In the Oct. 1 2010 issue of the Watchtower there is an article entitled “What is the Holy Spirit?” One of the main purposes of this article is to demonstrate that the Spirit is not a person. Here are some responses.
The article points out that in Acts 2:1-4 that people are filled with the Spirit. It is then asked “can a person be filled with another person?” The filling of the Spirit does not speak to the issue of personhood but of what the Spirit consists of, that is something that can fill humans. Paul speaks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Can another person be inside you? Apparently Christ can. What about the demons? They possess people and yet they have attributes of personhood including speech, belief, fear and even names.
The article also uses the claim that John the Baptist made that the Christ would baptize with the Spirit and with fire. It is assumed that since fire is not a person that the Spirit is not a person. That is not a question that John is addressing at all, he is simply point to future actions. If I said that I was going to bring my children and my computer, would that mean that my children are not alive, since my computer is not alive? It is faulty reasoning.
The article also looks to John 14:26 which speaks of the Spirit as a helper. The article then demonstrates that there are other examples of personification in the Bible and suggests that is what is being done with the Spirit. That is faulty reasoning in that one could then take personhood for almost everything simple because some impersonal things are personalized. The question is: how else is the word helper/paraclete used in the Bible? It is used in 1 John 2:1 in reference to Jesus!
The New World Translation translates ruach as “active force.” There is no justification for this translation. It is more properly spirit, breath or wind. Perhaps those words sounded too personal.
What this article does not do is consider verses such as “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 NIV) It is difficult to see how one could grieve an “active force.”