Is God omnipresent? Yes. Was He present in spirit at Jesus' baptism? Yes. Does that make His spirit into a separate being? No.
The belief in the Trinity which makes of the Holy Spirit a separate being from that of the Father is actually spiritualism and pantheism. Consider the evidence carefully, as this is sustainable from the Bible.
First, we need to remind ourselves of the definitions of some of these terms.
What is “spiritualism”?
According to the dictionary, we find it stems from a belief in which the spirit is separate from matter (the body) which leads, in religious practice, to communications with that spirit entity, such as even after one has died (a part of the heresy being that the spirit is immortal). See the definition copied below.
* 1 a
system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication
with the spirits of the dead, esp. through mediums.
Philosophy the doctrine that the spirit exists as distinct from
matter, or that spirit is the only reality.
Note that it is not spiritualism to believe in the existence of spirits. It is spiritualism to believe that they have a separate existence to that of their (e.g. bodily) source, i.e. that they are beings unto themselves.
Let's look at a Biblical case by which to illustrate this. Consider Paul's teachings:
- 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so
done this deed,
- 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
We see that Paul's spirit, biblically speaking, could be present in a place where he was not bodily present. Now, if we were to say that the “spirit of Paul” was present there, we are speaking biblically, in agreement with the teaching of Paul in this passage. But suppose we were to say, instead, that “Paul the Spirit” were present—what change does this reordering of the words make?
It converts the “spirit” into a separate being, which is spiritualism.
Let's consider another example:
And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw
him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they
came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. (2
To whom were the sons of the prophets bowing? By the way, these “sons of the prophets” were themselves prophets. Consider earlier verses as evidence for this.
And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD
hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth,
and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to
Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth
to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take
away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it;
hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I
pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the
LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they
came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho
came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will
take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I
know it; hold ye your peace. (2 Kings 2:2-5)
So the sons of the prophets in two places, Bethel and Jericho, had given the same prophetic message to Elisha before Elijah was taken away. When they afterward say “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha,” what are they meaning? Do they mean to say that Elijah the Spirit is with Elisha?
No. That would be spiritualism.
Just as Elijah, Paul, Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 2:1), and every other person on earth, has a spirit, so does God have a spirit. But just as it would be unbiblical to refer to “Elijah the Spirit,” “Paul the Spirit,” or “Nebuchadnezzar the Spirit,” it is unbiblical to refer to “God the Spirit” or “Jesus the Spirit” or “Christ the Spirit.” Nowhere in the Inspired Writings are any of these “_____ the Spirit” forms of address used.
The reason is clear: this would be spiritualism.
When applied to God, these terms make of Him virtually a non-entity. It is the very essence of pantheism (see definition below).
* 1 a doctrine
that identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a
manifestation of God.
* 2 rare worship that admits or tolerates
ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from pan-‘all’ + Greek
theos ‘god’ + -ism.
Because God's Spirit is omnipresent, a belief that this spirit is itself a being separate from God is the very essence of pantheism. The mere use of the expression “God the Spirit” implies that God is in the very fabric of the universe, because His Spirit is everywhere present, and therefore, the universe is itself God.
In another sense of the word, of course, God is a spirit. We see this truth spoken clearly by Jesus himself in John 4:24. This, however, is not to be taken to mean that God has no form. It is simply to be understood that God is not flesh and blood as we are. Though He is “a spirit,” there is no separate being from God to be addressed as “God the Spirit.” This would be absurd. God is already a spirit. If we say “God the Spirit,” assuming that God is plural, then do we not mean to say that at least one of those beings within the plurality is not a spirit? And then what would that make of Jesus' words at the well? At best his words would have been but a half-truth, right?
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit
and in truth. (John 4:24)
How can a person, at one and the same time, believe that God is a spirit and that He is not? If God the Father, the only true God (John 17:1-3), is a spirit, then whom does one reference in saying “God the Spirit”?
The Bible never once speaks of “God the Spirit.” There is a reason for this. The Bible is consistent with itself and teaches that God the Father is the only true God who is everywhere present by His spirit. According to Jesus (see John 14), it was the Father who was in Christ, speaking and working through Him.