is the Holy Spirit a person or God’s force?

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

Great question, isn’t it? I think this is one of the tougher Trinity questions to understand. So bear with me while I try to logic this out for us.

We’ve already seen that Jesus places the Holy Spirit on the same level as the Father and Himself (Matthew 28:19). To me, it doesn’t make much since that Jesus would tell his disciples to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, if the Spirit were just a force of God.

#1. The most compelling Bible verses that show the Spirit as a “person” and not are force are Jesus’ words in John 14:15-17,25-26

If you love me, you will obey my commandments. Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you…I have spoken these things while staying with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.

Notice Jesus says “another Advocate.” The Greek word for another in this case means another just like Jesus. So someone like Jesus will come to the disciples. If the Holy Spirit is God’s force, the He is God’s force in the same way the Son is God’s force.

#2. Here are two more verses that show the Spirit as separate from God and acting of His own volition.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will. ~Romans 8:26-27

If the Spirit were only God’s force, why would He need to intercede for us to God? Personally, I’m glad the Spirit searches my heart and interprets my groanings because there are a lot of times when I don’t know what to pray. We are blessed to have Someone who knows us better than ourselves and can interceded for us.

#3. Here, the Spirit is credited as the one who decides what sorts of spiritual gifts we receive. Notice that all members of the Trinity are discussed in the first line (verse 4).

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things. ~1 Corinthians 12:4-11

#4: And the story of Ananias and Sapphira has always been an interesting one to me.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!” ~Acts 5:3-4

If lying to the Spirit is the same as lying to God, we can assume that the Spirit is someone that can be lied to. (You wouldn’t lie to a force like the wind). And lying to the Spirit is the same as lying to God. (Which is another proof the Spirit is on the same level as the Father and Son.)

There are so many more Scriptures that we could discuss, but I think I’ll stop here. While there are many passages that make it seem like the Spirit is no more than an extension of God’s will, that shouldn’t be surprising to us. The Father sent the Son to us, and He has also sent the Spirit. The problem in understand lies with us. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around the Spirit because He is something we can’t see or touch. 

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9 thoughts on “is the Holy Spirit a person or God’s force?

  1. This is mind boggling for me! I’ve never thought of the Holy Spirit as a different person But your arguments are very convincing I must sit the do a bit of thinking!

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  2. I experience Holy Spirit in many different ways, but all felt experiences: breath (ruach Ha Kodesh), wind (ruach), soaring heart that takes flight into Joy of the Lord (dove), warm melty liquid honey-like soothing love, bubbles of Joy that feel like champagne bubbles rising in my body and exploding up to heaven, flow of Living Water in my body, Fire of Divine Love burning in my heart for God, still small voice when I am being guided, knowing in my heart when being counseled, amazing insights and Higher Wisdom when teaching me while reading the Word, sudden “ahas”, signs, wonders, miracles when the Presence is manifesting in the physical world or in my physical body, the temple for the Holy Spirit, Super Amazing Wisdom when I receive Counsel and Revelation and Inspiration and Advocacy in a challenge, vibrational tingle when something is the absolute Truth of God (truth meter: Spirit of Truth), and WAY too many more things to list here! I experience Holy Spirit as the feminine Spirit of the Most High God, an Intelligence that is Invisible but very present and active and living and in my body and life! To sum it up: Holy Spirit is too amazing to put into words, but I know that it is not a human being, not a personification of God, not made in the image of God, but the Actual Spirit of the Living One God!!!! Jesus said we should be glad that he left the physical body so he could send the Holy Spirit to live in us forever. A person can’t live inside our physical human body temple, but a Spirit can, and when the Spirit comes it can fill us so completely that there is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me: “one body and one Spirit” and I think that is when the Holy Spirit can be called a person! Many blessing to you! Yvonne

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    1. Hi, Yvonne! Thanks for dropping by.

      When I mean a person, I don’t mean a physical body or human being, but an individual consciousness capable of relationship. So I agree that the Spirit is intelligent, invisible, present, active, and living as you said. I’m not sure there is Scriptural basis for the Holy Spirit as being the “feminine Spirit” of the Most High God. I’d be interested to know where you get that idea.

      Blessings,
      -Lisa

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      1. In Hebrew, Spirit is feminine. In Greek, Spirit is neutral, translated to english they said “he” which was culturally appropriate at the time. The Byzantine monks referred to the Holy Spirit as Her and Mother. There are several books written about Christ as Mother, the feminine of God and the concept of Father God being the external manifestation of the One Spirit and the Holy Spirit being the internal manifestation of the One Spirit. After all, the three are really One God, One Spirit and One Living One (Rev 1:18). Isaiah 66 talks about God comforting us a Mother comforts, feeding us like a mother, and dangling us from her knee as a Mother. I was told by Dan Mohler that Father means “to come forth from” and God means “Source of Life”. I have read that in the Semitic languages, Aramaic and Hebrew etc. the word translated for Father means both Mother and Father. I think the english translations of Aramaic and Hebrew by way of Greek and Latin have lost the original flavor and some of the veracity of the personal pronouns. Jesus in english is a good example. In Hebrew it is Yeshua and there is no “J” in the Hebrew alphabet therefore Mary the mother of God would have never called him Jesus because it did not exist in their native spoken language Aramaic and both spoken and written language Hebrew. For the same reason that Jesus’ name is really Yeshua, Holy Spirit is more a She than a He! Thank you for your response to my comment. I don’t think it matters except for the fact that a holy Trinity without a feminine presence would be strange and the fact that many women feel disenfranchised by a lack of representation. I know that when I feel Holy Spirit enter me as the Comforter in my times of trial or challenge, She feels more Mother than a He. That is just my two cents and I just know that I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength!!!!!

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        1. Thanks for answering, Yvonne. I’m going to look into this. It just came up in the book I’m reading now–the Holy Spirit as mother and God’s wife–so that’s a post for another week. 😉

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          1. Thanks Lisa, I just recently got a verse from God that said something like, “Christ is the Father’s and we are Christ’s” and I heard in my heart “The Father’s Bride is Christ and we are Christ’s brides!!!!” Rev 22:17 “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’ and Rev 21:9-27 “Come I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb” and it describes our transfigured body filled with all the fullness of God as the new temple of God, just like Jesus was the temple for God that got destroyed and rebuilt in three days” Now our body is to be the new temple but we have to let the old wineskin (body) be transformed by Christ to become the Bride, wife of the Lamb, with God the Father living in our body, nourished and watered by Holy Spirit! It is all so wonderful and amazing and everything is possible now!!!! Bless you!

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