Holy Spirit and the Analogy of the Flame.

This article compares the Holy Spirit to a flame and attempts to weaken the claims found in the bible about the Holy Spirit. The flame informs in a way that the Holy Spirit does not.

If we say that
- God is real,
- the Holy Spirit is God,
- the Holy Spirit lives in every christian and that
- the requirements for the indwelling of the spirit are that the person must necessarily profess faith in Jesus Christ and
- the Holy Spirit gives guidance and understanding,
All Christians should understand the same thing. There should be no major disagreement. If we say that God loving Christians wouldn't think of disobeying God intentionally then in theological matters that they don't have any personal preference but state a belief anyway we can assume that they must have gotten guidance from somewhere. Lets say its the Holy Spirit since they should meet the criteria and Lord knows this influence wouldn't come from their geographical area or culture or any other persuasive factors. An example of Christians like this would be my Grandparents or Aunts and Uncles, parents, etc.

Peoples thoughts, attitudes and behavior can be manipulated by stimulating or changing parts of the brain, and it can be shown through fMRI how the brain reacts during thought processes. Behavior and attitudes can be manipulated and monitored through physical means. It can be inferred that if the Holy Spirit exists and has the ability to influence, then it has the ability to manipulate physical properties in the brain as well. If we say that the Holy Spirit is real and is able to influence, not force, then someday we should be able to see this effect in brain monitoring techniques. I would think that some force could be measured as it exerts influence in the brain. Using nano-technology, we can now break the blood brain barrier and research groups are trying to develop tiny sensors able to better monitor the brain from the inside. Recently, in animal research, scientists have mapped a memory, and documented the expanding web-like participation of neurons as an animal learned. In one human case, researchers were able to predict what a person was thinking (within the protocol) with about 80% reliability. I would like to see Christians investigate the hypothesis that the Holy Spirit may be able to be measured in the Lab. However, in my opinion, it's not likely that it would be distinguishable from natural processes and would generate more of that "can't test God" talk the way prayer studies do.

But failing that, if we stipulate that the Holy Spirit is real then maybe we can compare it to a flame. Since it appeared as a flame at Pentecost, it seems appropriate. If we think about a flame, we can safely assume that equally dispersed about the world is the belief that if we put our hand in it we will get burned. We can also safely assume that we all know enough about the properties of a flame to work with it. So if we were to tell someone something obvious about it such as "If you put your hand in the flame you will get burned" they will probably not argue with us. And if we tell them that paper exposed to a flame doesn't burn they would justifiably disagree. You could try this in China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India and Italy and the results would all be the same. The reason is that it is a real phenomena and people have unmistakable experience with it. They can choose to deny it but the evidence will contradict them in the eyes of any rational person. The flame informs.

Now if we think about the Holy Spirit, and consider it real, and able to manipulate physical properties, then not only should we be able to measure it but we should find that God loving Christians of the sort that wouldn't think of disobeying God, should not have any theological disagreements between themselves and any other denomination which arguably would have thier own God loving Christians of the sort that wouldn't think of disobeying God either. But try this, do a google search for 'salvation AND baptism' and try to figure out if you need to be baptized or not to get into heaven. Since Salvation is what Christianity is all about, I would think it would be obvious how it happens.

The flame informs in a way that the Holy Spirit doesn't. A person can keep their hand in a flame, or not. It's their choice. They can use it wisely or foolishly, its their choice. Most of the time they behave in the manner which minimizes the risk of harm to themselves and others because they know through experience what it entails. They learn things about the flame by dealing with it. We can assume that if there really were a Holy Spirit that was distinguishable to them, Christians would all have been informed about the same things and chosen not to disregard its guidance.

For more of this sort of heresy, see my other Holy Spirit articles.

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