Mark 13:32 and the “Omniscience” of the Holy Spirit
Originally Posted on the “Quran and Bible Blog”
Catholic apologist and blog contributor Denis Giron has published a short article in which he attempts to defend the belief in the “omniscience” of the “Holy Spirit”. This is understandable, since for Christians, the “Holy Spirit” is one of the 3 “persons” of the trinity, and is part of the triune Godhead. Specifically, Giron looks at Mark 13:32, an immensely important passage which has been the subject of debates regarding the alleged divinity of Jesus (peace be upon him). But a less discussed subject, and which is probably even more important, is how Mark 13:32 applies to the “Holy Spirit”. Here is the verse:
“[b]ut about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
We can see why this verse is so controversial with regards to the alleged divinity of Jesus, since it clearly states that the “son” does not know when the “hour” will occur. Christians have tried to deny this significance by appealing to the alleged “two natures” of Jesus (diophysitism). Hence, they argue that only the “human” nature of Jesus did not know when the hour will occur, but his “divine” nature does. Whether this argument works or not is a different topic altogether, but suffice it to say that it is a weak argument, and Christians are only anachronistically placing the later “two natures” concept into the text.
For the present topic, the verse is also significant with regards to the “Holy Spirit”, and I must admit that I never thought of it along those lines. But now that the Christians have brought it, it is a good topic to discuss, and one which I think makes the problem worse for trinitarians. If “no one” knows when the hour will come “but only the Father”, then it implies that even the “Holy Spirit” does not know of its coming. Giron attempts to avoid this implication by arguing about the meaning of the phrase “no one”. He argues rather persuasively that the Greek phrase οὐδεὶς οἶδεν (nobody/no one knows) does not necessarily have to mean literally “no one”. He points to other Greek writings, such as Dinarchus’ “Against Demosthenes”, where it is clear that the meaning does not necessarily include “everyone” under the sun, and thus when it is used in Mark 13:32, it does not mean that the “Holy Spirit” also does not “know” when the hour will come. It certainly sounds plausible. But the problem is that Giron has to explain the ending of the verse, because it clearly clarifies the “no one knows” part by saying “but the Father”. In other words, literally “no one knows” about the hour EXCEPT the Father. Based on this, it follows that the “Holy Spirit” is also NOT omniscient, just like the angels and the “Son”. This creates an even bigger problem for Christians, since they cannot fall back on the “two natures” argument for the Holy Spirit. So while Giron’s discussion of the Greek is admirable, it is misplaced. He needs to explain how the phrase “but the Father” somehow also includes the “Holy Spirit”.
 Another example of the Holy Spirit’s lack of omniscience can be seen in Matthew 11:27:
“[a]ll things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Here again, we are told that “no one” knows the Father or the Son, and then clarifies it by adding “except” the Son (who knows the Father) and the Father (who knows the Son), respectively. The key word is “except”. Why would the “Holy Spirit” be included when it is not mentioned at all?