Tag Archives: Acts 5

Acts 5:3,4 and the nature of the Spirit

Let us come to the Spirit. Here is my contention with the trinitarian thinking. Please interrogate it if you may.

While the Father and the Son are both address directly by the title God, the Holy Spirit is never addressed by such a title. Neither is it ever worshipped in the Bible. Let us use Acts 5:3,4 to illustrate the underlying reasoning on the basis of which trinitarians turn the Spirit of God into God the Spirit.

In Acts 5:3,4 we read, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”

So, the logic is:
Stage 1
Lied to => the Spirit
Lied to => God
The Spirit = God

Stage 2
God => is an eternal, all-knowing, etc. person
Spirit is an eternal, all-knowing, etc. person

Stage 3
Father and Son => are also eternal, all-knowing, etc. persons

Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son

Stage 4
There are three (co-)eternal persons

This is the logic that derives what the Spirit is (nature) from what the Spirit can or has done (capability). This logic is used for every verse used by trinitarians to make the Spirit of God a God the Spirit. The verses include Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, 1 John 5:7 (though the SDA Church does not officially use 1 John 5:7 but some members, e.g. Doug Batchelor do), Romans 8:26, etc.

All this logic is necessary because no verse can be found which directly attributes the title God to the Holy Spirit. If there was such a verse, there would be no need for this logic. That’s why the divinity of the Father and the Son are not reasoned using such winding logic.

Let us consider stage 1. The premise is that if something is done an entity or if an entity does something and if it is said that the same has been done to or by God in that instance, then that entity is itself the God. The problem is that there are conditions under which this premise does not hold. Here are some examples from the Bible.
Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Now if we apply that premise, we have a problem because the one child received becomes him/herself Christ, a Christ the Child.

Received => child
Received => Christ
The child itself is Christ.

Not so, right? Why? Because what is done to the sent (the child) is done to the sender (Christ). This is the premise that holds every time and never fails. It is in the Bible, as it is in life outside the Bible.
In everyday life, if you lie to the police officer, you have lied to the head of the state. That has nothing to do with finding the nature of the police officer or how equal the police officer is to the head of the state. It has all to do with the fact that the police officer is sent on behalf of the state. In other words, what comes first is the sending of the police officer before the policer office can do or be done anything to.

To lie to the Pastor is to lie to God, but that does not make the Pastor a God.

Similarly, the Spirit of God is always first sent by God, who it is OF, before the Spirit can do or be done something to. As such, it is a huge mistake to analyse what the Spirit has done or been done to without keeping in mind that the Spirit is always doing anything as one who is sent by God the Father, to whom the Spirit belongs. That is true from the very first time the Spirit is mentioned in Genesis 1:2 (read Job 26:13). Thus, Acts 5:3,4 are a confirmation of the fact that the Spirit is sent by God. Acts 5:3,4 are not the basis of a long winding thesis about the nature of the Spirit.

This premise, that what the sent does or is done to is attributed to the sender is stated many times in the Bible including:

John 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Let me put forth the same argument from a different angle. Moses did many divine acts, which cannot be done except by God, right. He split the Red Sea into two, gave the law to Moses, commanded nature to make plagues on Egypt and so on. Can we then say that Moses is God because he did those things only God can do? No. Why? Because who Moses is not determined by what he does or is done to him, NO! Moses is Moses because he is introduced to us as Moses. When we see what he does, we understand that as being done by a Moses we already know. We do not try to use what he does to identify him.

According to the law of first mention, which we use to interpret the Bible, the first time the Bible mentions the Spirit, the Spirit is introduced to us distinctively as a SPIRIT that BELONGS to God. That word ‘OF’ if we can for a moment study its meaning, it is always a possessive. The Spirit belongs to God, that’s certain and not arguable. That same fact is repeated more than 80 times in the Bible.

As such, when we get to Acts 5:3,4 we have an indisputable fact that the Spirit of God is OF God. Whatever, the Spirit of God has done, just like Moses, in whom the Spirit of God was, is to be understood in the context that it is a SPIRIT that BELONGS to God and ALWAYS sent by God. It is very desperate to try to determine what the Spirit is only in Acts 5, when the Spirit of God have been identified for us so many times before. Whether the Spirit takes part in creation, intercession (Romans 8:26), witnessing (1 John 5:7), is lied to (Acts 5:3,4), speaks (Acts 8:29), all that is in the context that the Spirit is sent Of God. All that the Spirit does or is done to is not contrary to, nor does it modify the identity with which the Spirit is introduced to us as the Spirit of God. All that the Spirit of God does or is done to confirms that identity, that it is the Spirit belonging to God and sent by God.

Please engage with the points given.

16 October 2021


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