In essence, the Holy Spirit is… well… a Spirit. We, being subjected to a physical world and laws cannot see “spirits”. We both belong to two different worlds that exist in totally different respective realms altogether. So from the outset, let us establish the point that it is virtually impossible to “prove” that the Sprit of God exists. That would be attempting to show you what cannot be seen.
Of course, this does not mean that if you can’t prove something, that “thing” does not exist. There are many things that we cannot prove and yet believe. That is part of our human reality.
But logically, what are the philosophical arguments about the existence of God the Spirit?
Christian faith is based on what we could call logical faith. That may sound an oxymoron. Just like “deafening silence”. God has never asked us to believe in something that is impossible to believe in. But God demands faith in a Person (His Son) and in the Son’s Redemptive work on the cross.
If we were to ask ourselves, how can we have proof of the existence of God (or God the Spirit in this case), we could logically start with a number of intellectual elements:
- What does Science say?
- What does our personal experience say?
- What does History say?
- Science: Well, the current definition of Science does not allow itself to be a useful tool to help us prove spirituality. “Science is the search for natural explanations of what’s observed in the universe”. Ok. With such a definition, we cannot demonstrate God since His spiritual world is apart from our “natural” physical environment. Also, a spirit cannot be “observed” as stated above. Therefore we must conclude that Science, in its very essence, is too limited to ever reach the level of explaining that which is neither “natural” nor “observable”.
- Personal experience: Well, there is no question that some individuals claim to have had some spiritual experiences (new birth, revelation, conviction, vision or anything else you want to call it) when it comes to Christianity. A good example of this would be the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. There was no doubt that Paul claimed to have had a personal experience in the spiritual realm to satisfy his faith. To him, his experience made sense because it was real. At least to him. The problem for every one else is that Paul’s experience remains personal and therefore subjective. In essence, it proves nothing to anyone else. So we need to conclude that personal experiences are simply too “unobjective” (allow me to use that word) to be the basis of any proof.
- History: Here again, there is no real historical fact about God or even Jesus of Nazareth. That may surprise some of our readers, but you will find strong arguments against any established historical fact about these elements. The best source we have remains the New Testament. But from a skeptic’s angle and even most contemporary scholars, this is considered weak at best. After all, there are no original texts available.
So if we can’t prove the existence of God, neither by Science, Personal experience or by History, on what basis are we to come to God?
God prefers a system based on belief in His Son. Christian faith is not blind faith. It makes sense… but it remains faith. If we had intellectual and factual proof, we would need no faith. God chose this way to bring us on a higher and eternal plane. He wants our hearts, not our minds. That is exactly the work of the Holy Spirit. This Divine Person convinces us of these things if our heart is attracted to the Son of God. The proof is Him, subjectively “in” us and that cannot be scientifically or historically measured or demonstrated.
We are called to careful logical thinking… but we can only succeed in receiving Life Eternal by coming in trust (faith) to God. There is free will, a choice, not made primarily with the mind but with the heart. When this wonderful event happens, it is always through the loving power of the Holy Spirit in us.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18.