Is the Holy Spirit Really Absent
from the Father and the Son?

© Spotlight Ministries, Vincent McCann, 2003

Many non-Trinitarians criticize the Trinity doctrine by complaining that the Holy Spirit appears to be absent in many instances where the Father and the Son are mentioned together with great frequency. While it first appears that this is the case in many instances, more careful consideration proves that the Holy Spirit certainly is mentioned in many places alongside the Father and the Son (Just some examples: Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2, etc.)

The reason why the New Testament focus appears to be on the Father and the Son is because the Holy Spirit is God as we experience Him inwardly. The Spirit causes Christians to look to the Father and the Son, but He is still present Himself in this. The Spirit is present as we experience God subjectively, rather than objectively, causing us to look outward to the Father and the Son. The work of the Holy Spirit is to draw our attention to the Father and the Son, rather than to Himself (compare: John 15:26; 16:15).

Some examples of how the Spirit is present as believers experience God can be seen in the following Scriptures:

Acts 7:55-60, where the apostle Stephen sees a vision of God the Father and Jesus. Where is the Spirit? The Spirit is present in Stephen:

"But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God," (Act 7:55)

Another example is Revelation 5:8-14. In this text God (the Father) and the Lamb (the Son) are in focus, with all of creation worshipping them. Where is the Holy Spirit? If God is triune surely the Spirit should be there. The reality is that the Spirit is there! Where is the Spirit? The Spirit is in the apostle John. Follow the context back to see that John was "in the Spirit" (Rev. 4:2) when he had this experience. So the Spirit is present.

Believers are also said to be ‘in’ the Spirit (Jude 20), and worship ‘in’ the Spirit (Phil. 3:3).

It should also be remembered that the Holy Spirit wrote Scripture (2 Peter 1:21), so the very act of reading God’s Word, which is living and active (Heb. 4:12), enables one to view the Father and the Son through the lenses of the Holy Spirit.

So rather than the Spirit being absent, He is very much present, with the Father and the Son, in numerous Bible passages, in the experience of the believer, and in the inspired word of God.

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