A main doctrine that most churches calling themselves Christian have in common is the trinity. And yet, many of those churches would agree that it is the most difficult doctrine to explain. How can so many people believe a doctrine they don’t understand? All trinitarians, regardless of their variations in beliefs, believe the Holy Spirit is the third member of “God”—“three in one” with God the Father and Jesus Christ. This study will prove the fact that the Holy Spirit is revealed in the Bible as the power of God, which irrefutably disproves any attempt to make God out to be a trinity or to show the Holy Spirit as a distinct being.
God Is a Family
1. After whose image and likeness did God make man? Genesis 1:26.
God revealed in this scripture that it is His purpose to reproduce Himself. Otherwise, we would not have been created in His image (God’s character) and in His likeness (God’s features). God is a Family, and we have the opportunity to be born into that Family.
Right now, that Family is made up of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. But this Family will ultimately expand into billions of God beings.
If we know God is a Family, where does the Holy Spirit fit in?
In this article, we will study the Bible and find seven proofs that the Holy Spirit is the impersonal power, or force, of God. Every Christian would do well to have this list handy when confronted by a “biblical teacher” who insists that the Holy Spirit is personal. Get out a pen or pencil and write out these scriptures that are hidden to the world!
1. Jesus Was Begotten of the Spirit
1. How did Jesus’s mother Mary conceive Jesus? Matthew 1:20.
Jesus was begotten by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ghost is a mistranslation. The Revised Standard Version correctly translates it Spirit.
2. How did Mary respond when the angel Gabriel told her she would have a child? Luke 1:30-31, 34. What was Gabriel’s explanation? Verse 35.
The Holy Spirit, the power of the living God, would come upon Mary, meaning Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus were begotten of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was a third distinct being in the Godhead, that would make the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ’s Father! Even worldly churches know that is not true. Christ prayed to God His Father. “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father …” (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus Christ was the Son of God the Father. The Father begot Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as we are begotten physically by our father through the sperm cell, so the Father impregnated the virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ was begotten.
2. Firstfruits Are Begotten of the Spirit
1. Are true Christians also begotten of the Holy Spirit, spiritually? James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3-4.
In the same way our physical begettal began with the female ovum being fertilized by the male sperm, our spiritual begettal begins with our minds being fertilized with a small portion of God’s Holy Spirit upon repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands.
2. Are we sealed with the Holy Spirit after baptism? Ephesians 1:13. Do we receive just a small amount—a down payment—of the Holy Spirit at baptism? Verse 14.
The Holy Spirit is the earnest, or down payment, of our inheritance, which is to be born into the Family of God. It is by the Spirit that God will resurrect the firstfruits to immortal life at the return of Christ. The Holy Spirit is that earnest. It is not a different, distinct God within the Godhead.
3. Since we are begotten by God by the Holy Spirit, do we also call God our Father like Christ did? John 20:17.
Jesus Christ was begotten by God the Father through the Holy Spirit. The firstfruits, and later all mankind, will go through the same process. Even though human Christians are not yet spiritually born again, God is still our Father!
4. Did Jesus tell us to pray to our Father or to the Holy Spirit? Matthew 6:6.
Jesus instructs us to go to our Father. The firstfruits were begotten by the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit were a distinct personage, like God the Father and Jesus Christ, that would make the Holy Spirit our Father, which again is false. Jesus knew His Father wasn’t the Holy Spirit. The firstfruits also know their spiritual Father is not the Holy Spirit.
3. The Spirit in Man Is Not a Person
1. Does the Bible clearly say there is a spirit in man? Job 32:8; Proverbs 20:27; 1 Corinthians 6:20.
One subject you don’t hear about in trinitarian groups is the spirit in man. Herbert W. Armstrong expounded greatly on this subject. God revealed to him that the vast difference between human beings and animals is this spirit in man. The spirit in man, combined with our human brain, makes up what we call the mind and gives us the power of intellect. Animals, on the other hand, have instinct. Without the human spirit, the human brain isn’t any better than the brain of a dumb animal.
2. Does the human spirit distinguish man from animals? 1 Corinthians 2:11. Does the Holy Spirit, then, distinguish man from God? Same verse.
That means exactly what it says. The spirit of man—man’s spirit—makes known the things of man. Likewise, the Spirit of God makes known the things of God. How simple and plain is the Word of God!
Our human spirit within us is not a different, distinct being. It is the power that enables us to think, to make decisions, to enjoy fine music and culture, to comprehend difficult math equations—in other words, the things of man. Likewise, God’s Spirit reveals the things of God—the plan of God, the potential for man, and yes, the very nature of God.
3. Can we understand the nature of God without the Holy Spirit? Verse 14. How can the things of God be discerned? Verse 10.
It was revealed by God’s Spirit, not by a being called the Holy Spirit! If the Holy Spirit is a third distinct being in the trinitarian godhead, would not the spirit in man also be another distinct man within us?
4. Paul Didn’t Recognize the Trinity
1. Did Jesus Christ give a stark warning against speaking against the Holy Spirit? Matthew 12:32.
Blaspheming or disrespecting the Holy Spirit carries heavy consequences. With these very clear instructions concerning the Holy Spirit, it seems odd that Paul failed to even mention the Holy Spirit in any of the greetings in his letters. He always mentioned God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son—but never the Holy Spirit. Look and see for yourself.
1 Corinthians 1:3 says, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” What about 2 Corinthians? “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:2). Paul also wrote the books of Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews. Check the greetings in all of those books. They are all similar to the verses quoted above.
Out of 14 books, you would think Paul would at least mention the Holy Spirit in one of the greetings if, as adherents of the trinity teach, “God is one” and “the Holy Spirit is God.” One could even consider such blatant negligence against the Holy Spirit to be almost blasphemous considering Matthew 12:32.
2. Did Paul think God was a trinity? 1 Timothy 2:5.
If the Holy Spirit were an actual being that lives in us, certainly it would be the “mediator” between us and God. But Paul says Jesus Christ is the Mediator between us and God.
3. Is the Holy Spirit noticeably absent in other important scriptures discussing the Godhead? Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 11:3.
In Romans 8:17, there are “heirs” of God, “joint-heirs” with Christ—but what about the Holy Spirit? Paul says nothing about it!
In 1 Corinthians 11:3, he says the woman is under the man, the man is under Christ, and Christ is under God! Where does the Holy Spirit—this supposed distinct third being in the Godhead—fit into all of this?
We know from Paul’s writings where Christ sits. He sits at the right hand of God on God’s throne (Colossians 3:1; compare with Revelation 3:21). But where does the Holy Spirit sit?
Out of all 14 epistles Paul wrote, here is the only verse that lists God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit together: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy [Spirit], be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14). In that closing sentence of Paul’s letter, the Holy Spirit is only mentioned in the context of communion, or fellowship—not as a third, distinct being in the Godhead.
If there were scriptural support for the trinity, you would think it would be found somewhere among the writings of the Apostle Paul—the most prolific writer in all the New Testament. Instead, we find numerous scriptures proving without a doubt that God is not a trinity. God is a Family!
5. Holy Spirit Is Actually an ‘IT’
Some trinitarians point to the fact that the Holy Spirit is referred to as “he” in John 14, 15 and 16. There is a very simple explanation for this. Like many other languages, the Greek language has what is called a gender for every noun. The gender can either be masculine, feminine or neuter.
Here is what the Worldwide Church of God wrote in a reprint article concerning this subject: “In the Greek language, the gender of a word has nothing whatever to do with whether the thing designated is really masculine or feminine. If it did—what a contradiction in the Bible itself! For in the Old Testament the Hebrew word for spirit—ruwach—is usually feminine, and only rarely in a masculine form. Gender in language is really nothing more than a convenient grammatical tool. In the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of John, the English pronoun ‘he’ is definitely used in connection with the word ‘Comforter’—but not for theological or spiritual reasons.”
The Greek word for “Comforter” in these chapters in John is parakletos, and it has a masculine gender. That is why the translators used the pronoun “he.” “It” would have been a more accurate English translation since English nouns don’t have gender (see Acts 2:2-3 where the Holy Spirit is correctly referred to as “it”).
6. Greek and Hebrew Words Add Insight
A simple study of the Hebrew and Greek words for “spirit” illustrate that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal power that emanates from God. The other uses for the Hebrew and Greek words illustrate this fact.
The Hebrew word for “spirit” in the Old Testament is ruwach and is defined in Strong’s Concordance as “wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation … air, anger, blast, breath.” Nothing in this definition suggests a distinct being with a personality. Ruwach is #7307 in Strong’s and comes from #7306, which makes it even more plain: “to blow, i.e. breathe; only (literally) to smell.”
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon has four definitions for ruwach: “1) spirit, breath … 2) breath, life, the vital principle, which shows itself in the breathing of the mouth and nostrils … 3) the rational mind or spirit [and] 4) the Spirit of God.” Ruwach refers to the Spirit of God. When it is not used in reference to God’s Spirit, it is used to mean breath, life, spirit in man, etc—all of which are powers, not distinct beings!
Now what about the Greek word used in the New Testament? The word is pneuma. Strong’s Concordance defines it as “a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit.” Thayer’s Lexicon gives five definitions of pneuma: “1) a movement of air (gentle) blast … 2) the spirit, i.e. the vital principle by which the body is animated; 3) a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding and acting … 4) the Scriptures also ascribe [pneuma] to God, i.e. God’s power and agency—distinguishable in thought … from God’s essence in itself considered; [and] 5) the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of anyone; the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.”
No definition supports the belief that the Holy Spirit is distinct from God and yet is on the same level with God. Instead, the definitions prove that when not referring to the Holy Spirit, it refers to another power or force like wind, breath or blast!
7. Holy Spirit is the Power of God
1. Did the author Luke recognize the Holy Spirit as the power of God? Luke 1:35. See also Acts 1:8.
Here Luke calls the Holy Spirit “the power of the Highest.” Yes, the truth is plain and simple to understand if we will just humbly submit to God and His Word. The Holy Spirit is the power of God.
2. What other things has God accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit? Jeremiah 27:5; 51:15; Romans 8:11.
We know that God created all things. The Bible reveals that the Earth and its surroundings were created by that great power of God, which we have already proved to be the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ had that same power without measure (John 3:34).
Furthermore, every great work of God is also done through this powerful force. It was God’s power that made man (Job 33:4). We are baptized into the truth by God’s power (Matthew 3:11; John 1:33). God reveals His secrets to us through the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:26) and brings things to our remembrance through the power of His Spirit (John 14:26). And this Spirit also raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11).
3. Does the Holy Spirit dwell in true Christians after baptism? Acts 2:38; Ezekiel 36:27; Acts 4:8, 31. Will God give His Spirit to those who ask? Luke 11:13.
Not only is the Holy Spirit a distinct power that God possesses, but it is also the same power God will give us if we are baptized.
None of the scriptural references we’ve read support the Holy Spirit as being distinct from God the Father and therefore having its own personality. It is a powerful force of God. David said, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit?” (Psalm 139:7). It is God’s Spirit that makes Him omnipresent. God Himself isn’t everywhere at all times like some unidentifiable blob. But He is everywhere through His great power—the Holy Spirit.
Possible Scriptures of Confusion
1. What passage seems to indicate a trinity? 1 John 5:7-8.
These verses say, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” Sounds like a trinity, right? Except for the fact that all the italicized words were spuriously added to the Latin translation of the Bible in the fourth century by a monk copyist.
The italicized words do not appear in any of the original Greek manuscripts. Even many commentaries point this out. Correctly translated, it should read, “For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” The rsv has it correctly rendered.
Think: Why would this supposed support for the trinity be added hundreds of years after the Bible was completed if the trinity were already plainly provable in the Bible? The answer is that the trinity is nowhere to be found in the Bible and the desperate attempt to force this insertion into inspired Scripture is proof of that!
2. What other verse do trinitarians use as “proof”? Matthew 28:19.
The fact that the first two mentioned, God the Father and Jesus Christ, are two separate Beings does not make the Holy Spirit a separate being also.
If we understood the first two points covered in this article, this verse becomes quite plain. We are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10). God the Father brings us to and grants us repentance (Romans 2:4). And after baptism (Acts 2:38), it is the Holy Spirit entering into us that actually begets us as sons of God (Romans 8:9, 14, 16-17). As the begetting agent that comes from God, the Holy Spirit then is the earnest, or down payment, of our salvation (Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:16). That is why we are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The irony in this verse is that it actually further proves the fact that God is a growing Family of beings; because, upon baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, we become begotten sons of God!
The way God taught this truth through Mr. Armstrong was simple. God commands us to “[p]rove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). John 17:17 says, “[T]hy word is truth.” If God’s Word is truth and we are commanded to prove that truth, how much better to hold on to what is provable and plain (and yes, even simple) than to exchange it for an unbiblical explanation of God that is “beyond our finite understanding.”