GoedBericht.nl logo
English Blog

Is the Holy Spirit a person?

19-10-2012 - Posted by Andre Piet

The above question is a loaded item in the history of Christian theology. Since the fourth century, the confession of the doctrine of the Trinity has been and is the touchstone of orthodoxy. This doctrine implies that God is one being, but consists of three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The misery of this doctrine is, that with terms that the Scriptures do not know, a doctrine is taught that nobody understands. Who would benefit from such confusion, except one who derives his name (diabolos) from the scrambling of affairs? The said doctrine is contrary to the Biblical teaching that knows only one God, the Father (1Cor.8:6; John 17:3). Nowhere in Scripture is Jesus Christ called “God the Son”, but is consistently called “the Son of God”, born of the Virgin Mary. And the Holy Spirit? Who or what is that? According to the doctrine of the Trinity, He is “the third person of the Godhead,” but nowhere in Scripture do we find even one item of information, that upon close examination, would cause us to believe that. The very idea, already, that God would be a collection of persons, that can be numbered from one to three…is squarely against what God has said about Himself:

I (=first person, singular) am Yahweh Elohim, and there is none else (thus, no second or third person). There is no Elohim except ME. Isaiah 45:5

And yet another time, the question: is God’s Spirit a person? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:10b,11:

…for the Spirit is searching all, even the depths of God. For is any of humanity acquainted with that which is human except the spirit of humanity which is in it? Thus also, that which is of God no one knows, except the Spirit of God.

The Spirit of God knows, as no one else, what is in God. That means: the Spirit of God is Someone who knows. Paul compares this with the human spirit that knows what is in him. Does this make “a man” and his “own spirit” more than one person? That would not be very good! My spirit is that aspect of myself that is able to search and know. So it is also with God’s Spirit, Paul argues. The Spirit of God is Someone who searches and knows; Someone who wills (1Cor.12:11), can be grieved (Eph.4:30), can be lied to (Hand.5:3), exposes others (John 16:8) and teaches (John 14:26 ), etc. He is not a “third divine person” but the Spirit of God the Father, Himself. This is also evident when we consider from whom Mary was pregnant. The heavenly messenger, who visited her, said the following:

Holy Spirit shall be coming on you, and the power of the Most High shall be overshadowing you; wherefore also the holy One Who is being generated shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35

“The Holy Spirit”, here, is evidently shown to be synonymous with “the power of the Most High.” Otherwise, Jesus would have two Fathers, the Holy Spirit and the Most High. The Supreme is Someone, one person and, therefore, the power of the Most High is a personal power.