The Nature of the Spirit

It wasn't all that far into the New Testament Era before Gnostic Teachings and Judaic Beliefs began being Blended into Fundamental Christian Theology. The Result Being that We today are Afflicted with Contradicting Belief Systems as to the True 'Nature of God'. But in order to Correctly Understand this matter, We Must first Acquaint ourselves with the Nature of His Spirit.

  © Rich Traver,  81520-1411,  4-6-06  [ 86 ] 

The most divisive Theological issue found among Christians (and one which has confounded the Jewish communities as well) is that area of thought called ‘the Nature of God’.  God is Spirit.  On that much we all agree.  So then, why is it that we have focused our minds so fervently and incessantly on the “nature” of the Beings we and the Scriptures refer to as the ‘Father’ and the “Son’?  Since God is not only A Spirit, but IS Spirit, shouldn’t it first be our first priority to properly understand the ‘nature of that Spirit’?

A leading minister, a Doctor of Theology, in the Church of God, when attempting to explain the rationale for major conceptual changes being implemented in the Church more than a decade ago, alleged that a proof demonstrating that “God could not be two Beings, because for that to be true, there would of necessity need to be TWO Spirits!”  This same leading minister, with letters after his name, on another occasion related a case where a minister and his wife, after years in the Church, came to realize that “one of them conceived of there being two Spirits, while the other conceived of there being only one!  They didn’t know that about each others views for years!”

So, not only are we bombarded with arguments of every imaginable conception, that God is but a single Being and that Jesus wasn’t God, or that God is a family presently consisting of two Beings, or that there really is only one but that One is able to be manifested ‘hypostasisically’ in any of three different ‘persons’, depending on the particular venue of narrative being presented.

What should be obvious at this point is that we are overlooking a key consideration, without which we will be forever frustrated in coming to a correct and complete understanding. 

WHO IS God’s Spirit?  Or, should we even be wording the question this way?  Is God’s Spirit even a WHO?   Or, is it a what?   We’re pre-conditioned by Trinitarian explanations to conceive of God’s Spirit as a separate conscious Being, but is it really?

The Spirit Dimension

Being that God is a Spirit, our consideration of the means and manner of His existence must be done only with a correct perception of the existence of Spirit.  To do that, we must broaden our perceptual field sufficiently to realize that there is a real spirit world.  Secondly, we need to factor in the fact that nothing, material or spiritual, exists that doesn’t originate with God.   There are angels and angelic beings.  They are spirit.  There are demons, also existing in and of the spirit dimension. The Saints of God enjoy the promise that they also will be raised immortal (or changed instantly into a spirit form, if they are among those who are alive and remain at the time of Christ’s second coming). [1] The Saints also will some day, become ‘immortal’, composed of Spirit.  So, besides God, we have three other kinds of beings, known to be in existence in the spirit dimension.  Existing in and of a ‘substance’ (not implying physical material by that choice of word) that perhaps we could, for sake of necessity, (as we need to refer to it by some term), call ‘an essence- commodity’.

But all the while, this essence commodity exudes from God.  While these three kinds of spirit beings exist in and of the same essence as does God, one major difference is that this essence originates with and continually emanates from God, but not from these created spirit beings.  His is the origin of the power for spirit beings to exist, just as much as for the material world to exist.  Paul quoted the insightful pagan poet-philosopher: “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.” (Acts 17:28)  Our very existence, as well as the perpetuated existence of physical matter and energy, are the direct and incessant emanation of the sustaining power of God. “All things are of God…” (2nd Cor. 5:18) “And He is before all things and by Him all things exist” (Col. 1:17) [2]   We could not even have a consciousness, except for the ‘spirit in man’ that He bequeaths to each one of us.  That spirit, even that manifested in the form of human consciousness, is only by the Power of God.  The same is true of matter and energy.  It came into existence by, and is sustained in existence by, the power of God through His Omnipresent Spirit.

But matter is matter, and spirit is spirit.  There is a material existence and there is a spirit existence.  We’re now of the material, but upon conversion, we become predestined to an existence in the spiritual.  The latter half of 1st Corinthians 15 covers this subject specifically: “…There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  The first man Adam was made a living soul; (correctly defined as an air-breathing creature) the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”  (v. 44-45

But to even begin to understand the True Nature of God, we must first have a fundamental understanding of spirit.  Though it is non-material commodity, nevertheless, it is just as real.  In fact, considering its longevity, it’s even more real than tangible physical matter.  It just isn’t a substance that we in our physically limited state can detect.

Now, back to the matter that our eminent ‘Doctor of Theology’ posed: that of there being two Spirits. Using his rationale, we should ask, Is two enough?  The angelic world are spirits.  The demon world are spirits.  The spirit in man which imparts human consciousness is also created by God and is preserved by God after our decease for our future resurrection. The future spirit-born Saints of God will also be spirits.  Are these all of the same spirit, or are there many spirits?  And what is the source of the power to exist in that form?  No, this consideration reveals something profound: That while physical matter can be fashioned into vessels of honor and vessels of contempt, (see Rom. 9:20-23) so also spirit can impart existence to both angels and demons alike.  Many physical kinds are fashioned of the same material elements, but are distinct and separate individual beings. The same essence-commodity will one day fashion and provide the means of existence to the Saints of the Most High God, imparting to them the immortality promised.   Again the question:  Are these all of the same spirit, and is it the same essence-commodity of which God exists?   The answer to this provides the answer to our eminent Doctor’s theological dilemma.

When we perceive of God’s Spirit as a ‘third person’, as Trinitarianism causes so many to do, we’re diverted from the obvious.  That spirit beings can and do exist in and of spirit that originates with God, a power emanating from Him continually, creating a dimension in which many beings of differing character-stature CAN and DO exist.  God Himself exists in and of the spirit dimension, except in His case (or perhaps I should say, in Their case, Elohim is a plural.) They alone are distinct in that They’re ‘originating’ Spirit-sources.  No spirit being other than God can create something from apparent nothing (not to suggest that God’s Spirit is nothing, only that it is invisible to us and non-material.)

Where Does Character Originate?

Now, another area we need to consider, is whether God’s Spirit itself possesses a separate and independent consciousness, OR if it’s the Being composed of that Spirit that imparts consciousness and its resulting character TO that Spirit.

Everything that exists exists of something.  We are all composed of physical matter.  Does our matter provide us with our consciousness, or does our consciousness provide the character to the physical beings we are.  If matter provided consciousness, why wouldn’t all beings have similar character?  Why would some be good while others, identical in physical form, are evil?  Why do animals, created of the same material substance as we have such vastly different mental make-up?   Let’s broaden the question to the spirit world.  Though composed of the same essence-commodity, why are angels ‘righteous’ while demons are incorrigibly wicked? From this we see that there’s more to conscious-ness than the physical dimension in which we exist.

(The spirit in man, which gives us consciousness, that we can develop in a good way or which we can choose to corrupt, (in other words, exercising a free moral agency) is something beyond the scope of this article.  As our question is the nature of God’s Spirit, it will have to suffice here to state that our intellect and consciousness is a non-material component of our being, which gives the evolutionist fits, no doubt!  A component that can be perpetuated outside of a physical existence, as when we become spirit, we will still be the same person we were, only then in an immortal spirit-form!)

How Many Spirits?

So, is there only one spirit, or are there many sources of spirit?  Are there spirits or sources of spirit that emanate from some other source than God?

When we conceive of the matter correctly, we are drawn to the conclusion that all life, whether in the physical dimension or that in the spirit dimension, originates with God.  There is no other source of existence!   God’s Spirit is that ultimate source:  The dimension in which God exists and the power by which He functions and projects Himself.

Next question:  Do both the Father and the Son draw their existence from the same Spirit?  Do all angels and demons, and ultimately Saints, draw their existence from the same spirit, or is there another spirit-source in existence?  If there is, what is the source of that other essence-commodity?  Is this the dimension in which the Father and the Son are One?  Is this the means of our eventually becoming fully one with them as Jesus prayed for that Passover evening?  (John 17:11 & 21-22) [3]

We know that Satan was given his existence and consciousness by God.  If there is an alternate spirit life source, wouldn’t Satan and his demons have been of that other one?   As a second consideration in this vein, though given consciousness, each recipient has a degree of self-determination, what many refer to as ‘free moral agency’.  Though given by God, conscious intellect, an imparted spirit component of our physical existence, is ours to develop out however we choose.

Being that we’re at this point, we should pause to notice another startling reality: That we can receive into our consciousness another externally-sourced consciousness.  Satan can project his thoughts into unsuspecting recipients, and God can impart His Spirit, (His conscious and righteous mentality), which is in addition to our spirit (consciousness).  “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption...(sonship)”  Romans 8:16 & 15.  (Read that entire chapter!) [4]

God IS Spirit!

It was stated above ( page 1) that God is A Spirit, and God IS Spirit. [5]  We need to comprehend what this means.  No only does God exist in and of the Spirit, but He IS that Prime Originating Source of it!  All Power that exists originates from and is focused in God, and He alone is the Ever-Sustaining Source of all that exists, whether of Spirit or energy or matter or life or Authority.  He also provides conscious Personality to that Prime Source!  We find in John 5:26 a revealing statement: “For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself;”   These two are each Life-Sources. Another is in Matthew 28:18. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” This existence-generating, ultra-territorial spirit-power is shared exclusively between these two Beings!

(In years past, it was alleged that it is our destiny “to become god as God is God”!  As realized at Arnhem, Netherlands late in World War II, there is such a thing as ‘a bridge too far’. Many thought it an overstatement. Though the rhetoric on this point of understanding has eased noticeably from its source side, it was made with apparent disregard for the obvious.  That, while we are destined to be brought into the God Family, by the resurrection from the dead, raised incorruptible, and created in a form that is God-plane, and immortal, we will not have the full Power that God has with respect to being a source of life or of what exists. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, …when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1st John 3:2)  To see Him as He is, isn’t necessarily to BE Him as He is!)

What conventional explanations obscure is that Spirit is a non-material ‘essence-commodity’, providing the MEANS for all in the spirit world to exist.  The Saints of God will ultimately draw their existence from this same ‘commodity’ and will give their unique personalities to that spirit life of which they then exist.  Though separate ‘persons’, yet ‘one’ in composition and character.  (And One with the Father and the Son.)  This state is a step above that of the angels, showing that there is a higher plane of existence than the angelic level. [6]

Better than Angels?

Hebrews 1 has considerable information about angels.  “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. …But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (vs.4-7 & 13-14)

But, for a time, the Being who became the Son of God, while in the flesh, took on the same relative stature that humankind has:  “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (This is speaking of mankind in general.) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. …For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”  (Heb. 2:6-7 & 9-10 & 16)   A priceless glimpse into spirit-form existence.  He lowered Himself to an existence below that of the angelic world, yet was restored to Glorified form above angels of every level.  What these passages also reveal is that the Spirit-Born Saints will also exist on a plane above that of God’s Angels! They’ll also exist OF God’s Spirit.  God’s Spirit, obviously, is not a separate ‘third person’ but rather a life-essence which provides existence to many levels of spirit beings: God, His Saints, Archangels, Angels, and demons, as well as imparting cognitive conscious-ness in human kind and instinct in the animal kind.  All these are the product of God’s Spirit Power.

So long as we remain enmeshed in incessant arguments as to the number of persons in the Godhead, and fail to fathom the nature of the spirit dimension, we will never have full answers!  Referred to earlier, a man highly educated and highly regarded in the Church of God, at the end, didn’t understand this area, causing him consternation over a fundamental point:  That TWO God-Beings exist in and of ONE SPIRIT. When we are enjoined unto the Lord, we become one spirit. [7] When God’s Holy Spirit is projected to us, it can be of either or both, as both impart their individual minds (personalities) to their Spirit existences. Spirit is also the means of conveyance of God’s consciousness into our spirits (our conscious mentalities). (1st Cor. 2:9-16)

Satan, a spirit (and for that matter his demons), is able to project his thoughts into our spirits (minds).  God represents those thoughts as flaming arrows, [8] the dreaded destructive war device of all time prior to more fearsome modern weaponry!  God all the more is able to project His thoughts into us, provided we’re receptive to them.  “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. …For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1st Cor. 2:9-16)

Multiple Sources?

Now, in this, do we have multiple minds, originating from multiple spirit-sources, or is it one Spirit, and individual manifestations of that One Spirit?  In this one passage, there’s this terminology: the spirit of man, the (Satan inspired) spirit of the world, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the mind of the Lord and the mind of Christ!   Where does the conscious power to think come from?   What comprehensive mental capability do we of and by ourselves have without the Spirit of God and Christ?  It’s limited to just ‘the things of man’!  What the human intellect can comprehend (which can be impressive). But the things of God are not discerned by human intellect alone!  “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned…”  (Reference above)

The picture the above passage presents is that of a mental realm into which we can enter: an awareness of spiritual truths not discernable by human mentality alone!  With it comes a power to make life-changing character determinations, in concert with a projection of God’s very Nature into us.  God’s Spirit is a dimension which we can enter, and with ‘them’ become ‘ONE’. (John 17:11 & 21)   We do so by the Power of God’s Spirit which conveys the same Mind of which He IS. “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1st Cor. 6:17“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Phil. 2:5)  etc.

Spirit is a realm of existence, in which all that we identify as ‘spirit beings’ exist, the Ultimate of these being God Himself.  That same Spirit realm will one day provide the means of existence of the immortal Saints of the Most High God.  For the present time, [9] we’re limited to a unifying consciousness by the indwelling of God’s Spirit. Besides conscious understanding, we also ‘receive the power to become the Sons of God’: that existence realized at the Last Trump, when we’re elevated into a spirit-life form.  Most people fail to notice the distinction in John 1:12  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”  This speaks of ‘those who have received Him’ being in possession of the power to become’,  indicating that there is a future realization, beyond our initial ‘receipt of Him’!   It’s something we WAIT for. (1st John 3:2)  The way we ‘receive Him’ is by receiving His Spirit:  A life-changing power that, once we enter into it, eventually will provide us with the means of existence at a plane higher than angels.  (As angels were never offered Sonship! (Heb. 1:5))   We too will BE Spirit, though presently, we only ‘have’ God’s Spirit. 

As we have seen, the power of God’s Spirit gives conscious existence to all things, including varied spirit beings, such as angels.  It also allows limited consciousness to we humans, with that invested capability taken back into God’s hands at death, preserved for a future restoration in a resurrection.  There is ultimately One Spirit, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph. 2:18)  “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  (Eph. 4:4)   It is those who mis-conceive the nature of God’s Spirit who see a need for there to be more than one Spirit!   


[1]  1st Corinthians 15: 49-53

[2]  The previous verse says: “For by Him were all things created, that are in the heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,…all things were created by Him, and for Him.”

[3]  “These words spake Jesus, and lifter up His eyes to heaven …Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me,  that they may be one, as we are.  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also might be one in us:…” John 17:1, 11 & 21

[4]  2nd Cor. 11:4,  Eph. 2:2 & 3:16,  1st John 3:24 & 4:13

[5]  John  4:24 etc.

[6]  Hebrews 1:4

[7]  1st Corinthians 6:17

[8]  Ephesians 6:16

[9]  “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”  (Phil. 3:21)  “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  (1st John 3:2)  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:18-21)   The righteous shall shine like the stars of heaven!   (See Daniel 12:3)


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