IS THE HOLY SPIRIT GOD?
They will ask you about the Spirit. Say: “The Spirit is one of the commands of my Lord. You have only been given a little knowledge.” (Qur’an chapter 17:85)
So what I would like to try and do today insh’Allah (Allah-willing) is to try and look at those passages that Trinitarians (Tri-theist) will use to advance the claim that the Holy Spirit is God the third person.
I hope in doing so that maybe even the idea that the Sabellian (Pentecostal Jesus Only) that the Holy Spirit is not a person but a role played by God as well maybe addressed in the process.
Let us start by looking at arguably the strongest proof-text the Trinitarians (Tri-theist) will bring in showing that the Holy Spirit is God.
A representative of God =Holy Spirit =God?
“Then Peter said, ‘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…You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)
It is curious why many Trinitarians (Tri-theist) tend to look beyond this statement of Peter. The fact that the husband and wife had lied to Peter (a man). Peter was a flesh-and-blood human being. So was he than elevating himself to the status of God?
“And the Lord said unto Samuel. Hear the voice of the people in all that they say unto you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7)
In both examples: Peter and Samuel were representatives of God or people whom God had used as instruments. But this would not identify them with God. A person looking at the context of the passage in Acts would not identify the Holy Spirit with God any more than Peter or Samuel were identified as God.
An example from the Qur’an can also shed light on this point.
“And he who obeys Allah and His Messenger, and has reverential awe of Allah, and keeps his duty (to Him): then these it is that are successful.”(Qur’an chapter 24:52)
So Muslims understand the above text that if we disobey Muhammed (saw) we are indeed disobeying Allah. However, we never understand this to mean that the messenger is Allah.
Holy Spirit is Eternal Forward =God?
Another text brought forth by Trinitarians (Tri-theist) as a proof text that the Holy Spirit is God is the following
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrews 9:14)
It seems that the passage itself is filled with statements that if taken literally would be problematic. For example, there are no Christians alive from the time of Jesus. Obviously, some have died and thus ‘acts that lead to death‘ should be understood to be spiritual death. We also understand that ‘living God‘ a biological entity is not to be understood.
Perhaps some other text in the Bible can shed some light on the use of the word eternal.
The Greek word Eternal.
Age-long basically means to have been in existence for a long period of time.
“describes duration, either undefined but not endless.”
“They will be punished with eternal destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 24:46)
If we take the word ‘eternal‘ to mean without beginning or end in a literal context it would be problematic, one may also understand eternal to mean that once something was created or brought into being than it became forward eternal.
It would be hard to imagine a person having a punishment or salvation that was before the beginning of time. This Gnostic-esoteric understanding of Christianity does not seem to fit overall with Christian theology.
Also, the Holy Spirit no place is considered to exist before time eternal. Whereas God is described as being before time eternal.
“In the hope of life eternal (aioniou), one promised who cannot lie, God, who is before time eternal (aionion).” (1 Titus 1:2)
pro chronon aionion -before time eternal
Another interesting thing to do some research on is the filioque. One word that split the Christian church right down the middle!
This whole discussion on the Filioque has some relevance to the issue of rather or not the Holy Spirit is or was ever eternal.
Proceeds from the Father?
When Christians say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (and the Son), what do they mean, and why do they use such an odd word?
The word comes from the Greek text of John 15.26, which speaks of the one “who proceeds (ekporeuetai) from the Father“.
The Greek word has the sense of movement out of, and early theologians used it to show that the Spirit’s origin was within the person of the Father.
If the Holy Spirit is moving out of the father, then this shows that it had a point of origin, however, if the Holy Spirit always existed in the father and there was a time that the Holy Spirit was not distinct from the father this too is problematic. If indeed there is no distinction in the ‘Godhead‘ as Christians claim.
The equivalent Latin word is “procedure“, but unlike the Greek word it doesn’t include the notion of a starting point within something; it’s a more general word for movement. This different meaning may have contributed in a small way to the dispute.
If it does not include the notion of a starting point or point of origin than why would the ‘inspired‘ writers use the word? Also, Christians need to understand that everything in this universe has its point of origin with God.
I can be a father, a son, and a brother, however the moment I have a child that child is no longer me. We are not one in essence and we are not one in identity. To say that everything that proceeds from God is of the same nature with God would be to capitulate to pantheism.
To demand that everything that comes from God must share the same nature as God is blatant pantheism.
I also want to know would it be appropriate to say that the Father proceeds from the Son and the Holy Spirit?
Could we say that the Son proceeds from the Holy Spirit and the Father? If not why not? This issue raises more questions than it answers. It’s also of interest that Tertullian believed there was a point when the ‘Son‘ was not existent. This was also the view of Christian Evangelist Calvinist John McArthur in his Anti Lordship view until recently.
Please see the following where John McArthur had questions on this issue:
The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent =Therefore God?
Many Christians also want to assert that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent. So by this, it is to be understood that only God is omnipresent and thus the Holy Spirit is God.
Christians need to understand something very clearly Muslims do not believe that Allah is ‘everywhere‘. We do not believe that God is contained inside of space/time. It is a heretical view according to Muslims to believe that God occupies a location be it one place or every place. Because any place is a creation of the Creator.
Let us examine the proof text Christians use to say that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10)
Suffice it to say that when a person looks at the context of this passage it should in no way be taken literally. How can a person make their ‘bed in the depths‘? What is meant by the ‘wings of the dawn‘? Where is the ‘far side of the sea‘? And do you really feel God ‘holding you fast‘?
We would first have to establish from the text that David is talking about the Holy Spirit (the third of three in a Trinity) in the sense that Christians tell us.
Second, there has to be internal evidence to suggest that this is even referring to the Holy Spirit rather than an angel. Even the Spirit of God can be understood to be the power of God.
The spirit referenced above could simply be talking about one’s inner spirit or consciousness. The very spirit God breathed into man. This makes sense because everywhere you go you take yourself with you; which would include the spirit of life within you.
Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life, and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7 Amplified Bible)
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
The immediate understanding of this text is explained within the text itself. The spirits and prophets are used interchangeably.
Holy Spirit is not omnipresent
There are many texts in the Bible that show that the Holy Spirit is not omnipresent.
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. (Luke 1:15)
The emphasis on ‘even from birth‘ shows this is not a normal occurrence. Therefore the Holy Spirit is not omnipresent.
“And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
You can’t receive what you already have.
“And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, this day have I begotten you.” (Luke 3:22 Moffat’s Translation)
So the Holy Spirit is going from point A to point B. And is not omnipresent. The above text also reinforces the view that Trinitarianism is actually Tri-theism. In the above text, the people clearly witnessed Jesus in a form (a body) and the Holy Spirit in a form (a body) so this is two incarnations. God becomes a man and God becomes a dove.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
Based upon the above passage I would argue that Adolf Hitler did not have the Holy Spirit. I did not see the things described above in Adolf Hitler or in his actions towards other human beings. Adolf Hitler did not have the Holy Spirit and therefore the Holy Spirit is not omnipresent.
We can also use logic to show that the Holy Spirit is not omnipresent.
The Holy Spirit is not inside of the heart or mind of Satan.
The Holy Spirit does not dwell inside of unregenerate non-believers. It makes no sense that the Holy Spirit would rest inside of me and not give me faith to be a Christian.
This is one of the reasons why many Calvinist Christians have had some trouble with the following text:
“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51)
How is it possible to resist the Holy Spirit when it is omnipresent? What does this say about the sovereignty of God? I thought Calvinist believe that the Holy Spirit regenerates people? But apparently, if they can resist the Holy Spirit they can also accept the Holy Spirit. This to me is a strong proof text for the Arminian view in the ongoing Intra-Christian theological disputes.
Christians also claim that because the Holy Spirit is called ‘Lord‘ and Jesus is called ‘Lord‘ this means the Holy Spirit is God.
“But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted because the veil is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but when a person turns to the Lord the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
(2 Corinthians 3:17)
This is problematic to Trinitarian (Tri theist) theology because if Jesus is the Lord and the Spirit is the Lord than the Spirit is Jesus and Jesus is the Spirit. However, in Trinitarian (Tri theist) theology clearly states that Jesus is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not Jesus. So while the Sabellian (Oneness Pentecostals are laughing at Trinitarians about this) I have the following text for them.
“Lords, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:31).
Here in this text, the Philippian Jailer calls Paul and Silas as Lords. We know that Paul and Silas are not God.
Holy Spirit is All-Knowing=Therefore Holy Spirit is God
Christians want to use the following text to say that the Holy Spirit is all-knowing and since only God is all-knowing the Holy Spirit must too be God. But is this really what the text says?
“…but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except for the man’s spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
Again I think people come to this text in Corinthians without really stopping to think about it in its context. Notice that people don’t focus where it says “In the same way”. A very good question to ask is this. The spirit within a human being is it part of your essence? Is it one in identity with you? It is a separate entity from you? Is it independent of you in any way?
Notice when it talks about a man’s spirit within him this is possessive. The spirit is possessed and not independent of the man. We can also translate ‘no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God‘ without making the word spirit with a capital ‘S’. I would submit that this passage is Gnostic-esoteric in nature. As mentioned above in Genesis 2:7 God has already put his Spirit into mankind. Also if the Spirit is searching what is it looking for? We are already told it’s omnipresent and if it is indeed all-knowing that begs the question.
However, let’s take the literal approach and see how well it fits.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
Here we can see that only the Father knows about the last day. If the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father as Trinitarians (Tri Theist) claim than the Holy Spirit does not know about the hour either.
Is the Holy Spirit a someone? If the answer is yes then the above text applies to it as well.
If the Holy Spirit is a ‘no one‘ then let that stand on the record.
The text is very clear, ‘only the Father‘.
Another problem with taking the text in Corinthians literally is the following.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me [Jesus Christ] by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (John 16:13-15)
If the Holy Spirit knows the innermost things of God he would simply be able to instruct the followers of Christ directly. However, he has to get commands from the Father. This ultimately shows that it’s the Father who guides into all truth and not the Holy Spirit of its own accord. Though Trinitarians (Tri theist) will argue the passage shows distinction which is not in dispute, it does show that the Holy Spirit is unable to guide and give the truth in and of itself. This is clear proof that if it was equal with the Father in every respect it would be able to guide and give the truth of its own accord.
Another note is that the Gospel writer ‘John‘ personified the Holy Spirit using personal pronouns “he” or “him” However, that is because the rules of Greek grammar demanded this. The Greek word ‘parakletos‘ Is a masculine pronoun.
“Likewise, the Spirit also keeps our infirmities: For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: But the Spirit (autos) ITSELF makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
The writer of Romans was consistent with the rules of Greek grammar when calling the Holy Spirit using the neuter noun ‘pneuma‘ the gender-less pronoun, “It” was used.
So the writings are simply a reflection of the use of Greek grammar than it is revealing anything about the nature of God.
When was the Father or the Son ever called ‘It‘?
Let’s continue with is the Holy Spirit All-Knowing.
Thie following verse if not carefully taken into consideration will lead many Christians into embarrassing situations.
“But you have an injunction from the Holy One, and you know all things.” (1 John 2:20)
If we are to understand that the Holy Spirit is all-knowing and that according to the passage above in John it guides Christians into ‘all truth‘ and because of this Christians know ‘all things‘. Then there are few outcomes of this.
1) The Bible is a flat lie because Christians do not know the truth of all things. Many Christians can be asked questions on algorithms, geometry, astrophysics, how to translate certain languages, auto-mechanics, and microbiology and they wouldn’t know what it is.
2) All things can mean in relation to spiritual truths and matters.
As I am not ready to be so mean spirited I would submit that no. 2 seems to be a reasonable understanding of the passages in 1 Corinthians 2: 10-11, John 16:13-15, and 1 John 2:20.
The mind of Christ/mind of Spirit
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Some Christians will use these two texts as interchangeable. Saying that the mind of Christ is the same as the mind of the Spirit.
This can’t be for many reasons. The mind of Christ was a mind that didn’t know the hour (Mark 13:32) Not only this but if the ‘mind of Christ‘ was a mind that contained ‘all truth‘ there would be no need to send the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15)
If the Holy Spirit empowers you to have the ‘mind of Christ‘ which is a mind that doesn’t know all, and that mind, in turn, directed you to the Holy Spirit this becomes a circular type of reasoning. A loop. Jesus never once said he was ‘all the truth‘.
God is said to be Spirit. Holy Spirit =Spirit =Therefore Holy Spirit=God
Finally, in a last-ditch effort, many Christians will also cite John 4:24 “God is Spirit”
Now many Christians will use their imaginations and make the passage say something that it clearly does not: namely, God is the Holy Spirit.
First I am quite thankful the translation has been corrected from the King James version which states that “God is ‘a’ Spirit”. This would mean one of many and could support Trinity or any number of deities existing together.
So let us look at the full context of John 4:24 which says ‘God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” If the Trinitarians (Tri-theist) are to be consistent then the passage should look something like this, “God is Holy Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Holy Spirit and in truth.”
This now raises its own problems. If the worshipers must worship in spirit (meaning this is now the Holy Spirit) then why add AND IN TRUTH? The Holy Spirit guides into all truth so that would be sufficient.
When all this passage is simply talking about is that God is invisible immaterial and those who worship him should do so in their spirit and mind sincerely.
Other thoughts and points of consideration.
I would like to share a few other passages that do not have much to say in the way of the topic but are interesting nonetheless.
“Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:9)
My response to this would be why not test the Spirit of the Lord when 1 John 4:1 tells us to do this? Was Peter not aware of this instruction? I’m not making a big deal about this text. I am not trying to say this is a Bible problem nope. I’m just curious about that.
But its’ interesting, if Peter himself was filled with the Holy Spirit, was he not guided in asking the question?
The Holy Spirit doesn’t have a name.
Food for thought. In the ongoing debate between Oneness Christians and Tri-Theist the Oneness Christians could bring the following argument: “The Trinitarian tells us that the economy of the Trinity consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They tell us that they are all persons. So tell us what is the name of the Father, what is the name of the Son, what is the name of the Holy Spirit?”
John the Baptist is God?
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” (Luke 1:15)
This apparently is unlike Jesus himself who had to receive the Holy Spirit at his baptism. Every human being a soul/spirit within them. What John the Baptist has here according to this text is ‘the third of three‘ in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Not only that but you can imagine someone sanctified by the Holy Spirit being a sinner?
John the Baptist (a.s) was sinless. So God can just send his Holy Spirit and sanctify everyone he wants to save at birth. No need to send his Son, Christ Jesus who has to run around for 30+ years before the plan of salvation comes into fruition.
In fact, the Holy Spirit is demonstrably more effective than Christ Jesus.
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18)
“They will ask you about the Spirit. Say: “The Spirit is one of the commands of my Lord. You have only been given a little knowledge.” (Qur’an chapter 17 verse 85)
In the end, I do not believe there is any concrete text or evidence from the Bible that show that the Holy Spirit is the third of three in a Trinity. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit is God.
I pray that Allah guides those who are looking into these matters. May Allah (swt) open the hearts of the misguided to the truth of Islam. All praise be to Allah.
“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses.” (Qur’an 5:83)