Is the Holy Spirit God?

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Image by Gerd Altmann. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

The Holy Spirit Is God

The Bible’s answer to this question is yes; the Holy Spirit is God. He is not an impersonal force or a created being, as some non-Christian cultists teach. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is God in several ways. At times, it gives the Holy Spirit names and titles of God. At other times, it gives the Holy Spirit roles and attributes that only God can have. Still at other times, it calls the Holy Spirit God directly and even by God’s personal name, YHWH (Yahweh). It is important to note that while the Holy Spirit is God, he is not the Father or the Son; he is a distinct Person in the Godhead, the third Person of the Trinity. (See: What Is the Holy Trinity?)

The Bible Teaches That the Holy Spirit Is God

When the apostle Peter confronted Ananias for lying about a gift to the church, he said that by lying to the Holy Spirit he had lied to God himself:

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3–4, ESVUK)

Since lying to the Holy Spirit is the equivalent of lying to God, the Holy Spirit is clearly God. In addition, the apostle Paul wrote:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Here, we see that the Holy Spirit is God because Paul uses “God’s temple” interchangeably with “the Holy Spirit’s temple”. It is also important to note that Paul was emphasising the Holy Spirit’s deity in this passage by saying that he dwells in a temple, because temples are only the dwelling places of deities. Being the Spirit of the Father (Matthew 10:20) and of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19), though, the Holy Spirit is not another God, but the same God as the Father and the Son—of one being (essence) with them. Paul also wrote:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Since “the Lord” of this passage refers to God in the Old Testament, according to the context (e.g. see verse 13: “not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end” and 18: “we all, with unveiled face, behold the glory of the Lord”), this is more clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit Has Attributes and Roles That Only God Can Have

  • The Holy Spirit is the Creator of all things: “The Spirit of God hasmade me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4) (Cf. Genesis 1:1–2)
  • The Holy Spirit is eternal: “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14)
  • The Holy Spirit is omniscient: “For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10b–11)
  • The Holy Spirit is omnipotent: “And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
  • The Holy Spirit is omnipresent: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7) (Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • The Holy Spirit grants salvation: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

One point worthy of being added is that the worst sin of all is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—the only unforgivable sin1 (Mark 3:28–30). Think about it: wouldn’t it be absurd to say that blaspheming against some created being or thing is a greater sin than blaspheming against God himself? Also note that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “another Helper” (John 14:16) and says that “he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) An impersonal force cannot be “another Helper” like Jesus, nor can it “teach” or “bring to your remembrance” anything.

The Holy Spirit Is YHWH (Yahweh)

Finally, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is Yahweh. It does so by attributing Old Testament quotes to the Holy Spirit which referred to Yahweh originally. One example of this is Jeremiah 31:33–34:

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33–34)

In the New Testament, the author of Hebrews takes this passage and applies it to the Holy Spirit, teaching that the Holy Spirit is Yahweh who was speaking these words in the book of Jeremiah:

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds”, 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:15–18)

Another example can be found in Psalm 95:7–11, in which God said: “your fathers put me to the test” and “Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.” The author of Hebrews also took this quote, and attributed it to the Holy Spirit, clearly teaching that the Holy Spirit is Yahweh of the Old Testament (Hebrews 3:7–11).

Conclusion

According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit is God, and all true Christians believe this. The Christian Church in all its denominations has correctly designated those who deny this as non-Christian and heretics, because this doctrine deals with the very nature of God. The Bible calls the Holy Spirit God both explicitly and implicitly; it gives him attributes and roles that only God can have; and it attributes quotes to him which referred to Yahweh. At the same time, the Holy Spirit is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son, making him the third Person of the Trinity. These Bible teachings are essential for one to believe in and uphold in order to have the true God and eternal life.

Notes

1. In Jesus’ day, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was linked to witnessing Jesus’ miracles firsthand which bore witness to him, but attributing them to the power of demons instead of the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28–30; Matthew 12:31–32; Luke 12:10). Today, this sin is hardening your heart to Jesus, in spite of the Holy Spirit pointing you to him, until the day you die. Those who worry that they have committed this sin have not actually committed it.

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