The Spirit of God is not a distinct person from him...

Posted Jan 03, 2011 by Bobby B in The Spirit of God Hits: 4,685

Found this interesting article about the Holy Spirit.  After spending some time examining the "threeness" of God in the SOP, it might be time to continue to examine again the oneness (or unity) of God from scripture.  Hope someone might find something new.

The Bible doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the holy spirit, atonement,faith ...By William Kinkade, 1829, pp 171-178.

The Spirit of God is not a distinct person from him, any more than my spirit is a distinct person from me. God's Spirit bears the same relation to God, that the spirit of man does to man. Hence Paul says, " 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."

The spirit of a person is frequently mentioned to express the person, as in the following text: "I am glad of the coming of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part, they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such." 1 Cor. 16, 17, 18. By having his spirit, and the spirit of his brethren refreshed, he no doubt meant that he and they were refreshed.

In concluding his letter to the Galatians, and his letter to Philemon, Paul says, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with your spirit." By the word spirit in both these letters, he most probably intended to express the persons, because in concluding most of his other epistles he says, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" or words to that amount.

David says, "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there." Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8. Here the Psalmist clearly shows, that by God's Spirit he means God himself. Also in the following text God's Spirit is mentioned to signify God's self. "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job. xxxiii. 4. "But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them." Isa. Ixiii. 10. This text is to the point; by vexing the Lord's Holy Spirit, they vexed the Lord, therefore the Lord's Spirit was the Lord, and not an intelligent person distinct from him." But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.and to keep back part of the price of the land?  While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power 1 why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men. but unto God." Acts iii. 3, 4. It is impossible to divide between any being and his spirit, so as to make two distinct persons of them. If you refresh my spirit, you refresh me, and if you vex my spirit, you vex me: just so when they vexed the Lord's Holy Spirit, they vexed the Lord ; and when they lied to his Holy Spirit, they lied to him. That God and his Holy Spirit are the same person, will appear by comparing the following passages in the Old and New Testaments." Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then I said here am I; send me. And he said go and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,and understand with their heart, and convert and be healed." Isa. vi . 8, 9, 10. Here it is said that God sent Isaiah to speak these things; but in the New Testament Paul ascribes this speech to the Holy Ghost.  "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, go unto this people and say, hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive, &c." Acts xxviii. 25, 26, 27. That the Holy Ghost is sometimes mentioned to express God himself, is still more evident by comparing the following passages. "Whereof, the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Heb. x. 15, 16,17. "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, &c." Jer. xxxi. 33. Paul says, this promise was made by the Holy Ghost, and Jeremiah says God made it, I suppose the meaning of both is that God by his Spirit spoke through the prophet.

In the following text the Psalmist represents God as speaking to the people. "Harden not your hearts as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation." Psal. xcv. 8, 9, 10. Paul ascribes this speech to the Holy Ghost. "Wherefore, (as the Holy Ghost saith, to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years." Heb. iii. 7, 8, 9. By these passages of scripture it is evident that the Holy Spirit is frequently mentioned to express the person of God.

It is plain from the Old Testament that God sent the prophets, and spoke by them, because whenever they delivered a prophecy, they began with saying, "Thus saith the Lord;" or by saying some other words of that meaning. But Peter ascribes their prophecies to the dictation of the Holy Ghost, he says, " For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Pet, i. 21. Paul says, "God at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets." Heb. i. 1. If God spoke by the prophets, and at the same time those very speeches were dictated by the Holy Ghost, then God and the Holy Ghost must be the same being; unless it can be proved that the Spirit is a distinct being from God, and acted as his agent or instrument, and if it is God's instrument or agent, it cannot be a person coequal, nor coeternal with him.

When one person acts as the instrument or agent of another, the same actions and works can with propriety be ascribed to them both. But in that case, the instrument or agent is always inferior to his employer, therefore the above passages of scripture will oblige us to either acknowledge that God and the Holy Ghost are the same being, or else that the Holy Ghost is a being distinct from, and inferior to God.

That the Spirit of God is sometimes mentioned to signify God himself, appears from the following passage: "But there are diversities of operations; but it is the same God which worketh all in all. For to one is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another faith by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one, and the self-same spirit." 1 Cor. xii. 6—11. In this passage you will observe that it is first asserted that God distributes these gifts, and works these miracles; and then it is affirmed that the Spirit distributes these gifts, and works these miracles. And in the 18th verse the distribution of these gifts is again ascribed to God thus: "But now hath God set the members, every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him." From these texts it is evident that the words God, and Holy Spirit, are at least sometimes synonymous, of which, if there is any farther evidence needed, it is furnished by Paul in the following text: "Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. Here the apostle shows that because the Lord is that Spirit, we are by the operations of it changed into his image. If the Lord is that Spirit, that Spirit is not a distinct person from the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is sometimes used to express the power of God, which will appear by comparing the following texts : "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." Luk. xi. 20. " But if I cast out devils by the spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.'' Mat. xii. 28. By this it appears that the same thing is ascribed to God's spirit, and to his finger. I now ask is God's finger a distinct person from himself? But it will be answered that God's finger represents his power. To this I agree; but then I ask, is God's power a distinct person from himself?

That the Holy Spirit is sometimes mentioned to express the power of God, may be seen by comparing the following verses: " And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Luk. xxiv. 49. This promise of being endued with power from on high, was no doubt the gift of the Holy Ghost, which appears from the words he spoke to them after his resurrection." And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me: for John truly baptized with water ; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Act. i. 4, 5—8. "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."

As God is infinite in all his perfections, he can communicate his spirit to his creatures, and influence them by it in every part of the universe at his pleasure. And when his Spirit is mentioned as a witness, a teacher, or a comforter, the meaning is that he bears witness to the truth, or teaches, or comforts his people, by his Spirit.

When we receive his Spirit we do not literally receive his person, so as to have it incorporated in our persons, but we partake of his nature, and become the willing subjects of his government. I think, however, that the Holy Spirit is something more than a mere quality, it is real being, and yet not a distinct person from the Father. It is represented under the figure of water, of wine, and of oil, and was probably typified by the sweet anointing oil that was kept in the temple to anoint the high priests, to counterfeit which was death by the law. Our knowledge of the divine essence is extremely limited; but Elihu indicates that God's Spirit is his breath: hence he says : "The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job. xxxiii. 4. David holds out the idea that the host of heaven was made by God's breath." By the word of the Lord were the heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." Psal. xxxiii. 6. Job says: "By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens." Job. xxvi. 13. Isaiah says of Christ, that "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." Isa. xi. 4. Paul says: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth." 2 Thes. ii. 8. Eliphaz. says : "By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed." Job. iv. 9. " Tophet is ordained of old ; yea, for the King it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire, and much wood: the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone doth kindle it." Isa. xxx. 33. From these passages it appears that God's breath, and his Spirit, at least sometimes, mean the same thing. The Hebrew Ruach, and the Greek Pneuma, which are the names of the spirit of God in the original scriptures, are the same words that we have translated wind and air. Although my breath has a real existence, still it is not a distinct person from me; and notwithstanding it is nothing but natural air, yet its connexion with me is essential to my natural life. As God is a Spirit, and infinite in all his perfections, his breath must be as much superior to our breath, as he is to us. It was by his breath that a rational soul was breathed into Adam. The miraculous effusions of his spirit is represented as a refiner's fire, which is generally accompanied with a blast of wind: hence it is in the third chapter of Matthew called a fan, by which the chaff is separated from the wheat. And when it was poured out on the day of Pentecost, it came like a mighty rushing wind. And when Jesus had received the Holy Ghost to give to his disciples, he communicated it to them by breathing on them.— Hence it is said, "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost." Job. xx. 22.

Christ ascribes the new birth to the Holy Spirit, and illustrates its operation by comparing it to the natural wind. Thus he says: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it hsteth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Joh. iii. 6, 7, 8.

As the natural wind or air is too thin for us to see with our natural eyes, so the Spirit of God cannot be fully comprehended by the eyes of our understanding: but as we can feel the former blow on our bodies, -so we can feel the latter operate on our minds; and as drawing breath in the natural air is necessary to natural life, so a constant supply of the Holy Spirit is essential to spiritual life, or the life of God in the soul; and as the natural wind drives mists, and noxious vapors, from our atmosphere; so God's Holy Spirit dispels the mists of error, and unbelief, and removes evil affections from our minds.

But still I do not pretend to say, that God's Spirit in its substance has the least resemblance of natural wind, because as I cannot see the particles of the natural wind so as to describe them, I am, of course, still more disqualified to define the substance of the Holy Spirit. But as it is altogether probable that the natural wind is more useful to us than it would be if we could see it as plain as we see trees and stones. So it is quite probable that our inability to describe the substance of the Holy Spirit, and the precise manner of its operations, is in our present mortal state, a blessing instead of an evil.

When I blow a horn, I make a loud noise with my breath; when I blow on a flute, I make a melodious sound with my breath; when I blow out a candle, I extinguish a light with my breath; when I blow the fire. I kindle a flame with my breath; I can blow warm, or I can blow cold with my breath, and when I wish to do it, I can speak, bear witness, or teach, with my breath ; and yet all these actions may be, with truth and propriety, ascribed to me, or to my breath, or to my power, or to my understanding. So I think God can teach, instruct, comfort, bear witness, kill and make alive, or do any thing else that he pleases by his Spirit, and yet his Spirit not be a distinct person from himself.

Although I have quoted some passages which seem to prove that the breath of the Lord is sometimes mentioned to represent his Spirit, yet I do not pretend to say, that God's breath is his Spirit, because I do not know. I do not understand the substance of my own spirit, much less that of the divine Being. But I have used the above illustration to show that all the language used in scripture relative to God and his Holy Spirit, may be consistently understood without making him, and it, to be two distinct persons.
(The Bible doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the holy spirit, atonement,faith ...By William Kinkade, 1829, pp 171-178.)

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