Should I abandon the concept that God of the Bible is person, but say that He is spirit?

I would mean that God the Father, God the son and God the spirit are persons, but God means different qualities in the Bible that make it one essence. So God would not be person like eg. Son of God is, but rather a spirit being. God is of one essence, but exists in three "persons". That is what I meant when I asked that whether to interpret God as person or as a spirit. I meant that God the Father, Son of God, God the spirit are defined as persons, but God defined as spirit being rather than person. I mean by spirit that he is not literally made of matter, but is a spirit being like Holy Spirit is. So in this matter it seems that God of the Bible is of one essence of divinity; spirit being, and manifests in three persons, who yet are each God. So our God is of one essence, but of three persons. I ask to answer my first question and maybe comment on the last phrase.

If I do, is this in keeping with the historical expressions of the faith?

My motive for this is to discern how the concept of God in Islam is different from the concept of God in the Bible. In other words I try to help myself to discern how the concept of God in the Bible is different from the God of Islam.

  • 1
    Your definition of "person" is vague. Can you clarify it, precisely?
    – user900
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:39
  • I got this idea that God might be spirit rather than person, when I looked at this(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity#Theology -> Our God), in which it is said... ok I meant that God the Father, God the son and God the spirit are persons, but God means different qualities in the Bible that make it one essence.
    – alvoutila
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:50
  • I still don't understand. Can you please provide your definition of "person" in the original thread so that everyone can be on the same page as you?
    – user900
    Aug 28, 2013 at 18:33
  • well I made definition and I'm not sure whether or not it is clear to you when they say that God is of one essence, but exists in three "persons". That is what I meant when I asked that whether to interpret God as person or as a spirit.
    – alvoutila
    Aug 28, 2013 at 19:13
  • 1
    It seems by this statement --- "Should I abandon the concept that God of the Bible is person, but say that He is spirit? I mean by person that He is literally made of one "body." --- that you think "person" means "body." That's now what the Greek word ὑπόστασις means in the context of the Trinitarian creeds or even the Bible itself. So, if you're using an unorthodox definition of ὑπόστασις, then people are going to have difficulty answering your question.
    – user900
    Aug 28, 2013 at 20:00

4 Answers 4


In a mainstream evangelical understanding, God's essence does not consist of anything created. Matter is created. God is spirit and existed as such before the creation of matter or time or space. A "body" is something physical, and only the Second Person of the Trinity has a body, which He received at the Incarnation.

Personhood does not mandate a physical body. Every creation is lesser than its creator. Thus, we could not have personhood unless God first possessed Personhood.

So, in summary, God is spirit, which is not matter, and He does exist in Three Persons, only One of which has a body, but He did not always have one, receiving His body at the Incarnation, which was later glorified at His resurrection.

  • I guess you meant to say; "Second Person of the Trinity has a body". I notice that my motive to know about trinity is that my confusion of concept of God's oneness in Islam, would be replaced by certainty and peace that the God of the Bible is true and only God. Although it might be so that also maybe I get some advantages when I live my life by being aware of God eg. my conversations with someone else
    – alvoutila
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:34
  • 1
    @laovultai Yes, I did mean to say the Second Person of the Trinity. Thank you. The Trinity is an interesting concept, one that is so filled with contention and confusion that it is doubtful that man would have invented such a notion. However, much in God's creation reflects the image of the Trinity. The Universe consists of 1) time, 2) space, and 3) matter, but it's all interdependent. Time is 1) past, 2) present and 3) future. Space is 1) length, 2) width, and 3) height. Matter is 1) solid, 2) liquid, and 3) gas. Indeed, God is both a unified One and a distinguishable Three.
    – Narnian
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:39

There's too much that we do not know about the LORD and would not even understand with our finite minds. The little I have come to understand is the following:

God is one. (Deut 6:4)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

The Hebrew word for 'one' here is the same one used in this passage.(Genesis 2:24)

 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they
become one flesh.

When the Bible speaks of the LORD's oneness, it is speaking about how He is united, of one accord, one mindset, one purpose. When two people are joined in marriage, they become one flesh. This does not mean that they have one body and are one 'person'. This means they are now (or at least should be) of the same mindset, same accord, same purpose.

Now, God is not 'one' meaning the same body. God is 3 co-existent (have always existed) People as in 3 Spiritual Beings, One of whom willingly took human shape to save the fallen humanity. (Philippians 2:6,7)

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

He is a spirit, that is, not flesh and bone like us. Yet we know a lot about His character because Jesus came to show us what the Father was like through Himself. This is why when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus answered: (John 14:9)

    Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me,
Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

There is a lot that we don't understand about the nature of God the Father and probably never will. The most important thing is to focus on what has been shown to us through the Bible. That Jesus, being God, made Himself a man in order to die and and pay for the sins of humanity so that you may have a chance to live with Him and reign with Him. The question is, have you accepted Him as your Savior and King? He has done it all, but you still must choose.

  • I want to accept Him as my Saviour and King and I already have done this in the age of 9-10. I have chosen Him as my saviour and Lord. One thing that remains yet is persecution and fear of it. But I trust that He keeps me and guides so that I would not at least be afraid of it.
    – alvoutila
    Sep 7, 2013 at 15:38

Here is an answer directed to you personally in regard to your question. God the Father is omniscient (all-knowing). The Holy Spirit is omnipresent (all-present). The Son is omnipotent (all-powerful). Because they are a trinity any of these attributes can be identified with each of the persons of the trinity.

As has already been stated personhood does not necessitate a physical form. Jesus is credited with creation well before He took on flesh.

While this answer will not resonate well with this site one can understand that Jesus Christ’s identification of God as Father and Himself as the only begotten Son does identify God as Family. God is not a person; God is however three persons, yet one God.

Just as there are family dynamics that we naturally understand, within the Godhead these same family dynamics exist.

So God the Father was never a man, however Jesus Christ only does what He sees the Father do. In other words Jesus is the image of the invisible God, He is the manifest will of God the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father bearing His will. The Holy Spirit brings to fruition the will of God the Father. Jesus Christ is that manifest will born of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus never once mentioned the Holy Trinity, Jesus repeatedly mentioned the Kingdom of God, His Heavenly Father and His own son-ship.

So the three persons of the Trinity are God, God the Family.

  • And you think that is correct?
    – Mawia
    Aug 29, 2013 at 14:25
  • @Mawia, Sorry I was not trying to be rude. Yes, I believe their is ample Biblical evidence of what is stated above. Is there a particular area that you are in question of?
    – Rick
    Aug 29, 2013 at 16:49
  • It's OK. How did you come up with the idea of the Father as omniscient, Spirit as omnipresent and Son as omnipotent?
    – Mawia
    Aug 29, 2013 at 16:57
  • @Mawia, Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit knows the day of His return, only the Father knows (Matthew 13:32). Psalms 139:7 Addresses the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit. Power is manifest, Christ is the manifest will of the Father.
    – Rick
    Aug 29, 2013 at 18:25

God is not a human: The word person, as commonly understood means a human. But when we refer to God as a person, we are not saying that God is a human.

We are created in the likeness of God

Genesis 1:26 (NIV) Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

If we say human is a person, then God is far more a person than we are. We are created in the likeness of God, with the same appearance, with the ability to think and many other qualities of God are imparted to us. But we are not created exactly like God. We resemble only a fraction of the personality of God.

God the Father is a spirit

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman that God the Father is a spirit.

John 4:23-24 (NIV) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Jesus the Word

The identity of Jesus is quite confusing sometimes. Before the creation of the world, He was called The Word. This Word took the form of flesh in order to die for us on the cross and pour out His blood for the forgiveness of our sins.

John 1:14 (NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus was a human when He was on earth, having flesh, bone and blood. After the resurrection, Jesus said that He has flesh and bone but didn't mention blood. It is a mystery what kind of body Jesus has right now in Heaven.

Luke 24:39 (NKJV) Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

The Holy Spirit

As the name explicitly says, the Holy Spirit is a spirit. The Holy Spirit was sent on the Day of Pentecost, just as Jesus promised that the Father will send in the name of the Son Jesus.

John 14:26 (NIV) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name [Jesus], will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Conclusion: You can safely believe that God is a spirit and there is nothing wrong to say that God is a person. The infallible truth is that God is not a human .

  • "Jesus said to the Samaritan woman that God the Father is a spirit" This assumes that Christ was speaking of God the Father and not the Holy Spirit.
    – Rick
    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:41
  • If God the Father is spirit and the Holy Spirit is obviously Spirit then how is the Holy Spirit different than the Father?
    – Rick
    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:53
  • @Rick That means two persons in the Trinity are spirits and the Son may or may not be spirit.
    – Mawia
    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:58
  • And you think that is correct?
    – Rick
    Aug 29, 2013 at 13:42
  • @Rick It's not what I think. It's what the Bible says.
    – Mawia
    Aug 29, 2013 at 14:25

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