A Catholic Reply to the Commentary on Verses of John by Abdu’l-Bahá

Thomas

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“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
(John 16:7-15 KJV).

The reply is deemed necessary because of the following accusation (author's text in colour):
The concourse of the Gospel have presently fallen lost in the wilderness of error and purblindness and thus have considered as naught these assertions of the Gospel which are explicitly clear and without allusiveness.

Thus they (Christians) say that the purpose of the above verses is the descent of the Holy Spirit, the descent that occurred after the ascension of His holiness Christ upon the disciples

Having opened thus, its incumbent upon the author to explain the 'error' fallen into, and what assertions made in the Gospel that are considered 'as naught'.

Firstly. He sayeth: He shall not come unless I go away. This utterance indicates that He, the Spirit, the Comforter was not there at the time of Christ and that He would come afterwards. But the Holy Spirit was inseparably and always co-existing with Christ.

This is part of His farewell discourse (John 13-17), and should be read in that context. By so doing, apparent contradictions are made clear.

Christ refers to himself as 'going away' numerous times (eg 13:36) yet elsewhere says "I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you." (eg 14:18).
Throughout this discourse, Christ is talking about His mission, and it is in the context of His mission that Scripture talks of Christ’s coming and going (the Hebrew Scriptures speak in the same way of God and the Spirit of God) and it should be understood in that sense.
This introduces the mission of the Holy Spirit "whom the Father will send in my name" (14:26) to continue the mission initiated by Christ according to the Will of the Father.

So there would otherwise be no meaning to the saying: He shall not come unless I go away.

When viewed in the context of a mission discourse, the meaning becomes clear. The Father wills, the Son works, the Spirit perfects – but Father, Son and Spirit are One, and in that transcendent sense are ever immanently present in and to the world, but here Christ is talking about unfolding events.

Now consider further ... Could it be the case that ...
There’s much conjecture, but no substance to this section ... it’s an opinion.

Thus it has become clear and proven from those blessed Johannine verses that after the Beauty of Jesus another Honoured Soul and Great Beauty will appear ...
Closer examination of the text will clearly show that the paraclete of whom Christ speaks is not ‘another soul’, He is spirit – so this an erroneous statement.

Whose training will be even greater than the education imparted by Christ, the Spirit of God.
Well Scripture makes no reference of 'training', and again, what do those ‘blessed Johannine verses' actually say of the mission of the Paraclete?
"And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. Yet a little while: and the world seeth me no more. But you see me: because I live, and you shall live. In that day you shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (14:16-20 my emphasis)
It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who 'reveals' the Son and the Father. St Paul understood this: "And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6 and the same is expressed in Romans 8:15).

“But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.” (14:26)

“But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me.” (15:26)

The mission of the Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is the same as the Son's, and is a continuation of the Son's. In that sense it cannot be 'greater' because the mission of Christ is universal salvation, ordained by God, so cannot be surpassed.

In a contingent sense the works may well be greater (cf John 14:12), but obviously then in a quantitative sense, not qualitative.

Thirdly He said: That Comforter will not speak from Himself. That means He shall be aided by the hosts of divine Revelation.
Here, clearly, the importance of context as a guard against error. Before that, it needs saying that the Holy Spirit needs no ‘assistance’ in His mission. There is no reference to 'the hosts of divine revelation'.

The text:
I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you. (16:12-15)
He shall speak not of Himself, but of Christ: 'because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you' and, as 'All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine' then the Father has given to the Son, and the Son (in this context) to the Holy Spirit. Context because the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and the mission of the Spirit is the mission of the Son, according to the Will of the Father.

The text explains itself without the need to evoke Consider again, how clear it is. This means that that Comforting Spirit is a Person.
According to the understanding of 'Person' in the context of the Trinity, yes.

Who wilt be inspired with heavenly Inspirations and be the Repository of Lordly Revelations.
The Spirit of God inspires, but is not Himself inspired, which supposes an inspirer.

Further, the Holy Spirit doth not have ears with which to hear.
A frankly risible statement. The use of anthropomorphic analogy is redolent throughout Scriptures, as it is in the Baha'i writings, so a somewhat specious comment.

+++

Let's be clear: I do not offer this as an apologia for the Doctrine of the Trinity, simply I have shown how that doctrine accords with the text, and as an objection to that doctrine, i have shown the document fails to make its case, and fails significantly and substantially.
 
Let's be clear: I do not offer this as an apologia for the Doctrine of the Trinity, simply I have shown how that doctrine accords with the text, and as an objection to that doctrine, i have shown the document fails to make its case, and fails significantly and substantially.

Abdul'baha talks specifically about the Trinity.


Abdul'baha addresses many Christian subjects.


It is most likely many Christians will find these Challenging.

Yet even Priests have embraced the Baha'i Message, so that worth considering.

Regards Tony
 
Abdul'baha talks specifically about the Trinity.


Abdul'baha addresses many Christian subjects.


It is most likely many Christians will find these Challenging.

Yet even Priests have embraced the Baha'i Message, so that worth considering.

Regards Tony
What is your reaction to @Thomas thoughtful and reasoned post? Can you respond to his points? Preferay one by one? Or are you just going to go on abusing us by scattering more verbose Baha'i tracts around the forums?
 
What is your reaction to @Thomas thoughtful and reasoned post? Can you respond to his points? Preferay one by one? Or are you just going to go on abusing us by scattering more verbose Baha'i tracts around the forums?

The explanation of the Trinity, by Abdul'baha, for me is the answer to what Thomas posted.

The Station of Jesus, as Christ is what this is all about.

Regards Tony
 
The explanation of the Trinity, by Abdul'baha, for me is the answer to what Thomas posted.

The Station of Jesus, as Christ is what this is all about.

Regards Tony
But who's going to read through all the tracts and bumph you post? These are discussion forums, not a document drop off exchange
 
It is most likely many Christians will find these Challenging.
To be fair, I though my response to the above demonstrates those challenges to be neither as conclusive, compelling or as convincing as perhaps they might seem. I can understand the author feels a necessity to refute it, but here he fails in his endeavour to do so.
 
To be fair, I though my response to the above demonstrates those challenges to be neither as conclusive, compelling or as convincing as perhaps they might seem. I can understand the author feels a necessity to refute it, but here he fails in his endeavour to do so.

I guess where our challenges lay is with our frames of references Thomas.

When I read what Abdul'baha has offered, I read it in the light of seeing Jesus as the Christ, a Messengers of God.

Jesus as the Christ, is to us the 'Self of God', but we must understand that in offering that, God does not decend into creation. This is an important aspect in the understanding of the Divinity of Jesus. Abdul'baha has also explained that topic.

We can throw verses back and forth all day, but I can only offer I am seeing the same verses with a different frame of reference.

I would offer to you, was that not what Jesus did when talking to the Jews, He was asking them to look at the scripture in a new way?

John 5:46
If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.

This is exactly what happens each time Christ gives a Message. We must look at the Word with new eyes and hear it with new ears.

It is by the fruit we know God Thomas. Is what a Baha'i lives for any different from what a Christian lives for? Love and service to all Humanity under the Love of devotion to One God.

Regards Tony
 
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When I read what Abdul'baha has offered, I read it in the light of seeing Jesus as the Christ, a Messengers of God.

Jesus as the Christ, is to us the 'Self of God', but we must understand that in offering that, God does not decend into creation. This is an important aspect in the understanding of the Divinity of Jesus
Thanks for yet another proselytizing lecture about how Christians should understand their own faith
Abdul'baha has also explained that topic.
But others do not accept his explanation. They think it's a load of old tripe, to be honest. That's freedom of religion, you see?
This is exactly what happens each time Christ gives a Message. We must look at the Eord with new eyes and hear it with new ears.
Why do you keep telling others what they must think?
Is what a Baha'i lives for any different from what a Christian lives for? Love and service to all Humanity under the Love of devotion to One God.
It's very different. A Baha'i takes an oath of fealty to Baha'u'llah alone for 1000 yrs. It couldn't be more different. Imo

(edited)
 
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There are two detention chairs out by the front gate where the forum’s mission statement is engraved. A couple of folks here need to go sit on them and stare at that statement for awhile.

Seriously, this conversation, and others, have deteriorated into exactly the kind of angry “My god is bigger than your god, but you’re just too (choose 1 or more or add your own) stupid/blind/arrogant/unaware/ignorant to see it.” rants that this forum was meant to combat, to provide a respite from, to be an antidote for.

@Cino - Will essays be required after an appropriate time for meditation?
 
There are two detention chairs out by the front gate where the forum’s mission statement is engraved. A couple of folks here need to go sit on them and stare at that statement for awhile.

Seriously, this conversation, and others, have deteriorated into exactly the kind of angry “My god is bigger than your god, but you’re just too (choose 1 or more or add your own) stupid/blind/arrogant/unaware/ignorant to see it.” rants that this forum was meant to combat, to provide a respite from, to be an antidote for.

@Cino - Will essays be required after an appropriate time for meditation?

The plenary session will have to decide on that, but I would favor my car getting washed or my lawn mowed. ;)
 
I guess where our challenges lay is with our frames of references Thomas.
Yes, I think so. The Christian frame of reference is Christ, His words and His deeds.

When I read what Abdul'baha has offered ...
And there's the difference, as your frame is what Baha'u'llah says.

God does not decend into creation.
If God does not descend into creation, and surely creation cannot ascend into God, then the chasm between God and creation is absolute, unbridgeable and irrevocable. There would be no God at all, no Abraham, no Moses.

Who then speaks on the tongue of the prophets? How can there be a 'Messenger' without God communicating the message, and how can we have faith in the 'message', if God is not there?

I would sympathise with anyone thinking that, for then that is a world without God, a world without Love. Following Scripture, we believe quite differently. We believe God is immanently present in and to His creation. The noble Quran says: "Indeed, We created humankind and know what their souls whisper to them, and We are closer to them than their jugular vein." (50:16)

If God were not immanently present in creation, then all religion is a blind groping into a dark and fathomless void, and as St Paul said: "You faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:17).

This is an important aspect in the understanding of the Divinity of Jesus. Abdul'baha has also explained that topic.
But that explanation is flawed. If Abdul'baha understood the meaning of hypostatic union, then he would see his objection is ill-founded.

I would offer to you, was that not what Jesus did when talking to the Jews, He was asking them to look at the scripture in a new way?
You do see that's a green light for anyone to set themselves up as a prophet? I could say the same, and ask why you don't believe me?

In the end the Baha'i repeats the arguments of Islam – it misrepresents Christian doctrine in its arguments, and then believes it has refuted it.
 
There are two detention chairs out by the front gate where the forum’s mission statement is engraved. A couple of folks here need to go sit on them and stare at that statement for awhile.

Seriously, this conversation, and others, have deteriorated into exactly the kind of angry “My god is bigger than your god, but you’re just too (choose 1 or more or add your own) stupid/blind/arrogant/unaware/ignorant to see it.” rants that this forum was meant to combat, to provide a respite from, to be an antidote for.

@Cino - Will essays be required after an appropriate time for meditation?
There is stuff going on under the hood. There are other Bahá'ís afraid to participate here, for fear of being swept up with the type of aggressive proselytizing and taking over of threads for that purpose on other forums and now on IO -- which they believe gives them a bad name, and makes it difficult for their voice to be heard.

So, sorry ...
 
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This is part of His farewell discourse (John 13-17), and should be read in that context. By so doing, apparent contradictions are made clear.
Okay. Let's see what you have to say.

Christ refers to himself as 'going away' numerous times (eg 13:36) yet elsewhere says "I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you." (eg 14:18).

Throughout this discourse, Christ is talking about His mission, and it is in the context of His mission that Scripture talks of Christ’s coming and going (the Hebrew Scriptures speak in the same way of God and the Spirit of God) and it should be understood in that sense.

This introduces the mission of the Holy Spirit "whom the Father will send in my name" (14:26) to continue the mission initiated by Christ according to the Will of the Father.
Hi there, @Thomas.

Again, he said:

"Firstly. He sayeth: He shall not come unless I go away. This utterance indicates that He, the Spirit, the Comforter was not there at the time of Christ and that He would come afterwards. But the Holy Spirit was inseparably and always co-existing with Christ."

In my opinion, Abdu'l-Baha is making an observation which you failed to note. During his farewell discourse, Christ often makes reference to the Spirit of Truth, a reference for the Holy Spirit not made elsewhere in the Gospels. Right after mentioning the Holy Spirit is "inseparably and always co-existing with Christ," Abdu'l-Baha quotes from the verse in John 16 that states "the Spirit of Truth will expound these things and lead you into all truth." Before that he says that "the Comforter was not there at the time of Christ." In other words, there is a subtle distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth, the light versus the light and the lamp.

For example, looking elsewhere in the Gospels, Christ refers to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit:

"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. ...

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11.1, 13)

Why not use Spirit of Truth here? Why use an entirely different term in the farewell discourse and only here? Why is the Spirit of Truth masculine and the Holy Spirit feminine? Well, here is a suggestion . . .

We know early Christians thought of the Holy Spirit as feminine: Van Oort notes that "according to Matthew, Jesus compared himself to a mother bird (Mt. 23:37). Moreover, when believers are born anew from the Spirit (e.g. Jn 3), they are ’children of the Spirit’, who is their ‘Mother’." The fact Christ paints the Spirit of Truth as masculine is a hint he is talking about another prophet. This would explain the distinct term paráklētos. Not sure what he said in Aramaic. Non-Baha'i scholars, such as Marie Isaacs, have noted the parallels between the prophets of the OT and the paraclete in peer reviewed journals, stating: “Nowhere in John is the spirit-paraclete called prophētēs. The functions assigned to the paraclete however, strikingly parallel those of the prophet of the Old Testament.”

As for your point about keeping the context of Christ's mission in mind to avoid contradictions, we can understand that the Spirit of Truth being the Holy Spirit does not exclude the idea of the Spirit of Truth being a living prophet too. In other words, we can look at things from the perspective of the light and the lamp or the light. Abdu'l-Baha states:

"Moreover, in certain passages of the Sacred Scriptures where allusion is made to the Spirit, a specific person is intended, as it is conventionally said in speech and conversation that such-and-such a person is spirit personified, or is the embodiment of mercy and generosity. In this case the focus is not upon the lamp but upon the light.

For instance, in reference to the Promised One that must come after Christ, it is said in John 16:12: 'I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.'

Now consider carefully that the words 'for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak' clearly imply that the Spirit of truth is embodied in a Man Who has a soul, Who has ears to hear and a tongue to speak. Likewise Christ is called the 'Spirit of God', in the same way that we speak of the light and yet mean both the light and the lamp."

(Some Answered Questions)
www.bahai.org/r/906689179
 
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If God does not descend into creation, and surely creation cannot ascend into God, then the chasm between God and creation is absolute, unbridgeable and irrevocable. There would be no God at all, no Abraham, no Moses.
Splitting hairs. What is meant is that there is no literal descent or ascent. For example, we all know astronauts can communicate with us from space from above. They don't have to literally descend to us for communication to happen. They can communicate via other means indirectly through technology. This is a poor analogy, but I just mention it because when it comes to theology, I feel like Christianity often reaches for the former (literal language) instead of the latter (nonliteral language).
Who then speaks on the tongue of the prophets? How can there be a 'Messenger' without God communicating the message, and how can we have faith in the 'message', if God is not there?
The question is all in the manner of the communication. I mean, is God literally descending into their minds and speaking audibly in their heads?
 
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I would sympathise with anyone thinking that, for then that is a world without God, a world without Love. Following Scripture, we believe quite differently. We believe God is immanently present in and to His creation. The noble Quran says: "Indeed, We created humankind and know what their souls whisper to them, and We are closer to them than their jugular vein." (50:16)
This doesn't refer to literal descent. The noble Qur'an denies God incarnate: "They indeed have disbelieved who say, 'God is the Messiah, son of Mary" (5.17, 72). Why? I guess God doesn't literally descend into his creation. God and Jesus don't literally share the same substance. That's all Greek to me. :cool:

Seyyed Hossein Nasr explains that Islam denies God literally descends into his creation here:

"What is much more difficult to understand in its full theological significance across the Christian-Islamic religious frontiers is the way in which the Divine Reality manifests Itself. Here one comes to the question of theophany (tajalli) and incarnation (~ulul) and the relation between the Divine (lahut) and the human (niisut). Both religions, of course, accept the primacy of the Divine and the blinding reality of God. But they differ as to whether that Transcendent and Divine Reality can become manifested in the world of becoming and if so, what constitutes the meaning of manifestation. Islam rejects the incarnation, fixing its gaze upon the Absolute as such, which cannot become incarnated without entering into the domain of relativity. Christianity places its emphasis not on the Absolute as such but on the manifestation of the Absolute as the son or the Truth incarnate. Debates within Christianity concerning the Divine and human natures of Christ actually have been and are of great significance for the debates between Christianity and Islam over this issue. Were Islam to carry out a dialogue with some of the Eastern Christian churches, there would be quite a different theological climate of discourse precisely because of other Christologies which were cultivated by some of the early Eastern churches. Does lahut enter in niisut, or is it simply reflected in it? Can the two become united in a single reality or do they remain apart? Many of these issues were discussed by early Muslim scholars in works on "schools and sects" in the context of early Islamic-Christian debates. But they have not been discussed sufficiently in the contemporary context by theologians and religious thinkers who would take their own tradition seriously. There is no denying the fact that serious Muslim thinkers cannot accept the penetration of lahut into niisut or the incarnation of God in any form unless incarnation be understood in a metaphysical and symbolic sense. In any case it is important to realize the central significance of this issue in any Christian-Islamic dialogue that seeks to go beyond simple formalities and human niceties."
 
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Further, the Holy Spirit doth not have ears with which to hear.
A frankly risible statement. The use of anthropomorphic analogy is redolent throughout Scriptures, as it is in the Baha'i writings, so a somewhat specious comment.
Use of anthropomorphic analogy elsewhere does not necessitate that it is the case here as well. Christians pick and choose. A case in point is transubstantiation. Here's an example of thousands of pages of ink spilled and wasted over what is analogy and what is not when analyzing Matt. 26.26:

“In what sense, if any, is Christ really present in the bread and wine of the mass? As we noted earlier, Luther was strongly critical of the medieval doctrine of ‘transubstantiation,’ believing that it was excessively dependent on the Aristotelian philosophical notions of ‘substance’ and ‘accidents.’ Yet his own view was that Christ is indeed present at the mass. (Luther had no difficulty in using this traditional term.) In some way, the body and blood of Christ are conveyed in, through, or under the bread and the wine. For Luther, this was the only way of interpreting Christ’s words at the Last Supper, as recorded in the gospels. When Christ offered bread to his disciples, he declared that ‘this is my body’ (Matthew 26.26). Was not the obvious, correct way of making sense of this core text that the bread in question was Christ’s body? What other way could there be of interpreting this text? If this was not so, Luther argued, then the Bible could not be interpreted reliably. Zwingli responded by pointing out that this was by no means the only way of interpreting this text. The Bible was full of statements that might seem to suggest one thing, but on closer inspection, meant another. For Zwingli, the phrase ‘this is my body’ did not mean that the bread was identical with the body of Christ; rather, it pointed to, or signified, that body. Christ’s words were to be understood as meaning that the bread of the ‘Supper’ or ‘Remembrance’—Zwingli did not wish to retain the traditional term ‘mass’—was a symbol of Christ’s body, just as the wine symbolized his blood. Christ was being remembered in his absence, and his future return anticipated. It will be obvious that these represent totally different readings of the same text. Luther’s interpretation was much more traditional, Zwingli’s more radical. Which was right? And which was Protestant? We see here the fundamental difficulty that the Reformation faced: the absence of any authoritative interpreter of scripture that could give rulings on contested matters of biblical interpretation. The question was not simply whether Luther or Zwingli was right: it was whether the emerging Protestant movement possessed the means to resolve such questions of biblical interpretation. If the Bible had ultimate authority, who had the right to interpret the Bible? This was no idle question, and it lay at the heart of Protestantism’s complex relationship with its core text. For this question to be answered, an authoritative rule or principle had to be proposed that stood above scripture—the very idea of which was ultimately anathema to Protestantism. The tree leading figures of the reformation—Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin—all recognized the importance of the question; significantly, each offered a different answer.” Christianity's Dangerous Idea: the Protestant Revolution-- A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First, Alister E. McGrath, New York : HarperOne, 2007.
 
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"Firstly. He sayeth: He shall not come unless I go away. This utterance indicates that He, the Spirit, the Comforter was not there at the time of Christ and that He would come afterwards. But the Holy Spirit was inseparably and always co-existing with Christ."
I don't think that argument is sufficient.

On the first point, I would argue that the text does not mean the Spirit was not there at the time of Christ – the text doesn't say that.

Rather, the first reference is in John 14:26, to "another Comforter" (Gk: Paraclete), which infers that Christ too is a 'Paraclete', in that He fulfils the functions of such, acting as advocate, intercessor, comforter, etc.

In reference to 'afterwards', this was Christ speaking with regard to the mission of the Holy Spirit with regard to Himself and salvation.

However, the Holy Spirit was there from the beginning (cf Genesis 1:2).

In my opinion, Abdu'l-Baha is making an observation which you failed to note. During his farewell discourse, Christ often makes reference to the Spirit of Truth, a reference for the Holy Spirit not made elsewhere in the Gospels.
It's a Johannine term. The Holy Spirit is known by many names in ScrIpture – but is the same Holy Spirit.

In other words, there is a subtle distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth, the light versus the light and the lamp.
We do not draw the same distinction. The Divine Names and Titles are many, but God is One.

Why not use Spirit of Truth here? Why use an entirely different term in the farewell discourse and only here? Why is the Spirit of Truth masculine and the Holy Spirit feminine? Well, here is a suggestion . . .
Different authors.

And Holy Spirit in the New Testament, hagios pnemua, is neither masculine nor feminine.

We know early Christians thought of the Holy Spirit as feminine: Van Oort notes that "according to Matthew, Jesus compared himself to a mother bird (Mt. 23:37).
Ooh, that's stretching a simile to its logical limit, I would have thought.

Moreover, when believers are born anew from the Spirit (e.g. Jn 3), they are ’children of the Spirit’, who is their ‘Mother’."
I rather think that's putting words into the scribe's mouth.

Again, the term for spirit is pneuma, which in Greek is neutral.

The functions assigned to the paraclete however, strikingly parallel those of the prophet of the Old Testament.”
Quite. Prophecy is in the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
 
Splitting hairs. What is meant is that there is no literal descent or ascent
I happen to disagree.

... when it comes to theology, I feel like Christianity often reaches for the former (literal language) instead of the latter (nonliteral language).
The trouble here is that the use of nonliteral language, metaphor, etc., is often deployed to explain everything away.

The question is all in the manner of the communication. I mean, is God literally descending into their minds and speaking audibly in their heads?
No. The Spirit 'indwells' the soul – as is commonly understood in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In is clear from Scriptures that some prophets – not every prophet – regarded themselves at times as being in the Presence of God.
 
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Here's an example of thousands of pages of ink spilled and wasted over what is analogy and what is not when analyzing Matt. 26.26:
– sigh – I know. How can one analyse a Mystery?

Better to follow the saints ...
 
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