An article outlining the nature of spirits, and of the Holy Spirit.
By Cristo Rey
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What are spirits? How are spirits created? What is the Holy Spirit?
The purpose of this article is to attempt to answer these questions by a departure from the conventional and traditional views of my fellow Christians about the subject. It is the author's belief that God is consistent and open, and does not go out of His way to hide truths from us. We might differ in our interpretations of what He communicates and lays before us, but Faithful is He that He does not play games with our minds. Sufficient historical time has elapsed since biblical events for us to be able to now answer these questions in view of current understanding and knowledge.
What are spirits?
To begin with, we can safely state what we now know spirits are not, and then attempt a definition, based on a synthesis of behavioral, scientific, and conventional evidence, of what they probably are, but in full acceptance of their existence, and of their influence on us and on our lives.
We now know that spirits are not incorporeal beings which hang in the space around us, floating about with a white sheet over themselves in the fashion of "Casper the Ghost."
There are no ghosts, and as far as the author knows the word is not even used in the Bible. When found in the scriptures, it is a mistranslation, and should be corrected to mean spirits. Some people report having come in contact with such ghosts, and might be honestly convinced of their existence; However, the overwhelming evidence, scientific and conventional, is that such beings (ghosts) do not exist.
Likewise, spirits are not some kind of undefined energy which floats around us and can penetrate us to influence or control our behavior in specific ways, or to communicate with us about specific things ("Channeling"). Although reported as such by some people, there is no convincing scientific or conventional evidence of their occurrence.
God has not created something that only a selected group of human beings are capable of experiencing or coming in contact with, and to merely state that He had his reasons to do so, but that we are not to know those reasons, is a cop-out to intimidate us, and ascribes to Him a selectivity which we have no evidence for . . . God is not secretive . . .
Some things we call spirits, however, do exist. But there is no convincing evidence that they exist apart or outside of our minds. We all can agree that we are affected by "spirits," under varied circumstances, and at various times in our everyday lives.
We know that we can be affected by low spirits or high spirits. That we can labor under a spirit of courage or of defeatism. We can be affected by a spirit of sadness or of joy, and some people are described as being spirited. We sometimes labor under the influence of a spirit of cooperation, or by its opposite a spirit of opposition, or even by a spirit of dissension. People can be affected by good or bad spirits.
All of these are instances of emotions, moods, inclinations, drives, dispositions, and frames or states of mind.
All current behavioral, scientific, and conventional evidence indicates that spirits exist only within our minds, and have no existence apart or outside of us.
Spirits are emotional moods, dispositions, and frames or states of mind . . .
They are the organizing principles or premises of our emotional states, and give rise to ideas and thoughts which then influence or control our external behavior. All of these processes occur within our minds and have no basis in some entities or undefined energies which float around in the space about us and then enter us to cause these states of mind. Some spirits, as frames or states of mind, are capable of unlocking in us abilities not normally displayed by us, such as when we labor under the spirit of competitiveness or the creative spirit, and even further under the spirit of inspiration. In this last respect, intuitiveness is a spirit, and we always hope that the spirit of wisdom be our best guide.
How are spirits created?
Given that spirits are emotional moods, dispositions, and frames or states of mind, their causes are the same as those that affect our emotions in general. Both physical and psychological factors in our environment will influence our emotions and create in us frames and states of mind, that is to say spirits.
Our interactions with our physical environment and with other people will alter our mood and disposition and create in us specific frames and states of mind (spiritual states of mind) . . .
A word of caution is needed, these are culturally determined or bound, as they are culturally learned. For example, while a heavy snowy day at Christmas will create a Christmas spirit in Americans (a "White Christmas"), the opposite is true in the Tropics where I come from; for us a very warm, clear day suitable to go to the beach for swimming is the hallmark of a joyful Christmas day, and imbues us with the Christmas spirit. While in the temperate (Northern) zones Hell is imagined to be a very hot place (as in "hot as Hell"), in the Tropics we imagine Hell to be a very cold place (as in "cold as Hell"), thus we both believe that our geographical counterparts are living in Hell.
Religions, besides existing to bring us closer to and in contact with God, are also cultural instruments which give shape and definition to many of the spirits that will affect us throughout life. They do not exclusively do this, other instruments in our society, including education, politics, the media, peer-group, and our parents do so in secular settings.
Remarkably, the Lord here defines for us what are spirits, and by inference, what they are not. He implies that spirits are neither incorporeal beings nor undefined energy which floats around us, and clearly states that they are emotional moods, dispositions, and frames or states of mind that can be influenced by His "words."
Indeed, His words do incite in us a specific frame and state of mind or spirit related to our salvation and personal relationship with God . . .
It is my earnest hope that I am creating in you, the reader, a spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and of discovery about spirits which will increase your understanding of things spiritual, and of God (Jn 4:24).
To be spiritual or spiritually-minded is to be in an emotional mood, disposition, or frame and state of mind other than the materialistic and physical mind-sets under which we labor most of the time.
To be spiritual is to be concerned with those factors in life which influence our frame or state of mind (our spiritual states of mind), that is to say which stimulate us into specific spiritual states of mind . . .
Some spirits are created in us by natural phenomena which appear to be intended for these purposes (1Cor 15:46). God has created certain physical and psychological instruments in our environment to determine specific emotional moods, dispositions, or frames and states of mind in us at specified times. Generally these instances transcend cultural differences, such as storms and earthquakes which create spirits of fear and apprehension in all of us, regardless of our cultural origins. The physical appearance and helplessness of a baby normally creates in us a spirit of care-giving or of parenthood, regardless of culturally-determined factors. Admittedly, exceptions to these rules exist, but the complicating factors are usually readily discernible.
What is the Holy Spirit?
While the Holy Spirit does exist, the Holy Ghost does not . . . by implication, God would have had to die for Him to become the Holy Ghost . . . and God is not dead!
So the expression "Good Old Fashion Holy Ghost Religion" is wrongly applied, and reveals the ignorance of the adherents to such Christian Sects. The expression implies that God is dead and now is "The Holy Ghost" which we must worship as a dead "Ghost."
However, "God is a spirit," we were told by Jesus the Christ directly and unequivocally (Jn 4:24). This very final, all inclusive, and assertive statement by Christ might be taken to imply that God does not have a corporeal existence apart or outside of us. It was, rather, His way of expressing that we can only know Him while we are in a spiritual frame of mind, while we are in a spiritual mood or disposition to accept His existence and relationship with us . . .
Our brains and minds can only know the Universe, and all other phenomena outside of us, as INFORMATION and as images created in us by our senses in contact with them, our brains are not exposed to direct contact with our environment. As God exists in a dimension, and in a form in which we cannot in our present state physically interact directly with Him, then we can ONLY know Him spiritually, or while being in a spiritual frame of mind. It is much the same as when we feel the presence of someone we love very much, sometimes we feel as if they were right there with us "in the flesh." Whatever particular circumstance or happening creates in us an awareness of His existence is crafted by the hand of God, and intended by Him to unlock in us the ability to know Him. This could be the totality of the Universe or natural earth environment, or an individualized physical, psychological, or spiritual situation in our environment (e.g., religious) which only we, individually, experience subjectively.
The Holy Spirit is then the Spirit of God, created in us by Him through individualized frames or states of mind (Jn 6:63), and under whose influence we know and accept His existence, His advice and counsel for us, and which unlocks in us the inspirational ability to communicate the good news to others.
May the Holy Spirit be upon you (Ep 1:17) . . .
Food for thought
God is a Spirit, but God is also Love (1 Jn 4:8,16). He is also Absolute Justice, Wisdom, Mercy, Truth, Life, and Judgment, among others. We might say that God is the Spirit of Love of Absolute Justice, Wisdom, Mercy, Truth, Life, and Judgment.
In the name of His Son, when appropriately, we should strive to open ourselves to be stimulated by these spirits.
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