“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
The Spirit is God
When attempting to prove that the Holy Spirit is God, the proof comes from the same sources. Moses clearly says that the Spirit was hovering over the abyss (Genesis 1:2). Not only is the beauty of the world preserved by the Spirit, but even before there was a beautiful world, the Spirit was conserving God’s creation. No one can explain away Isaiah’s words, “And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit” (Isaiah 48:16). The Spirit sent the prophets too. By sending them, the Spirit’s divine glory is clear.
But the best evidence for the Spirit’s divinity is our familiar experience. Nothing is further beyond our own comprehension than having the ability to sustain all things everywhere–both in heaven and on earth. But that is exactly what the Spirit does. The mere fact that He has no limits should give us an indication that He is not a mere created thing! He gives energy to all things, breathing in them being, life, and motion. He is God!
Furthermore, if giving spiritual life is much better than producing physical life, then we should think of Him as God. Many Scriptures demonstrate that He is the giver of spiritual life. He doesn’t borrow this ability from anyone. He has it in Himself. He is also the giver of future immortality. In short, all the attributes of God are given to the Spirit like they are given to the Son.
The Spirit searches the deep things of God and does not receive counsel from any creature. He gives wisdom and the ability to speak, though God declares to Moses that it is His own particular area (Exodus 4:11). In a similar way, we become partakers of the divine nature through the Spirit. His power makes us alive.
Being declared righteous before God is His work. From the Spirit comes power, sanctification, truth, grace, and every good thought. All good gifts come from the Spirit alone. Paul writes that although there are many diverse gifts, “one and same Spirit works these things” (1 Corinthians 12:11). He is not only the origin of these gifts, but the author: “distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
If the Spirit were not something subsisting in God, the idea that He has a will would never be given to Him. Most clearly, Paul ascribes divine power to the Spirit and demonstrates that He is God!