The Watchtower makes a number of further arguments in support of its teaching that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force rather than a person. Here is how to respond to them.
Watchtower Argument #4: The Holy Spirit doesn’t have a personal name. (pp. 192-193)
The Watchtower says, “The Holy Scriptures tell us the personal name of the Father—Jehovah. They inform us that the Son is Jesus Christ. But nowhere in the Scriptures is a personal name applied to the holy spirit.”
Response: (pp. 192-193)
Have the Witnesses read aloud 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 in the Watchtower’s own translation: “Now Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom. And all of us, while we with unveiled faces reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah, are transformed into the same image from one degree of glory into another, exactly as it is done by Jehovah the Spirit.”
Ask, “Since Jehovah is the Spirit and since Jehovah is the most holy Spirit in existence, do you see why I believe that the Holy Spirit—as well as the Father—is Jehovah?”
Watchtower Argument #5: The Holy Spirit is mentioned alongside impersonal things. (pp. 193-194)
What the Watchtower is referring to is that in 2 Corinthians 6:6-7 Paul says that he shows himself a minister of God “in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God…”
Response: (p. 194)
Point out that Jesus metaphorically called himself “bread” (John 6:48) and a “door” (John 10:9). This doesn’t prove that Jesus was an impersonal object. With regard to each of the qualities referred to in 2 Corinthians 6:6, author Homer Duncan notes that “the Holy Spirit is included in this list to show that it is the virtue of His influence which produces these graces and other gifts.”
Watchtower Argument #6: The Greek definite article is not used with regard to the Holy Spirit. (p. 194)
The Watchtower says, “…in a large number of cases the expression ‘holy spirit’ appears in the original Greek without the [definite] article, thus indicating its lack of personality.”
Response: (pp. 194-195)
I don’t recommend that you delve into Greek articles unless you know the language, but if the Witnesses insist on discussing it, be aware that author Homer Duncan notes that there are at least 73 times in the Greek New Testament where the definite article is used with reference to the Holy Spirit. One of those places is in Acts 13:2-4 where the Holy Spirit speaks using first person pronouns.
He goes on to note that the Greek word for Jesus occurs 909 times in the New Testament, 359 times without the definite article. He remarks, “Thus, if we follow the arguments presented by the [Watchtower] writers concerning the use of the article with the Holy Spirit, we could also prove that Jesus is not a person!”
Watchtower Argument #7: The Greek word and pronoun for “spirit” are neuter in gender. (p. 195)
The Watchtower sometimes argues that the Holy Spirit must be an “it” because the Greek word for “spirit” and the related pronouns are neuter in gender.
Response: (p. 195)
In Greek, the gender of a noun or pronoun is a matter of grammar; it has nothing to do with personhood or gender. Likewise, the fact that the Greek word for “spirit” is neuter does not make a spirit an “it.” The Watchtower agrees that demonic spirits are persons, and the Bible even says that “God is Spirit.” (John 4:24).
Watchtower Argument #8: The Holy Spirit is not seen in visions of heaven. (p. 195)
The Watchtower says, “Acts 7:55, 56 reports that Stephen was given a vision of heaven in which he saw ‘Jesus standing at God’s right hand.’ But he made no mention of seeing the holy spirit. (See also Revelation 7:10; 22:1, 3.)”
Response: (p. 195)
You can reply that Stephen didn’t say he saw angels either. Does that mean that there are no angels in heaven or that angels are impersonal forces? Of course not. Given that the point he was emphasizing was Jesus’ exalted position in heaven, Stephen’s failure to make specific mention of the Holy Spirit is hardly proof that the Holy Spirit is only an impersonal force.
How would you answer these Watchtower arguments against the Holy Spirit being a person? (pp. 189-195)
- The Holy Spirit doesn’t have a personal name as do the Father and the Son. (pp. 192-193)
- The Holy Spirit is mentioned alongside impersonal things such as purity, understanding, patience, and kindness (2 Corinthians 6:6-7). (pp. 193-194)
- The Greek definite article is not used with regard to “holy spirit.” (p. 194-195)
- The Greek word and pronoun for “spirit” are neuter in gender, not masculine. (p. 195)
- The Holy Spirit is not seen in visions of heaven (Acts 7:55-56; Revelation 7:10; 22:1,3). (p. 195)