GOD Almighty is holy. And GOD Almighty is spirit.
And when the Scriptures describe GOD Almighty interacting with His creation, they speak of the "Spirit" moving & coming. However, the spirit of GOD isn't a distinct person/personality/being from GOD; any more than your spirit is distinct from you. The spirit of GOD or "holy spirit" is GOD Himself operating in His creation; it is GOD's personal presence; GOD's mind, power & will in action.
The prophets of old were empowered by GOD, that is, they were empowered by
the spirit of GOD; to prophesy and perform miracles.
Jesus the Messiah is
'That Prophet'; that ultimate prophet promised in Deut
John states, speaking of Jesus: (John 3:34) For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
Peter concurs: (Acts 10:38) How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Even Jesus' conception came about by the power and spirit of Almighty GOD, as
told by Gabriel:
(Luke 1:35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also [dio kai, for that reason] that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Hence GOD truly is the Messiah's Father, because GOD begat him by His power, by His spirit.
Now before his crucifixion, resurrection & ascension, Jesus promised:
(John 14:18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
(John 14:23) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Therefore, how was Jesus to come to the believer and abide with believers with his
Answer: Via GOD's holy spirit. The Holy Spirit is now the personal, operational presence of both GOD and His Son; operating in the believer.
Since the holy spirit now represents the presence of GOD
& Christ; it can interchangeably be called both
'The spirit of GOD and the spirit of Christ' without contradiction; because it is the selfsame spirit operating.
What follows is some scholarly quotes to reinforce the point I am
Spirit of GOD in the OT
Quotations from "Christology in the Making, Second Edition," James Dunn, SCM PRESS LTD, 1996;
hereafter cited as Christology.
In particular, 'Spirit of God' denotes effective divine power ... In other words, on this understanding, Spirit of God is in no sense distinct from God, but is simply the power of God, God himself acting powerfully in nature and upon men.
When however the talk is of the Spirit of God the understanding is not merely of a power from God, but of the power of God, of God himself putting forth efficacious energy. ... Thus, for example,
in 1 Samuel Saul's state can be equally well described as 'the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul' (16.14) and as 'the Lord had departed from Saul' (18.12). ...
'The Spirit of God' is synonymous with 'the breath of the Almighty' (Job 33.4; 34.14; Psa 33.6) ... And in Isa. 30.1 and 40.13 'my Spirit' and 'the Spirit of the Lord' simply denote the divine 'I'. Particularly in Ezekiel 'the Spirit' is synonymous with the 'hand of the Lord'
(Ezek. 3.14; 8.1-3; 37.1).
Clearly for these writers 'Spirit of God' is simply a way of speaking of God accomplishing his purpose in his world and through men; 'Spirit of God' means God in effective relationship with (and within) his creation. To experience the Spirit of God is to experience God as Spirit.
Quotations from "They never told me This in church!"
Greg S. Deuble, Restoration Fellowship, 2006;
hereafter cited as Deuble.
Even committed Trinitarians like George Eldon Ladd admit:The ruach Yahweh (Spirit of the Lord) in the Old Testament is not a separate, distinct entity; it is God's power - the personal activity in God's will achieving a moral and religious object. ...G.E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, p. 287.
The ruach Yahweh (Spirit of the Lord) is a term for the historical creative action of the one God which, though it defies logical analysis, is always God's action.
"The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound," Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, International Scholars Publications, 1998;
hereafter cited as Doctrine of the Trinity.
The Spirit of God is certainly not just an abstract power. Since it is God in action, it is most personal. It is God's outreach. God's Spirit is His personality extended to His creation.
Quotations from "Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian,"
Anthony F. Buzzard, Restoration Fellowship, 1998;
hereafter cited as Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian.
It is completely misleading to read into the Bible a third Person, the Holy Spirit. The spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17) is not a different person from Elijah. Nor is the Spirit of God a different person from the Father. The Holy Spirit is the operational presence of God, His mind and character. It is God (and in the New Testament Jesus) impacting the creation with His creative influence.
The following quotations speak for themselves as testimony against reading into the Bible the conclusions of post-biblical creeds.
"Although the spirit is often described in personal terms, it seems quite clear that the sacred writers [of the Hebrew Scriptures] never conceived or presented this spirit as a distinct person."
Citing Edmund J. Fortman, The Triune God, Baker, 1972, p. 9.
"Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find any clear indication of a Third Person."
Citing The Catholic Encyclopedia, 15:49.
"The Jews never regarded the spirit as a person; nor is there any solid evidence that any Old Testament writer held this view."
Citing Fortman, The Triune God, p. 6.
"The Old Testament clearly does not envisage God's spirit as a person ... God's spirit is simply God's power. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God, it is because the breath of Yahweh acts exteriorly."
Citing New Catholic Encyclopedia, 14:574.
Spirit of GOD in the NT
Christology, p. 138
But his [Jesus'] concept of the Spirit of God seems to have been wholly in line with what we have found to be the consistent Jewish understanding -Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 228
'Spirit of God' as a way of explaining an experience of inspiration and effective power as coming directly from God himself.
To ask whether in the New Testament the spirit is a person in the modern sense of the word would be like asking whether the spirit of Elijah is a person.
The Spirit of God is of course personal; it is God's dunamis [power] in action. But the Holy Spirit is not a person, existing independently of God; it is a way of speaking about God's personally acting in history, or of the Risen Christ's personally acting in the life and witness of the Church.
The New Testament (and indeed patristic thought generally) nowhere represents the Spirit, any more than the wisdom of God, as having independent personality.
Citing Alan Richardson,
Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament
(London: SCM Press, 1958), p. 120.
Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian, p. 152
For Paul and the other New Testament writers the spirit of God was not a different Person from God Himself, any more than "the spirit of Elijah" (2 Kings 2:15; Luke 1:17) meant a person other than Elijah.Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian, p. 361-362
The spirit of God was the operational presence and power of God or, after the ascension, of Jesus operating in the world in various ways. God and Jesus thus share a common spirit ...
Jesus being the supreme and unique example of a human being endowed with the spirit of his Father.
Paul had no doctrine of the Trinity. The Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, was for him (apart from the identification with the Risen Christ) the energy of the Divine nature, universal in its operation, influencing the will and the intelligence of men, the source of the sevenfold gifts described in Isaiah 11:2.
Citing Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, 1:189.
Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian, p. 109
Karl Rahner. When this leading Roman Catholic theologian produced an exhaustive examination of the word "God" in the New Testament he concluded with these extraordinary admissions:Nowhere in the New Testament is there to be found a text with o theos which has unquestionably to be referred to the Trinitarian God as a whole existing in three Persons. ...Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations, Helicon, 1963, 1:143.
In addition, o theos is never used in the New Testament to speak of the holy spirit.
Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 234
Acts 5:3,4 ... The text equates lying to the Holy Spirit with lying to God. The Holy Spirit here means the power and authority invested by God in Peter. Those who lie to Apostles speaking in the name of God and by His Spirit are rightly said to lie to the Spirit and to God. The point is confirmed by a comment from Paul: "He who despises us despises not men but God, who has given us His Spirit" (1 Thess. 4:8).Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 228
Why is it that in no text of Scripture is the Holy Spirit worshipped or prayed to? Not once does the Holy Spirit send greetings to the churches. When the Apostles write to their churches, greetings are always sent from two persons, the Father and the Son.Deuble, p. 272
We note that nowhere in Scripture is the Holy Spirit prayed to or worshipped (as in today's churches), nowhere is the Holy Spirit praised in song (as is typical in today's "worship" meetings), nowhere is the Holy Spirit said to send his personal greetings with those of the Father and the Lord Jesus to the churches when the apostles write their letters, and nowhere is the Holy Spirit given a personal name.Deuble, p. 274
When I look back on those days when I reasoned that the Spirit is a third member of the Deity because the Scripture shows the Spirit having personal qualities such as mind, emotion and will I feel ashamed. If only I had understood that the Bible is a Hebrew book my eyes would not have been so blurred. We must stop deifying "the Spirit" as a third person, co-equal and co-eternal God, and repent of worship of a false god. This Nicene, un-Hebrew, extra-biblical doctrine of the Spirit as "the Lord and giver of life; who ... with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified" as the third member of a triune God is a distraction at best, and a false god at worst.Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian, p. 139
In the New Testament the Spirit is never regarded as a third Divine Person. The Spirit is the operational power and presence of God. No one in the Bible ever prayed to the holy spirit or praised the holy spirit. The strange appeal "Come, holy spirit," heard in charismatic quarters today, as though the spirit is a third member of the Godhead, is utterly alien to Scripture.
Spirit of Christ
Christology, p. 146, 147
The exalted Christ and the Spirit of God are one and the same so far as the believer's experience is concerned;Christology, p. 147-148
'Spirit' and 'Christ' are alternative ways of describing God's approach to men now ... the Spirit remains primarily the power of God (however much it manifests the character of Christ);
With John too ... he seems to understand the coming of the Spirit as fulfilling the promise of Christ's return (particularly John 14.15-26) and to envisage the 'other Paraclete' as 'the presence of Jesus when Jesus is absent'.Christology, p. 148
For the NT writers generally the Spirit is the Spirit of God, the effective power of God himself. This is obviously true when speaking about Jesus' conception and of his ministry, but it is also true in speaking of the Spirit after Jesus' exaltation. However much the Spirit can be understood as the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit is still primarily the Spirit of God, God himself reaching out to and touching, vitalizing, dynamizing man at the heart of his being.Christology, p. 149
The Spirit can now be thought of as the Spirit of Christ - that is, as that power of God which is to be recognized by the consciousness of oneness with Christ (and in Christ) which it engenders and by the impress of the character of Christ which it begins to bring about the life of the believer.Christology, p. 160
Now the Spirit becomes the presence of Christ, the Spirit of Christ; now Christ (in Christ, with Christ, through Christ) becomes an alternative way of speaking of the immanence of God in human experience;Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 231-232
The comments of the Trinitarian James Denny are instructive:What strikes us here is the new name given to the Spirit - "another Comforter.""Holy Spirit," Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1917), 742.
It is indeed only the name which is new. In idea it answers closely to the only promise of the Spirit which we find in the Synoptic Gospels. The expression "another Comforter" implies that the disciples have already had experience of one, namely Jesus himself.
As long as he was with them their strength was reinforced from him and when he goes, his place is taken by the Spirit. There is another power with them now which does for them what Jesus did before. Yet is it really another? In 1 John 2:1 it is Jesus who is the Paraclete [Comforter], even after Pentecost, and even here (John 14:18),
he says, "I come to you."
The presence of the Spirit is Jesus' own presence in Spirit.
Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 229
(Rom. 8:9). In the same passage Paul speaks of the Spirit interceding for the saints. Since he does not elsewhere recognize the Spirit as a third person it is reasonable to think that he sees no difference between the intercession of Christ mentioned in the same context (Rom. 8:27,34). While Christ himself is with the the Father, his Spirit is active in the hearts of believers.Deuble, p. 264-266
This language has OT pedigree. One time God took of His Spirit from Moses and distributed it: "Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the spirit which was upon him and placed it upon the 70 elders. And it came about that when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied"
This has obvious implications and parallels for our interpretation of the events of Pentecost ...
The Elijah story from 2 Kings also provides a background for understanding the Jewish significance of Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit. In the Hebrew Scriptures Elijah ascended bodily via a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses (2 Kings 2:11). The prophet had promised to bestow on his disciple Elisha a "double share" of his enormous spirit. ... so Elisha walked away from that scene in the spirit and power of Elijah. The sons of the prophets affirmed this, for when Elisha returned to them they proclaimed,
"the spirit of Elijah rests upon Elisha" (2 Kings 2:15).
The background and the obvious parallels to the ascension of Jesus and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit in wind and fire are obvious. On the day of Pentecost God the Father took of the Spirit of the resurrected Jesus and it came like a "rushing wind" and appeared like "tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and it rested on each one" of the disciples
As the elders received of Moses' spirit and prophesied, and as Elisha receives a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit and went out in his master's power, just so - after Pentecost - do the disciples preach and go out in the spirit and power of their resurrected Lord to carry on his Gospel work.
In Jewish thought, then, Luke is saying that the risen Lord Jesus is greater than Moses and greater than Elijah. God's locus of activity is now on a new Israel, the body of believers. The Spirit of Christ now rests on the disciples and they will prophesy and go in power as they proclaim "the word."
In Jewish parlance, there is no thought here that the Holy Spirit that Christ sends is the third member of the Godhead, any more than the spirit that God took from Moses or the spirit that Elijah sent on Elisha, was a third member of the holy Trinity.
The helper which is the Holy Spirit of God describes the combined activity of the Father and the Son through their personal presence operating for our benefit.