The Holy Spirit Displays Divine Attributes

One of the indicators we have in Scripture to show that the Holy Spirit is God is that He displays several key attributes that belong only to God. In brief, the Holy Spirit is eternal (He had no beginning, and will never end); He is omnipresent; omniscient; and omnipotent.

We will look at each of those briefly.

The Holy Spirit is Eternal

By that we mean that He had no beginning and will have no end. He always was and always will be. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Edward Bickersteth says, “He is eternal…. This is the same word which is used of the self-existence from everlasting to everlasting [Romans 16:26] lasting of Jehovah.”[1]

This eternality is confirmed in Jesus’ words to the disciples in John 14:16-17. He tells them, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth.”

The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent

Omnipresence is the quality of being all places at one time. The psalmist describes the Spirit’s omnipresence when he says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10).

On the one hand this can be a frightening truth. After all, which of us has not wanted to hide from someone or something at some point in our lives? We cannot hide from God, because He is ever present within each of His children in the person of the Spirit.

The flip side of that is what we read in verse 10 above: “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” He’s not there to just punish us or to lay a guilt trip on us—although He will if we need it—rather, He guides us and supports us.

I am drawn to the description in Isaiah 49:16 where we read, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;…” The image I see there is of a tattoo on His palm. You cannot scrub it off, you cannot shake it off. In fact, no one can snatch you out of His hand (John 10:28-30). He holds you secure no matter what you are experiencing.

The Holy Spirit is Omniscient

While we are allowed to know something of the knowledge and wisdom of God, we cannot compare to what the Spirit knows. We read in Isaiah 40:12-14:

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor?

Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?”

We cannot know the depths of those things, but the Spirit does. And He, the Spirit, reveals some of that to us: “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).

Bickersteth comments, “The word search, as used in Scripture, does not necessarily imply that successive acquisition of knowledge which belongs to a finite being, for Jehovah says, ‘I the Lord, search the heart.’”[2]

The Holy Spirit is Omnipotent

The Holy Spirit’s omnipotence can be seen, for example, in the act of creation.

Genesis 1:1-2 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Job 33:4 – The Spirit of God made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

We also see Him acting in power in the virgin Mary to bring about the birth of Jesus.

Luke 1:35 – The angel answered, “the Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Anglican priest Robert Hawker says of the Holy Spirit:

“He is either God, possessing, in a distinction of Person, an ineffable unity of the divine nature with the Father and the Son, or He is the creature of God, infinitely removed from Him in essence and dignity, and having no other than a derivative excellence in that rank to which He is appointed in creation. There is no medium betwixt the one and the other. Nothing intermediate between the Creator and created can be admissible. So that, were the Holy Spirit to be placed at the top of all creation, even as high above the highest angel as that angel transcends the lowest reptile of animated life, the chasm would be still infinite; and He, who is emphatically called the Eternal Spirit, would not be God.”[3]

The evidence so far—the Holy Spirit’s eternality, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence—leads us to say, as did Charles Ryrie, “If these are the attributes of Deity, then one can only conclude that the Spirit is divine.”[4]

  1. Edward Bickersteth, The Trinity (Irving Risch. Kindle Edition), p. 102.
  2. Ibid., p. 103.
  3. Quoted in Arthur W. Pink, The Holy Spirit (Chapel Library. Kindle Edition).
  4. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Holy Spirit (Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition), p. 21

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