الصراط المستقيم

The Right Way – Al-Siraat Al-Mustaqem

Where does it say in the Bible that the Spirit is God?

The same answer needs to be born in mind as in question 2.  The identity and role of the Spirit is expressed in the Bible in terms of the Spirit’s place within Elohim.  So we find many examples of the work of the Spirit being the work of God, or the Spirit sharing features of the divine life… but we do not have an Islamic-like statement where the Spirit simply claims to be individually ‘god’.  However, Acts 5:3-4 is as clear as anybody could want.

More generally, on the theme of the deity of the Spirit, the following passages are useful.

1 Samuel 10:6-7  “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”  The newly anointed King Saul is told that God is with him because the Spirit of the LORD is with him.  The Spirit’s presence is God’s presence.  We find just the same thing in Psalm 139:7  “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

Psalm 51:11  “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”  David’s prayer has two aspects.  First he prays that he would not be thrown out of the company of the LORD, yet from the other direction he asks that the LORD’s fellowship would not be withdrawn from him. To have the Holy Spirit’s company is to have the presence of the LORD.

Psalm 106:32-33  “By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them;  for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.”  If we compare these comments with the account in Numbers 20:12-13 we see that the Spirit of God is the LORD.

Numbers 20:12-13  “But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarrelled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them.”

Isaiah 63:7-16   “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us — yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.  He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Saviour.  In all their distress he too was distressed, and the Angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.  Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.  Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people–where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them,  who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses’ right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown,  who led them through the depths? Like a horse in open country, they did not stumble;  like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name.  Look down from heaven and see from your lofty throne, holy and glorious. Where are your zeal and your might? Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.  But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.”

This passage from Isaiah is worthy of deep meditation.  The Three Persons of Elohim are set in their redeeming work, all emerging from the Father’s great love for His people.  The whole prayer is addressed to the Father [specifically using that title].  Unusually the Divine Mediator is mentioned only once as the one who accomplished salvation.  However, in this prayer the Spirit occupies a much more explicit role than is normal in Scripture.  Here it is the Holy Spirit who is grieved by Israel’s rebellion, the One who indwelt the people in the wilderness and gave them Sabbath even in such circumstances.

We must always remember though that the role of the Spirit within Elohim does not conform to the expectations and assumptions of Islamic theology.  It is important that we do not drag the Spirit into a front stage position alongside the Son in an attempt to demonstrate His divinity.  This seems to violate the way in which the Scriptures speak of Him.