This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).
The Bible begins with a simple yet profound statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). As Moses tells the story of creation, he does not seek to prove the existence of God. The Israelites have experienced God’s presence and power first-hand.
This includes Moses’ encounter with Yahweh at the burning bush; the Lord’s miraculous victory over the false gods of Egypt; His thunderous giving of the law at Mt. Sinai; His visible presence in the pillar of cloud and fire; and His parting of the Jordan River to make way for a dramatic entrance into the Promised Land.
As we continue through Scripture, we see that other human authors presuppose God’s existence as the eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere-present creator. In fact, the apostle Paul simply tells us the creation speaks for itself concerning the existence of God.Continue reading
In the last two columns, we examined biblical evidence for the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. In this column, we see how the Holy Spirit enjoys an eternal, intimate relationship with God the Father and God the Son.
Scripture reveals the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the other members of the Godhead. As one example, note how the synoptic Gospel writers report Jesus’ promise to be with His followers when they face persecution:
Matthew 10:19-20 – “But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you are to speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because it isn’t you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.”
Mark 13:11 – “So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”
Luke 21:14-15 – “Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, for I [Jesus] will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
These accounts are not in conflict. Rather, they illustrate the inseparability of the divine persons of the Trinity. That is, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while distinct persons within the Godhead, share the same divine essence and act in perfect harmony.Continue reading
In the last column, we examined the biblical evidence for the personhood of the Holy Spirit; that is, the Spirit is a He, not an it. Once the Spirit’s personality is established, His deity is a logical, and biblically faithful, next step. So, what do we see the Spirit doing that only God can do?
For starters, the Holy Spirit creates. Genesis 1:2 records, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” The Hebrew verb translated “was hovering,” used also in Deuteronomy 32:11, suggests that the Spirit of God was watching over His creation just as a bird watches over its young. Further, creatures come into being when God sends His Spirit (Ps. 104:30).
In addition, the Spirit demonstrates omniscience and omnipresence, displaying qualities that establish Him as co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.
Of the Spirit’s omniscience, Paul writes, “Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:10-11).
Of the Spirit’s omnipresence, the psalmist asks, “Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there” (Ps. 139:7-8).
What’s more, the Spirit shares a divine name, symbolic of divine presence, with the other members of the triune Godhead. Before Jesus ascends into heaven, He commands His followers, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).Continue reading
The Bible reveals both the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. In this column, we focus on the Spirit as a person, for without personhood the Spirit cannot be divine. In the next column, we show from Scripture how this person possesses all the attributes of deity.
One of the clearest demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s personality is His use of personal pronouns in reference to Himself. Two examples make this plain:
Acts 10:19-20 – “While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, ‘Three men are here looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and go with them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.’”
Acts 13:1-2 – “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”
Note that the Holy Spirit speaks personally to Peter as well as to believers in the Antioch church. These are actions of a sentient being, not an impersonal force.
Jesus also uses personal pronouns to speak of the Holy Spirit, telling His followers:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14).
According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit arrives, guides, discerns the truth, hears and speaks, discloses future events, testifies about Jesus, and glorifies Him – all demonstrations of personhood.Continue reading
This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press) and available from Amazon and other booksellers.
In some ways, the Holy Spirit is the neglected, if not forgotten, member of the Trinity.
The biblical doctrines of foreknowledge, election, predestination, and adoption awaken us to the eternal love of God the Father.
Through the Incarnation, the second person of the triune Godhead becomes flesh and pitches His tent with us (John 1:14). He experiences in full measure what it means to be human, including facing temptation – yet without sinning so that He may clothe us in God’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
Christians are said to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to be the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father.
But where is the Holy Spirit in all of this? As we know from Scripture, none of the persons of the Godhead acts alone. As such, the Holy Spirit is a co-equal and co-eternal partner in all of the Trinity’s work.
So, it’s important for us to understand how thoroughly the Bible depicts both the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. In the next column, we focus on the Spirit as a person, for without personhood the Spirit cannot be divine. Then, in the following column, we show from Scripture how this person possesses all the attributes of deity found in both the Father and the Son.Continue reading