The Spirit of the Lord Never Forgets!
I proceed with my rebuttal (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/the-holy-spirit-as-the-omniscient-lord-of-all-creation-pt-1/) to Muslim-turned apostate-turned Muslim again-turned apostate one more time-turned Muslim one again Ibn Anwar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2akLe_18yM).
In his post (https://unveiling-christianity.net/2017/12/24/christmas-special-holy-spirit-art-thou/), the greenhorn cites Matthew 11:27 and quotes two unitarian heretics to argue that this passage supposedly undermines the divinity of God’s glorious Spirit. The neophyte claims that Jesus’ assertion that no one knows the Father except the Son and vice-versa includes the Holy Spirit among those who do not know either the Father or the Son. This in turn indicates that the Spirit isn’t God since he isn’t omniscient, which is one of the essential attributes of Deity.
Here is the Lukan version of the words of our glorious Lord along with some additional context:
“At that time Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for it was Your good pleasure. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. And no one knows who the Son is but the Father, and who the Father is but the Son and he to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.’” Luke 10:21-22
Luke’s reference to the Holy Spirit indicates that Christ’s statement wasn’t intended to include the Holy Spirit among those who do not know either himself or the Father. Rather, by the phrase “no one,” the Lord meant that no MAN knows, a fact perfectly captured and highlighted by the translators of the Authorized King James Version (AV):
“ All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man (oudeis) knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man (oude… tis) the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Matthew 11:27
“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man (oudeis) knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:22
That our Lord’s claim doesn’t include the Holy Spirit is further confirmed by what he himself says concerning the Spirit in passages such as the following:
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought of how or what you will speak. For it will be given you at that time what you will speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you.” Matthew 10:16-20
“But when they arrest you and hand you over, take no thought beforehand, or premeditate what you should speak. But speak whatever is given you in that time, for it is not you who speaks, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13:11
In order for the Spirit to be present with all the disciples, no matter how numerous, and no matter where they happen to be, and be able to give all of them the wisdom and knowledge to answer and confound their opponents, he must be omniscient and omnipresent.
In fact, these very unique divine characteristics are ascribed to the Holy Spirit elsewhere in the Holy Bible:
“Where shall I go from Your spirit, or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell at the end of the sea, even there Your hand shall guide me, and Your right hand shall take hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light shall be as night about me,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, but the night shines as the day, for the darkness is like light to You.” Psalm 139:7-12
“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:13-14
“But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Likewise, no one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. ” 1 Corinthians 2:9-12
For the Spirit to be able to search all things, and plumb the depths of God’s inner most thoughts, he must be omniscient, infinite, and incomprehensible, since the Scriptures emphatically teach that no creature is capable of fathoming the deep things of God:
“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways!” Romans 11:33
“He who does great things, beyond discovery, yes, and wonders beyond number.” Job 9:10
“Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the totality of the Almighty? It is as high as heaven; what can you do? Deeper than Sheol; what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” Job 11:7-9
“God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things that we cannot comprehend.” Job 37:5
This brings me to my next point. The Gospels attest that the Holy Spirit visibly descended upon/into Christ at his baptism by John:
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Coming up out of the water, He immediately saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending on (eis – into) Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11 – cf. Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-33
And for the entirety of his earthly ministry, Christ always worked in perfect union with the Spirit of God:
“Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness… Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. And His fame went throughout the surrounding region. He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by everyone. He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. When He had unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He rolled up the scroll, and He gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:1, 14-21 – cf. Matthew 4:1
“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great crowds followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them that they should not make Him known, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Here is My Servant, whom I have chosen, My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will render judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not struggle nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He renders judgment unto victory; and in His name will the Gentiles trust.’ Then one possessed with a demon was brought to Him, blind and mute, and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. All the people were amazed and said, ‘Is He not the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘This Man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons.’ Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. And every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. Then how will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or else how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Therefore I say to you, all kinds of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.’” Matthew 12:15-32 – cf. Mark 3:22-30
Pay close attention to the repeated emphasis on the Lord’s operating in the fullness and power of the Spirit of God, and further note his words concerning the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit being a sin that will never be forgiven. More on this point later.
Now since the Holy Spirit indwelt and guided Jesus to accomplish God’s will, and since the Spirit knows all things, even the unsearchable depths of God’s mind, it would be impossible for the Spirit to not know everything that Christ knew. And since the Son perfectly knows the Father, with the Spirit perfectly knowing the Son, this means that the Holy Spirit must also know the Father to the same extent that the Son does! There’s simply no logical way of getting around this.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 that was cited earlier also makes the same point, namely, since God knows everything about the Son, and since the Spirit knows everything about God, the Spirit must therefore know the Son to the same extent that God does.
The Muslim greenhorn is therefore stuck in the horns of a dilemma since Matthew 11:27, when read in the overall context of Matthew’s Gospel and the Holy Bible as a whole, ends up actually proving that the Trinity is a biblical revelation.
Moreover, Jesus’ warning against blaspheming the Holy Spirit quoted above further confirms the divinity of God’s Spirit. Note what Luke says in regards to this particular sin:
“I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you to the synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not be anxious how you will answer or what you will say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:8-12
The only way that this blasphemy against the Spirit could bring about eternal condemnation, without the possibility of forgiveness, is if the Holy Spirit is truly God, and therefore an eternal Person who possesses infinite worth and dignity. After all, it makes no sense to speak of blaspheming an impersonal active force or power, nor does it make any sense to say that insulting a mere creature results in committing the one and only unforgiveable sin that brings about everlasting destruction.
There’s further evidence that the Spirit is “a sentient (able to sense, be self-aware), separate and distinct being with personality,” in fact, an omniscient Being (whose Being is eternally shared by the Father and the Son).
Both the Lord Jesus and his followers attest that the Holy Spirit inspired OT prophets such as David to see and record future events, specifically as they relate to the coming of the Messiah:
“While the Pharisees were assembled, Jesus asked them, ‘What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He?”They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool’”? David then calls Him “Lord,” how is He his Son?’ No one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare to ask Him any more questions.” Matthew 22:41-46
“In those days Peter stood up among the disciples (the number of people together was about a hundred and twenty), and said, ‘Brothers, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit previously spoke by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became the guide to those who seized Jesus. For he was numbered with us and took part in this ministry.’” Acts 1:15-17
In fact, David himself testified that it was the Spirit who taught him what to say and write down:
“Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the favorite psalmist of Israel: The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: He who rules over man justly, who rules in the fear of God,” 2 Samuel 23:1-3
Note that David equates the Spirit speaking with the God of Israel speaking, obviously because the Holy Spirit is God!
For the Holy Spirit to reveal future events he must have knowledge of how the future will unfold. And in order to insure that the future comes to pass exactly as he prophesied, God’s Spirit must share in God’s sovereign power over creation, which allows him to control and/or influence what takes place in time and history.
If this still isn’t sufficient to expose the ineptness and desperation of this Muslim neophyte, then perhaps this next NT verse will:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the NAME (onoma) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19
Our risen Lord commands that baptism be carried out in the name (singular) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thereby showing that the Spirit shares in the nature, characteristics, authority and power of both God and Christ (https://biblehub.com/greek/3686.htm).
In light of this, it makes absolutely no sense to speak of the name of the Spirit if he is nothing more than God’s power or influence, as the “Christian” unitarian heretics cited by this neophyte believe. Does this greenhorn really want us to believe that an impersonal force has a name, specifically the same name possessed by two “sentient (able to sense, be self-aware), separate and distinct” Persons?
Nor does it make sense to group a mere, finite creature with the Father and the Son in their unique divine authority and characteristics.
To help this Muslim greenhorn understand and appreciate this point, would he as a Muhammadan ever say or write any of the following?
In the name of Allah, and of Muhammad, and of Gabriel.
In the name of Allah, and of the power, and of the prophet.
In the name of Allah, and of his messenger, and of his influence.
Of course he wouldn’t, since to group Allah with finite, imperfect creatures like Muhammad under the same name is to commit the unforgiveable sin of shirk, e.g., ascribing partners with Allah in his unique attributes and authority (cf. Q. 2:22; 4:48, 116). And the neophyte definitely knows that it makes absolutely no sense to attribute the name of Allah to impersonal objects.
Therefore, by joining the Holy Spirit together with the Father and himself under the same name, our risen Lord could not have been any clearer in affirming the divinity and personality of the Spirit of God!
With that said, I conclude my rebuttal with the following, somewhat lengthy exposition of Matthew 28:19 by one of the greatest theologians of the 19th-20th centuries, since it wonderfully captures the meaning of this passage:
THE BAPTISMAL FORMULA:
Meanwhile, the nearest approach to a formal announcement of the doctrine of the Trinity which is recorded from our Lord’s lips, or, perhaps we may say, which is to be found in the whole compass of the New Testament, has been preserved for us, not by John, but by one of the synoptists. It too, however, is only incidentally introduced, and has for its main object something very different from formulating the doctrine of the Trinity. It is embodied in the great commission which the resurrected Lord gave His disciples to be their “marching orders” “even unto the end of the world”: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). In seeking to estimate the significance of this great declaration, we must bear in mind the high solemnity of the utterance, by which we are required to give its full value to every word of it. Its phrasing is in any event, however, remarkable. It does not say, “In the names (plural) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”; nor yet (what might be taken to be equivalent to that), “In the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost,” as if we had to deal with three separate Beings. Nor, on the other hand does it say, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” as if “the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” might be taken as merely three designations of a single person. With stately impressiveness it asserts the unity of the three by combining them all within the bounds of the single Name; and then throws up into emphasis the distinctness of each by introducing them in turn with the repeated article: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (the King James Version). These three, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each stand in some clear sense over against the others in distinct personality: these three, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, all unite in some profound sense in the common participation of the one Name. Fully to comprehend the implication of this mode of statement, we must bear in mind, further, the significance of the term, “the name,” and the associations laden with which it came to the recipients of this commission. For the Hebrew did not think of the name, as we are accustomed to do, as a mere external symbol; but rather as the adequate expression of the innermost being of its bearer. In His Name the Being of God finds expression; and the Name of God — “this glorious and fearful name, Yahweh thy God” (Dt 28:58) — was accordingly a most sacred thing, being indeed virtually equivalent to God Himself. It is no solecism, therefore, when we read (Isa 30:27), “Behold, the name of Yahweh cometh”; and the parallelisms are most instructive when we read (Isa 59:19): `So shall they fear the Name of Yahweh from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; for He shall come as a stream pent in which the Spirit of Yahweh driveth.’ So pregnant was the implication of the Name, that it was possible for the term to stand absolutely, without adjunction of the name itself, as the sufficient representative of the majesty of Yahweh: it was a terrible thing to `blaspheme the Name’ (Lev 24:11). All those over whom Yahweh’s Name was called were His, His possession to whom He owed protection. It is for His Name’s sake, therefore, that afflicted Judah cries to the Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble: `O Yahweh, Thou art in the midst of us, and Thy Name is called upon us; leave us not’ (Jer 14:9); and His people find the appropriate expression of their deepest shame in the lament, `We have become as they over whom Thou never barest rule; as they upon whom Thy Name was not called’ (Isa 63:19); while the height of joy is attained in the cry, `Thy Name, Yahweh, God of Hosts, is called upon me’ (Jer 15:16; compare 2 Ch 7:14; Dan 9:18, 19). When, therefore, our Lord commanded His disciples to baptize those whom they brought to His obedience “into the name of ….,” He was using language charged to them with high meaning. He could not have been understood otherwise than as substituting for the Name of Yahweh this other Name “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”; and this could not `possibly have meant to His disciples anything else than that Yahweh was now to be known to them by the new Name, of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The only alternative would have been that, for the community which He was rounding, Jesus was supplanting Yahweh by a new God; and this alternative is no less than monstrous. There is no alternative, therefore, to understanding Jesus here to be giving for His community a new Name to Yahweh, and that new Name to be the threefold Name of “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Nor is there room for doubt that by “the Son” in this threefold Name, He meant just Himself with all the implications of distinct personality which this carries with it; and, of course, that further carries with it the equally distinct personality of “the Father” and “the Holy Ghost,” with whom “the Son” is here associated, and from whom alike “the Son” is here distinguished. This is a direct ascription to Yahweh, the God of Israel, of a threefold personality, and is therewith the direct enunciation of the doctrine of the Trinity. We are not witnessing here the birth of the doctrine of the Trinity; that is presupposed. What we are witnessing is the authoritative announcement of the Trinity as the God of Christianity by its Founder, in one of the most solemn of His recorded declarations. Israel had worshipped the one only true God under the Name of Yahweh; Christians are to worship the same one only and true God under the Name of “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” This is the distinguishing characteristic of Christians; and that is as much as to say that the doctrine of the Trinity is, according to our Lord’s own apprehension of it, the distinctive mark of the religion which He founded.
GENUINENESS OF BAPTISMAL FORMULA:
A passage of such range of implication has, of course, not escaped criticism and challenge. An attempt which cannot be characterized as other than frivolous has even been made to dismiss it from the text of Matthew’s Gospel. Against this, the whole body of external evidence cries out; and the internal evidence is of itself not less decisive to the same effect. When the “universalism,” “ecclesiasticism,” and “high theology” of the passage are pleaded against its genuineness, it is forgotten that to the Jesus of Matthew there are attributed not only such parables as those of the Leaven and the Mustard Seed, but such declarations as those contained in 8:11, 12; 21:43; 24:14; that in this Gospel alone is Jesus recorded as speaking familiarly about His church (16:18; 18:17); and that, after the great declaration of 11:27 if, nothing remained in lofty attribution to be assigned to Him. When these same objections are urged against recognizing the passage as an authentic saying of Jesus own, it is quite obvious that the Jesus of the evangelists cannot be in mind. The declaration here recorded is quite in character with the Jesus of Matthew’s Gospel, as has just been intimated; and no less with the Jesus of the whole New Testament transmission. It will scarcely do, first to construct a priori a Jesus to our own liking, and then to discard as “unhistorical” all in the New Testament transmission which would be unnatural to such a Jesus. It is not these discarded passages but our a priori Jesus which is unhistorical. In the present instance, moreover, the historicity of the assailed saying is protected by an important historical relation in which it stands. It is not merely Jesus who speaks out of a Trinitarian consciousness, but all the New Testament writers as well. The universal possession by His followers of so firm a hold on such a doctrine requires the assumption that some such teaching as is here attributed to Him was actually contained in Jesus’ instructions to His followers. Even had it not been attributed to Him in so many words by the record, we should have had to assume that some such declaration had been made by Him. In these circumstances, there can be no good reason to doubt that it was made by Him, when it is expressly attributed to Him by the record. (The Life, Thought, and Works of Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851–1921), “Trinity” http://bbwarfield.com/works/trinity/; underline emphasis ours)
So much for the Muhammadan’s objection against the divine personality and dignity of God’s glorious eternal Spirit.
Unless indicated otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.