[This series is part of Section Four, Ethics and the Third Person. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/sword-to-the-heart-ethics-and-the-third-person/1335/1]here.]
[This series concludes Chapter 39, “The Role of the Third Person of God”.]
Picking up from the end of the previous series: what kind of communication can we expect from the Holy Spirit to anyone at all, in any time and place?
It might be suspected that this would mean all people at any time and place would hear God talking directly to them in an unambiguously clear and constant manner. However, this obviously does not happen. Why this does not happen is certainly worth consideration eventually, because it would seem to be one of the most effective means of communication–perhaps not useful for every contingency, but useful enough to be a common occurrence.
So we know from experience there are evidently some limitations to His communication with us, even at the most fundamental level of communication (through the Holy Spirit). Setting aside (only for the moment) the question of why the limitations exist, let me ask instead what the ‘limitations of the limitations’ would be, so to speak. In other words, what is the minimum of necessary communication we can expect from God?
This minimum shall itself be contingent on some other factors, of course: a woman in a coma might not be in any condition, while in that condition, to receive a personal communication from God. This is not because God has abandoned her: He is still there or even her body would cease to exist altogether, and He would still care about any personality that had developed before the coma or which might still develop afterward. But while she is in that state, then (as far as we know) she cannot herself relate to anything as a ‘person’. If God cares about her as a person (and He will), then we can be assured that He will not let her stay in that state forever; which is another topic worth coming back to later. All I am saying at the moment, is that special cases have special qualifications, and should not be considered the rule of thumb for gauging the normal relations between God and man. (Although, we should expect even the special cases to be dealt with on the same principles as the normal cases, even if the application may be significantly different.)
[Footnote: I qualify myself in regard to the example of the woman in a coma, because our ignorance currently puts up a wall behind which her personality might be sufficiently intact and capable of interpersonal communication; and God would certainly also still be with her in that state. “When I go down into the pit, you are still with me O Lord…”]