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For other uses, see Holy Spirit (disambiguation).
Depiction of the Christian Holy Spirit as a dove, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in the apse of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is a term found in English translations of the Bible, but understood differently among the Abrahamic religions.[1][2]


Main article: Holy Spirit (Judaism)

The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, "holy spirit" also transliterated ruaḥ ha-qodesh) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH (רוח יהוה). It literally means "the spirit of holiness" or "the spirit of the holy place". The Hebrew terms ruaḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ), and ruaḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ) also occur (when a possessive suffix is added the definite article is dropped). The "Holy Spirit" in Judaism generally refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It also refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.[3]


A depiction of the Trinity consisting of God the Holy Spirit along with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus Christ)

For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, from Old English gast, "spirit") is the third divine person of the Trinity: the "Triune God" manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each person itself being God.[4][5][6]


Main article: Holy Spirit (Islam)

The Holy Spirit (Arabic: الروح القدس al-Ruh al-Quddus, "the-Spirit the-Holy") is mentioned a number of times in the Qur'an, where it acts as an agent of divine action or communication. The Muslim interpretation of the Holy Spirit is generally consistent with other interpretations based upon the Old and the New Testaments. On the basis of narrations in certain Hadith some Muslims identify it with the angel Gabriel (Arabic Jibreel). The Spirit (الروح al-Ruh, without the adjective "holy" or "exalted") is described, among other things, as the creative spirit from God by which God enlivened Adam, and which inspired in various ways God's messengers, his prophets, and his angels, including Jesus and Abraham. The belief in a "Holy Trinity", according to the Qur'an, is forbidden and deemed to be blasphemy. The same prohibition applies to any idea of the duality of God (Allah).[7][8] Though grammatical gender has no bearing on actual gender in non-personal nouns, the term "Holy Spirit" translates in and is used in the masculine form throughout the Qur'an.

Bahá'í Faith[edit]

Main article: Maid of Heaven

The Bahá'í Faith has the concept of the Most Great Spirit, seen as the bounty of God.[9] It is usually used to describe the descent of the Spirit of God upon the messengers/prophets of God who include, among others, Jesus, Muhammad and Bahá'u'lláh.[10]

In Bahá'í belief, the Holy Spirit is the conduit through which the wisdom of God becomes directly associated with his messenger, and it has been described variously in different religions such as the burning bush to Moses, the sacred fire to Zoroaster, the dove to Jesus, the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, and the maid of heaven to Bahá'u'lláh.[11] The Bahá'í view rejects the idea that the Holy Spirit is a partner to God in the Godhead, but rather is the pure essence of God's attributes.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John R. Levison The Spirit in First-Century Judaism 2002 p65 "Relevant Milieux : Israelite Literature : The expression, holy spirit, occurs in the Hebrew Bible only in Isa 63:10-11 and Ps 51:13. In Isaiah 63, the spirit acts within the corporate experience of Israel…"
  2. ^ Emir Fethi Caner, Ergun Mehmet Caner. More than a prophet: an insider's response to Muslim beliefs about Jesus and Christianity ISBN 9780825424014 2003 p43. In Surah al-Nahl (16:102), the text is even more explicit: Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe and as a Guide and glad tidings to Muslims."
  3. ^ Alan Unterman and Rivka Horowitz,Ruah ha-Kodesh, Encyclopedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition, Jerusalem: Judaica Multimedia/Keter, 1997).
  4. ^ Millard J. Erickson (1992). Introducing Christian Doctrine. Baker Book House. p. 103. 
  5. ^ T C Hammond; Revised and edited by David F Wright (1968). In Understanding be Men:A Handbook of Christian Doctrine. (sixth ed.). Inter-Varsity Press. pp. 54–56 and 128–131. 
  6. ^ Grudem, Wayne A. 1994. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Page 226.
  7. ^ Griffith, Sidney H. Holy Spirit, Encyclopaedia of the Quran.
  8. ^ Thomas Patrick Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam, p. 605.
  9. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (1981) [1904-06]. "The Holy Spirit". Some Answered Questions. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 108–109. ISBN 0-87743-190-6. 
  10. ^ Taherzadeh, Adib (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853-63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 10. ISBN 0-85398-270-8. 
  11. ^ Abdo, Lil (1994). "Female Representations of the Holy Spirit in Bahá'í and Christian writings and their implications for gender roles". Bahá'í Studies Review 4 (1). 
  12. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (1981) [1904-06]. "The Trinity". Some Answered Questions. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 113–115. ISBN 0-87743-190-6. 

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