The Spirit

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

The Holy Spirit



What is he like to look at?


The God of professed christianity is called "The Trinity" and the Holy Spirit is  said to be part of that one essence, one substance, indivisible God.  Much of the misunderstanding concerning the Holy Spirit can be resolved if we allow the scriptures to explain itself concerning the make-up of God. Does God have a body or physical form? Does God possess a spirit? Is the Spirit another type of individual or another level of existence?  Revelation 22:4 says we will see the face of God. Will the redeemed see the Holy Spirit in heaven? Will they be able to talk with Him? Does the Holy Spirit sit on a throne like the Father and Son? What is the "Spirit of God" or "Spirit of Christ" referring to, is it the Holy Spirit or something else? etc etc.


The answer lies in going back to the creation of man to understand the make up of a person or individual because "... God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: ..." Therefore, in looking at the creation of Adam and his make up we get a view of the person called God. 


"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."  "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Gen 1:26, 2:7, 18, 21-24


"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut 29:29.


God is beyond comprehension for our finite minds, His physical form, His Spirit, His Son, the incarnation of His Son and above all His love are beyond us but some things have been revealed about Him in so far as the scripture has declared them and these we are to treasure and understand. 


GOD HAS A PHYSICAL FORM.

In considering what God has revealed concerning the creation of man, we get a glimpse of the God who created him because "... God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: ..." Man was made in the likeness of God so to man we must go to get an idea of God himself. We are told that "... the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,..." The first thing God does in the creation of man is to fashion or sculpture the physical form of Adam from the dust of the ground.  This being the case we ought to understand that God himself has a physical form because man was made in His image and man is a physical being, the MAN He created bore a resemblance to God. Therefore, in considering the makeup of the MAN  we capture a view of the God who created him.


Note: "In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature." Great Controversy p. 644.3



GOD HAS A PHYSICAL FORM AND IS NOT AN INVISIBLE BEING.


What God's physical form is made of we are not told but one thing is certain “Through Jesus Christ, God--not a perfume, not something intangible, but a personal God--created man, and endowed him with intelligence and power. ...” {3MR 326.4}

Having formed Adam's physical shape or body from the dust of the ground, God then "...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."


There lies Adam’s physical form on the ground, lifeless. God then breathes into his nostrils the breath of life and Adam becomes a living soul. He becomes a PERSON, a living, thinking, breathing intelligent, individual.  What did God do? God had put something in Adam’s physical form which resulted in him becoming alive. It is called the Spirit, the Spirit of God - that life giving principle which comes from the source of all life - the Father. The physical form plus the Spirit therefore constituted the PERSON, Adam.


Therefore, the individuals in scripture who are referred to as God must of necessity be composed of a physical form and Spirit.


THE PHYSICAL FORM PLUS THE SPIRIT = ADAM

THE PHYSICAL FORM PLUS THE SPIRIT = GOD


"In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature." Great Controversy 644 

The "breath of life", we understand, is the Spirit. This is what gave life to the physical form of man. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life." John 6:63 The word "quickeneth" means (from Strong’s concordance):  2227 zoopoieo zoopoieo {dzo-op-oy-eh'-o} from the same as 2226 and 4160; TDNT - 2:874,290; v


AV - quicken 9, give life 2, make alive 1; 12

1) to produce alive, begat or bear living young

2) to cause to live, make alive, give life

   2a) by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate

   2b) to restore to life

   2c) to give increase of life: thus of physical life

   2d) of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life

​3) metaph., of seeds quickened into life, i.e. germinating, springing up, growing

"Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." Psalm 104:29, 30


The word quickeneth means to be made alive. It is the Spirit of God which gives life and is life. Therefore, every living individual whether it be God or man consists of a PHYSICAL FORM and a SPIRIT. Thus far what we have is this:


1. Man has a physical form. 2. GOD has a physical form - man made in His image. 3. Man has a Spirit. 4. GOD has a Spirit, the Holy Spirit. 5. Man or God possesses a physical form & Spirit.


The two components, physical & Spirit, is what constitutes the individual. The Spirit, therefore, is the non-physical aspect of the individual whether it be God or man.  The person called God possesses a physical form and spirit. He is a physical being but not withstanding the fact that He is a physical being, He also has a Spirit side (a non-physical aspect) which is an integral part of HIMSELF. Thus did HE create man in his own image after his likeness.

The Spirit, therefore, is none other than the NON-PHYSICAL aspect of  man and God, a most vital component for man and without which the body is dead. God, however, is immortal and His spirit can be sent forth resulting in Him being Omnipresent.

1 Cor 2:11 "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."


For what man (a physical being) knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man (the non-physical aspect of man) which is in him? even so the things of God (a physical being) knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God (the non-physical aspect of God, whoever the PHYSICAL God is).


God is a physical being but  there is a non-physical side to Him called the Spirit, or Holy Spirit which is an integral part of His makeup and not a separate individual. The Spirit is the non-physical aspect of God. The Spirit, is an integral part of man and is not a separate being. Similarly the Spirit is an integral part of a personal, physical God. According to scripture, at man's death the Spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ec 12:7) Inherent in the Spirit is this thing we call life. Man's life ultimately comes through Christ from God the Father, the source of all life. 

Note:

“All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father's life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous   service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.” {The Desire of Ages, p. 21 E G White}


The Spirit is LIFE and all Life comes from God the Father.

Adam was therefore composed of a physical form and a spirit. God  must  of necessity be  composed of the same as man was made in His image. The difference with God, is that His Spirit, the non-physical aspect of God, can be sent by God to represent Him in all places and thereby render Himself Omnipresent. It is a divine Spirit. It represents God's person, whether it be the Father or Christ. Therefore, the testimonies can say that it is a person. It is the person of God. Note the commentary on John 6:63 quoted earlier:

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to HIS PERSON, the divinity of his character”.  Review and Herald - 04-05-06 


In other words, the Spirit is the Divinity of His character, His very PERSON, who Jesus is. Obviously she is not here referring to Jesus' physical person (form) but to this entity of who He is, the person that Jesus is, His character. Here is a commentary on man which supports that thought. 


“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same  particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous  works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned  to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live.

The same form will come forth,  but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the  same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no  law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical  particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the  righteous dead a body that will please Him.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible  Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1093  {Hvn 40.1}

The spirit, the CHARACTER of man, who the man is, is returned to God, preserved until the resurrection until it can be housed in a resurrected glorious body with a life that is “original, unborrowed, underived”, immortal life, which we receive  from God the Father through Jesus. 


GOD HAS A PHYSICAL FORM 


Many Christian Pastors and church creeds do not believe that God is a personal being. They do not believe that God possesses a physical form but note the following from scripture and the testimonies: 

1. Isaiah saw him SITTING on His throne. Isaiah 6:1 (With no disrespect to our Father, we sit on our buttocks)

2. Daniel saw him with HAIR on His HEAD as pure wool. Daniel 7:9 - consistent with Genesis 1:26, man has hair, He has hair.

3. Stephen saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God. Acts 7:56 - God has a right hand and if a right hand then a left also like we do. (Genesis 1:26)

4. John the Revelator saw in His RIGHT HAND a book sealed with seven seals. Rev 5:1

5. The Father has a shape: "And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his VOICE at any time, nor seen his SHAPE." John 5:37  Does the Father have a voice? Yes, hence He has a shape as well. Matt 3:17

6. We will see His FACE: Revelation 22:4 

7. Moses saw His back.


"There are many issues in our world today in regard to the Creator not being a personal God. God is a being, and man was made in His image. After God created man in His image, the form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it had no vitality. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being.  MR Vol 7 -PG- 37

“I saw a throne and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus’ countenance and admired his lovely person. The Father’s person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered him. I asked Jesus if his Father had a form like himself. He said he had, but I could not behold it, for said he if you should once behold the glory of his person you would cease to exist.” Broadside 1 – 04-06-46


CHRIST  HAS A PHYSICAL FORM

Christ is the express image of His Father and  has a physical form as well. "Wherefore when 

he cometh into he world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast 

thou prepared me:" Hebrews 10:5


THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT HAVE  A PHYSICAL FORM 

In keeping with what we have learnt so far that a person or individual is composed of a physical form or shape in addition to  what is called the spirit, then it is plain that the Holy Spirit cannot be considered an individual such as God the Father, Christ or man. Jesus himself said: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."Luke 24:39  As we saw earlier, the Spirit [of God] is the non-physical aspect of God. The word Spirit does not refer to a separate individual possessing arms and legs but in combination with the physical form makes up a separate individual.  

The Spirit is that non-physical aspect of an individual which we recognize as the person whom we are familiar with - the character, personality etc. Who that person is.  In fact the person that you are is something invisible housed in a physical body, the two being absolutely essential to the existence of the individual that is you. 


Now if I said  to you that such and such, is a SELFISH PERSON? What would you understand that to mean? Am I saying his physical form is selfish? Clearly you would say that is foolish reasoning. What am I referring to? Am I not referring to an aspect of this individual which is non-physical, non-tangible? - his character, personality? The word PERSON can therefore mean and refer to something non-physical and not necessarily to a physical being in all instances. 


Clearly that is what Sister White meant when using the words Spirit and person (non-physical) in the following way:


“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to HIS PERSON, the divinity of his character”. Review and Herald - 04-05-06 

The word PERSON in the quote above is equated with an aspect of Christ which is non-physical, in this instance His PERSON, His character. The word Spirit is said to be His person, the divinity of his character. Notice the quote commences with: “It is the spirit that quickeneth;..." The Spirit we have seen is life, breathed into man by His creator. Life is more than merely the ability to move and breathe and be alive. Life also has  to do with mind, character and personality, the person that you are, housed in that part of the brain called the frontal lobe.  



THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE PERSON OF GOD, HIS OMNIPRESENCE 



We all know that the word PERSON refers to an individual. When we say that someone is a good looking person, we are referring to their physical appearance. When we say someone is a beautiful person we could be referring to one of two things: either their physical form is beautiful or the person has a beautiful character or personality if one found the person to be physically ugly. The word PERSON can therefore mean the physical being, an individual.


The word PERSON also refers to the non-physical aspect of an individual -   his character, personality. It is this failure to recognize this other meaning of the word PERSON and the failure to understand what constitutes an individual  that has led many folk to misinterprete Ellen White's use of the word PERSON in reference to the Holy Spirit resulting in the creation of another God being, one that is invisible WITHOUT FORM AND FEATURE.  


We have defined an individual as someone composed of a physical form which we can recognize by sight and one who also possesses a non-physical entity, the spirit, which we recognize to be the person, personality or character of that individual. Now with that in mind, when the Testimonies say that the Holy Spirit is a Person and with our knowledge of what constitutes an individual (physical form + Spirit [non-physical]), we can easily understand that she is referring to the non-physical aspect of the individual whether it be the Father or Christ. 


The scripture then makes sense when it talks of the "Spirit of God" or "The Spirit of Christ", or the "Spirit of His Son"  in that it is referring to the PERSON or non-physical aspect of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is a person, it is the PERSON of God, of Christ come to you and I. It is not another individual because  according to the scripture, physical form and Spirit is what constitutes an individual and the holy Spirit does not fit the criteria of being a separate individual LIKE the Father and the Son.  You cannot have one to the exclusion of the other else the individual is either dead and does not exist or you are into Spiritualism and the immortality of the soul. The two go together. The Spirit therefore "belongs" to someone - it is always in the possessive form. The Spirit of man, the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:19), the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9, 1Peter 1:11) or the Spirit of God. (Gen 1:2 etc)


THE HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT A SEPARATE INDIVIDUAL LIKE THE FATHER & SON BECAUSE IT LACKS A PHYSICAL "BODY" OR FORM AND FEATURE LIKE THE FATHER AND THE SON AND CANNOT BE A THIRD "GOD" MAKING UP THE ONE GOD OF THE TRINITY


We have seen so far that it is impossible for God to be anything but a physical being, also possessing a Spirit which is HOLY.  The difference with God is that He is able to send His divine Spirit to you and I to influence us toward righteousness and salvation.

Here is that statement again which categorically states that the individual we call God is not something intangible in isolation but a real personal being:   


"God a Person, Not a Perfume.--Through Jesus Christ, God--not a perfume, not something intangible, but a personal God--created man, and endowed him with intelligence and power. ....."  {3MR 326.4}

The Spirit is intangible and on its own without physicality cannot constitute a third God being. There is simply no such thing according to Scripture. BUT WE CAN UNDERSTAND IT TO BE THE PERSON OF A VERY PHYSICAL GOD, hence appellation "the third person of the Godhead" - the Father (1) and Son (2) are physically in heaven but  their PERSON (3) or personality is omnipresent on earth through the operation of their Holy Spirit. 

Notice how the disciples were confused and held erroneous views regarding heaven and God, that heaven was tenanted by non-physical spirits without bodily substance. [bracketed comments supplied]:


“A NEW VIEW OF HEAVEN.-What a source of joy to the disciples to know that they had such a Friend in heaven to plead in their behalf! Through the visible ascension of Christ all their views and contemplation of heaven are changed. Their minds had formerly dwelt upon it as a region of unlimited space, tenanted by spirits without substance. Now heaven was connected with the thought of Jesus, [a physical God] whom they had loved and reverenced above all others, with whom they had conversed and journeyed, whom they had handled, even in His resurrected body, who had spoken hope and comfort to their hearts, and who, while the words were upon His lips, had been taken up before their eyes, the tones of His voice coming back to them as the cloudy chariot of angels received Him: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."  {Hvn 67.1}


“Heaven could no longer appear to them as an indefinite, incomprehensible space, filled with intangible spirits. They now looked upon it as their future home, where mansions were being prepared for them by their loving Redeemer. Prayer was clothed with a new interest, since it was a communion with their Saviour. With new and thrilling emotions and a firm confidence that their prayer would be answered, they gathered in the upper chamber to offer their petitions and to claim the promise of the Saviour, who had said, "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." They prayed in the name of Jesus.  {Hvn 68.1}

Therefore, heaven is a real place, tenanted by real physical people, the Father, the Son and Angels etc. They saw a real physical person ascend to heaven  and that changed their whole concept of heaven and “They now looked upon it as their future home, where mansions were being prepared for them by their loving Redeemer.” 


Here's the testimony again. (Bracketed comment supplied):

"The doctrine of Christ directly opposed the belief of the Sadducees. The word and works of Christ testified to a divine power which accomplishes miraculous results, of a future, eternal life exalted above the finite life, of God as a Father to the children of men, watchful of their true interests, and guarding them. He taught that God was a rewarder of the righteous, and a punisher of the transgressor. He was not an intangible spirit, but a living ruler of the universe. [a physical being] This gracious Father was constantly working for the good of man, and mindful of all that concerns him. The very hairs of his head are numbered. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of the Heavenly Father, and man is more valuable than many sparrows. Jesus presented before them their ignorance of the Scriptures  in assigning to human power that which could be wrought only through the power of the Spirit of God. He declared that their confusion of faith and darkness of mind resulted mainly from this cause, and that spiritual things must be spiritually discerned." {3SP 47.1}


God is "...not an intangible spirit, but a living ruler of the universe."

Interesting that the testimonies should say that knowing full well the Bible says, “God is a Spirit”, but having understood the meaning of the word Spirit, it now makes sense that she is making a very positive statement that GOD is indeed a living PHYSICAL being, a living ruler of the universe with a non-physical aspect to Himself known as the Spirit and therefore God to you and I is indeed a Spirit and it is through His Spirit that a physical God is rendered Omnipresent throughout His creation.


And so let all the people say Amen.