Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father, from the Son, or from both?
This question has been the cause of controversy for many centuries and generations. While one major Christian denomination teaches that the Holy Spirit only proceeds from the Father, but is given us through the Son, another major Christian denomination holds that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
To answer this question from the Bible, we must first of all realize that the Holy Spirit is not a Person or a Personage, but the POWER and the MIND of God. It is through the POWER of the Holy Spirit that God creates and acts, and mightily sustains what He has created. For more information on this vital subject, please read our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?“
On the other hand, God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are powerful Personages or God beings. Both the Father and the Son ARE God. And it should therefore come as no surprise that both the Holy Spirit of God the Father AND the Holy Spirit of God the Son are dwelling in converted Christians. The Bible clearly teaches, then, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son, and that BOTH are bestowing THEIR Holy Spirit on us.
Notice the following excerpts from our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?”:
“Acts 2:33 states: ‘Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Christ] poured out this which you now see and hear.’
“Notice, it says here that Christ received the Holy Spirit from the Father, and that Christ then poured out the Spirit from the Father. This is confirmed, too, in John 15:26, where we read Christ’s words: ‘But when the Helper comes, whom [better: which] I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who [better: which] proceeds from the Father, He [it] will testify of me.’ Again, we are told here that Christ sends us the Holy Spirit from the Father (cp. also John 16:7).
“Notice also Christ’s words in John 14:16-17: ‘And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He [better: it] may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth…for He [it] dwells with you and will be in you.’ Here we see that it is the Father who will give us the Holy Spirit. He does so through Christ, as we read earlier…
“Titus 3:5-6 confirms that the Father gives us the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ: “[God] saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom [better: ‘which,’ cp. Authorized Version] He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
“We also see, however, in John 14:26, that the Father Himself sends us His Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ. Christ said: ‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom [better: which] the Father will send in My name, He [it] will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.’
“Notice that it is not only the Holy Spirit of the Father that dwells in us. We also see that it is the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us. Gal. 4:6 tells us: ‘And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father.”‘ We see here that God the Father sent the Spirit of His Son, Jesus Christ, in our hearts, and because it is the Spirit of His Son, we can call God our Father. Notice it, too, in Phil. 1:19: ‘For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.’ Again, it is the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us…
“That the Spirit of the Father and of Christ dwells in us becomes very clear when reading Rom. 8:9: ‘But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.’ Here we read that the Spirit of God dwells in us, and when we do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, we are not even Christians.
“So putting all those passages together, we can see that the Spirit of God the Father and of Christ dwells in us, and that both God the Father and Jesus Christ send us, or pour into us, the Holy Spirit. But how can that be? Isn’t there only ONE Spirit?…
“There is clearly only one Spirit, just as there is only one baptism, one faith, one hope and one body (cp. Eph. 4:4-5). But consider this: Although there is only one baptism, there are many individuals being baptized. And even though there is only one body, there are many members in that body (cp. 1 Cor. 12:14). And we know that the ONE God consists of the Father and the Son, that is, God is not just one person.
“The same is true for the Holy Spirit. There is ONE Spirit, but both God the Father and Jesus Christ are Spirit beings, and the Holy Spirit emanates from both of them. That is why we read about the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ. When we read that there is one Spirit, then the reference is to the oneness or harmony between God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is exactly the same when Christ said, ‘I and the Father are one.’ (John 10:30). Christ did not mean, the Father and He were ‘one’ being—but that they were ‘one’ in purpose and goal and mindset and character. When Christ spoke these words, He was clearly a separate person from God the Father. Christ said in John 17:11, that we all should be one, as the Father and Christ are one in spirit—not in the sense that we all would become one being, but rather, that we all be of the same spirit. God the Father and Christ are one in spirit, and so are we to become one in spirit.
“Notice Christ’s words in John 14:23: ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’ Both the Father and Jesus Christ live in us. John 14:16-18 confirms too that not only the Father, but also Jesus Christ live in us, through the Holy Spirit, when Christ told His disciples, ‘I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper…, the Spirit of truth…[that] will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.’ God the Father and Jesus Christ have both come to us, and they both have made their home with us. They do this through the Holy Spirit that flows from both of them into us.”
The Bible teaches that both the Father and the Son live in converted Christians. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul encourages us to examine ourselves to make sure that Christ is in us. We read in John 15:4 that Jesus “abides” or “lives” in true Christians. As Christ abides or lives in us through the Holy Spirit, so God the Father abides or lives in us through the Holy Spirit. This is confirmed in 1 John 3:23-24: “And this is His commandment that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ… Now he who keeps His [God the Father’s] commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He [God the Father] abides in us, by the Spirit [which] He has given us.”
In addition to the passages quoted above, please note that we are specifically told that God the Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13). Acts 15:8 reiterates that God the Father gives the Holy Spirit.
More clearly, 1 John 4:12-13 explains: “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and HE IN US, because He has given us OF His Spirit.”
We are called the sons of God when we are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14)–as Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit of God the Father (Luke 4:1).
When we are called upon to defend ourselves in courts for what we believe, then the “Holy Spirit” (compare Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12) will speak through us. The Holy Spirit is specifically defined, in this context, as the Spirit of the Father, as Matthew 10:19-20 says: “… For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit OF YOUR FATHER [which] speaks IN you.” But we also read t
hat it is CHRIST who will speak through us in that hour. Luke 21:14-15 states: “Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer. I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.”
That the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us, is both the Spirit of the Father AND of the Son, and that–through the indwelling Holy Spirit–we have become children of God and members of the Family of God, is also revealed in Ephesians 3:14-19:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the FATHER of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that HE would grant you… to be strengthened with might through HIS Spirit in the inner man, that CHRIST may DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS… that you may be filled with all the FULLNESS OF GOD…”
To summarize, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son. The Father gives us OF His Holy Spirit, through or in the name of Jesus Christ–Christ being the only Mediator between God the Father and man. In addition, Christ Himself also gives us OF His Spirit, and so both the Father and the Son abide, dwell or live in us.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God, and God consists of two Beings–God the Father and God the Son. From this it follows that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father AND of God the Son, and when the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us, then God the Father and God the Son–Jesus Christ–dwell or live in us THROUGH the Holy Spirit OF GOD.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link