IS THE HOLY SPIRIT GOD?

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The Holy Catholic Church infallibly teaches that “The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature […] Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone, […] but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son. The Creed of the Church from the Council of Constantinople confesses: ‘With the Father and the Son, He is worshipped and glorified'” (CCC 254). But, is the Holy Spirit really God according to the Holy Bible?

The sacred Scripture speaks repeatedly of the Holy Spirit, known also as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. This truth is revealed by God Himself through Paul.

Romans 8:9 — “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

NOTE that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ have been spoken interchangeably by Paul. In the context of the passage, the apostle said that one lives in Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in him but he doesn’t belong to Christ if he doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ. So clear indeed. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed continues: “And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; Who proceeds from the Father and the Son […]”

Below are further biblical evidences that the Holy Spirit is a Person and indeed God:

The Attributes of God

Holiness, eternality, omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience are attributes of God’s essence, that is, characteristic of the nature of divine existence. The Holy Spirit has the basic attributes of God.

The Spirit of God is Holy

Matthew 12:32 — “Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.”

Hebrew 10:29 — “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

NOTE that the Spirit is so holy that blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven, although blasphemy against Jesus could be. Insulting the Spirit is just as sinful as trampling the Son of God under foot. This indicates that the Spirit is inherently holy, holy in essence, rather than having an assigned or secondary holiness such as the temple had.

The Holy Spirit is Eternal

John 14:16 — “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”

Hebrew 9:14 — “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

NOTE: The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will be with us forever. The Spirit is eternal.

The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent

Psalm 139:7-8 — “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

NOTE: The Spirit of God, Whom David used as a synonym for the presence of God Himself, is in heaven and in sheol (verse 8), in the east and in the west (verse 9). The Spirit of God can be said to be poured out on someone, to fill a person, or to descend — yet without implying that the Spirit has moved away from or vacated some other place.

The Holy Spirit is Omnipotent

Job 33:4 — “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Psalm 104:30 — “You send forth your Spirit, they are created: and you renew the face of the earth.”

NOTE: The works that God does, such as creation, are also ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:28 — “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

NOTE: The miracles of Jesus Christ were done “by the Spirit of God”.

Romans 15:18-19 — “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”

NOTE: In Paul’s ministry, the work that “Christ has accomplished” was done “through the power of the Spirit of God.”

The Holy Spirit is Omniscient

1 Corintians 2:10 — “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”

NOTE: “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God,” Paul said. The Spirit of God “knows the thoughts of God” (verse 11). The Spirit therefore knows all things, and is able to teach all things (cf. John 14:26).

Equality with God the Father and the Son

Several biblical passages discuss the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as equal Persons.

The Holy Spirit in Triadic Formulas

1 Corintians 12:4-6 — “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

NOTE: In a discussion of spiritual gifts, Paul puts the Spirit, the Lord, and God in grammatically parallel constructions.

2 Corinthians 13:14 — “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

1 Peter 1:2 — “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

NOTE: Paul closed and Peter opened their respective letters with a three-part prayer putting the Lord Jesus Christ, God, and Holy Spirit is equality.

Matthew 28:19 — “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

NOTE: The baptismal formula has a stronger implication of unity. The Father, Son, and Spirit share a common name, indicating common essence and equality. This verse indicates both plurality and unity. Three names are given, but all three share one name. If the Holy Spirit is not God and equal with the Father, then why did Christ place the Holy Spirit in the baptismal formula? Why would Christ ask His disciples to baptize in the name of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is indeed God.

The Identity of the Holy Spirit as God

Acts 5:3-4 — “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.'”

NOTE: The passage (v.3) clearly shows that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit; and verse 4 says that Ananias lied to God. This indicates that “the Holy Spirit” and “God” are interchangeable and thus that the Holy Spirit is God. Some people try to explain this by saying that Ananias lied to God only indirectly, simply because the Holy Spirit represented God. This interpretation might be grammatically possible, but it would still imply that the Holy Spirit is personal, for one does not “lie” to an impersonal power. Moreover, Peter told Ananias that he lied not to humans, but to God. The force of the passage is that Ananias has lied not merely to God’s representatives, but to God Himself, and the Holy Spirit is God to whom Ananias lied.

1 Corithians 3:16, 6:19 — “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? … Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

NOTE: Christians are not only temples of God, they are also temples of the Holy Spirit; the two expressions mean the same thing. A temple is a habitation for a deity, not a habitation for an impersonal power. When Paul writes “temple of the Holy Spirit,” he implies that the Holy Spirit is God.

Romans 8:11 — “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

NOTE: The Holy Spirit is identified as God Who raised Jesus from the dead.

ANOTHER type of verbal equation between God and the Holy Spirit is seen in Acts 13:2: “The Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Here, the Holy Spirit speaks on behalf of God, as God. In the same way, Hebrews 3:7-11 tells us that the Holy Spirit says the Israelites “tested and tried me”; the Holy Spirit says that “I was angry…. They shall never enter my rest.” The Holy Spirit is equated with the God of the Israelites. Hebrews 10:15-17 also equates the Spirit and the Lord who makes the new covenant. The Spirit who inspired the prophets is God. This is the work of God the Holy Spirit.

Divine Works of the Holy Spirit

The anti-Trinitarian sects argued that the Holy Spirit is not God because He is only a force, an energy, or one of the seven spirits mentioned in the book of Revelation. But is it true? Below are the biblical evidences that the Holy Spirit does the works of God.

The Holy Spirit creates:

Job 33:4 — “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Psalm 104:30 — “You send your Spirit and they are created and you renew the face of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit expels demons:

Matthew 12:28 — “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

The Holy Spirit begets:

Matthew 1:20 — “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'”

NOTE: The Spirit begot the Son of God (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35), and the full divinity of the Son (Colossians 1:19) implies the full divinity of the Begetter.

The Holy Spirit gives life:

John 6:63 — “The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

The Holy Spirit lives in God’s children:

Ephesians 2:22 — “In whom you also are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Romans 8:11 — “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

NOTE: The Holy Spirit is the way God lives in His children. The Spirit is not a representative or a power that lives in His people — but He is God Himself.

The Holy Spirit sanctifies:

Romans 15:16 — “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Peter 1:2 — “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

2 Thessalonians 2:13 — “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”

NOTE: The Holy Spirit makes people holy. Through His sanctifying work, people are saved.

THE WORKS of the Holy Spirit are the works of God. Whatever the Holy Spirit says or does, God is saying or doing. The Holy Spirit is indeed a Person of the Triune God; and He is God Himself.

The Person of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit has mind and will, can speak and be spoken to, and acts and intercedes for. All these indicate that the Holy Spirit is a Person or Hypostasis in the same sense that the Father and Son are. Below are the biblical proof texts concerning the existence of the Holy Spirit as a Person and not a force, or energy:

The Holy Spirit lives:

Romans 8:11 — “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

The Holy Spirit knows:

1 Corinthians 2:11 — “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

Romans 8:27 — “and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

The Holy Spirit speaks:

Acts 8:29, 10:19, 11:12 — “The Holy Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and walk along beside the carriage […] Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, ‘Three men have come looking for you’ […] The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us.”

1 Timothy 4:11 — “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”

Hebrews 3:7 — “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice,'”

Acts 13:2 — “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'”

The Holy Spirit interacts:

Acts 5:3 — “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”

Acts 5:9 — “Peter said to her, ‘How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.'”

Hebrew 10:29 — “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

Matthew 12:31 — “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven–except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.”

Romans 8:14 — “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

John 16:7-8 — “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

Romans 8:26 — “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;”

Acts 13:2 — “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'”

Acts 20:28 — “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.”

Ephesians 4:30 — “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

NOTE: The Holy Spirit is a real Person because He may be lied to, which indicates that the Spirit may be spoken to. He may be tested, insulted or blasphemed, which implies personal status. He also guides, convicts, intercedes, calls, and commissions. Lastly, only a person can be vexed or grieved.

The Holy Spirit advocates:

John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:8, 16:13-14 — “And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever […] But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you […] But I will send you the Advocate–the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me […] And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment […] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”

NOTE: Jesus called the Holy Spirit the parakletos — the Comforter, Advocate or Counselor. The Paraclete is teaching, testifying, convicting, guiding and making truth known. One cannot “teach” and “testifies” if one does not have the intellectual powers unique to rational persons that enable one to do so. The Holy Spirit is clearly revealed to be a Person.

INDEED, the Holy Spirit is a Person, and that He is God Himself. In fact, the use of personal pronouns in relation to the Holy Spirit in Scripture is sufficiently frequent to justify a conclusion that He is a Person. The Greek of the New Testament is quite explicit in confirming the personality of the Holy Spirit by use of the pronouns. As πνεῦμα is neuter, it would naturally take neuter pronouns to have grammatical agreement. In several instances, however, the masculine pronouns are found (John 15:26; 16:13, 14). The use of the masculine form, ἐκεῖνος, makes the Personality of the Holy Spirit clearly the intent of the sacred authors when writing about the Him. Therefore, those who rejected the Divinity of the Holy Spirit have committed blasphemy against Him — a sin that is unforgivable in this world and the next (cf. Matthew 12:32).

⚫ Is Jesus Christ Lord? Yes, He is (cf. Philippians 2:11).
⚫ Is the Lord God? Yes, indeed (cf. Psalm 100:3).
⚫ But how about the Holy Spirit? He is undoubtedly the Lord, our God (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:17).

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Does it contradict to the truth that there is only one Lord and one God? (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4; Ephesians 4:5)? Of course not. All the three of them possess the fullness of Lordship yet they are not three Lords but one Lord, not three gods but one God (CCC 253). As the Catechism continues: “The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God […] When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him” (CCC 689).

Come, Holy Spirit!

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