(By: Anna Clay)
The Holy Spirit is quite possibly the most mysterious aspect of our Christian theology. Who is the Holy Spirit? What is the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit active in our lives today? To understand the Holy Spirit, we look first at the scriptures contained in the Bible. Since the Bible is the word of God written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are immediately thrown into that confusing circular logic that is often the study of theology!
The Bible first mentions the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2, where the Spirit of God hovers over the dark waters which God has just created. It is the Spirit who speaks and creates. It is the Spirit who breathes life into Man. It is the Spirit who carries us on eagles’ wings and brings us to God. (Exodus 19:4). It is the Holy Spirit who comes upon Mary, and by the power of the Most High, conceives the Son of God. (Luke 1:35). In both the Old and New Testaments, no categorical distinction is made between God and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is intimately involved with and sustains all of creation. The Spirit is the presenting, speaking, acting God.
The Holy Spirit has divine characteristics. The Spirit is eternal, without beginning or end. This Spirit is omnipresent, the very presence of God, who is everywhere. The Spirit is all-knowing and reveals to us the wisdom and thoughts of God. (1 Corinthians 3:9-11). The Spirit can be sinned against (Acts 5:3, 4). The Spirit is the presence of God, dwelling among and within us. (1 Corinthians 3:12).
The Holy Spirit has qualities of personhood. The Holy Spirit comforts, hears, speaks and teaches. In Acts, we see many instances of the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the apostles and early church leaders, so the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. At Romans 8:26-27, Paul tell us that the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes through wordless groans. The Spirit distributes the gifts, to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Through the Spirit, the church receives the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinction, tongues and the interpretation of tongues. All of these are the work of one and the same Spirit and he determines their distribution. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
In summary, the Spirit is eternal, personal, creating and powerful God, dwelling among and within us, sustaining and cherishing us, guiding us with God’s wisdom, presenting us with gifts of God’s great love. And to that we respond “Praise Him from whom all blessings flow… Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” And with joyful thanksgiving we say, “come, Holy Spirit, come.” Amen.