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In Mtt 12:32-33, Jesus speaks about the Sin against the Holy Spirit. He elaborates that blasphemy against the Son of God will be forgiven, but that against the Holy Spirit will not be. Now, forgiveness of a sin presupposes a pardoning authority. Let us presume that God the Father is the pardoning authority for blasphemy against the Son. A doubt naturally arises as to who the pardoning authority for sin against the Holy Spirit is: the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit himself, or all the Holy Trinity put together ? My question therefore is : According to the Trinitarian and Non- Trinitarian precepts, who is the pardoning authority for Sin against the Holy Spirit.

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  • doesn't Mtt 12 state that they won't be forgiven? What pardoning authority are you referencing?
    – depperm
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 16:36
  • That is exactly the point. If one blasphemes against the One who conveys pardon, then there can be no pardon. Pardon is conveyed. It is not assumed. All spiritual gifts and all spiritual communications are via the Holy Spirit, whether they are from the Father or from the Son or from the Spirit, Himself. P.S. Is the question scoped for Trinitarian answers or Non-Trinitarian answers ? - I am still uncertain.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 0:02
  • Thanks, Nigel. I have since edited the tags. Inputs from both Trinitarian and Non-Trinitarian viewpoints are welcome. Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 1:22
  • There is a critical mistake in your quotation of Matt 12:32. It should have been against "the Son of man", not against "the Son of God". All translations is consistent. This is an important distinction, since Jesus is both human and God. Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 18:18
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    You really need to focus on one perspective, I would consider it too hard to get both bases covered here, and even within the domains of Trinitarianism and Non-Trinitariansm it takes a giant leap to say who the authority is for pardoning unforgivable sins; or even that the unforgivable sin is what Catholics say it is. So since this question really requires piecing together at least 3 theological precepts it definitely can't be answered as written; at least not by a human.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 18:59

2 Answers 2

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Since you commented "Both Trinitarian and Non-Trinitarian" viewpoints are welcome, I'll try to answer based on what I believe.

God is One

I am not exactly sure what a Trinitarian and a Non-Trinitarian believes, but I believe "God is one" according to the following verse.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deutronomy 6:4.

I also believe Jesus is the Lord according to the following verses

The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 1 Cor. 15:47

and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son. Zech 12:10b

Note in the above verse, the Lord of the old testament says "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced". But God the Father was not pierced, Jesus was. The Bible can't contradict itself. The only solution is that the Son and the Father are one and the same.

The following verses says Jesus is the Holy Spirit.

The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. 1 Cor 15:45

The following verse says the Lord is the Holy Spirit.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor 3:17

So, we can conclude God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.

Only God can forgive sins

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? Luke 5:21.

Unforgivable Sin

The verse you are referring to is

And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Matthew 12:32.

When Jesus spoke this verse, he means that the people can talk against him now, but they should turn back soon and when he sends the comforter as said in the below verse (after his death / resurrection), they can't blaspheme against Him and that will not be forgiven.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me John 15:26.

Sins can be only forgiven through the blood of Christ and if one doesn't accept Jesus (or the Holy Ghost), his/her sins cannot be forgiven.

So, to answer your question, for all sins, the only forgiving authority is God and none other. And it happens that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.

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First we need to know that this blasphemy actually was. In context the sin seems to be attributing God's miracles to Satan, rather than a direct personal affront to the Holy Spirit. NABRE for example says that Blasphemy against the Spirit is "the sin of attributing to Satan (Mt 12:24) what is the work of the Spirit of God (Mt 12:28)."

If this saying is taken literally, then the answer to the OP is "no one." There can be no forgiveness of such a sin, ever. But if the sin is merely attributing God's works to Satan, then Jesus may not have been issuing an absolute legal decree. St. Paul is only one example of a person who seems to have committed this sin and was later forgiven for it.

In the context of Jesus' other teachings about repentance and forgiveness, the saying may be seen as an exaggerated warning--like the example of his commandment to tear our your right eye if it causes you to sin (Matthew 5:29). For example:

  • John 16:23 - "whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."

  • Matthew 6:14 - If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.

  • Matthew 7:7 - Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

  • Matthew 18:18-19 I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.

Thus, if the sin in question is to attribute God's work to Satan, then Jesus' saying is not a strict legal decree by a stern warning in the form of a hyperbole. God can forgive it. Jesus can forgive it. The Spirit can forgive it. Even disciples, as church authorities, can forgive it.

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  • To the Coordinators: it is too early to conclude that the Question is not accepting answers . Nor does it fall in the category of opinion- based questions.. Please allow it to be open for views unless, of course, it is likely to attract blasphemous answers. Commented Jun 17, 2023 at 7:45
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan - I just voted to reopen at your request. Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 17:12
  • Thanks, Dan Fefferman. Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 0:33

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