What follows is an email which I sent to an acquaintance, an email that largely deals with the character of the Holy Spirit:
Thank you for your reply, Brother S----
You are correct that our relationship with God is the most important thing. Yet I think our understanding of the character of God is related to that relationship. So it is important to understand the Son of God as having been begotten as the Father’s first act as I indicated in my last email. But it is also important to understand where the Spirit of God comes in. Jesus said to his disciples:
If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
HOW will the Father and the Son make their dwelling with those who love Jesus and who keep His word? I suggest it is “by means of their Holy Spirit.” The Father and the Son are so united into one that they share the same Spirit. They can extend their Personality or “Spirit” anywhere in the universe, especially into the hearts of the faithful.
I suggest that the Holy Spirit is not a third divine person, but yet is personal—the very persons of the Father and the Son. Consider the following scripture, where Paul refers to Jesus as “The Lord” and then states that He IS the Spirit:
But their minds [those of the Jews] were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:14-18)
The second-century Christian writer, Justin Martyr affirmed in his “Apology ch. 33” (written to the Emperor Titus Ælius Adrianus Antoninun Pius Augustus Cæsar) that the Spirit is none other than the Logos (“the Word” John 1:1, a reference to the Son of God) Himself:
It is wrong, therefore to understand the Spirit and the Power of God as anything else but the Logos, who is also the first-born of God…That the prophets are inspired by no other than the divine Logos, even you, as I fancy, will grant.
Why do you suppose Jesus said? “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the advocate [or ‘encourager’ or ‘comforter’ or ‘helper’, that is, the Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him [or ‘it’] to you.” (John 16:7)
If the Spirit were a third divine Person, then why did Jesus have to go away before the Spirit could come? Could the reason be that Jesus Himself was the Spirit, but as long as He was living in a human body, His Spirit or Personality was confined to that body. But after God raised Him from the dead, He had a spiritual body that could go through closed doors (John 20:19). It was the same body, but a changed body. He still had the wounds which He received when He was crucified, but He now had “put on immortality”(1 Cor 15). Now his Spirit or divine Personality could be extended anywhere in the universe. So He and his Father could make their dwelling with their disciples, by extending their Personality into the hearts of the children of God.
It is interesting that Justin Martyr in his dialogue with Trypho both spoke of the Spirit of God. Clearly Trypho wasn’t thinking of another Person besides God, since he was Jewish, probably a Pharisee. And it becomes clear that Justin didn’t either. Justin had been trying to show Trypho from Hebrew prophecies that Jesus was the Son of God, and could therefore be called “God” in the sense that He was divine and begotten by God. At one point Justin asked Trypho this very interesting question:
Do you think that any other one is said to be worthy of worship and called “Lord” and “God” in the Scriptures, besides the Maker of all, and Christ [Messiah] , who by so many Scriptures was proved to you to have become man?
Trypho replied, “How can we admit this, when we have instituted so great an inquiry as to whether there is any other than the Father alone?” (Dialogue Ch 58)
If Justin had been a Trinitarian, this would have been the perfect moment to have introduces the Holy Spirit as a third divine Person who was worthy of worship and who could be called “God”. But instead he said:
“I must ask you this also, that I may know whether or not you are of a different opinion from that which you admitted some time ago.”
It seems that Trypho had been changing his opinions quite often during their dialogue, and that was the reason Justin had asked the question.
It is also the case that the Trinity is nowhere found in the Bible except in 1 John 5:7 of the King James Bible and related translations.
For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. (1 John 5:7 NKJV)
1 John 5:7 is known as “the Johannine Comma”. It doesn’t occur in any Greek manuscript prior to the ninth century. Here you can find some more information about the passage and how it got into 1 John:
So I hope you understand why I am not a Trinitarian. The Trinitarian view of God was almost unknown prior to the fourth century, but during that century it was taught by people such men as Jerome and Augustine, and thus it spread throughout all of Christendom.
In conclusion, I wish to say that I came to believe that the Holy Spirit is not a third divine Individual, but yet is personal. The Spirit is the very Persons of the Father and the Son. Perhaps it is for this reason that there is no record in the New Testament of any Christian praying to the Holy Spirit.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and participation in the Holy Spirit be with you. (2Co 13:14)