The Comforter as a Distinct Personality

PDF – The Comforter -A DISTINCT PERSONALITY, by Paul Chung

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. HE PERSONIFIES CHRIST, YET IS A DISTINCT PERSONALITY. We may have the Holy Spirit if we ask for it and make it [a] habit to turn to and trust in God rather than in any finite human agent who may make mistakes. {20MR 324.2}

Trinitarian object: If the “distinct personality” statements by Ellen White proves that Father and Son are separate and different entities with two distinct personages, then Holy Spirit while personifying Christ and “yet is a distinct personality” proves Holy Spirit is a separate, distinct personality or a personal being.

Response:

The word, distinct can mean different or it can also mean clear. Notice how Sister White uses the expression below:

WE NEED TO HAVE MORE DISTINCT VIEWS OF JESUS and a fuller comprehension of the value of eternal realities. The beauty of holiness is to fill the hearts of God’s children; and that this may be accomplished, we should seek for divine disclosures of heavenly things. {Steps to Christ 99.3}

LOOKING UNTO JESUS WE OBTAIN BRIGHTER AND MORE DISTINCT VIEW OF GOD, and by beholding we become changed. Goodness, love for our fellow men, becomes our natural instinct. {COL 355.1}

The disciples did not yet understand Christ’s words concerning His relation to God. Much of His teaching was still dark to them. They had asked many questions that revealed their ignorance of God’s relation to them and to their present and future interests. CHRIST DESIRED THEM TO HAVE A CLEARER, MORE DISTINCT KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. {CCh 75.10}

The Lord has been waiting long to impart the greatest, truest joys to the heart. All those who look to Him with undivided hearts, He will greatly bless. Those who have thus looked to Him have caught MORE DISTINCT VIEWS OF JESUS as their sin bearer, their all-sufficient sacrifice, and have been hid in the cleft of the Rock, to behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. When we have a sense of Christ’s sacrifice in our behalf, our lips are tuned to the highest, loftiest themes of praise. {CT 369.4}

“A blessed unity will be enjoyed by those who are indeed children of God. They will not, by their words and acts, lead anyone to doubt in regard to the DISTINCT PERSONALITY OF GOD, or in regard to the sanctuary and its ministry.” {14MR 216.3}

We need to have MORE DISTINCT VIEWS OF JESUS and a fuller comprehension of the value of eternal realities. The beauty of holiness is to fill the hearts of God’s children; and that this may be accomplished, we should seek for divine disclosures of heavenly things. {Pr 285.2}

“Thou shalt make no covenant with them,” God had said; and those who had recently rededicated themselves to the Lord at the altar set up before the ruins of His temple, realized that the line of demarcation between His people and the world is ever to be kept UNMISTAKABLY DISTINCT. They refused to enter into alliance with those who, though familiar with the requirements of God’s law, would not yield to its claims. {PK 570.1}

Remember in Him dwelt all the fullness of the God-head bodily. IF CHRIST IS ABIDING IN OUR HEARTS BY FAITH, we shall, by beholding the manner of His life, seek to be like Jesus, pure, peaceable, and undefiled. We shall reveal Christ in our character. We will not only receive and absorb light but will also diffuse it. WE WILL HAVE MORE CLEAR AND DISTINCT VIEWS OF WHAT JESUS IS TO US. The symmetry, loveliness, and benevolence that were in the life of Jesus Christ will be shining forth in our lives.—Manuscript 24, 1890. {2SM 22.4}

The Lord draws out the soul in prayer, and gives us to feel His precious love. WE HAVE A NEARNESS TO HIM, AND CAN HOLD SWEET COMMUNION WITH HIM. WE OBTAIN DISTINCT VIEWS OF HIS TENDERNESS AND COMPASSION, and our hearts are broken and melted with contemplation of the love that is given to us. WE FEEL INDEED AN ABIDING CHRIST IN THE SOUL. We abide in Him, and feel at home with Jesus. The promises flow into the soul. Our peace is like a river, wave after wave of glory rolls into the heart, AND INDEED WE SUP WITH JESUS AND HE WITH US. We have a realizing sense of the love of God, and we rest in His love. No language can describe it, it is beyond knowledge. We are one with Christ, our life is hid with Christ in God. We have the assurance that when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. With strong confidence, we can call God our Father (Letter 52, 1894). {3BC 1147.8}

The Lord has been waiting long to impart the greatest, truest joys to the heart. All those who look to him with undivided hearts, he will greatly bless. Those who have thus looked to him have caught MORE DISTINCT VIEWS OF JESUS as their sin-bearer, their all-sufficient sacrifice, and have been hid in the cleft of the rock, to behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. When we have a sense of his all-sufficient sacrifice, our lips are tuned to the highest, loftiest themes of praise. When the students thus beheld Jesus, the suspension of their studies was counted as no loss. They were catching glimpses of Him who is invisible. They earnestly sought the living God, and the live coal of pardon was placed upon their lips. The Holy Spirit wrought not only for those who had lost their first love, but also for souls who had never placed themselves on the Lord’s side. The holy Watcher drew these souls, that there might be an ingathering to Jesus Christ. THE HOLY SPIRIT WROUGHT SO THAT THE LORD’S PRESENCE COULD BE DISTINGUISHED, and his work acknowledged. {SpTEd 78.1}

These faithful bearers of truth had been slain by those to whom they were sent, even as the faithful servants were slain by the wicked husbandmen. In the beloved son whom the Lord of the vineyard finally sent to his disobedient servants, and whom they seized and slew, the priests and rulers suddenly saw unfolded before them, A DISTINCT PICTURE OF JESUS and his impending fate. Already they were planning to slay Him whom the Father had sent to them as a last and only appeal. In the retribution visited upon the ungrateful husbandmen was portrayed the doom of those who should slay Christ. {3SP 33.1}

Note: In all the statements listed above, Sister White is using “distinct” to mean something as “clear or unmistakablefree from obscurity or ambiguity rather than to mean “separate or different”.

Also take a look at the statements below:

The mighty power that works through all nature and sustains all things is not, as some men of science represent, merely an all-pervading principle, an actuating energy. GOD IS A SPIRIT; YET HE IS A PERSONAL BEING, FOR MAN WAS MADE IN HIS IMAGE. – {CCh 74.2}

GOD IS A SPIRIT; YET HE IS A PERSONAL BEING; FOR SO HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF. {FLB 40.2}

As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. The outshining of the Father’s glory, “and the express image of his person,” JESUS, AS A PERSONAL SAVIOUR, came to the world. AS A PERSONAL SAVIOUR He ascended on high. AS A PERSONAL SAVIOUR He intercedes in the heavenly courts. {FLB 40.3}

HE [Christ] REPRESENTED GOD NOT AS AN ESSENCE THAT PERVADED NATURE, BUT AS A GOD WHO HAS A PERSONALITY. Christ was the express image of His Father’s person; and He came to our world to restore in man God’s moral image, in order that man, although fallen, might through obedience to God’s commandments become enstamped with the divine image and character—adorned with the beauty of divine loveliness (Manuscript 24, 1891). {7BC 921.9}

THE THEORY THAT GOD IS AN ESSENCE PERVADING ALL NATURE is received by many who profess to believe the Scriptures; but, however beautifully clothed, THIS THEORY IS A MOST DANGEROUS DECEPTION…. IF GOD IS AN ESSENCE PERVADING ALL NATURE, THEN HE DWELLS IN ALL MEN; AND IN ORDER TO ATTAIN HOLINESS, MAN HAS ONLY TO DEVELOP THE POWER WITHIN HIM. These theories [pantheism, etc.], followed to their logical conclusion, … DO AWAY WITH THE NECESSITY FOR THE ATONEMENT AND MAKE MAN HIS OWN SAVIOR…. Those who accept them are in great danger of being led finally to look upon the whole Bible as a fiction…. {FLB 40.5}

As you can see, Sister White was very much concerned with portraying God as a person and not as some kind of mysterious essence pervading all nature. She was adamant about this, especially in light of pantheistic ideas about God. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit is the very mind, power and the presence of God with a distinct personality, then, it would make perfect sense why she would describe the Holy Sprit as a “distinct personality” (but not to be understood as another being).

Thus, “He[Holy Spirit] personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality” can be understood as:

We need to be mindful that Sister White has already stated that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ (“The Holy Spirit is the SPIRIT of CHRIST-13MR 313.3, 1895) but she is underscoring the thought that the Holy Spirit is not some kind of “ actuating energy”, or some “essence pervading all nature”, rather, the Holy Spirit is the very personal presence of Christ Himself. Therefore, even though the Holy Spirit personifies Christ, it is clearly a personality(personality of Christ in His Spirit) NOT that Holy Spirit is a different being other than Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *