Deity of the Holy Spirit
"The Bible clearly represents the
Holy Spirit as possessing divine
attributes and exercising divine authority. Since the fourth
century, nearly all who agree that the Spirit is a person also
agree that He is divine."^^ When viewed together,
passages from the Old and
New Testaments depict the Holy
Spirit as a divine person equal to the
Father and the
Son. Thus, the Holy Spirit is said to be one of
the three personalities of the triune God, also referred to as the
In Chapter 5 of the Book of Acts, Luke shows clearly the divine nature of the Holy Spirit when he writes of a couple who sold their property and gave the proceeds to the church. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, voluntarily sold the land and presented the money to the apostles. Ananias, with Sapphira's knowledge, kept back a portion of the money he received from the sale. The text suggests Ananias presented the portion as the whole. In v. 3 Peter says, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?" In v. 4, Peter rebukes Ananias saying, "You have not lied to men but to God." In these two verses, Luke equates lying to the Spirit with lying to God, demonstrating the divine nature of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew's Gospel, the apostle introduces the trinitarian nature of the Holy Spirit when he writes of Jesus' Great Commission in Matt. 28:18-20. Jesus tells His followers to go into all the world to make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them to obey all of His commands. When these disciples are baptized, they are to be baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (v. 19), Jesus says.
The deity of the Holy Spirit can also be inferred from the act of creation. Genesis 1:1 says God created the heavens and the earth. The very next verse suggests the Holy Spirit (identified in Gen. 1:2 as the Spirit of God) hovered above a formless and empty earth and participated in the creation. The apostle John says in John 1:3 nothing was made without Jesus. In these verses, the Bible depicts God, Jesus and the Spirit as having the same powers to create something out of nothing.
Words used to describe the divine attributes of God, like eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, can be applied to the Holy Spirit, too. The writer of Hebrews spoke of the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14); Paul wrote the Spirit searches the deep things of God and no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10-11); King David wrote in Psalms 139:7-10 that no matter where he fled, he could not flee from God's Spirit and presence; and the Gen. 1:2 verse affirms the omnipotent nature of the Holy Spirit.
- Genesis 1:1-2
- Acts 5:3-4
- Romans 8:9-17
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- Ephesians 2:19-22
- Gary D. Badcock, Light of Truth and Fire of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. Eerdmans, 1997.
- Donald Bloesch, The Holy Spirit: Works and Gifts. Christian Foundations. InterVarsity Press, 2000.
- Gordon Fee, God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul. Hendrickson, 1994.
- Terry L. Cross, "The Holy Spirit" in The Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology pp. 93-108, eds. Timothy Larsen and Daniel Treier. Cambridge, 2007.