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Is the Holy Spirit the Same as the Force?

The Holy Spirit is spoken of as an impersonal force by many quasi-Christian sects (Iglesia Ni Christo, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.). They argue the Bible doesn’t teach the Holy Spirit is a person. But is this true? Karlo Broussard gives the biblical evidence that proves the answer is no.

Transcript:

What do quasi-Christian religious groups, like Iglesia Ni Cristo and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Star Wars have in common? They all talk about a “force.”

For these religious groups, the impersonal “force” is the Holy Spirit. They believe this because in John 14:26 the Greek word for “spirit” (pneuma) is neuter as opposed to masculine terms like Father and Son.

So, how do we respond?

First, just because the Greek word for “spirit” is neuter doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is not a person. If that were the case, then we’d have to say Jesus is not a person, since in Matt. 2:11 Matthew refers to him as a “paidion,” which is Greek for “child” and is neuter. But that’s absurd! Further, if we hold to this line of reasoning, we’re going to have to say God himself is not a person because He’s referred to as “spirit” in John 4:24. No quasi-Christian group would want to make that conclusion.

Okay, maybe this objection doesn’t disprove the personhood of the Spirit. But is there any evidence for it? Yes!

The very verse that’s used in the objection says of the Holy Spirit, “he will teach you all things.” Notice the rational activity of teaching. Impersonal forces don’t teach!

We see the same sort of personal qualities in passages like John 14:16-17, John 15:26, and John 16:7-13.

I must admit it would be cool if we could say, “may the force be with you,” when talking about the Holy Spirit—I think Star Wars fans would concur. But it wouldn’t be correct. And it wouldn’t bring us happiness because you can’t have a relationship with a force. You can only have a relationship with a person.

If you want to learn more about this topic and others like it, visit our website at catholic.com.

For Catholic Answers, I’m Karlo Broussard. Thanks for watching.

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