QUESTION 38: OF THE NAME OF THE HOLY GHOST, AS GIFT
There now follows the consideration of the Gift; concerning which there
are two points of inquiry:
(1) Whether "Gift" can be a personal name?
(2) Whether it is the proper name of the Holy Ghost?
Article 1: Whether "Gift" is a personal name?
Objection 1: It would seem that "Gift" is not a personal name. For every
personal name imports a distinction in God. But the name of "Gift" does
not import a distinction in God; for Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 19):
that "the Holy Ghost is so given as God's Gift, that He also gives
Himself as God." Therefore "Gift" is not a personal name.
Objection 2: Further, no personal name belongs to the divine essence. But the
divine essence is the Gift which the Father gives to the Son, as Hilary
says (De Trin. ix). Therefore "Gift" is not a personal name.
Objection 3: Further, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv, 19) there is
no subjection nor service in the divine persons. But gift implies a
subjection both as regards him to whom it is given, and as regards him by
whom it is given. Therefore "Gift" is not a personal name.
Objection 4: Further, "Gift" imports relation to the creature, and it thus
seems to be said of God in time. But personal names are said of God from
eternity; as "Father," and "Son." Therefore "Gift" is not a personal name.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 19): "As the body of flesh
is nothing but flesh; so the gift of the Holy Ghost is nothing but the
Holy Ghost." But the Holy Ghost is a personal name; so also therefore is
I answer that, The word "gift" imports an aptitude for being given. And
what is given has an aptitude or relation both to the giver and to that
to which it is given. For it would not be given by anyone, unless it was
his to give; and it is given to someone to be his. Now a divine person is
said to belong to another, either by origin, as the Son belongs to the
Father; or as possessed by another. But we are said to possess what we
can freely use or enjoy as we please: and in this way a divine person
cannot be possessed, except by a rational creature united to God. Other
creatures can be moved by a divine person, not, however, in such a way as
to be able to enjoy the divine person, and to use the effect thereof. The
rational creature does sometimes attain thereto; as when it is made
partaker of the divine Word and of the Love proceeding, so as freely to
know God truly and to love God rightly. Hence the rational creature alone
can possess the divine person. Nevertheless in order that it may possess
Him in this manner, its own power avails nothing: hence this must be
given it from above; for that is said to be given to us which we have
from another source. Thus a divine person can "be given," and can be a
Reply to Objection 1: The name "Gift" imports a personal distinction , in so far
as gift imports something belonging to another through its origin.
Nevertheless, the Holy Ghost gives Himself, inasmuch as He is His own,
and can use or rather enjoy Himself; as also a free man belongs to
himself. And as Augustine says (In Joan. Tract. xxix): "What is more
yours than yourself?" Or we might say, and more fittingly, that a gift
must belong in a way to the giver. But the phrase, "this is this one's,"
can be understood in several senses. In one way it means identity, as
Augustine says (In Joan. Tract. xxix); and in that sense "gift" is the
same as "the giver," but not the same as the one to whom it is given. The
Holy Ghost gives Himself in that sense. In another sense, a thing is
another's as a possession, or as a slave; and in that sense gift is
essentially distinct from the giver; and the gift of God so taken is a
created thing. In a third sense "this is this one's" through its origin
only; and in this sense the Son is the Father's; and the Holy Ghost
belongs to both. Therefore, so far as gift in this way signifies the
possession of the giver, it is personally distinguished from the giver,
and is a personal name.
Reply to Objection 2: The divine essence is the Father's gift in the first sense,
as being the Father's by way of identity.
Reply to Objection 3: Gift as a personal name in God does not imply subjection,
but only origin, as regards the giver; but as regards the one to whom it
is given, it implies a free use, or enjoyment, as above explained.
Reply to Objection 4: Gift is not so called from being actually given, but from
its aptitude to be given. Hence the divine person is called Gift from
eternity, although He is given in time. Nor does it follow that it is an
essential name because it imports relation to the creature; but that it
includes something essential in its meaning; as the essence is included
in the idea of person, as stated above (Question , Article ).
Article 2: Whether "Gift" is the proper name of the Holy Ghost?
Objection 1: It would seem that Gift is not the proper name of the Holy Ghost.
For the name Gift comes from being given. But, as Is. 9:16 says: "A Son
is give to us." Therefore to be Gift belongs to the Son, as well as to
the Holy Ghost.
Objection 2: Further, every proper name of a person signifies a property. But
this word Gift does not signify a property of the Holy Ghost. Therefore
Gift is not a proper name of the Holy Ghost.
Objection 3: Further, the Holy Ghost can be called the spirit of a man,
whereas He cannot be called the gift of any man, but "God's Gift" only.
Therefore Gift is not the proper name of the Holy Ghost.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 20): "As 'to be born' is,
for the Son, to be from the Father, so, for the Holy Ghost, 'to be the
Gift of God' is to proceed from Father and Son." But the Holy Ghost
receives His proper name from the fact that He proceeds from Father and
Son. Therefore Gift is the proper name of the Holy Ghost.
I answer that, Gift, taken personally in God, is the proper name of the
In proof of this we must know that a gift is properly an unreturnable
giving, as Aristotle says (Topic. iv, 4)---i.e. a thing which is not
given with the intention of a return---and it thus contains the idea of a
gratuitous donation. Now, the reason of donation being gratuitous is
love; since therefore do we give something to anyone gratuitously
forasmuch as we wish him well. So what we first give him is the love
whereby we wish him well. Hence it is manifest that love has the nature
of a first gift, through which all free gifts are given. So since the
Holy Ghost proceeds as love, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ),
He proceeds as the first gift. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 24):
"By the gift, which is the Holy Ghost, many particular gifts are
portioned out to the members of Christ."
Reply to Objection 1: As the Son is properly called the Image because He proceeds
by way of a word, whose nature it is to be the similitude of its
principle, although the Holy Ghost also is like to the Father; so also,
because the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father as love, He is properly
called Gift, although the Son, too, is given. For that the Son is given
is from the Father's love, according to the words, "God so loved the
world, as to give His only begotten Son" (Jn. 3:16).
Reply to Objection 2: The name Gift involves the idea of belonging to the Giver
through its origin; and thus it imports the property of the origin of the
Holy Ghost---that is, His procession.
Reply to Objection 3: Before a gift is given, it belongs only to the giver; but
when it is given, it is his to whom it is given. Therefore, because
"Gift" does not import the actual giving, it cannot be called a gift of
man, but the Gift of God giving. When, however, it has been given, then
it is the spirit of man, or a gift bestowed on man.