ideas as to what a personality is. Your idea of personality is perhaps that of semblance to a person or a human being.” (Letter: J H Kellogg to G I Butler. Feb 21. 1904)
Read carefully! The whole problem between Butler and Kellogg was actually to define the word "personality". They had different understandings about what the words "person" and "personality" meant. In fact, Butler was not against Kellogg because he was saying that the Spirit was a person, but he was against his understanding about what that word meant. This is very important because we have the same problem even today.
Let's see what Kellogg thought about the Holy Spirit, what was this understanding of Kellogg that Butler and the other pioneers did not agree with. But before that, here I should remember that the church at that time did not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity and did not believe that the Holy Spirit is a being separated from the Father and from the Son. The understanding of the church was that the Holy Spirit was the personal presence of the Father and of the Son through which the two were omnipresent.
Now let’s read an excerpt from a letter written by A.G. Daniels, the General Conference president, to Willie White, Sister White’s son, from which we will see what Dr. Kellogg’s faith was:
“Ever since the council closed I have felt that I should write you confidentially regarding Dr Kellogg’s plans for revising and republishing ‘The Living Temple’…. He (Kellogg) said that some days before coming to the council, he had been thinking the matter over, and began to see that he had made a slight mistake in expressing his views… He then stated that his former views regarding the trinity had stood in his way of making a clear and absolutely correct statement; but that within a short time he had come to believe in the trinity and could now see pretty clearly where all the difficulty was, and believed that he could clear the matter up satisfactorily. He told me that he now believed in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and his view was that it was God the Holy Ghost, and not God the Father, that filled all space, and every living thing.” (Letter: A G Daniells to W C White. Oct 29. 1903)
So Kellogg came to believe, this time, in the doctrine of the Trinity. He also believed that the Holy Spirit was a separate person from the Father and the Son and he called him God the Holy Spirit, an expression which cannot be found in the Scripture. If at the beginning he said that the Father was the one to fill everything, he then reached the conclusion that not the Father, but someone else, another being, called God the Holy Spirit filled everything. With this understanding has not agreed Butler which we can see from his response to the letter of Kellogg. Let’s read:
“God dwells in us by His Holy Spirit, as a Comforter, as a Reprover, especially the former. When we come to Him we partake of Him in that sense, because the Spirit comes forth from Him; it comes forth from the Father and the Son. It is not a person walking around on foot, or flying as a literal being, in any such sense as Christ and the Father are – at least, if it is, it is utterly beyond my comprehension of the meaning of language or words.” (Letter: G I Butler to J H Kellogg. April 5. 1904)
Have you noticed? Butler rejected the idea that the Holy Spirit was a person as a literal being. That was the problem. Butler, who knew what Sister White wrote, could not accept the idea that the Holy Spirit was a literal being as Kellogg believed. He clearly states that the Spirit comes from the Father and from the Son, and therefore he could not be a separate being from the two.
Now who was right? Let’s see.
Shortly after Kellogg's book was published, a council was held in Washington DC where a debate took place between Kellogg and his supporters and the other church workers. Near the end of this council a letter from Sister White arrived in which she condemned the doctor’s teachings and the crisis was avoided. Immediately after the council, Dr. Kellogg wrote a letter to W.W. Prescott in which he wrote the following:
“You, Elder Daniells, and others have spoken about a fine line of distinction, but I could not quite see what it was, but this statement by Sister White makes it clear to me. The difference is this: When we say God is in the tree, the word ‘God’ is understood in that the Godhead is in the tree, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, whereas the proper understanding in order that wholesome conceptions should be preserved in our minds, is that God the Father sits upon his throne in heaven where God the Son is also; while God’s life, or Spirit or presence is the all-pervading power which is carrying out the will of God in all the universe. The whole thing is now clear to my mind. I confess I was not quite clear before, and I felt a distrust and an uneasiness with reference to the matter, though I could not for the life of me see where there was an error.” (Letter: J H Kellogg to W W Prescott. Oct 25. 1903)
Read carefully! It seems that after this council, Kellogg understood the problem. His conclusion largely agreed what Sister White wrote about the Holy Spirit and what we have already seen in our study, namely that the Holy Spirit is God's life and His omnipresence. But Kellogg was in confusion and, as we have seen in Daniels' letter, he continued to believe that the Spirit was a separate individual from the Father and the Son, and because he could not understand the truth he departed completely from Adventism.
Now, in the following, let’s read a few excerpts written by Sister White about Kellogg's teachings. She said:
“The theory that God is an essence pervading all nature is one of Satan's most subtle devices. It misrepresents God and is a dishonor to His greatness and majesty.” (8T 291)
“The new theories in regard to God and Christ, as brought out in "The Living Temple", are not in harmony with the teaching of Christ. The Lord Jesus came to this world to represent the Father. He did not represent God as an essence pervading nature, but as a personal being. Christians should bear in mind that God has a personality as verily as has Christ.” (SpM 324)
Please read carefully. Sister White says here that Kellogg's theory, according to which God is an "essence" that fills all the nature, is of satanic origin. She says that these teachings are false, God is not an essence but a personal Being, she said. In other words a personal being cannot simultaneously be an essence that fills all the nature too. A personal being has a physical form, has a body and is in one place. God, as personal being, has a physical form and is in the Heavenly Sanctuary on His throne. He is a personal being, and not an essence. Now let’s read the following excerpts with great, great attention:
“The believers in all ages are to be one, and the Holy Spirit is the living essence that cements, animates, and pervades the whole body of Christ's followers.” (2MR 335)
“The Lord puts His own Spirit into the seed, causing it to spring into life. Under His care the germ breaks through the case enclosing it and springs up to develop and bear fruit.” (8T, p. 326)
“Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity... Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens. A mysterious life pervades all nature - a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit.” (Ed 99)
Again, please pay more attention. Sister White says here that the Holy Spirit is "the living essence" filling the whole church of Christ. She also tells us that the Holy Spirit is put by God in the seed which is to rise to life. The third quote says that the Holy Spirit is a "mysterious life" which "pervades all nature". This means that the Holy Spirit is an essence that fills the whole creation, in other words is everywhere. Now, above we have seen that a personal being cannot be, at the same time, an essence that fills the whole nature too, because a personal being has a body and dwells in only one place. About the Holy Spirit we do not read anywhere that it has a physical form and dwells in a certain place. The idea that the Spirit is both a personal being and an essence that fills the whole nature is an idea “akin to pantheism” and is the same heresy that Dr. Kellogg promoted in the early twentieth century. If the Holy Spirit is a personal being and also an essence that fills the entire universe then Dr. Kellogg was right and the brothers from management, who opposed him, were not. But this cannot be true.
The only conclusion from all this is that the Holy Spirit is not a personal being, but the mean by which God is present in the entire universe. We saw this but let’s see it again:
“The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. "The Lord's throne is in heaven" (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present.” (Ed. 132)
“The divine Spirit that the world's Redeemer promised to send, is the presence and power of God.” (ST, November 23, 1891)
“It is His (Christ) purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.” (DA 679)
Therefore brethren we must be very careful in our utterances. After the understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, all the three persons of the Godhead are ubiquitous. The Father is omnipresent, the Son is omnipresent, and Spirit is omnipresent, but this understanding is akin to pantheism!!! Read carefully what Sister White says. She says that God as a personal being is in heaven, on His throne, but by His Spirit He is present everywhere. God as personal being is not present everywhere and does not fill the entire universe. He is not an essence but a personal Being. Let’s not mix God with His Spirit because we get to some very dangerous conclusions that I will write about another time. In the end let’s read these warnings made by some of our pioneers:
“God (is) a spiritual being having body and parts as we may learn by his having a dwelling place and because he has and may be seen… Does not God say he fills immensity of space? We answer, No. Ps.cxxxix,7,8. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there, etc. God by his Spirit may fill heaven and earth, etc. Some confound God with his Spirit, which makes confusion.” (James White, RH, March 7, 1854)
“So in the same manner God manifests himself by his Spirit which is also the power through which he works. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Rom. viii, 11. Here is a plain distinction made between the Spirit, and God that raises the dead by that Spirit.” (Man’s Present Condition and His Future Reward or Punishment- 1855 Chapter title – Is God a Person? p. 26 J.N. Loughborough)