Question: What exactly is the Spirit of God? What is the difference between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man?
Answer: We believe, as Christians, that there is One God, in three persons. As an example to help us understand this, let us think of a person with a body, soul, and spirit. (This is only an illustration, since the Holy Trinity cannot be totally explained.) In other words think of Jesus as the body of God, the Holy Spirit is like our soul, and the Father like our spirit. So like we are three in one, God is three in one. We cannot see the Father, other than His glory. We cannot see the Holy Spirit other than as a symbol such as a dove which alighted on Jesus when He was being baptized. God the Father spoke out of heaven and Jesus the Son they could see in the water.
“When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21, 22)
As to the difference between the spirit of God and the spirit of man, let me say there is a lot of difference. Look Isaiah 39:16, where Hezekiah says, “O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so You will restore me and make me live.”
Hezekiah knew that his life was in his spirit, and this is also what it says in Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” So we have the very breath of God in us, that is, we have a part of us we cannot see called our spirit. This explains why a person could seem dead physically, but then seem to come to life again. I talked to lady that had experienced this. She was left for dead, but God had not said her life was over yet, so her spirit was allowed to enter her body again. So our spirit is the invisible part of us that we cannot see, but we know it is there. We know it is there by the actions that result from decisions people make.
On the other hand the Spirit of God is One in the Holy Trinity, and that is the reason Jesus said that we are to baptize people in the Name (singular) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28: 19.
This is only a brief answer on the spirit of man and the Spirit of God, but one would need to do an in-depth study of this subject from the Word of God to get a real handle on it. So I hope this “wets” you appetite to study this out further. I would suggest that you get your hands on a good theology study book like: Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer; Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan or Lectures in Systematic Theology by Henry Clarence Thiessen; WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Thanks for the question,
Gary T. Panell
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