The Deity of the Holy Spirit

In assessing the deity of the Holy Spirit, we need to understand that this is a cumulative case. The Holy Spirit is ascribed with the attributes of God, equated with God, and does work that only God does. Some of the attributes that are given to the Spirit are listed as holiness, eternality, omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience. In regards to holiness, we cannot claim that the Spirit is at work in us to make us holy if the Spirit itself is not holy like God is holy. In this, we know that the Spirit cannot be secondarily holy – or made holy by God, like the consecrated instruments used in the Tabernacle – because no secondarily holy entity can truly make someone else holy. The indwelling of the Spirit purifies us (footnote reference to Romans 15:16). That kind of sanctification cannot come from a secondary holiness, but instead by the holiness of God alone.

We find in Romans 5:5 that God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Once again, how do you have God pouring out His love through a secondary source? The problem of a consecrated source is that it is only a reflection. Think of the image you see in a mirror. That image might have the appearance of you, but it is not you. That image in the mirror cannot possibly express to someone the inner fabric of your heart. How can the Holy Spirit possibly express the depths of God’s love without being God? How can we read in Romans 14:17 that the Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit if the Holy Spirit is only the “essence” of God, but is not the fullness of God? This writing might impart to you knowledge and depth of spiritual blessing, but this writing does not impart to you the same depth and significance that you would experience by living with me daily.

This goes into our second point that the Spirit is equated with God numerous times. Some of these are called triadic formulas. For example, in discussion of the spiritual gifts, Paul puts the Spirit, the Lord, and God in grammatically parallel constructions (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). We find Paul close 1 Corinthians similarly, by referencing all three parts of the Godhead (1 Corinthians 13:14). Peter opens his first epistle by referencing all three aspects of the trinity (1 Peter 1:2). While some triadic formulas put unequal elements in parallel construction (Ephesians 4:5), one of the strongest actually puts immense equality on the three persons of the trinity: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). This last quote does not say in the names, but rather in the όνομα – singular noun number.

There are also word interchanges. What I mean by this is explained by the example of Acts 5:3. Peter tells Ananias that he did not lie to men, but instead to the Holy Spirit. We find in the very next verse that Peter says that he lied to God. Here we see that ‘Holy Spirit’ and ‘God’ are interchangeable, and thus the Holy Spirit is God. While some have tried to grammatically state that the Holy Spirit here is only God’s representative, this falls incredibly short of the power of the context. The grammar might allow one to interject that maybe the Holy Spirit is only a representative of God, but that in no way overcomes the context that God killed the man because he lied to God. If the man was simply killed for lying to God’s representatives, then why would Peter feel the need to say that he did not lie to men? Were they not God’s representatives? No, the point is that the Holy Spirit is God, and not a mere representative.

Another interchange is in the book of 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, we’re told that we are God’s temple. Now, this is interesting, because we all have the verse in chapter 6 memorized that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The two expressions mean the same thing. Thus, we conclude that to be the temple of the Holy Spirit is to be the temple of God. This is almost a double point to make, because temples are for deity, and not simply for a representative of deity. Not only do we find that the Holy Spirit is being called God, but the fact that the Holy Spirit is being called God’s temple is an extra push toward the conclusion that the Spirit is indeed God.

Lastly, we also find in the book of Hebrews that the Holy Spirit is being equated with God. In Hebrews 3:7-11, we find that the Holy Spirit says that the Israelites “tested and tried me”, and that “I was angry… they shall never enter my rest.” Now, this cannot be simply tossed aside as the Holy Spirit speaking on God’s behalf. It is the Holy Spirit that uses these personal pronouns “me” and “I”. The rebellion of Israel in the wilderness with Moses was apparently rebellion against the Holy Spirit. Yet, what is important to note is that their rebellion was obviously against God – thus equating the Holy Spirit as God.

We come to our final point: the Holy Spirit does the work that only God does. For example, we find in Genesis 1:2 that the Holy Spirit was a part of the creation. Job 33:4 attributes the creation of man to the Spirit of God. We find another “proof text” that the Spirit creates in Psalm 104:30, “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth”. It is the divine authority, and God’s authority and power alone to be able to create. We don’t attribute any of the creation week to the creation. God alone is the source of power and direction. Alongside of the creation, we can also add that the Holy Spirit expelled demons (Matthew 12:28).

Secondly, the Holy Spirit begot the Son of God. Once again, this is an argument of divine authority and power. Who else, or what else, would have the authority or power to birth the Son of God? Yet, in Matthew 1:20 we read, “But after he had considered this, an angels 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.’” Paralleled to that we have Luke 1:35, “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” Now, the full divinity of the Son implies the full divinity of the Begetter. We also read in John 1:12 that believers are “begotten” of God, but later in John we read about the birth of the Spirit (John 3:5).

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is the way that God lives within His children. We read in Ephesians 2:22, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:24). The Holy Spirit lives in us (Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 3:16), and because the Spirit lives within us, we can say that God lives in us. That can only be said because the Holy Spirit is God.

Earlier I mentioned how the Spirit makes the person holy, or sanctifies the believer. John 3:5 tells us that the Holy Spirit is what enables men to enter the Kingdom of God. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 tells us that we are saved “through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit”. Once again, these are things that can only be attributed to God. The deity of the Holy Spirit is thus confirmed. Those who would desire to speak of “oneness” or “unity” that neglects the deity of Jesus or the deity of the Holy Spirit speak something contrary to Scripture. This isn’t the opinion of a man, but the overwhelming testimony of the Bible. From start to finish we find that the ideology of triunity is completely in keeping with the revelation given. While the Old Testament might not firmly establish the doctrine of the trinity, it does not out right refute it either.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s