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Acts 2:17 (ESV):

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;

Someone recently brought up this verse (among others) in an answer that argues against the personhood of the Holy Spirit. To be honest, I don't find the answer's argument particularly that convincing, given that there is no explicit deductive argument connecting the dots in a logical manner. Instead, the answer attempts to make its case by way of posing rhetorical questions, in the hope that they are too hard to be answered.

Question: How can the Holy Spirit simultaneously be a person and "pourable"? Are the two attributes compatible or incompatible?

To clarify: I'm interested in answers that either (1) show logically how 'pourability' precludes 'personhood' or (2) show how both attributes are perfectly compatible.


Related questions:

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  • Because the Spirit is not a physical person possessing a solid material body ? Because spirit (hence, respiration) literally means breath, which can be poured (exhaled) ? – Lucian May 5 at 0:30
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This argument about the Holy Spirit being "pourable" is specious because it is based on an idiom with which we are unfamiliar. Note the following that discusses other people being "poured out":

  • Lam 2:19 - Arise, cry out in the night from the first watch of the night. Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.
  • Ps 22;14 - I [= David] am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax; it melts away within me.
  • Job 30:16 - And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction grip me.
  • Phil 2:17 - But even if I [= Paul] am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
  • 2 Tim 4:6 - For I [= Paul] am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

By the argument of the OP, if the the Holy Spirit is impersonal because He can be poured out, then Paul, David and job are impersonal.

Being poured out is an allusion to one of the rituals in the ancient Israelite temple service.

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What is the Spirit of God, which God will pour out? How many are called "Spirits of God"?

Rev. 5:6 NKJV
6And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

How many are called "Spirits of God"? John said, "seven".

What are the seven Spirits of God?

Isa. 11:2 NKJV
2The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

What are the seven Spirits of God? Isaiah said, "The Spirit of the LORD". And what else? Isaiah said, "wisdom." What else? Isaiah said, "understanding". What else? Isaiah said, "counsel". What else? Isaiah said, "might". And? Isaiah said, "knowledge". And lastly? Isaiah said, "fear of the LORD". Each one is the Holy Spirit.

Do these each refer to persons? What is the Holy Spirit?

Luke 1:35 NKJV
35And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
(Holy Bible: New King James Version. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.)

What is the Holy Spirit? Gabriel said, "the power of the Highest". 

Hence, the Holy Spirit is attributed to seven Spirits of God, which are the power of God, and does not refer to a literal person. If we are going to consider that the Holy Spirit is a person, then each of the seven Spirits of God should be counted as persons.

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  • I appreciate the edit and removed the down-vote. I would still like to see an explicit connection to Acts 2:17 though. Are you saying that the Holy Spirit is a substance composed of seven discrete parts? How is that compatible with the Spirit of God being pourable? How do you make sense of 'pourability' if the Holy Spirit consists of seven discrete parts? – Spirit Realm Investigator Apr 27 at 18:53
  • I'll try to make an explicit connection to Acts 2:17. For now, in terms of being composed of seven parts, it's more so divided into seven kinds of powers, which can be distributed as needed, separately or all at once, as is the case of our Lord Jesus (Rev. 3:1). – carsonfel Apr 27 at 19:20
  • How does one then explain 2 Samuel 23? "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue." This text is referring to the Spirit as a person! This is but one of many texts that describe the Holy spirit as a being within the Godhead. – Adam Apr 27 at 20:06
  • Then there is Ezekiel 37 "The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley." – Adam Apr 27 at 20:10
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    And earlier...Ezekiel ch 3 "Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: "Go, shut yourself inside your house." – Adam Apr 27 at 20:17

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