Dove silhouetted

The Bible teaches that God is not one person, but three Divine beings. The three beings are the Father (Jehovah), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. How can the Bible claim there is only one God when in reality there are three people? It’s probably not possible for finite beings such as ourselves to understand infinite beings, but perhaps the following comparison will serve to help our understanding.

There are about 7 billion humans alive on Earth right now. All of these humans make up one group collectively referred to as “Humanity.” How many humanities are there? Only one, but this humanity is composed of billions of individuals. Similarly, there are three Divine beings who compose one group collectively referred to as “God.” How many Gods are there? Only one, but God is composed of three individuals. This concept is referred to as the “Trinity” or “Godhead.”

The three can be distinctly seen in the following passages.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:16-17 NIV)

For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word [Jesus], and the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 5:7 NKJ)

The presence of all three members of the Trinity is implied in the following Genesis passages.

26 Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen. 1:26 NIV)

And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Gen. 3:22 NIV)

The Holy Spirit is a person

Some assume that the Holy Spirit is some sort of impersonal force. The Bible is very clear that this cannot be true because He has attributes of a real person.

The Holy Spirit has emotions

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30 NIV)

How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:29 ESV)

The Holy Spirit talks

The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." (Acts 8:29 NIV)

While 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." (Acts 13:2 NIV)

The Holy Spirit teaches

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (Jn. 14:26 NIV)

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. (1 Cor. 2:13 NIV)

The Holy Spirit has personal choice

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Cor. 12:11 NIV)

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: (Acts 15:28 NIV)

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:6-7 NIV)

The Holy Spirit is God

In addition, it is clear that the Holy Spirit is a part of the group of the three Divine people known as “God” from the following passage.

3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." (Acts 5:3-4 NKJ)

In this passage, a man and his wife had agreed to sell property and give some of the proceeds to charity. They agreed with each other to lie about their donation by saying they had given the entire amount when in reality they kept some for themselves. There was nothing wrong with them keeping some of it for themselves as Peter implied when saying, “after it was sold, was it not in your own control?”. The problem was that they lied and said they gave it all. Presumably, this lie was motivated out of a desire to impress those around them by their alleged generosity. Peter says in so doing they had lied, not to men, but to God the Holy Spirit.

What is the Holy Spirit’s name?

Unlike the Father and the Son, the Bible never reveals the personal name of the Holy Spirit. God the Father and God the Son have a number of names that reveal different aspects of their character and personality. Jesus’ personal name wasn’t revealed in the old testament writings. It wasn’t until the events surrounding Jesus’ birth that His proper name is revealed. Likewise, perhaps it is the case that we will not learn the personal name of the Holy Spirit until the next age when all of the people of God will dwell in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

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