Bavinck: Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

3 June 2022 by Wes Bredenhof

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is something I’ve been asked about so many times, both in catechism classes and other contexts. Early in my ministry I preached on Mark 3:22-27 and I’m glad that I did. Lately I’ve been reading through volume 3 of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics and I really appreciate his description of this sin:

The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, therefore, does not simply consist in unbelief, nor in resisting and grieving the Holy Spirit in general, nor in denying the personality or deity of the Holy Spirit, nor in sinning against better knowledge and to the very end without qualification. Nor is it a sin solely against the law, but also a sin specifically against the gospel, and that against the gospel in its clearest manifestation. There is much, therefore, that precedes it: objectively, a revelation of God’s grace in Christ, the nearness of his kingdom, a powerful working of the Holy Spirit; and subjectively, an illumination and conviction of the mind so intense and powerful that one cannot deny the truth of God and has to acknowledge it as being divine. In this case it does not itself consist in doubt toward or the denial of that truth, but in a denial that contradicts the conviction of the mind, the illumination of the conscience, and the intuitions of the heart. It then consists in a conscious and deliberate attribution of what has been clearly perceived as God’s work to the influence and activity of Satan, that is, in a deliberate blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, a defiant declaration that the Holy Spirit is the spirit from the abyss, that the truth is a lie, that Christ is Satan himself. Its motivation, then, is conscious and intentional hatred against God and what is recognized as divine; its essence is sin in its ultimate manifestation, the complete and consummate revolution, putting God in the place of Satan and Satan in the place of God.

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics (vol. 3), page 156