Is the Holy Spirit God?

(The following article is adapted from the site Adventist Defense League with the permission of the author Edwin M. Cotto. Click here to see the original article. All verses quoted below are from the New World Translation of the Jehovah Witnesses)

To answer this question "Is the Holy Spirit God?", we will begin from the beginning. Genesis chapter one says:

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of [the] watery deep; and God’s active force (Spirit) was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.

It says that God's Spirit “was moving” or "moved" upon the face of the waters. The word "moved" is the Hebrew verb rachaph which can mean, according to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Definition, either to "be relaxed" or to "hover." This is very important to know, because some have claimed that this Spirit is some active force (that's how it is translated in NWT), guided in every way by God. They liken it to electricity, an element needing human assistance. But, notice what we found. The following text shows that it is used as a verb which is active by itself, without any assistance from anyone whatsoever:

Deuteronomy 32:10-12 He came to find him in a wilderness land, And in an empty, howling desert. He began to encircle him, to take care of him, To safeguard him as the pupil of his eye. 11 Just as an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers (rachaph) over its fledglings, Spreads out its wings, takes them, Carries them on its pinions, 12 Jehovah alone kept leading him, And there was no foreign god along with him.

An eagle does not need any assistance in hovering over her nest. She has this ability built in her already. And like such an animal the Lord is likened, saying that he "alone kept leading him, And there was no foreign god along with him." The only other passage where this word is found is in Jeremiah 23:9, and there it is translated "shaking." I reads, “As regards the prophets, my heart has been broken within me. All my bones have begun shaking”. A man's heart does not literally brake, neither do his bones literally shake, yet no one in this context, grabbed this gentlemen, and shook his bones. His body did this on its own.

Although we find verses that show God leading the Spirit (which we believe is an example of his humbleness and his willingness to give the Father all the glory, as did Christ, who also moved only as the Father led him -John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49), we also find verses that show the Spirit is active on his own. For example:

2 Samuel 23:2 The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me, And his word was upon my tongue..

Acts 8:29
So the spirit said to Philip: “Approach and join yourself to this chariot.”

Romans 8:16
The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Luke 4:1 Now Jesus, full of holy spirit, turned away from the Jordan, and he was led about by the spirit in the wilderness

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.

In these texts, we see the Holy Spirit speaking, bearing witness and leading. None show him being forced to do this. Rather then being led... he leads.

The bible amazingly provides for us more information as to the activities of those present before the foundation of the world. Since the Spirit is active on his own in our Genesis 1:2 passage, notice what he was doing while hovering over the waters:

Job 26:12-13 By his power he has stirred up the sea, And by his understanding he has broken the stormer to pieces. By his wind (Spirit) he has polished up heaven itself, His hand has pierced the gliding serpent.

In the Hebrew, garnished or polish means to "bright, brightness, clearness, fairness." In other words, the Spirit of God had a part he played in creation. He brightened up the sky, and made it fair.

Then we discover this next verse:

Job 33:4 God’s own spirit made me, And the Almighty’s own breath proceeded to bring me to life.

This same word make (Hebrew: asah) is translated "make" in this verse:

"... God went on to say: “Let us make man in our image..." Genesis 1:26.

It's clear that the Spirit also took part in the creation of man. Now notice this. The Hebrew words translated "Spirit" and "breath" in Job 33:4 are two separate Hebrew words... ruach for Spirit, and n'shamah for breath. The word n'shamah is also translated breath in this next verse:

Genesis 2:7 And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.

The words "and Jehovah God….formed the man" in this verse and the words " God’s own spirit made me " in Job 33:4 parallel each other. Then, in Job 33:4 we are told that it was the "almighty" which breathed the n'shamah into the man. But when we return to Genesis 2:7, it was " Jehovah God " who breathed into the man's nostrils the breath of life. Now the word "God" here is again elohiym, which is plural for gods. Well it would make sense that this is the word used here, for the bible also says that it was both God and Jesus who created man (Psalm 100:3, Colossians 1:16). Therefore, we have three that created man, the Spirit of God, God the Father, and Jesus Christ. No wonder elohiym said in Genesis 1:26... "let US make man in OUR image!"

What do we have so far? We've got the following points:

(1) The Spirit is active by himself
(2) The Spirit took part in creating the universe
(3) The Spirit took part in creating man
(4) The Spirit leads, speaks and bears witness

JW think that, because some verses say God led the Spirit to do something, that the Spirit is not active on his own. Yet when we consider verses like the ones we have seen so far, it becomes evident that the truth of the matter is that they, the Spirit, God and the Son, are united for this very purpose... the salvation of mankind. So it shouldn't come as a surprise when we see texts that show either the Spirit or the Son being led by the Father. He is the great judge, whose love moves him in unity with the grace of Jesus and the communion of the Holy Spirit to save his people and provide eternal happiness for the entire universe.

Note what Peter says:

Acts 5:1-3 However, a certain man, An•a•ni´as by name, together with Sap•phi´ra his wife, sold a possession 2 and secretly held back some of the price, his wife also knowing about it, and he brought just a part and deposited it at the feet of the apostles. 3 But Peter said: “An•a•ni´as, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field?

The story is simple, they kept part of the price, and in doing so they lied to "the Holy Ghost." The next verse reads:

Acts 5:4 As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, but to God.”

It was against the Holy Spirit that they committed this sin according to verse 3, yet in verse 4. Peter tells us that the one they lied to was "God." The Holy Spirit is here called God by Peter himself! Any argument against this would be an argument against and apostle of Christ.

Compare the following two verses:

2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness

Peter tells us that the authors of the bible were moved to speak by the Holy Ghost, yet Paul in 2 Timothy says that it was God who inspired the writings of these holy authors.

Our fifth and final point is that the Spirit is called "God" in scripture.