Is the Holy Spirit God?
To answer this question, we will begin from the beginning. Genesis chapter one says:
(2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
We already saw how the three described in the heavenly Godhead are, while one in unity, three separate beings. The above verse will give us more information about one of those beings, the Holy Spirit. It says that God's Spirit "moved" upon the face of the waters. The word "moved" is the Hebrew verb rachaph which can mean, according to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Definition, either to "be relaxed" or to "hover." This is very important to know, because some have claimed that this Spirit is some active force, guided in every way by God. They liken it to electricity, an element needing human assistance. But, notice what we found. The following text shows that it is used as a verb which is active by itself, without any assistance from anyone whatsoever:
(10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
(11) As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth (rachaph) over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
(12) So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
An eagle does not need any assistance in hovering over her nest. She has this ability built in her already. And like such an animal the Lord is likened, saying that he "alone did lead them, and there was no strange god with him." The only other passage where this word is found is in Jeremiah 23:9, and there it is translated "shake." A man's heart does not literally brake, neither do his bones literally shake, yet no one in this context, grabbed this gentlemen, and shook his bones. His body did this on its own.
Although we find verses that show God leading the Spirit (which we believe is an example of his humbleness and his willingness to give the Father all the glory, as did Christ, who also moved only as the Father led him -John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49), we also find verses that show the Spirit is active on his own. For example:
2 Samuel 23:2
(2) The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
(29) Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
(13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
(16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
(1) And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
In these texts, we see the Holy Spirit speaking, bearing witness and leading. None show him being forced to do this. Rather then being led... he leads.
The bible amazingly provides for us more information as to the activities of those present before the foundation of the world. Since the Spirit is active on his own in our Genesis 1:2 passage, notice what he was doing while hovering over the waters:
(13) By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.
In the Hebrew, garnished means to "bright, brightness, clearness, fairness." In other words, the Spirit of God had a part he played in creation. He brightened up the sky, and made it fair.
Then we discover this next verse:
(4) The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
This same word make (Hebrew: asah) is translated "make" in this verse:
"... God said, let us make man in our image..." Genesis 1:26.
It's clear that the Spirit also took part in the creation of man. Now notice this. The Hebrew words translated "Spirit" and "breath" in Job 33:4 are two separate Hebrew words... ruach for Spirit, and n'shamah for breath. The word n'shamah is also translated breath in this next verse:
(7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The words "and the Lord God formed man" in this verse and the words "The Spirit of God hath made me" in Job 33:4 parallel each other. Then, in Job 33:4 we are told that it was the "almighty" which breathed the n'shamah into the man. But when we return to Genesis 2:7, it was "the Lord God" who breathed into the man's nostrils the breath of life. Now the word "God" here is again elohiym, which is plural for gods. Well it would make sense that this is the word used here, for the bible also says that it was both God and Jesus who created man (Psalm 100:3, Colossians 1:16). Therefore, we have three that created man, the Spirit of God, God the Father, and Jesus Christ. No wonder elohiym said in Genesis 1:26... "let US make man in OUR image!"
What do we have so far? We've got the following points:
(1) The Spirit is a separate being as part of the triune Godhead
(2) The Spirit is active by himself
(3) The Spirit took part in creating the universe
(4) The Spirit took part in creating man
(5) The Spirit leads, speaks and bears witness
(6) The Spirit, while one in unity, is also separate from the Father and from the Son (as seen above)
The confusion our critics have, is in their understanding of the unity of the Godhead. They think that, because some verses say God led the Spirit to do something, that the Spirit is not active on his own. Yet when we consider verses like the ones we have seen so far, it becomes evident that the truth of the matter is that they, the Spirit, God and the Son, are united for this very purpose... the salvation of mankind (see 2 Corinthians 13:14 and for our Adventist brethren, see once again the last section of Special Testimonies Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63). So it shouldn't come as a surprise when we see texts that show either the Spirit or the Son being led by the Father. He is the great judge, whose love moves him in unity with the grace of Jesus and the communion of the Holy Spirit to save his people and provide eternal happiness for the entire universe.
There is a 7th point the bible adds. Note carefully:
(2) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.
Once again, we have the "three that bear record..." But, did you see how Paul mentions the Father and Christ by name (or title if you wish) in this verse? Who then is the other individual mentioned in this verse? Who is this "God?" I believe the answer is clear enough that it's the other member of the heavenly trio, the Holy Spirit. What other option can our critics come up with? While showing the Spirit as God, Paul at the same time constructs his sentence in a manner which gives the reader the idea of a trinity, or three separate beings.
Note what Peter said:
(1) But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
(2) And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
(3) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
The story is simple, they kept part of the price, and in doing so they lied to "the Holy Ghost." The next verse reads:
(4) Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
It was against the Holy Spirit that they committed this sin according to verse 3, yet in verse 4. Peter tells us that the one they lied to was "God." The Holy Spirit is here called God by Peter himself! Any argument against this would be an argument against and apostle of Christ.
Compare the following two verses:
2 Peter 1:21
(21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Timothy 3:16
(16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Peter tells us that the authors of the bible were moved to speak by the Holy Ghost, yet Paul in 2 Timothy says that it was God who inspired the writings of these holy authors.
Our seventh point is that the Spirit is called "God" in scripture. But our next section will prove points 1, 2, 5 and 6 even more, leaving our opponents with no room to budge.
Who is Melchisedec?