The doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental to the Christian faith. The doctrine states that there is only one living and true God. However, in the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power and eternity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are not divided but distinguished. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Spirit is God. “One God in Three Persons is divine, not human arithmetic.” (Tow and Khoo)

One of the attacks on the doctrine of the Trinity is the denial that the Holy Spirit is God. Most of these attackers would claim that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but a force, power, influence or instrument used by God in order for Him to work out His purposes. Those who oppose the doctrine of the Trinity include the Unitarians (those who believe that only the Father is God) and the Binitarians (those who believe that the Father is God and the Son is God but the Holy Spirit is not God). Examples of Binitarians include the former Worldwide Church of God led by Herbert W. Armstrong and the current Restored Church of God led by David C. Pack.

The clearest proof text that teaches the Trinity is 1 John 5:7-8, also known as the Comma Johanneum. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1 John 5:7-8) Sadly, these verses have been taken out of the Bible by modern textual critics. Because of this, Binitarians have often used the words of these modern scholars who deny the existence of these verses and strengthen their case against the doctrine of the Trinity. However, the doctrine of Verbal Plenary Preservation assures us that these verses are none other than the Words of God. Michael Maynard has written an excellent work defending the authenticity of the Comma Johanneum entitled “A History of the Debate Over 1 John 5:7-8”. He also proves that conservative Christians throughout the centuries have always held on to the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine is not a by-product of heathen teaching as purported by David C. Pack (see his book The Trinity: Is God Three-in-One?). Interested readers may also refer to Dr. Jose Lagapa’s thesis entitled “Exegetical, Textual and Presuppositional Evidences for the Authenticity of the Johannine Comma” obtainable at the Far Eastern Bible College’s library.

Acts 5:3-4 is another text which reveals Holy Spirit to be both God and a person. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” Here the Holy Spirit is clearly likened as God, and a person that can be lied to. Can a force, power or influence be lied to? Surely not!

Note the following characteristics of a person attached to the Holy Spirit:

  1. He is one who has intelligence. (John 14:26; Romans 8:16)
  2. He is one who has a will. (1 Corinthians 12:11; Acts 16:7)
  3. He is one who has affections (Ephesians 4:30)
  4. He is one who intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).

The Holy Spirit is also placed in juxtaposition and equal standing with God the Father and God the Son. Consider Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” In this verse 19, it states that baptism is to be done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The definite articles attached to the three persons of the Godhead indicate that they are distinguished. However, the term “name” is in the singular, indicating that they share the same divine name, and hence the same divine essence, character and attributes. Similarly, divine honour is paid to the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 13:14 which is often used in the pronouncement of the Benediction. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” Note also the testimony of 2 Corinthians 3:17 which says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Consider also how divine attributes are ascribed to the Holy Spirit:

  1. The Spirit is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10)
  2. The Spirit is omnipotent (Romans 15:19)
  3. The Spirit is omniscient (Isaiah 40:13-14)
  4. The Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14)

Finally, consider John 14:16. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (John 14:16) The term “another” is significant in this verse. It is the Greek allos which means “another of the same kind” instead of heteros which means “another of a different kind”. In other words, Jesus Christ will send another Comforter who is of the same divine nature, essence, character and attributes as He is. This Comforter is none other than the Holy Spirit who is divine just as Christ is divine.

In conclusion, the Scripture emphatically bears witness of the deity of the Holy Spirit. To conclude otherwise is to deny the overwhelming evidence found in God’s Word and will throw the entire theology of the Bible into disarray. The Holy Spirit is God, just as how the Father is God and the Son is God. Let no man deny this truth. Amen.

Pr Clement Chew