The Holy Spirit: Breath of God by Gordon Robertson for CBN News
Who is the Holy Spirit? How should we approach Him? What are His attributes? What does the Bible say about Him?
Let’s start off with the introduction of the Holy Spirit. It’s found right in the first chapter of Genesis in the second verse:
“The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light.”
At the very beginning of Genesis, you have God’s Word, Jesus; you have God the Father; and you have the Holy Spirit: the Trinity all represented in creation.
The interesting part of this is the Hebrew word for spirit. We almost get a little spooky talking about the Holy Ghost, but the Hebrew word behind spirit is ruach, and it means “air in motion.” It is the same word for “breath.” It also means “life.” By resemblance to breath and air in motion, it means “spirit.” That’s where we get the translation, and the Hebrew word contains all those different meanings. If we just leave it with our English word “spirit,” we’re not getting the full attributes of what the Bible is trying to describe. It’s trying to describe that there’s a breath involved.
Going back to that first chapter in Genesis, if the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep, and then God said, “Let there be light,” when you speak, it’s through your breath that the words take form. Just imagine that: God speaking, His breath comes out, and there you have the Word of God, “Let there be light.” That is where the Gospel of John says,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
They are all separate, but at the same time, they are all one, just as when you breathe and you speak, your words can be one with you.
Let’s take this into the New Testament because we have almost the same thing where Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit. He says,
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8, NKJV).
Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit, and He’s saying it is like wind. When you get into the Greek behind that, the Greek word is pneuma, which again means “a current of air,” “breath,” or a “breeze, ” and again by analogy, “a spirit.” So both the Hebrew and the Greek word are talking about breath. It’s talking about wind.