IS the Holy Spirit separate from God the Father or God the Son?

In order to see whether the Holy Spirit is separate from God the Father and/or God the Son, we will need to look at scripture concerning all three, with a focus on the Spirit. I am not speaking of separate as in not part of, but separate as in distinct from. While the three persons of the trinity are distinct, they are also unified in the godhead – three persons in one God.

We see God in Three in Matthew 3:16-17,

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Notice that Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 that there is a distinction between the three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

They are also listed separately in 2 Cor 13:14.

14May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

We must realize the Holy Spirit is being sent by God the Father, in John 14:26.

26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

But the Holy Spirit is also sent from God the Son, in John 15:26.

26“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

There is also a distinction between God the Father and the Holy Spirit which Jesus mentioned in Luke 10:21

21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Peter mentions the distinction between the three in 1 Peter 1:2

2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

And finally we see the Holy Spirit is  distinct and has the idea of ‘self’ (indicating personhood) in Romans 8:16.

16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

The Holy Spirit can be lied to – and it is lying to God. The Holy Spirit can be tested. Acts 5:1-11

1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

3Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

9Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

The Holy Spirit can be grieved. Ephesians 4:30

30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We see there is one God and one Lord, but that Lord is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 8:6

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

And in the same book, we see there is One Spirt, One Lord, and One God, and that the Holy Spirit wills/determines things to occur.  1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

So then, the Holy Spirit is sent from the Father, by both the Son and the Father. The Holy Spirit is a person, and the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son. However, the Holy Spirit is still God. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity.

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13 Responses

  1. wb,
    Nice! And thank you. Indeed the Holy Spirit “proceeds” alone from the regal nature of the Father, and in redemptive time, since the Lordship and Ascension of Christ (John 7:39), He comes “thru” the Son also. HE is indeed a/the “person” of love, and “the” person-bond of “love” between the Father and the Son eternally! (Rom. 15:30 / Col. 1:8) The Blessed Trinity of God +
    “Because out from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36)
    Fr. R.

  2. Fr. R.,

    You are definitely the theologian. You put things in a way that nicely summarizes what Scripture says. I am afraid I dont have much facility with words, but I just share what I see (or as I am illumined).

    Thank YOU, sir.

  3. Fr. R.,

    BTW, I LOVE this phrase:
    [The Holy Spirit] is the “person” of love, and “the” person-bond of “love” between the Father and the Son eternally

  4. W,
    Thank YOU too my brother, I am just one that loves God Triune!
    Fr. R.

  5. […] For more info, please see: Jesus in the Torah?, Did Jesus exist before time? Is Jesus God?, IS the Holy Spirit separate from God the Father or God the Son?, JESUS VS PAUL # 15: Jesus God’s equal?, Is the relationship between God the Father and Christ […]

  6. Interesting extrapolation, but if we use the analogy of Man as a reflection of God since the bible tells us that God created Man in His own ‘image’ and ‘likeness’, would you say that Man’s Soul is separate from his Mind as well as his Body? While each may serve a distinct function, they are both one and the same person. I think the same would apply for God, while the Father, Son & Holy Spirit play distinct functions they all form one God and are not 3 separate entities

    • But your body does not have its own will, as both the Son and the Holy Spirit have. You do not send your body apart from yourself, but the Son was sent by the Father and the Holy Spirit was sent by both the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit has feelings and can be grieved. Having lied to the Holy Spirit is said to have lied to God – not to a function of God.

      Scripture is clear – there is one God, with three separate persons which are simultaneously united in a single God.

  7. @wbmoore, God being a spiritual entity makes it complex for our physically wired minds to comprehend. The Bible tells us the nature of God is a mystery so i cannot claim to have unraveled this mystery.
    One thing you and i agree is that there is one God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and all are One. I did not say any is a function rather that each serves a distinct function.

    Had you given the analogy of Man some thought you will realize that it is the closest reflection we have of the nature of God. It is not for naught that the bible in Genesis 1:26 says ‘and GOD said, let US make man in OUR image after OUR likeness.’ it begins with a singular GOD then deliberately goes into a plural GOD. The words OUR image and OUR likeness are a clear indication that man is created in the image and likeness of a Triune God. Therefore if one is trying to understand this mystery of mysteries looking at the nature of Man is one of the the best places to start.

    • :) I agree – we can’t truly comprehend God nor His nature. But its fun trying to understand what He HAS shown us.

      And you are correct, you DID say they serve a distinct function.

      My personal favorite analogy is a person with multiple personality disorder (now identified as dissociative identity disorder) – but it tends to offend some people. :)

  8. please specify for me their relationship clearly but this is good for the description of the holyspirit.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by specify their relationship. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not the same, yet all three are the one God. There is only one God. God the Father sends the Holy Spirit. God the Son also sends the Holy Spirit from the Father.

  9. jesus has his mother the father god the son and the spirit amen?

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