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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE EIGHTH ARTICLE: "I Believe in the Holy Ghost."
    • TEACHING OF THE NICENE CREED
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TEACHING OF THE NICENE CREED

 

There are some who held false opinions concerning the Holy Ghost. They

said, for instance, that He was only the servant and minister of God.

Hence, to remove these errors the holy Fathers added five phrases

concerning the Holy Ghost.6

 

"The Holy Ghost, the Lord." - The first is, that although there are other

spirits, such as the Angels who are ministers of God (Art they not all

ministering spirits?),7 nevertheless the Holy Ghost is the Lord. "God is a

Spirit,"8 and, "Now the Lord is a Spirit,"9 and also, "Where the Spirit of

the Lord is, there is liberty."10 The reason is that He makes us love God

and cease to love the world. Thus, the Creed says: "In the Holy Ghost, the

Lord."

 

"And Life-Giver." - The second phrase is there because the soul's life is to

be united to God, inasmuch as God is the life of the soul, and as truly as

the soul is the life of the body.11 Now, the Holy Ghost unites the soul to

God through love, because He is the love of God, and therefore He gives

life. "It is the spirit that quickeneth."12 Therefore, it is said: "and

Life-giver."

 

"Who Proceeds from the Father and the Son." - The third is that the Holy

Ghost is one in substance with the Father and the Son; because as the Son

is the Word of the Father, so the Holy Spirit is the love both of the

Father and the Son, and, therefore, He proceeds from them both. Moreover,

just as the Word of God is of the same substance as the Father, so also is

Love [Holy Ghost] of the same substance as the Father and the Son. Hence,

it is said: "who proceedeth from the Father and the Son." From this it is

seen that the Holy Spirit is not a Creature.

 

"Who . . . is Adored and Glorified." - The fourth phrase is that the Holy

Ghost as regards adoration is equal to the Father and the Son: "The true

adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and truth."13 "Teach ye all

nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the

Holy Ghost."14 Hence, it is said: "Who together with the Father and the Son

is adored."15

 

"Who Spoke by the Prophets." - The fifth phrase, wherein the Holy Ghost is

declared equal to God, is that the holy prophets spoke on behalf of God. It

is clear that, if the Holy Ghost were not God, then it would not be said

that the prophets had spoken of God on His behalf. Thus, says St. Peter:

"The holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost."16 Also: "The Lord

God hath sent me, and His Spirit."17 And so it is said: "Who spoke by the

prophets."

 

In all this two errors are condemned. The Manicheans said that the Old

Testament was not from God. But this is false because the Holy Spirit spoke

through the prophets. Likewise, the error of Priscillian and Montanus was

that they believed that the prophets did not speak by the Holy Ghost but

were somewhat beside themselves.

 




6. "And I believe in the Holy Ghost, (1) the Lord and (2) Life-giver, (3)

who proceeds from the Father and the son: (4) who together with the Father

and the son is adored and glorified (5) who spoke by the Prophets" (The

Nicene Creed).

 



7. Heb, i. 14.

 



8. lohn, iv. 24.

 



9. II Cor., iii. 17.

 



10. "Ibid."

 



11. "Cum ipse Deus sit vita animae, sicut anima vita corporis."

 



12. John, vi. 64.

 



13. John, iv. 23.

 



14. Matt., xxviii. 19.

 



15. "The Holy Ghost is equally God with the Father and the Son, equaily

omnipoent, eternal, perfect, the supreme good, infinitely wise and of the

same nature with the Father and the Son. . . . If the Father is God, and

the son, God, we must confess that the Holy Ghost, who is united with them

in the same degree of honor, is also God. . . . The Holy Ghost is God, the

third Person in the divine nature, distinct from the Father and the son,

and produced by their will" ("Roman Catechism," Eighth Article, 4-5).

 



16. II Peter, i. 21.

 



17. Isa., xlviii. 16.

 






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