God is spirit

In my previous post I suggest that if we follow what the Bible says we will get to a proper understanding of the spirit rather than trying to read the text in such a way to affirm our prior theological commitments. Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah enjoys a unique relationship with the Spirit of God. It is no wonder that perhaps the most important statement concerning the spirit is made by him in the Gospel of John.God is spirit… – John 4:24

Jesus with one simple statement categorically identified the spirit as God. As the Messiah he was the world’s foremost authority on the Spirit of God. When God raised the man Jesus from the dead it vindicated Jesus’ claims to be the God of Israel in the flesh. Paradoxically, his humanity is the best case we have for the divinity of the spirit.

Jesus is described as the bodily home of God (John 1:14; Colossians 2:9.) Jesus fully embodies God in himself. I used to wonder at how the great size of God could fit inside the human form. The baptism of John revealed that God dwelt in Jesus by his spirit. It was signified by the Spirit of God like a dove resting on him. The spiritual dimension does not occupy any physical space. Another place where the conundrum of how an infinite being can be found in a finite space is the temple.

Whether it is the Tent of Witness or Solomon’s temple an area did not truly function as sacred space until the shekinah-glory of God entered the place (Exodus 40; 1 Kings 8.) The Shekinah was a tangible glorious manifestation of the Spirit of God (Ezekiel 1:26-2:1; 2 Corinthians 3:18.) At the inauguration of sacred space the deity had to take up residence, that is, rest in the temple, so that it could begin to properly function. King Solomon at the dedication of the First Temple petitioned YHWH to rest in the house they had built for him forever. Yet he was acutely aware that the temple paled in comparison to the majesty of God himself.

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! – 1 Kings 8:27 ESV

If created space cannot fully host God how come in Isaiah 66 the heavens and the earth are described as his temple? I believe the answer is still found in the spirit.

The Creator is infinitely greater than his creation. As creatures we cannot ever fully comprehend him or even truly define him. The scriptures teach us by his spirit God makes, sustains and pervades all things. Since the all of God cannot fit in created space he lives in the cosmos the same way he inhabits the Temple or the human temple of Jesus and his Church. God dwells in creation by his spirit. The spirit is actually the only aspect of God we can interact with in created space. The God we find in creation is the Spirit. God has created our domain of reality by his life-giving breath and he sustains it from moment to moment by that same spirit living in it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. – Psalm 139:7-10 ESV

David in this hymn explains the omnipresence of God, a central divine attribute, is due to his spirit. God is everywhere at once by his spirit. It’s actually God’s spirit that is omnipresent. I would go on to say the “thereness” of his spirit is the reason for the “thereness” of created space. Nothing can exist where God is not. He is the cardinal point of all reality. It is the presence of the Spirit of God that unifies all dimensions of created space. It is hard to understand the ubiquity of the Spirit in creation unless you recognise that he indeed is God.

When Jesus called God spirit he was making an observation about his nature. He is the aspect of God we find in the created realm so he represents the unknowable all of God. As far as the creation can know God is spirit. Since the spirit is the breath of life the living person of God resides in the spirit. God is very much alive and capable in this world by his spirit.

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts…” – Zechariah 4:6 ESV


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