Pneumatology Series: The Holy Spirit's Deity



The Holy Spirit’s Deity



The Bible also teaches that the Holy Spirit is God. He is the third person of the Trinity and, therefore, equal in every way to the Son and the Father. What are scriptural evidences for the Holy Spirit’s deity?


The Holy Spirit Is Called God


The Bible calls the Holy Spirit, “God,” in many passages. For example, in Acts 5:3-4, when Peter confronted Ananias about lying to God, he called the Holy Spirit, “God.” The text says:


But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!”


By lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias was lying to God.


Interchangeability of the Names Holy Spirit and God


Further evidence for the Holy Spirit’s deity is seen in how Scripture often uses the names Holy Spirit and God interchangeably. For example, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 6:19 describe believers as being God’s temple and the temple of the Holy Spirit.


Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.


Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?


Association of Equality with Jesus and God


Another evidence of the Spirit’s deity is his continual association with God the Father and God the Son on an equal basis. A great example of this is in the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:19, Christ said: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Likewise, 2 Corinthians 13:13 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Also, in 1 Peter 1:1-2, God, Jesus, and the Spirit are put on an equal basis in the introductory blessing of the letter:


From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!


The fact that the Holy Spirit is associated with the Father and Son on an equal basis is proof of the Spirit’s deity.


The Holy Spirit Has Divine Attributes


Another evidence of the Spirit’s deity is the fact that the Holy Spirit has divine attributes. He is eternal. Hebrews 9:14 calls him the “eternal Spirit.” Likewise, Deuteronomy 33:27 calls God “the everlasting God.” The Holy Spirit is omnipotent. In Psalm 104:30 (ESV), the author ascribes the creation of animals to the Holy Spirit. The Psalmist said, “When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” Even Christ said that he cast out demons through the power of the Spirit (Matt 12:28) and called for the disciples to wait to receive the Spirit’s power for ministry (Acts 1:8). Though these verses do not clearly say the Spirit is omnipotent, they demonstrate that the Spirit has the same power as God, who also is attributed with creation (Gen 1, John 1:1-3), empowering his disciples (Phil 2:11-12, 2 Cor 12:9), and other great works. In Matthew 19:26 (ESV), Christ said this about God, “…with God all things are possible.” The Holy Spirit is also omniscient—all-knowing. As considered earlier, 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 says the Spirit searches the deep things of God and knows the thoughts of God. This would make the Spirit all-knowing because God is all-knowing (1 John 3:20). The Spirit is also omnipresent. In Psalm 139:7-10 (ESV), David said this:


Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.


As God is everywhere (1 Kgs 8:27, Jer 23:23-24), so is the Holy Spirit. The fact that the Spirit has the attributes of God is proof of his deity.


References of Relation to Jesus and God


The final evidence of the Spirit’s deity is the fact that he is often mentioned in relation to the other persons of the Godhead. Sixteen times the Spirit is related by name to the other two persons of the Trinity.[1] For example, Acts 16:7 says, “When they came to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do this.” And, 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” The Holy Spirit is referred to both as the “Spirit of Jesus” and the “Spirit of God.” His being related to the other persons of the Trinity clearly demonstrates the Spirit’s deity.


Application


How should we apply the fact that the Holy Spirit is God?


Because the Holy Spirit is God, we should worship him, pray to him, and honor him. Though there is never a clear example of praying or worshiping the Spirit in Scripture, since he is co-equally God with the Father and the Son, we should offer him the same honors. It seems especially prudent to pray to the Spirit for the specific ministries Scripture attributes to him.[2] We should ask for him to illuminate God’s Word (1 Cor 2:12-13), fill us with power (Eph 5:18), and give us boldness to share God’s Word (Acts 4:31). With that said, since praying to the Holy Spirit is not a New Testament pattern, it probably should not be the primary emphasis in our prayer life.[3]



Reflection


  1. What stood out most in the reading and why?

  2. What are scriptural evidences for the Holy Spirit’s deity?

  3. How should we apply the fact that the Holy Spirit is God?

  4. Should we pray to the Spirit? Why or why not?

  5. What other questions or applications did you take from the reading?




[1] Ryrie, C. C. (1999). Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (p. 397). Chicago, IL: Moody Press.


[2] Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 381). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.


[3] Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 381). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

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