Sin against the Holy Spirit

Matthew 12:32  (NRSV)

31 Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew 12:32: Why is there no mention of the Father in the passage about the sin against the Holy Spirit?

It is always helpful to consider the context of a Bible verse. For this passage it is important to note that Jesus’s words are a response to the Jewish leaders regarding the work of the Holy Spirit as a spiritual force of Satan and his demons, literally Beelzebub: “the lord of the flies”.

24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.”

GustaveDoreParadiseLostSatanProfile

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, a central figure in John Milton’s Paradise Lost c. 1866

In Jesus’s teaching the work of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart causes regeneration and salvation. If this only access route to salvation is blocked, by resisting his regenerative work as that of Satan and his demons, forgiveness cannot take place either. However, this question is not about the much contemplated sin against the Holy Ghost.

While both the Spirit and the Son are mentioned in Jesus’s response, this questioner wonders why the Father is absent from his reply.

As a preliminary remark, I would say that although the Trinitarian character of the one true God is evident from the Scriptures, not every passage in Scripture needs to be Trinitarian. Likewise not every Bible passage speaks against stealing and not every verse finds it necessary to talk about love. In some churches every sermon has to culminate into an altar call commercial about Jesus on the cross, while the traditional right answer to every question in Sunday school is of course ‘Jesus’. The Bible simply does not work that way. For instance, the book Esther does not mention God at all. So even if the Father were absent from this passage, the obvious answer is: so what?

Still, with a closer look at the context it becomes clear that God the Father is present after all. Earlier in his response, Jesus says:

27 If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

God the Father is the source of the Spirit, and through this Spirit it is that the Son is casting out demons. Although the word Father is not mentioned, the concept is clearly visible. It is the same God who is addressed by Jesus as ‘Father’ elsewhere in Matthew’s Gospel (6:9; 23:9).

So here you are: Father, Son and Spirit after all.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

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