THE SPIRIT OF GOD

Through  the  centuries,  there has been  much  disagreement  and confusion  as to who or what is the spirit of God. We live in  an age  where  many believe that the  spirit of God is  an  ethereal, mystical, essence, force, or power that is beyond  understanding. However, the  spirit of God is not a great mystery nor  is it beyond understanding; it can be understood.

Although the Bible does not give a scientific or technical explanation  of what the  spirit of God is, there are  many  scriptures that show many of its attributes,  functions,  and  powers through examples of what has been and can be accomplished with it and through it.

Therefore,  by  compiling and categorizing much of what the Bible says about  the spirit, it is possible to make some sound  assumptions and conclusions as to what the spirit is, what it does, what part it plays in God's awesome plan and purpose for humanity, and  how to use it once a person has access to it.

THE WORD 'SPIRIT'

Most  English translations of the Bible use the words 'holy ghost' and 'holy spirit' in an attempt to assign the attribute of  personality to the spirit of God. However, these words do not convey the conceptual intent of the original Hebrew and Greek words that define the spirit of God. Moreover, the original words used to define the spirit of God in their original form alone cannot convey a true understanding of what the spirit of God is.

The Hebrew Word 'Ruwach'

The  Hebrew word for spirit is 'ruwach', which means 'wind', 'breath', 'mind',  or 'spirit'. As used in the Old Testament, 'ruwach'  describes both physical and spiritual things.

The Greek Word 'Pneuma'

The  Greek  word for spirit is 'pneuma', which means 'wind',  'breath', 'life', 'psyche',  'mind', or 'spirit'. 'Pneuma' is used to describe both physical and spiritual things.

A Difficult Concept

Because  the   spirit of God does not originate  in  the  physical existence  and  is  from another dimension of  time  and  space, it is impossible for humans to fully  comprehend or understand the reality of the spirit with its limitless  power and complexity.

Understanding  spiritual  concepts  and realities  is  made even more difficult  because of our limited experience with and   knowledge of  the  spirit  world. Because humans do not  have  an  equivalent counterpart of the  spirit-realm of existence or a reference  point from which to draw a clear, detailed image or explanation of  what 'spirit' is, the writers of the Bible were inspired to use the only words with which they could describe the  concept of an  energy, force,  and  power that is invisible yet has the  ability  to influence  and make a visible impact on the physical  existence.

However, we are told by many scriptures that the children of God can  understand spiritual matters; therefore, it follows that  the   concepts and  realities of the spirit can be explained and  understood by using the Bible as a guide.

A Key Understanding

An important  key to understanding what is meant when the  scriptures  speak of the holy   spirit, the spirit of God,  the  spirit, his   spirit, the Father's spirit, and Christ's spirit is to first understand  that these descriptive terms are sometimes  used  to describe more that one thing and what is described can only be determined from the context of the scripture in which the  term is used.

Moreover, if what the Father has inspired to  be  written about him and his spirit is carefully studied, it is possible to understand what the  spirit of God is.

Dimensions of Time and Space

The Bible clearly describes at least two dimensions of existence and  alludes  to others. The two dimensions  of  existence  that concern humanity are the physical dimension in which humanity exists and the spiritual dimension in which God the  Father and Jesus Christ exist.

The New Testament writers were inspired to record the great  difference between the physical and the  spiritual  dimensions of existence many times. In Paul's letter to the Church at Corinth, he carefully  explains that there is a difference between the physical and the spiritual existence.

1.Corinthians 15:39-49

"All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of  flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another  of birds.  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies  terrestrial, but  the  glory of the celestial is one, and the  glory  of  the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun and another  glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars.   For  one star differs from another star in glory.  So also is the  resurrection of the dead.  It is sewn in corruption.  It is raised  in incorruption. It is sewn in dishonor;  it is raised in glory:  it is sewn in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sewn a natural body;   It is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural  body, and there is a spiritual body" (vs.39-44 KJV). See Lk.24:39.

Paul explains that there is  a  great  difference between spiritual and physical dimensions of existence, and that the spiritual dimension is superior to the physical dimension.

In  verses  45-49, Paul again shows that the  Father  intends  to transform those called to salvation from a physical life-form  to a spiritual life-form:

"So  it has been written, 'The man Adam was made a living  soul,'  the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But not the  spiritual first,  but the natural; afterward the spiritual. The  first man was out of the  earth. The second Man was the Lord out of heaven. Such is the  earthy man, such also the earthy ones.  And  such  the heavenly  Man,  such also the heavenly ones. And as we  bore  the image  of  the earthy man, we shall also bear the  image  of  the heavenly man" (vs.45-49 Para.). See also Rom.8:11-14; 1.Jn.4:10-16.

There is a distinct  difference  between  the physical  and the spiritual existence; the first Adam (man) was made  a  physical being  of  the physical dimension of time and space,  the  second Adam (a son of God) will be composed of spirit, which is of the spirit dimension of time and space.

THE FATHER IS SPIRIT

While speaking to a woman of Samaria, Jesus explains that  there would  come a time when the worship system that existed then  would be  abolished, and those who worshiped God would do so in  spirit and truth:

John 4:19-24

"The  woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a  prophet. Our  fathers  worshiped  in this mountain, and you  say  that  in Jerusalem  is the place where it is necessary to  worship. Jesus said to  her, Woman believe me that an hour is coming  when  you will  worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in  Jerusalem.  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we  know, for salvation is of the Jews'. But the hour is coming,  and  now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father  in  spirit and  truth. For the Father seeks such ones that worship him.  God is spirit, and the ones that worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (vs.19-24 Para.).

The  English word 'spirit' used here is translated from  the  Greek word 'pneuma', which means, 'wind', 'breath', 'life', 'psyche', 'mind', or 'spirit'.

The  word 'spirit' in the context of Jesus' conversation  with  the woman can only refer to the spirit dimension of existence. In  no way can it refer to an attitude, method, or philosophy of worship because there are many other Greek words that could express these concepts.

God the  Father is a spirit-being who inhabits  a  dimension  of time  and space that is different from the dimension of time and space that humanity inhabits.  All beings  who inhabit the  spirit-realm of existence are composed of a substance belonging to that existence, just as physical beings are composed of the substance of this dimension of time and space. Therefore, the Father is spirit because he inhabits the spirit-realm of existence.

The scriptures tell us that within the spiritual realm of  existence  there are many different types of spirit-beings: The Father and Christ who are immortal beings and other beings who are  eternal, but not immortal. Immortal beings inherently possess the highest  form of existence, which is life that springs forth from itself and never dies or decays; they are not dependent on any other source to sustain them. However,  eternal beings have life that is sustained by God the Father.

All who are of the spirit  realm are  composed  of spirit, and all who are of  the  physical realm,  are composed of both physical and spiritual substances.  See Gen.2:7-8; Deut.3:19; Job 32:8; Ecc.12:5-7.

THE FATHER HAS A SPIRIT

Nowhere  in the Bible is there a clear scripture that says  the  Father  has a spirit other than his  holy spirit.  However, there is much circumstantial evidence that clearly points to the Father having a quality of being which does not fit the scriptural definition of the holy spirit.

The reason this knowledge is important is that, without understanding  that  spirit-beings have  a spiritual  essence/quality that is distinctly different from the   holy spirit, it would  be difficult to understand exactly what is  being spoken  of  when the phrases 'the  spirit of God' and 'the spirit  of Christ' are used in the Bible.

The Creator's Spirit

The Book of Genesis shows  that the Creator God has both emotion and personality that is referred to as his spirit and his heart:

"And  the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with  man, for  that he is also flesh: yet his days will be an  hundred  and twenty years. . .. God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth,  and that every imagination of the  thoughts  of  his heart was evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he  had made  man  on  the  earth,  and it  grieved  him  at  his heart" (Gen.6:3;5-6 KJV).

While  speaking  of the Creator God's awesome  knowledge,  Isaiah shows the spirit he speaks of is the  Creator's intelligence, not his spirit-power:

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in  a balance?  Who has directed the   spirit of the Lord, or  being  his counselor has  taught him? With whom took he  counsel,  and  who instructed  him, and taught him the path of judgment, and taught him  knowledge,  and  showed to him the  way  of understanding?" (Isa.40:13-14 KJV).

The Spirit of Christ

"And those being in the flesh are not able to please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the  spirit, since the   spirit of  God dwells  in you. But if anyone has not the   spirit of  Christ this one is  not his. But Christ is in you, the body is  indeed  dead because of sin, but the   spirit is life because of  righteousness" (Rom.8:8-10 Para.).

For a person to be a son of God, the Father's  holy spirit and the spirit of Christ must be in them. Moreover, this clearly shows that Christ has a quality described  as 'his  spirit', which is different from the   holy spirit.

The Human Spirit

"But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding" (Job 32:8 KJV).

"The  burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, says  the  Lord, which stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth,  and forms the spirit of man within him" (Zech.12:1  KJV). See also Ecc.12:5-7.

Human beings have a 'human spirit', which includes  the human mind that has the capacity for thought, emotion,  character, and personality. Moreover, the human spirit is part of what makes us human. See Gen. 41:8;  Ex.35:21;  Num.5:30;  1.Sam.1:15;  Job  7:11; Psa.51:10; Matt.26:41.

THE FATHER HAS SPIRIT-POWER

Not only is the Father a spirit-being with an individual  personality but also he has an energy, force, and power that is described in  the  Bible  as the 'holy spirit', the 'spirit of  God', and  the 'spirit.'

One  of the mistakes many people make in trying to understand  the holy spirit is separating this spirit energy and power from God the Father and identifying it as a separate entity. However, this energy, force,  and power is not a separate entity; it is something  that belongs  to the  Father and is under his absolute  control  and administration.

THE   HOLY SPIRIT IS ENERGY AND POWER

It  is  unfortunate  that in most English  translations  of  the Bible  the  holy spirit has been referred to in  the  masculine gender as 'he' and 'him' instead of 'it', which is the correct translation.

The holy spirit is not some mystical, ethereal, or philosophic thought. The Father's  spirit is real, tangible  energy and power that  belongs to the Father, resides within him,  and is sent from him to dwell within his children. The   holy spirit is not  a  person;  it is energy and power. Therefore,  the spirit should  be referred to as 'it'  rather than  'he' or 'him'. This spirit energy and power is not a separate entity; it is something that the Father distributes and shares as he desires.

In the Beginning

"In  the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And  the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the  face of  the deep.  And the  spirit of God moved upon the face  of  the waters" (Gen.1:1-2 KJV).

These first few verses show the awesome power of  God's  holy spirit. Through this power, the Creator God brought this dimension of time and space and  all  things that exist within it into existence. After this creation, God reformed his creation by this same power in  preparation for the creation of humanity.

In the New Testament, we are told that it was Jesus Christ who was the Creator of all things:

"In  the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God ,  and the  Word  was God. The same was in the beginning with  God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made" (Jn.1:1-3 KJV).

"And  to make all men see what is the fellowship of the  mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph.3:9 KJV). See Jn.33:4.

"Long ago God spoke in many different ways to our fathers through the prophets [in visions, dreams, and face-to-face], telling them  little by little about his plans. But now in these days he has spoken to us through his Son to whom he has given everything, and through whom he made the world and everything there is. God's Son  shines out with God's glory, and all that God's Son  is  and does marks  him  as God. He regulates [Greek: 'phero',  i.e.,'to uphold' or 'to rule'] the universe by the mighty power  of  his command.  He  is the one who died to cleanse us and to  clear  our record of all sin, and then sat down in highest honor beside  the great   God  of  heaven"  (Heb.1:1-3 LBP). See  Job 26:12-1;  Psa.62:11; 65:6; Rom.16:25.

Jesus  now controls and rules all that  he created  for the Father through the power of the  Father's holy spirit:

"The  four and twenty elders fall down before him that  sat  upon the throne, and worship him that lives forever and ever, and cast their  crowns before the throne saying, 'You are worthy, O  Lord, to  receive glory and honor and power: for you have  created  all things,  and  for your  pleasure they  are  and  were  created" (Rev.4:10-11 KJV).

It is through the use of the energy and power of the holy spirit that all things and beings, whether spirit or physical, are  able to  exist and exert spiritual and/or physical action  and  influence. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and their loyal  spirit  creatures  exert  a positive and righteous influence upon the  physical  and spiritual existence through the power of the   holy spirit. However,  disloyal  and evil spirits exert a negative influence  with  this same spirit-power.

The first chapter of Genesis shows that it was by the power of the   spirit that the physical realm came into  existence. And in the New Testament, scriptures show that it was God the  Father, the Supreme Sovereign, who directed Jesus Christ to  create  all that exists. Therefore, it is possible to conclude the following about the   holy spirit:

THE   HOLY SPIRIT FROM ADAM TO CHRIST

Below are a few of the many references which show that the  Creator placed the   holy spirit within some individuals in order to give them the power and ability to carry out certain tasks.

Joseph

"And  Pharaoh said unto his servants, can we find such a  one  as this  is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?  And  Pharaoh  said unto Joseph, for as much as God has showed  you all this,  there is none so discreet and wise as you are" (Gen.41:38-39 KJV).

Moses and the Elders

"And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it to the seventy  elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied,  and  did  not  cease"  (Num.11:25  KJV).  See   also Isa.63:11.

Bezaleel

"And  the  Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, See, I have  called  by name   Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the  tribe  of Judah:  And I have filled him with the  spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge,  and in  all manner   of  workman- ship" (Ex.31:1-3 KJV).

Samuel

"And  the  spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and  you  shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come to you, that you do as occasion serves you; for God is with you" (1.Sam.10:6-7 KJV).

Elijah And Elisha

"And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah  said unto Elisha, ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken  away from  you.  And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion  of your spirit  be  upon  me. And he said, you  have  asked  a  hard thing . . ..And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho  saw  him, they said, the spirit of Elijah does  rest  on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to  the ground before him" (2.Kg.2:9-15 KJV).

See also Psa.51:11-12, Num.27:18; Jdg.6:34, Isa.63:1-11; Dan.4:8-9,18.

John the Baptist

"And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel" (Lk.1:80 NIV).  Also see Lk.1:15.

Jesus as a Child

"And  the child grew, and became strong in spirit,  being  filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was upon him" (Lk.2:40 Para.).

Three Important Things To Note

There  are three important things revealed about the holy spirit through  these  and other scriptures that speak of spirit-power being given to and working through individuals before the New Covenant.

1. From  the time of Adam to the time of the end of the first covenant with national Israel,  the Creator God placed his spirit within certain individuals to  give them  the power and ability to perform certain tasks for the  God family.

2. The  indwelling of this spirit-power gave  these  individuals certain abilities or enhanced the ones they already had. In  some situations   they were allowed to use the power of the spirit in supernatural ways to carry out their tasks.

3. The Father can impart his spirit to whomever he wants and for whatever purpose he wants. See Matt.19:26; Acts 5:32.

The following are some of the abilities imparted through the holy spirit to these individuals:

THE NEW COVENANT SPIRIT

Although the  spirit of God that was given to individuals from the time  of Adam to the time of the end of the first covenant with national Israel is the same spirit that is given today under the New Covenant, there are two  major differences:

1. Before Jesus, no human had been transformed into a spiritual son  of God. Now, the Father uses his spirit-power  to  transform those called to salvation into a New Creation.

2. Before Jesus, the indwelling of the   holy spirit was a temporary state. Now, the  spirit is given to dwell within  a  person forever as a part of an eternal agreement between the  Father, Jesus Christ, and those called to salvation.

Both  of these major differences concern the New  Covenant  relationship between God the Father, Jesus Christ, and each new member of the God family.

The Promise of the Spirit

Prior  to and after his death and resurrection, Jesus promised  to send  the   holy spirit to assist those whom the Father  calls  to salvation:

"If  you love me, keep my commandments. And I will  petition  the Father, and he will give you another comforter that he may remain with  you  forever  the spirit of truth, whom  the world cannot receive  because it does not see him, nor know him. But you  know him,  for he abides with you, and shall be in  you"  (Jn.14:15-17 Para.). Also see Jn.16:13-14; Acts 1:4-8.

"And he said, Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah  must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day; and that this message of salvation should be taken from Jerusalem  to all the nations;  There is forgiveness of sins for all who  turn to me.  You have seen these prophecies come true. And now I  will send the   holy spirit upon you, just as my Father promised.  Don't begin telling others yet—stay here in the city until the    holy spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven"  (Lk.24:46-49 LBP).

The  English word 'power' in verse 49 is translated from the  Greek word 'dunamis', which means 'power to perform'. This is the  same  power that  Jesus  had while he was on earth. It is the  same kind of power through which he performed all of his great works, and it is the same kind of energy and power his followers will have in  the end of the age.

The following are some very important things to take note of  from  John and Luke's account of Christ's promise to send the  spirit of God:

The Transformation

It  is through the power of his spirit that the Father  literally transforms a person from the original human creation into a  new and  different being. The old person with only the spirit of  man ceases to exist, and a new person is born who has the holy spirit dwelling  within them. See Matt.3:1-7; 1.Pet.1:22 and our study paper concerning the New Creation.

In  many  places,  this is referred to as  the  spirit  of begettal,  and the process of giving a person this spirit parallels the human conception and birth  process to a certain extent.

Although still appearing to be human, a transformation has  taken place  that makes a person with the holy spirit  different.  This difference  is  that  a person with the   spirit of  God  has  been transformed into a son of God with the genetic imprint of the God family. Although the child of God is not yet an immortal spirit-being that is totally  composed of spirit, a person with the  spirit of God is  certainly a member of the spiritual family of God. And at some  time in the future, this person will shed their body of flesh and become an  immortal  being  with  a  body  composed  of  spirit-substance.   See 1.Cor.15:51-54; 1.Thes.4:13-17; Rev.20:6.

Each person who responds to God's call to salvation, repents, is  baptized,  and  receives his holy spirit, can look forward  to  tremendous rewards and happiness forever as an immortal spirit-being in the Family of God.

SUMMARY

The Word SPIRIT

No single meaning can be applied throughout the scriptures to the words   'holy spirit', the 'spirit' of God, 'the spirit', 'his spirit', 'the Father's spirit', 'Christ's spirit', and the 'human spirit.'

The  word 'spirit' is used to describe more than  one  concept  or thing, and what is described can only be determined from the context of the scripture in which the word is used. Each  scripture containing the word 'spirit' must be viewed in  its context with the following understanding:

The Holy Spirit

The Spirit

Conclusion

With the knowledge that the word 'spirit' is used to describe the Father's  holy spirit, spirit-substance, and the mind,  character, individuality  and  personality of the Father,  Christ,  and  the children of God, the  meaning of many difficult scriptures becomes clear.

Christ and the children of God have a  spirit that  is  separate  from the   holy spirit; therefore, the Father must also have a spiritual quality that is  separate from  his   holy spirit.

Although  the Father and his Son Jesus Christ are spirit-beings who  are composed of spirit substance, that has energy  and  power, they  are  unique individual beings. They  are different from each other in power, glory, appearance, experiences,  mannerisms, skills,  talents, and personality. Each has his own  unique  mind and personality, which is described as 'spirit'. See Jn.14:28.

The word 'spirit' is used to describe the Father's holy  spirit. Additionally it is used to describe a spirit-substance,  the  mind, the character, the individuality, and the personality of the Father, Christ, and the children of God.

By B.L Cocherell, file b6w5