Weighing the Grail Message: God

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Is the Grail movement a cult? Do Grail teachings have occult underpinnings? Its adherents would vehemently answer “No.” They explain that since they organize public lectures and their works are often publicized, they are not a cult.

This response, apart from being a circular argument, doesn’t make any logical sense.

All cults and occult groups organize public lectures, engage in public relations and also give out their materials to the public – especially, when there is a prospect of gaining converts. From a Christian standpoint, however, the Grail movement is not merely a cult; its beliefs and practices have trappings of the occult.

I have previously highlighted about 6 striking features of the occult. Now, in this series of articles, I will be weighing the Grail message in the light of the Bible, history and logic.

The quotes are taken from Volume 1, Chapter 6 of In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message by Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (a.k.a Abdrushin).

Let’s start with what it says about God:

What is your God? You know He said: “I am the Lord, your God, thou shalt have no other gods beside me!” There is but one God, but one Power. What then is the Trinity? The Triune God? God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

When a mystic is trying to redact a core belief of historic, orthodox Christianity into his own novel, divergent beliefs, he must inevitably run into some problems.

Apart from the biblical evidence that conflicts with his worldview, he must also deal with the historical argument and question of the source of his inspiration.

Though Oskar appealed to the Bible in his Grail writings, it’s clear from the onset that his message is not from the God of the Bible. In fact, it would have been better if he didn’t go near the Bible at all. I must also note in passing his inability to properly define the Trinity.

At the beginning of this chapter, he promised to explain a truth that neither school nor the church has been able to clearly explain. But this statement carries no weight, because he’s trying to turn 19 centuries of Christian theology on its ear without offering a superior argument.

This is the typical “bait and switch” method used by all cults. They borrow Christian terminologies but re-define them.

Cults always base their teaching on their founders and — setting aside the hard evidence — exercise implicit faith in his word.

Therefore, the only way by which any seeker would accept the teachings in the Grail book as divine is by exercising blind faith in its writer: Oskar Benhardt.

When mankind shut themselves out of Paradise by no longer heeding the guidance of the intuitive perception, which is Pure – spiritual and therefore near to God, but willfully chose to cultivate the intellect, subjecting themselves to it and thus becoming slaves of the tool given to them to use, they naturally fell further and further away from God.

This is an attempt of a 20th century mystic to re-write the history of mankind. What shut man from paradise was sin; it was never about failed “intuitive perception.” When Adam and Eve sinned, the relationship they had with God was broken and death resulted (Rom. 5:12).

All members of the human race were represented in Adam in Eden. So when Adam sinned, God counted us guilty as well.

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:18-19).

Sin was what brought the separation of mankind from God; that is why Jesus had to come to take the penalty of sin so that man could now have fellowship with God through Him. Jesus – as the representative of all who believed in Him – obeyed God perfectly and God counted us righteous in Him (Rom. 5:12-21).

Furthermore, it must be noted that man was created in God’s image (tselem) and likeness (demût) (Genesis 1:26).

One of the aspects of our likeness to God is our spiritual aspects: we have not only physical bodies but also immaterial spirits. We have a spiritual life that enables us to relate to God as persons.

After the fall, all the aspects of image of God in us (moral, mental, spiritual and relational) were grossly distorted by sin. The New Testament however shows us that it’s by redemption in Christ that mankind can receive a progressive recovering of God’s image or likeness (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10).

Abdrushin, in an attempt to evade the sin question and entice the reader into mysticism, conveniently sets up a Manichean intellect vs. intuition binary. But man’s intuition has been affected by sin and cannot offer man a pure path to God. No man can have a fulfilling relationship with God outside Jesus Christ.

God in His Purity could no longer reveal Himself to the debased intellect bound human beings, because due to their intellectual orientation they were no longer capable of sensing, seeing or hearing His Messengers and the few still able to do so were ridiculed by the materialists, with their limited horizon bound to space and time…

The Grail message has no valid answer to the sin question, so it buries it with the materialists vs. mystics’ dichotomy.

The Bible is clear that man inherited a sinful nature because of Adam’s sin. This is the disposition to sin present within each one of us. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa. 51:5).

This is why those who are not in Christ are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3) even if they claim to have intuitive perception or “ascent” due to a religious philosophy. It doesn’t change that nature of sin within them, because only those who have been redeemed by Christ can have victory over sin (Rom. 6:14).

Those who have not trusted in Jesus to save them from their sins cannot fellowship with God in His purity because they are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18).

They are the ones who reject the revelation of God recorded by his prophets and apostles in the Bible, but are instead seeking mystic groups, alternative spirituality or occult philosophies that will offer them some mental cotton candy and fiction that ultimately end here on earth.

The “Holy Spirit” is Spirit of the Father which severed from Him, works separately in all Creation, and Who like the Son, remains closely connected with the Father and one with Him. The inexorable Laws of Creation which spread through the whole Universe like a network of nerves and bring about the unconditional reciprocal action forming man’s fate or karma … are of the “Holy Spirit!”

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He is variously described as “the Spirit of the Living God” (2 Cor. 3:3), “the Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6), “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19), “the Spirit of Holiness” (Rom. 1:5), “the Spirit of Truth” (Jn. 16:13), “the Spirit of Grace” (Heb. 10:29) and “the Eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14).

The Holy Spirit didn’t sever from God; He is eternal. He has all the attributes of God the Father. Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace, He is certainly not the author of the fatalistic or karmic laws dreamed up by deluded pagans and occultists.

Before Creation God was One! During the process of creating He severed a Part of His Will to work independently in Creation, and thus became two-fold.

This nonsense is straight out of Gnosticism. Gnostics believed that there were basically two Gods: the lesser and semi-divine “God” (Demiurge) who created the material universe and the transcendent supreme God. It mirrored the dualism of ancient Persian belief in the struggle of Light (Misda) and Darkness (Arima) and the antagonism of body and mind.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say:

Gnosticism (after gnôsis, the Greek word for “knowledge” or “insight”) is the name given to a loosely organized religious and philosophical movement that flourished in the first and second centuries CE … According to the Gnostics, this world, the material cosmos is the result of a primordial error on the part of a supra-cosmic, supremely divine being, usually called Sophia (Wisdom) or simply the Logos. This being is described as the final emanation of a divine hierarchy, called the Plêrôma or “Fullness,” at the head of which resides the supreme God, the One beyond Being.

A scholar of Philosophy of Religion and Systematic Theology has to say about Gnosticism:

The major characteristic of the Gnostic teaching was dualism, their conception that spirit and material are absolutely incompatible. For the Gnostics material or matter is inherently evil … The gnosis of knowledge that the Gnostic leaders claimed to possess was theirs through some illuminating process, giving them understanding of themselves, of the world and of God. Such gnosis, knowledge, they claimed was not within the reach of all. The Gnostics believed in the salvation of a spiritual elite and they divided mankind accordingly … The illumined or spiritual beings … [whereas] the vast majority were earthbound, slaves of matter…” (Gideon A. Oshitelu, A Background to Christian Philosophy, Ibadan: Oputoru Books, 2002, 62-63).

From the quotes provided so far, all you need do is replace the term “Gnostics” with “cross bearers” and it quickly becomes evident that the Grail message is simply a form of Neo-Gnosticism.

The Holy Spirit is Executive Justice, Whose eternal, irrevocable and incorruptible laws pulsate throughout the Universe, and up till now these laws have only been guessed at and variously described as Fate!… Karma! Divine Will!  

The Holy Spirit is not a theory or quality. This earth has a beginning and certainly has an end, so there are no “eternal laws pulsating through the universe.” That’s even the lie of panentheism right there.

Fate and karma are not divine will, not by any means. We will be examining that in the next article.

In conclusion, though the chapter is supposed to present a clearer truth about God, the writer has a hollow understanding of the Divine Trinity and comes short of dealing with the subject matter.

The chapter is more a mish-mash of metaphysical twaddle. Abdrushin starts out appealing to the God of the Bible, but later introduces to the reader, a freakish two-fold Gnostic deity with an impersonal “executive justice” as his hybrid “trinity.”

What was the Council of Nicea About?

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Perhaps no other council in church history has been as misrepresented as the Council of Nicea. Most people who have a problem with the Bible seem to love the party line: “Your Bible was made up at the Council of Nicea.”

New Ager, Shirley MacLaine, in her book, Out on a Limb says: “The theory of reincarnation is recorded in the Bible. But the proper interpretation were struck from it during … the Council of Nicaea.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim this council “laid the groundwork for later Trinitarian theology.”

Dan Brown, in The Davinci Code lurched even higher in his fancies:

Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea … until that moment in history Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal” (p. 233).

It’s often tragic to find otherwise smart people parroting Dan Brown’s remarks mindlessly. Personally, once a person makes such remarks about Nicea, it sets off a tripwire alarm in me to dismiss all their arguments as irrelevant.

Nothing damages one’s credibility more than trotting out a patently false and ignorant argument – especially in an age when knowledge is at one’s fingertips.

Thus, this piece intends to look at what really happened at the Council of Nicea and the significance it holds in church history.

The Arian Controversy

The Council of Nicea was held between May to July 325 AD, which was about 14 years after the persecution Galerius meted out on the church ended.

Many of the bishops had been exiled and tortured and still bore the scars when they attended the council. It was also the first time in church history that an emperor called a council.

The council was summoned because of a Christological heresy by an aged presbyter named Arius (250-336 AD). He taught that:

“The Father alone is without a beginning. The Son (or Logos) had a beginning; God created Logos in order that He might create the world” (Harry Bower, A Short History of the Early Church, 1976, p. 112).

Arius began teaching this heresy in Alexandria (Egypt), saying that Jesus was a created being and not eternal as the Bible says.

Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria held a Synod in 320 which denounced and excommunicated Arius. After this, he went to the East to popularise his teachings where he gained much support and followers. Alexander wrote letters to the Eastern churches warning them against the Arians.

This led to a controversy that almost divided the church. Constantine, the emperor, saw that this could threaten the unity of the empire so he called for the Council of Nicaea to deal with the problem.

According to tradition, 318 bishops were in attendance at the council, most of which were from the East. However, they were in three parties:

  1. The Arian party consisting of Arius, Theonas, Socundus (bishops from Egypt), and Eusebius of Nicomedia who led them. They held to the view that Jesus was a creature and of a different substance from the Father.
  2. The “orthodox” (or middle) party led by bishop Eusebius of Caesarea. They held to the view that Jesus was of a similar substance (Gr: homoiousios) to the Father. They used this term to avoid stating that Jesus and the Father were one person.
  3. The Alexandrian party which consisted of Athanasius, bishop Ossius and Alexander of Alexandria. They held to the view that Christ is not merely like the Father, but is of the same substance (Gr: homo-ousios) as God the Father. Thus, Jesus has the same essence as God.

The dispute with Arius concerns the use of these two words: homoousios (“of the same nature”) and homoiousios (“of a similar nature”).

As a scholar notes, “Arius was happy to say that Christ was a supernatural heavenly being and that he was created by God before the creation of the rest of the universe, and even that he was “similar” to God in his nature. Thus, Arius would agree to the word homoiosios” (Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine, Inter-Varsity Press, England, 1999, p. 114).

Athanasius however, indicated the desire of the bishops to express their faith Scripturally with the term – homoousios – which would be antithetical to the Arian heresy by emphasizing that Jesus is fully God and at the same time not drift into modalist heresy.

Though the council of Nicea condemned Arius and his followers as heretics, it was the council of Constantinople in 381 AD that finally put the “nature” debate to rest by decreeing that Jesus had the same nature (homoousios) as God the Father. The resulting Nicene creed says in part:

“We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one substance [homoousion] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, those things that are in heaven and those things that are on earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and was made man…”

The Moody Handbook of Theology points out that the terms “God from God” and “true God from true God” further stressed the deity of Christ. At the same time “begotten, not made” and “came down” stressed His eternality (p. 448).

What Role did Constantine Play?

Many cults that reject the deity of Christ claim that Constantine somehow “enforced” his views on the council to accept that Jesus has the same nature as God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In their booklet, Should You Believe in the Trinity? the Watchtower Society distorts a quote (on pg. 8) from a source to promote this theory:

“Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed (no doubt on Ossius’ prompting) the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council, ‘of one substance with the Father’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1976, 6:386).

The part appearing in bold was omitted and the volume and page number of the source was not given (so that readers would not discover their slyness).

Ossius was the bishop of Cordoba and an ecclesiastical adviser to Constantine. He was the one who prompted him on which steps to take.

Constantine was a politician, not a theologian, and was ready to agree with whatever party for peace to reign in his empire.

“Constantine had basically no understanding whatsoever of the questions that were being asked in Greek theology” (Bernard Lohse, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, 1966, p. 51).

Unfortunately, Dan Brown relied on much personal imaginations in his novel:

Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier [Gnostic] gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned” (The Davinci Code, p. 234).

There is no evidence that Constantine commissioned any Bible nor ordered the burning of any Gnostic gospels. What were burned were Arian papers found by the council to be heretical.

It must also be noted that the Nicene council did not address the issue of the Bible canon (only regional councils of Hippo in 393 and Carthage in 397 did).

The New Testament canon was already recognized by the church. Other matters discussed at the council “included the consideration of the Melitian schism, the settlement of the controversial date of Easter celebration and the promulgation of 26 disciplinary canons” (Samson Fatokun, History and Doctrine of the Early Church, Crownfit, 1999, p. 80).

The canon 6 issued at the council also reflects the pattern of church government at the time:

“Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1983, II, XIV:15).

This, with other data of evidence, show us that at this time, the idea of a single universal head exercising jurisdiction over the whole church was unknown.

The bishop of Rome had no jurisdiction over the entire church. He was only regarded as the leader of the most influential church in the West.

Since the Nicene church did not look up to one individual or a church as their final authority, the idea that the Catholic Church (or Constantine) conspired in the 4th century to “force” the deity of Christ or the Trinity on Christians is a poorly concocted fiction.

Another proof that Constantine had little influence on the decisions taken at Nicaea can be seen in how he later succumbed to Arian and semi-Arian heresies:

“The Arian party grew, and years afterwards influenced Constantine, and especially his son the emperor Constantius. The emperors interfered more and more in the church, deposing and exiling whichever bishops did not affirm the doctrine of those who had the emperor’s ear” (John Hunt, Concise Church History, AMG Publishers, 2008, p. 128).

Arian heresies gained an upper hand after the Nicene council such that the Council of Jerusalem in 335 AD, cleared Arius of all the charges of heresies previously levied on him.

Regional councils met at Sirminum (351), Arelate (353) and Milan (355) and the resulting Arian and semi-Arian creeds from them were forced on the Western church.

Athanasius was condemned as a troublemaker and stripped of his bishopric. All the bishops who resisted them were banished. Even Liberius, the bishop of Rome and Ossius were forced to accept Arianism.

Athanasius however, persisted in standing for the homoousios clause because he believed in the sufficiency of the Scriptures – until it was affirmed by the Council of Constantinople.

It must also be noted that the term “homoousios” was not “the invention of the council of Nicea, still less of Constantine, but had previously arisen in theological language, and occurs even in Origen [185-254 AD] and among the Gnostics” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 3:628).

The Evidence of Scripture and History

Christians today believe in the Deity of Christ, not because a Council or an emperor forced it on us, but because it’s a clear teaching of the inspired apostles of Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14; Rom. 9:6; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-17; 2 Peter 1:1, Titus 2:13 etc).

The writings of the early church fathers (and early church documents) are also historical evidence that the Deity of Christ had been a well-established doctrine long before Nicea. For example:

I. Ignatius (died c. 108 AD): “There is only one physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passable and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ephesians 7, The Apostolic Fathers, J. B. Lightfoot, 1984, 139)

II. Aristides (140 AD): “[Christians] are they who, above every people of the Earth have found the truth, for they acknowledge God, the creator and maker of all things in the only begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit” (Apology, 16).

III. Justin Martyr (150 AD): “The Father of the universe has a Son, who along being the first begotten Word of God is even God” (First Apology, ch. 63).

IV. Tatian the Syrian (170 AD): “We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in form of a man” (Address to the Greeks, 21).

V. Melito of Sardis (c. 170-180 AD): “But listen, as you tremble in the face of him on whose account the earth trembled. He who hung the earth in place is hanged. He who fixed the heaven in place is fixed in place. He who made all things fast is made fast on the tree. The Master is insulted. God is murdered. The king of Israel is destroyed by an Israelite hand” (A Homily on the Passover Sect, 96-96).

VI. Athenagoras (177 AD): “The Son of God is the Word of the Father in thought and actuality. By him and through him all things were made, the Father and the Son being one” (Plea for the Christians, 10:2-4).

VII. Theophilus of Antioch (180 AD): “In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity; of God, and His Word, and His Wisdom” (Of the Fourth Day, To Autolycus, 2:15).

VIII. Ireneaus (185 AD): “Christ Jesus is our Lord, and God and Saviour and King” (Against Heresies, bk. 1, ch. 10, sec. 1).

IX. Clement of Alexandria (190 AD): “[Jesus is] the Expiator, the Saviour, the Soother, the Divine Word, he that is quite evidently the true God, he that is put on a level with the Lord of the universe because he was his Son” (Exhortation to the Greeks, 10:110).

X. Tertullian (200 AD): “All Scriptures give clear proof of the Trinity. Thus the connotation of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produce three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another” (Against Praxeas, 24).

The Nicene creed prevailed eventually, not because of the authority of a pope or the council itself, but the authority of Scripture and the evidence of history.

Why then, did Arianism hold sway over the people later in spite of these?

“It was instrumental in the ‘conversion’ of many of the barbaric tribes” says a church historian. “It lowered the barriers between Christianity and the dominant Neoplatonist form of paganism, by emphasizing the oneness of God and representing the Son and the Spirit as high creatures. It brought Christianity closer to the normal polytheism that the barbarian tribes were accustomed to” (Concise Church History, 2008, AGM Publishers, p. 129).

The bold stand of theologians like Athanasius in the face of surging heresies is commendable. The church today still needs men and women who will stand up for the truths of Scripture – no matter how unpopular they may be.

The Holy Spirit is not “a Force”

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The Personhood of the Holy Spirit is strongly denied by Jehovah’s Witnesses. They define the Holy Spirit as “a controlled force that Jehovah God uses to accomplish a variety of his purposes. To a certain extent, it can be likened to electricity, a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations” (Should You believe in the Trinity? p. 20)

As a Christian, you should be cautious of the deceitful tactics employed by the Watchtower Society when quoting a source.

For example, in page 22 of the above brochure, a quote is given from A Catholic Dictionary (1960, p. 822-30). But the quote in full says:

“On the whole, the New Testament like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power particularly in the heart of man … This divine Spirit is clearly distinguished from the spirit or conscience of man (Rom viii 16), and the authority of the Spirit is identified with that of God Himself (Mt. Xii. 31, Acts v. 3,9, I Cor. iii:16; but of Exod. xvi 8; 1Thess, iv, 8).”

The part in bold was intentionally omitted. This same tactic is employed in another quote from The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912, 15: 47-49):

“Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find any clear indication of a Third Person … The One Godhead is above all declared by Moses and the twofold personality (of Father and Son) is strenuously asserted by the Prophets. The Trinity is made known by the Gospel.”

This same source says:

“When His [Jesus] ministry was drawing close, He promised that the Father would send another Divine Person, the Holy Spirit in His place. Finally, after His resurrection, He revealed the [Trinity] doctrine in explicit terms…”

The quotes have been lifted out of their contexts. Once you establish that Watchtower leaders have a tradition of misrepresenting sources, the Witness’ appeal to “the Society” is weakened.

There are some arguments that JWs frequently utilizw to teach that the Holy Spirit is a “force.” They are:

1. “The Holy Spirit is not a person, but God’s active force” (Should you believe in the Trinity p. 20)

The error of this claim is quickly seen by substituting the word “Holy Spirit” with “active force” as it occurs in Bible verses.

John 14:26 “However, the helper, the active force whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things.”

Acts 8:29 “The active force said to Philip, “Go to that carriage, and stay close to it”

Acts 10:19 “Peter was still thinking about the vision when the active force said to him ‘Behold three men are looking for you.”

Acts 13:4 “After Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the active force…”

Acts 15:28 “For the active force and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you”

2Cor. 3:17 “Jehovah is the active force”

Eph. 4:30 “Do not be grieving God’s active force”

Rev. 22:17 “The active force and the Bride say ‘Come…”

Do these verses make sense? To assert that the Holy Spirit is a force renders many verses of the Bible utterly absurd.

Jehovah’s Witnesses can only arrive at this strange belief by forcing Watchtower heresies into Scripture.

2. “In the Scriptures it is not unusual for something to be personified. Wisdom is said to have children. (Luke 7:35) Sin and death are called kings. (Romans 5:14, 21) [so the Holy Spirit is only personified] (Should You, p. 21).

Though the Bible used personification to describe some qualities, it described the Holy Spirit in a way that only a person can be described. For example:

He helps (Jn. 14:16, 26);
He glorifies (Jn. 16: 13-14);
He can be known (Jn. 14:17);
He impels (Mk. 1:12), He gives abilities (Acts 2:4), He teaches (Lk. 12:12), He reveals (Lk. 2:26) He reminds (Jn. 14:26), He hears (Jn. 16:13) and pleads (Rom. 8:26-27).

He thinks (Acts 15:25, 28),
He forbids (Acts 16:6-7),
He appoints (Acts 20:28),
He can be insulted (Heb. 10:29),
He can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4) and He can be blasphemed (Matt. 12:31-32).

JW often appeal to Proverbs 1:20-33 where wisdom is personified, but this argument is invalid because the book of Proverbs is a wisdom literature and thus reflects a specific genre of writing.

A proverb is very much different from a legal or prophetic literature. Thus it’s a fallacy to export a personification from the Proverbs and make it stick to the Holy Spirit.

Ironically, JWs believe that Satan is a person for the very same reasons Christians believe in the Personhood of the Holy Spirit:

“Can an unintelligent ‘force’ carry on a conversation with a person? Also, the Bible calls Satan a manslayer, a liar, a father (in the spiritual sense), and a ruler … Only an intelligent person could fit all those descriptions … Every quality, every action, which can indicate personality is attributed to him in language cannot be explained away!” (The Watchtower, December 8, 1973, p. 27).

3. The Hebrew and Greek words for “spirit” [ruach and pneuma] have the same meaning i.e “they all refer to that which is invisible to human sight and which gives evidence of force in motion” (Insight on the Scriptures 2:1017)

The fact that the Hebrew and Greek words used in connection with Holy Spirit means “wind” or “breath” does not follow that He is a force.

God the Father is “invisible to human sight” but that doesn’t make Him ‘a force.’ God and His Spirit are referenced interchangeably in Scripture:

“Teach me to do Your will. For You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Ps. 143:10).

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14)

“Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 13:7)

Watchtower leaders have a problem with this last passage, so they rescinded their definition in their publication:

“‘Now Jehovah is the Spirit’ (John 4:24, 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18) … this does not refer to God as an impersonal bodiless force like the wind. The Scriptures unmistakenly testify to his personality…” (Insight on the Scriptures 2:1018)

The Scriptures testify to the Holy Spirit’s personality. The Watchtower Society explains that the terms “ruach” and “pneuma” apply to angels since they are also spirits. Yet JW say they are persons, not forces.

So on the one hand, they define these words to reduce the Holy Spirit into a force and on the other, define it differently when it’s used in connection with God or angels. This is a fatal contradiction.

If God is a Spirit, why should His Spirit be stripped of His personhood?

JWs would typically ask: “When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, were they filled with a person?”

The answer is, yes, they were filled with a person –  a Spirit person. The term “person” cannot be reduced to a being with physical body.

4. Some Bible texts say that the spirit speaks but other texts show that this was actually done through humans or angels like that of radio waves transmitting messages from person to person (Matthew 10:19, 20, Acts 4:24, 25; 28:25, Hebrews 2:2) (Should You believe, p. 22)

By referring to “other texts” they are trying to dismiss the evidence proving that the Holy Spirit is a Person. This is at best intellectual dishonesty and at worst, rebellion.

Of course, Matthew 10:19, 20 and Acts 28:25 refer to the Holy Spirit speaking, but forces do not speak, teach or think.

In Acts 4:24 it was God who spoke through His Spirit whilst Hebrews 2:2 says God has spoken through His Son, Jesus Christ. These verses rather prove the Trinity. Game over!

5. The Holy Spirit has no name and identity. The Baptismal formula ‘in the name of the Holy Spirit’ only implies recognition of the spirit as having its source in God and functioning by divine will (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 1019)

False. The command in Matthew 28:19 is to baptise in “the NAME” (not names). The Greek term here is in the accusative case which means “the name” is the object of the sentence. It carries a plural authority and implies that the Three Persons are bound together in one name.

Matthew was not suggesting that the Father and Son are individuals but the Holy Spirit is a force.

6. Not until the fourth century C. E. did the teaching that the Holy Spirit a person and part of the ‘Godhead’ become official church dogma. Early church fathers did not so teach (Insight, p. 1019).

This claim can be refuted by quotes from just 3 early church fathers:

Justin Martyr: “And the Holy Spirit, either from the person of His Father or from His own person, answers then. The Lord of hosts, He is this king of glory.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:213)

Ignatius: “[A]nd the apostles received from God, through Jesus Christ, one and the same Holy Spirit, who is good, and sovereign, and true, and the Author of knowledge” (The ANF 1:82).

Irenaeus: “The three spies, who were spying out all the land and hid them at her home; [which three were] doubtless [a type of] the Father and the Son, together with the Holy Spirit” (The ANF 1:492).

7. The Greek text lacks the definite article which would naturally identify ‘spirit’ as a person.

A definite article in Greek often comes before a name, like when you say “the John” or “the Jesus.” In English, we translate the name not the definite article. But this is not a rule in Greek.

According to Greek scholar W. E. Vine: “Sometimes the absence [of the definite article] is to be accounted for by the fact that Pneuma (like Theos) is substantially a proper name e.g in John 7:39” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1966, “Spirit”).

The term Holy Spirit is a proper name. Therefore, a definite article is not required when a noun is used as a proper name.

Jehovah’s Witnesses can only sustain this error by deliberately explaining away and ignoring many Bible verses, misrepresenting sources, utilizing double standards in semantics and revising history. But the truth stands that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, not a force.