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oopslc89's avatar

If God cannot be in the presence of sin and the Holy Spirit being apart of the Trinity is God. How can the Holy Spirit be in us who are sinners?

Asked by oopslc89 (103points) October 15th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

25 Answers

queenzboulevard's avatar

I think your first mistake is assuming that a “God” exists. Without proving that to be true the question is just irrelevant. Assuming he exists, however, I would argue that there are three separate gods, each with different things they can and cannot do.

oopslc89's avatar

If you do not share my presumptions then don’t answer the question. Thanks for the completely unnecessary negativity though.

fireside's avatar

I didn’t quite understand that first sentence..
Do you have any passages that refer to the concepts you are describing?

Why do you assume that God cannot be in the presence of sin?

Judi's avatar

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

You are not a sinner, you are a redeemed child of God who sometimes sins. Sort of like a butterfly who sometimes crawls around like a caterpillar forgetting that he has wings.

jasongarrett's avatar

We are made righteous in Christ.

Romans 3:23–25
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

Colossians 2:13–14
You, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Romans 4:24–25
It (righteousness) will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

I Corinthians 1:30
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

syz's avatar

If you think that’s negativity, then you haven’t been here very long

PupnTaco's avatar

Easy, it’s magic!

p.s. If you don’t want answers from everyone, don’t ask.

mea05key's avatar

yeah too meshed up question.

osullivanbr's avatar

I’m with Fireside on this one, I don’t get where you’re getting this concept from. Can you reference it to something?
I’ve never come across the idea that the Holy Spirit couldn’t be in the presence of sin before.
Serious. I really would like to see where this argument originates from

In the meantime however let’s go with Magic. PupnTaco is seldom wrong.

Judi's avatar

@fireside and osu,
I think it’s the concept of darkness being in the presence of light.

osullivanbr's avatar

Hmm perhaps. There’s no passage that states this in the Bible though that I’m aware of. Can you think of one Judi?

bodyhead's avatar

Good question.

Hey guys, I’m a non-believer. However, I will not attack the preconceived notion that god exists, because that was not the question. I will try to logic out how (based on the premise that God exists) he could be in all of us even though he needs to be apart from sin.

Those of you that are doing this should be a little more respectful. Beat them with logic, not brute force.

We are all born with original sin. It wouldn’t make sense for God to not be able to stand the presence of sin. Otherwise he would leave us then come back in us like some type of divine poltergeist. I would guess that some part of God accepts the sinner and lives within the person because he is inherently a good person (they just continue to sin).

It’s the argument that even a good person can do bad things. That doesn’t make them a bad person. It just makes their deeds bad.

Judi's avatar

John 12:46 NIV
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
2 Corinthians 6:14b NIV
...Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Mexicanamerican's avatar

we are born with free will, the holy spirit will be apart of us if we choose to accept and acknowledge it. If you( in general terms) accept the holy spirt you won’t want to anything immoral or commit a sin rather. Thats my two cents..

shadling21's avatar

I’m with queenz on this one. That is far from “negativity”. But I’ll put my atheism aside for a moment and entertain some Catholic notions.

Why can’t God be in the presence of sin? Where did that idea come from? If you’re referring to the trinity, why don’t you take a look at Jesus, who supposedly lived amongst sinners for years? Or God, Himself, who created Satan, and who allowed Satan to live with him in heaven until he rebelled?

If you’re addressing sin, may as well ask, “If God created all things that exist, and if sin exists, didn’t God create sin?”

Now I remember why I could never believe in a Catholic God…

osullivanbr's avatar

Thanks for the quotes Judi, but you misunderstood. I know that the idea of darkness and light is quite common, I mean I can’t think of a passage that references the initial problem posed in this question.

Sloane2024's avatar

@ osullivanbr: God cannot be in the presence of sin; He even had to look away from his one and only Son while He hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world—our sins. He is a Holy and Divine Lord. That’s why, to have the Holy Spirit within us, we must first 1.) Admit that we are sinners and have done wrong. 2.) Believe that God sent His Son Jesus to earth to die on the cross to save us from our sins, be buried, and raised from the dead. 3.) and Confess our lives to Him. This is the only way to heaven, and, therefore, the only way to God. It cleanses us of everything we’ve ever done wrong and allows God to see us as perfect. We can never fall from this or lose our salvation, but need to ask for forgiveness when we do wrong.
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Romans 5:8
Romans 10:13
Romans 10:9–10
Romans 3:20
Check here for all of these verses and other info.

fireside's avatar

@Sloane – I’m sorry but unless there is more to those verses than what is shown on the link you provided, I still don’t see anything saying that God cannot be in the presence of sin.

In fact, a search of the text tells me that this is the only place in the King James Bible where the words God, Presence and Sin are even found together:

9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
King James Bible, Hebrews

osullivanbr's avatar


Are you reading the same version of the Bible that I am?

Romans 3:23 : for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 : For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

Romans 5:8 : But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 10:13 : For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

Romans 10:9 – 10 : That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 3:20 : Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

None of these passages defend the idea put forward in this question at all. All these passages state is the usual – you need to repent for your sins and then you will be saved.

And sure while we’re all throwing verses around what about Romans 8:9–11

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

That passage has the Holy Spirit being in the presence of sin within all of us.
By simply picking passages out of the Bible we could prove much of anything. What fireside and myself are saying is that the concept quoted in this question is mearly an invented idea. I’ve never come across it before.

scamp's avatar

I’m with osullivanbr on this one!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@oopsic89, this question sounds like you were raised Catholic. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in us. It is in God that we have the ability to think and reason. When we sin, we consciously choose to deny God. But God is always in you, even when you sin, and wants you to choose the right path.

That’s what the parable of the Prodigal Son is all about. The act of turning away from baser instincts and deliberately choosing correctly is more pleasing and more powerful than doing the right thing all along.

GHV393's avatar

I’m sorry for being so late in this discussion, but I just came across it now while searching opinions and scripture on a similar question.

Just so everyone is aware and need not reply with unrelated clarifications, I’m coming from a very explicit set of views, all of which I believe are pertinent to the essence of this question, and without which, I would imagine, this question would be impossible to answer effectively.

Please bare in mind that I am not here to argue my view points, but only attempt a fuller answer to the above based on these viewpoints.

So if you do not have similar viewpoints to those below, please consider the question still unanswered to your satisfaction and no need to reply with rebuttal.

Thanks for understanding.

Now for the viewpoints, around which we need to understand the nature of God, Man and Sin:

a) That there is a God.

b) That all of the Old and New Testament scriptures are God’s infallible and inspired Word, intended by God for everyone and anyone who seeks after truth to study and learn the true nature of things, and thus, that God desires for us as His creation to seek Him out.

c) That God’s nature is both complex and far exceeds my ability to reason out His makeup – that scripture implies the idea of Trinity, regardless of my ability to understand it.

d) That the Word of God has both implicit and explicit references to the only One, True God – being in substance made up of three discrete, distinct parts, together of which define the whole nature of God.
Though in our limited understanding these parts could be referred to as simply parts, facets, characters, attributes, representations or sides of God, Scripture always refers to them directly with personal pronouns and attributes implying personages. So we can summarize them best as “three separate persons who collectively make up the entire and complete divinity of God”.
Note, however, that Scripture is explicit about the metaphysical makeup of each of the individual personages, as well as the purposes and character of each. One of the most significant examples of this is the Scripture that infers that all three personages were present before time and at the dawn of all creation.

d) That the first person in the Trinity is the Father, being that personage that dwells in the Heavens and “oversees all things”, who created angels and all existence prior to this World and mankind, and from whom the other two personages receive their respective praise and purpose.

e) That the second person in the Trinity is the Son, Christ Jesus, being that personage upon whom the Father has bestowed the greatest honour and praise among the three, and to whom the GodHead has imparted the pivotal role as the Saviour of the human race, through the ultimate sacrifice of shedding of the Son’s own blood on the cross, thus for all time eliminating the need to sacrifice other living creatures as recompense for the on-going sins of the people.

f) That in the original writings of Scripture, all references to “Holy Spirit” or the word “Spirit” appearing capitalized, refers explicitly to the 3d person of the Godhead.
Further, that the main purpose, function or nature of the Holy Spirit is to deal directly in the affairs of the created World and provide the mechanism of communication from God to the human race – both as a whole and individually.

g) That the word “spirit” appearing uncapitalized in the original writings always refer to something other than the 3d person of the Godhead. This must be referring, then, to either a demonic or human spirit, or may be found in context to be referring to some other concept.

h) That the nature of the human race in their fallen state (that is their natural inclination or disposition apart from external influences) is totally toward evil and sin. This would exclude the popular opinion that the human race on their own has equal potential for good and bad, or has to somehow balance the good and bad forces within themselves. There is no Scripture that directly supports this opinion, whereas there are countless explicit references to the concept that all humans, apart from Christ and Malchezedec of the Old Testament, have totally fallen from the potential for good without God’s direct intervention.
And yet in spite of this fall, mankind on his own still possesses the one parodox that God has left within him – the ability for each and every human being to freely choose his ultimate destiny.
Further, that the metaphysical nature of humans, differing significantly from the rest of creation, is that we consist of three distinct parts – namely body, soul and spirit – a makeup that clearly reveals the stamp of being “created in God’s image”.

i) That the nature of sin is simply any activity or thought perpetuating from a motivation that does not have the eternal God as its primary focus. In a word, “pride”. It comes from the simple concept that God has come as a father to take care of us, but we do not want to be taken care. If we need fixing, we’ll do it ourselves. Since the Father knows that our nature has made us incapable of fixing ourselves, especially in the spiritual realm, He has set hard rules and boundaries around us, which every day we seek to tear down and escape from.
Its not surprising then to find original sin beginning with the one created being who stood the most to gain from this concept of sin – Satan. Although being a created being (not having unlimited freedom to opose God), he wanted to do things his way. Was this sin, was it evil? Yes, simple and concise.
Equally not surprising, it did not take long for the perfect human race to fall into Satan’s steps.
Its noteworthy to mention here that the actual activity or thought is not material. It doesn’t matter whether the activity is truely of a good or evil nature. For example, the activity in question was not in and of itself a bad or evil thing – to eat of a fruit that would give you the knowledge of good and evil. In fact, in the end that very act was part of Gods overall plan, for us to have freedom of choice and to know the difference. However, it was imputed to them as sin because of the underlying motivation and the way they went about the whole affair.

So, by the above defintion, the word sin in Scripture MAY be referring explicitly to an act or thought, but it will ALWAYS, in addition, carry with it the idea of ultimate evil – to do things opposite to God.

Over the last 2000 years since the death and resurection of Christ, hundreds of theologians from many differring religous backgrouds and cultures, have conducted extensive research into the entire Word of God and have come to the same unmistakable conclusion regarding the purpose and role of the Holy Spirit.

Please be patient, as we are getting close to being able to address the question put forth.

The pupose of the Holy Spirit can be summarized by saying that He took upon himself 3 roles over time:

1. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit was always referenced as being “with” men – as an external force acting upon the will of men.
Most often, intervention from God upon individuals or a group of people had to be carried out through a careful selection of individuals whom God used the Holy Spirit to prepare and to whom God sent the Holy Spirit as His personal representative. The Holy Spirit clearly never dwelt within individuals. However, the selected man at the time had to appeal to the human spirit within the people in order to carry out the message that God was giving them.

2. For the duration of time that Christ was on the earth, the Holy Spirit’s expressed purpose was to minister directly to Christ and those closest to Him. At this time the Holy Spirit did not intervene in anyone else’s life, since there was no need to do so – Christ was both sole messenger and the message from God for all people, although they did not understand this until the end of His earthly ministry.

3. Upon Christ’s accension to Heaven, He promised that the moment He was gone He would send the Comforter. Again, the pronouns He used in referring to this One who would be sent all point to this being none other than the Holy Spirit. However, with this third and last visitation of the Holy Spirit would be a new role for the age of the Church. For now the Holy Spirit would be available to communicate directly to individuals who by their own free will and choice, choose to fully cooperate with and “be fixed” by God. But not only communicate as in times past, but now also be in daily, moment-by-moment communion with the individual. Not surprising, Christianity has weathered the storm, not because of a great idea put forth from a great prophet, but from the on-going, internal witness of the Holy Spirit enmass in thousands of individuals, confirming the ever-spreading Word and message of God!

Now is the time to look at the question put forth and see if a reasonable answer can be given based on the above viewpoints.

To answer the question, we simply need to summarized the points above:

i. God the Father and the essence of Evil are mutually incompatible. In a sense, they cannot inhabit the same place and time in eternity, to use a rather weak metaphor.
This is a hard saying and the best and only way to state this simply is to refer directly to Scripture itself, for example, the references that Judi quotes in her reply above – particularly 2 Corinthians 6:14 – ...Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

ii. It was God’s decision to make the Holy Spirit the main Communicator between Man and God. It is relatively easy, therefore, to imagine that this personage of the Godhead can reside in the “presence” of evil and sin without being impacted or opposed by it. I’ll not be presumptuous on God to assume that that is why they made that decision, but all of Scripture, and particularly the New Testament, emphatically supports this idea.
To add to the metaphor that Scripture has already given us, if God the Father is Light and evil/sin is darkness, then perhaps the Holy Spirit is the electricity (medium) by which the Light displaces the darkness, giving light and a clear path to the recipients. To take it one step further, perhaps God the Son is the blood stained hand that turns on the switch that feeds the electricity, in response to our asking Him for the Light.

iii. Based on the definition of evil and sin, we as a race are not just the partakers of sin, WE ARE SIN ITSELF, due to our basic human nature as defined by Scripture. Scripture tells us that we have a human spirit, but it by default is dead – not functioning – the lights are on but nobody’s home in that part of us.

Can we have the Holy Spirit dwell within us as a fallen race. Aparently not. We are sin, and the Holy Spirit, which is God’s Spirit, cannot dwell within an impure and unrighteous vessel or temple. Keep in mind that the strict regulations regarding the temple and vessels containing His manifested presence in the Old Testament were a foreshadow of God’s strict requirements regarding the beings who would now “contain” the Holy Spirit.

But what about the one who invites the Holy Spirit within (conscience of their need for both forgiveness of sin and change in nature) and within whom God has imparted the Holy Spirit and shone His Light?
Can the Holy Spirit continue to reside in this one, who yearns for God to fix them yet still finds old habits and thought patterns difficult to change.

Yes, because the human spirit of the Born Again believer literally unites with the Holy Spirit, and this event makes the new believer righteous in God’s eyes, in a word, sanctified – one of the requirements for being a vessel worthy of containing the Holy Spirit. Of coarse, this can only be accomplished through the power of redemption made available through the Blood of Christ (another requirement), not through the power of ones own efforts to be good within themselves.

Now we find that the saint, as Scripture refers to all who are Born Again in Christ, IS NO LONGER SIN ITSELF, since they have had their spirits quickened by the Holy Spirit, and have taken on a new nature. However, they may continue in certain acts or thoughts that may account as “sin”, all the while the Holy Spirit continues to help them “work out” their salvation, as Paul puts it – a work in progress to slowly change the saint into the image of Christ – the new nature giving the sinner not only the potential for good, but the natural inclination toward Godliness instead of evil or sin.

Having said all of the above, it is true that God and Satan do communicate with each other from time to time. However, Scripture does not tell us whether it is God the Father or the Holy Spirit that communicates with Satan. Therefore, I am not at all uncomfortable with firmly sticking to the notion that God and sin are incompatible, while the Holy Spirit and I are more than compatible through Christ Jesus, even though I, like Paul, find myself still doing things I hate and increaingly wanting to do the things I don’t do, and trusting that the Holy Spirit will accomplish even this within me.

fireside's avatar

Wow, that was certainly worth the read. I hope you stick around Fluther for some more conversations since you said this comment was not open for discussion

mizkendall3939's avatar

God CAN be in the presence of anything.

efk2312's avatar

Hey . This is 3 years late, but I would love to bring across something that I hope helps you understand this a little further. :)
Once we were lost, we followed our own desires our own ways, our own wants. When we give our lives to Jesus and proclaim him as our Lord, we are in essence saying “Lord, i give you my allegiance, you are my King. You reign over my life. I am no longer mine anymore but yours. My life is yours. I no longer follow my wants, my desires, my ways, but your ways. ” We become servants of righteousness,no longer servants/slaves of sin. In 2 Corinthians 5:16–18 it says this
“16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

So we are clean and covered with the blood of Christ. Thats why we are counted as righteous. Yes, we do sin still, but its covered by the blood of Jesus. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.(romans 7:15)
so if we are clean and our bodies are temples of Christ, then the Holy Spirit can dwell in us. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).
I hope this helps better your understanding of this . May the peace of God be with you.
Your sister in Christ ,
Elizabeth Kourtesis

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