If we put aside everything we think we know about God, and if we then read the Bible from the beginning, one of the very first things about God that should catch our attention is that God speaks.
God’s power amazes us because all He has to do to bring about wonderful things into existence is speak. He commands for things to be, and things come into existence (in my previous post, I mentioned I believe that God is actually talking to the Spirit of God, and that the Spirit of God is creating the things God is directing Him to create).
Finally, on verse 28, God speaks to the first human beings He has created. God blesses them and gives them instructions.
God’s ability to speak indicates to us that God is a person. His speech reveals that He is aware, that He has intention, that He is intelligent, and that He can relate to other persons, to other sentient beings. Clearly, the God of the Bible, the God of Genesis 1 (although we may not understand His nature) is not just energy, but a person.
God’s ability to speak says so much about God. It establishes, early in the Bible, that God is a person.
What about the Spirit? Does the Spirit of God (Spirit of the Lord, or Holy Spirit) ever speak in the Bible? If He did, we would have strong evidence that the Spirit of the Lord is indeed a person (and therefore it would not surprise us that God speaks to the Spirit of God in Genesis 1). If the Spirit of God were to ever speak in the Bible, we would need to realize that the Spirit of God, as far as human beings can tell, is indeed a person.
I searched in the Bible for Scriptures where the Spirit of God speaks. The first one that caught my attention is 2 Samuel 23:2-3. There, David states that the Spirit of God spoke through him. My only objection was that maybe David only meant that the Spirit of God enabled him to prophesy. Could I find clearer Scriptures where the Spirit of God speaks?
The next Scripture that caught my attention is Ezekiel 3:12. The Spirit of God does speak in this Scripture, but the it takes some work to arrive to this conclusion. First, the Spirit of God is often depicted as a wind. Ezekiel was lifted up by the Spirit of God much like a kite is lifted by the wind, and the sound of the wind that he heard behind him actually spoke to him. Ancient Jews recognized that this was indeed the Spirit of God speaking.
The next Scripture that caught my attention is Ezekiel 3:24-25. There, the Spirit instructs Ezekiel to shut himself in his house, and then warns him that he (Ezekiel) will be bound by his compatriots.
The last Scripture in the Old Testament (TaNaKh, Hebrew Bible) to have captured my attention regarding this topic is Ezekiel 11:5. There, the Spirit of the LORD commands Ezekiel to prophesy and tells him what he should say.
We can also find Scriptures in New Testament (B’rit Chadashah) where the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) speaks. In Acts 8:29, the Spirit instructs Philip to get close to a man whom Philip should evangelize. In Acts 10:19, the Spirit alerts Peter that three men are looking for him, and instructs him to go with them (Peter will eventually evangelize these people). Moreover, in Acts 21:10-11, the Prophet Agabus delivers a message from the Holy Spirit.
Moreover, Romans 8:26 teaches that the Spirit makes intercession for the believers; and 1 Corinthians 2:11 tells us that the Spirit of God has the ability to know. Though these two verses do not tell us that the Spirit of God speak, they clearly give the Spirit personal attributes.
Finally, in Revelation 14:13, the Spirit replies to the voice from heaven.
Clearly, the Bible teaches that the Spirit of God speaks. While speaking is not something the Spirit does often in the Bible (most of the time, the Spirit is depicted as a wind or an imaterial presence that prompts God’s servants to action), the Spirit of God does indeed speak on rare occassions. In fact, the New Testament even ascribes to Him the attributes of knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:11) and caring (Romans 8:26).
Given that personal attributes are intuitively ascribed to the God of the Bible because He speaks, we must conclude that the Spirit of God (though certainly mysterious) shares the same personal attributes as God.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you think it makes sense to say that since the Spirit of God speaks, He is a person? Why or why not?
- What other characteristics of God tell us that God is a person?
- What other charactersitics of the Spirit of God tell us that the Spirit of God is a person?
- Why is it difficult for some people to believe that the Holy Spirit is a person? What would you say to such people?
Lord, as far as I can tell from you word, the Bible, your Holy Spirit is a person. He knows you, and He knows me. He has come into my heart. He can empower me, He can teach me, He can lead me, He can comfort me, and He makes intercession for me before you so you accomplish your will in me. Help me not to grieve Him, and help me to listen carefully when He speaks. Amen.
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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.