Persons have emotions. Even unborn babies respond emotionally to certain stimuli. But when we think of the Holy Spirit we don’t think of a person, we think of a force or energy. This is largely because, in our minds, the Spirit does not have emotion.
We don’t think the Spirit has emotions for two reasons. First, on a popular level, we simply do not read our Bible’s close enough. Our preconceptions of the Spirit as a force and shadowy ghost color our ability to see those texts which speak of the Spirit’s emotion. Second, on a more academic level, Classical theism has, since Augustine, argued that God does not really have emotions. That is, all those texts which speak of God being angry, or happy, or regretful are anthropopathic: primarily human passions or emotions cast on God. God does not really feel anger, in Classical theism, “anger” is just a human way of explaining certain theological realities.
This is largely because in Classical theism God cannot change. Having a vast array of emotions leaves open the possibility of changing from one to another. God is perfect and any change from perfection is imperfection. Since emotions require change, this would necessitate that God moves about in various levels of imperfection.
To me, this betrays more of a Platonic view of perfection than a biblical view of perfection. For Plato, for everything on earth there was a perfect heavenly reality. The earthly things could change, fade, improve or destruct, but the heavenly reality would remain perfectly changeless. Augustine, taking this idea, placed it upon God – God, the ultimate heavenly being, cannot change. And if God cannot change, then God cannot feel real emotion b/c that necessitates change.
The biblical view of God, one that is more Hebraic than Greek, is that God is not Immutable (that is unchanging). Rather God can change and still be perfect. Perfection does not require changelessness according to the Bible and genuine personhood necessitates emotion and thus, change.
There are many Scriptures that people use to prove that God does not change. They are all similar to “God is the same yesterday, today and forever.” What these texts really demonstrate, however, is not that God doesn’t change or have emotion, but that, from a faithfulness perspective, God will honor His covenants. When he makes a promise, you can be guaranteed that He will keep it. His character does not change, even if His emotions do.
That said, allowing God to have emotions is important in this discussion because for us to recover a notion of the Spirit as a living person, we must recover the Spirit’s emotions.
Just a quick list of the Spirit’s emotions should suffice for now:
Deep Agony: Ephesians 4:25-32. Compare with Christ in Matt. 26:37, where the same word is employed to describe Christ’s agony during the Passion.
Intense Desire/Jealousy: James 4:5. This is also Paul’s word for a longing to see someone whom he has been separated from.
Groaning that demonstrates solidarity with out weaknesses: Romans 8:26
Insult or outraged: Hebrews 10:29. The word here is a hapaxlegomena, so the exactly meaning is ambiguous. But either translation communicates emotion.
Ability to participate in loving union/fellowship: Philippians 2:1.
Desires that war against the flesh: Galatians 5:17
Love: Romans 15:30.
Let us not shackle the Holy Spirit by our theological presuppositions or our inattention to biblical texts. Viewed in light of good biblical exegesis, the Spirit is a person who expressed genuine emotion. I know our “assumptions about what is ‘proper’ for the divine nature to be like can make it difficult for us to take seriously what God’s nature is like as revealed in the gospel.” But let us make an effort to see Spirit as revealed in Scripture: emotions, change and all.
 I’m not bashing Greek philosophy here! I’m just critiquing it. There are many great ideas in Christian theology (such as the Trinity) that we have formulated using the tools of Greek philosophy.
 Clark H. Pinnock, Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1996), 31.