Acts 5:3-4 (ESV):

3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”

Did Ananias lie to the Holy Spirit (v3), God (v4) or both? Or should we rather understand Peter's words as implying that God and the Holy Spirit are one and the same?

  • Simple answer, The Holy Spirit, who is also God.
    – Adam
    May 1 '21 at 18:12
  • This is a "have you stopped beating your wife" question. It assumes that the Holy Spirit is distinct from God rather than providing for the possibility they are two names for the same entity.
    – Dottard
    May 1 '21 at 21:23
  • @Dottard exactly. Verse 4 is actually affirming that the Holy Spirit IS God. Seems a strange question to ask from a passage that is a classic affirmation of the trinity.
    – Adam
    May 1 '21 at 21:48
  • "classic affirmation of the trinity" Does this verse say or expressly state the doctrine of the trinity? Can you please cite a verse where the trinity is plainly and unequivocally stated? Is this verse's subject about the trinity? When David said in 2 Samuel 12:9-13 that he sinned against God, did he not sin against Uriah? Aren't all sins against God? When Joseph told Potiphar's wife in Genesis 39:9 that he will be snning against God if he sleeps with Potiphar's wife, would that mean Potiphar is God? Is it not a sin against Potiphar's wife and Potiphar if he sleeps with Potiphar's wife? May 4 '21 at 2:49

The contrast between "man" and "God" here is the same as that between "man" and God" in Galatians 1:1:

Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by [a] man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead

The difference between receiving apostleship from a fellow man, and from receiving from Jesus Christ who is "God" who "made his dwelling among us" (John 1:1, 14), is that between man and God pure and simple; if Jesus is only a man, then Paul received his mission and apostleship from man, or from men, but if He receives it from Jesus, as recorded in Acts, He receives it from the Christ, who is "of the seed of David, as to the flesh, but aforetime declared the Son of God in power, as to the Holy Ghost" (Romans 1:3-4).


Acts 5:4 Whilst it remained, did it not remain to thee? and after it was sold, was it not in thy power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God.

Ananias 'did not lie to men but to God,' because he lied to Holy Spirit who is God (the Spirit of God, and not the Father or the Son) according to the New Testament.

  • I like this answer +1
    – Adam
    May 2 '21 at 21:29

1 Corinthians 2:11

For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Did Ananias lie to the Holy Spirit (v3), God (v4) or both?


Should we rather understand Peter's words as implying that God and the Holy Spirit are one and the same?

With respect to the Ananias incident, Peter thought that God and the Holy Spirit were the same. They shared the same knowledge and were offended by Ananias.

  • There is a problem using only 1Cor... Jesus in his ministry said He was the image of the father and that he knows the fathers will, and that no one comes to the father except through Him. So in that we have a conflict that needs explaining here.
    – Adam
    May 1 '21 at 18:17
  • 3
    Can you show me exactly the two propositions that conflict?
    – Tony Chan
    May 1 '21 at 18:21
  • @Adam - can you answer Tony's question? I'm interested in knowing the answer too. May 2 '21 at 18:58
  • You should be able to answer the question of conflict yourself. Read the two quoted texts and it's rather simple...the Triune Godhead explains it. The Trinity is a doctrine based on rational logical thinking. Anyone who doesn't do that will struggle with such a doctrine and then things like this question popup.
    – Adam
    May 2 '21 at 21:27
  • 1
    @Adam "Rational logical thinking": You mean the kind that says 1+1+1 = 1 ?
    – Polyhat
    May 3 '21 at 0:30

To lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God. The text itself states that fact very clearly. But when you go on to ask, “Are God and the Holy Spirit one and the same?” you fail to state one ‘what’. One Person? One Being? One God? Until this ambiguity is clarified, the question is incomplete.

However, mainstream Christianity maintains that there is one Being of God, subsisting in three uncreated, co-equal personalities known to us in scripture as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Holy Spirit, nor is the Holy Spirit the Father, neither is the Son either the Father or the Holy Spirit. Yet all three constitute the one, Almighty God, who alone is to be worshipped. That is mainstream Christian teaching, which shows the need to be clear by what you mean when you ask, “one and the same” – one and the same ‘what’?

  • This answer is based more on eisegesis than hermeneutics. The "Son" died, so do you believe these three "personalities" are not co-immortal? And if they are not co-immortal, how can they be "co-equal"? Furthermore, if they are "one Being," how does one-third of a being die? The Bible does not support such a manner of reasoning. A hermeneutical answer needs scriptural explanation, not merely the presentation of opinion.
    – Polyhat
    May 2 '21 at 15:47
  • 2
    @Anne - being ontologically rigorous with what is meant by 'what' can be quite complicated. May 2 '21 at 15:54
  • 1
    @SpiritRealmInvestigator Tell me about it! (Smiles).
    – Anne
    May 3 '21 at 8:15
  • 1
    @Polyhat All these questions you ask go beyond the initial Q of the OP. But as he ended his comments with a further Q, I would suggest that has already been delved into deeply on this site many times, so reference could be made to those. I won't enter into a debate here about the latter issues as I was just sticking to the initial Q. I believe the text itself clearly answers, that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, which was equally to lie to God. I quoted Christian scholars in that definition of the One Being of God subsisting in 3 personalities. This is common knowledge even if some disagree.
    – Anne
    May 3 '21 at 8:20

Ananias lied to God, who is also identified as the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, there is only one God: the Father.

"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (1 Corinthians 8:6)

Jesus himself says as much (see John 17:1-3). And Jesus says that God is a spirit.

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

The scriptures of Jesus' time made plain that God is holy:

"For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:..." (Isaiah 43:3)

Note that this also declares that God is "One."

Naturally, if "God is a Spirit" and God is "the Holy One," then God is a Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is God.

"Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy." (Leviticus 19:2)

Ananias and Sapphira thought they were concealing something from their church brethren, when in reality they were lying to God--who knows everything and who saw fit to reveal the matter to the church lest others do similarly. They were made to be examples to the others so that all would reverence God and fear to sin so boldly against Him.

  • -1 it doesn't answer the question
    – Adam
    May 1 '21 at 18:12
  • I agree - this is a rant that does not answer the question.
    – Dottard
    May 1 '21 at 21:20
  • @Dottard The question asked if it were the Holy Spirit or God; and this answers it saying that they are one and the same, giving Biblical support to the definition. How does that fail of answering the question, and why would one consider it a "rant"?
    – Polyhat
    May 1 '21 at 21:26
  • 1
    @Adam The Trinity is a doctrine that first came into being at the council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. None of the Biblical authors believed it. Notice that in Matthew 28:19, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit) are all ascribed one "name": What is that name? It is "Jesus." One has only to see how the disciples fulfilled this command. (See Acts 2:38; 8:12,16; 10:48; etc.) The Bible is plain that "God is one" (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29, etc.). The word for God in Greek, Theos, is always singular, never plural.
    – Polyhat
    May 1 '21 at 21:59
  • 1
    @Polyhat - your assertion "The Trinity is a doctrine that first came into being at the council of Nicaea in A.D. 325." is not true and often made by people trying to discredit the trinity doctrine. Matt 28:19 is the great trinity proof text. Question to you - what do you think of Jesus, was He God or not?
    – Dottard
    May 1 '21 at 22:29

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