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We read:

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

For elsewhere we read:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Q: Is this not a reference to the Holy Spirit being that same God who will dwell in His people?

If God is said to "dwell" in terms of Ἐνοικήσω (Enoikēsō) "I will dwell" ἐν (en) "In" αὐτός (autos) "them", then what does this clarify for Paul's Pneumatology on the Holy Spirit's dwelling that he writes elsewhere?

Are there any references in scripture that can show contrary to the question? Can it be demonstrated in the negative?

Barnes, a Commentator on this passages notes:

“For ye are the temple of the living God - see this explained in the notes on 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. The idea is, that as God dwells with his people, they ought to be separated from a sinful and polluted world.”

&

“I will dwell in them - (ἐνοικήτω enoikētō). I will take up my indwelling in them. There is an allusion doubtless to the fact that he would be present among his people by the Sechinah, or the visible symbol of his presence; see the note on 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. It implies, when used with reference to Christians, that the Holy Spirit would abide with them, and that the blessing of God would attend them; see Romans 8; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:14.”

Does Barnes make the passage clear enough to assume that merely God’s blessing dwells with us? Or that God dwells in us, in conjunction with the Spirit being the primary witness?

NOTE: I don’t think there is any scripture that says the Father specifically dwells in us in terms of the word used "Dwell".

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  • 2
    With respect to your note:… “Jesus answered him, “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.” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:23‬ and just as God dwelt in the tabernacle/temple but resided in the holy of Holies or the inner most part, so God living in our biological machine chooses to dwell not exclusively in the body, nor the soulish part but in our spirit which is still inside the body geographically speaking. Spirit united with spirit living inside the biological machine. And Jesus says it will be He and the Father. Just saying. Jul 1 at 5:23
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    Up-voted +1, but I think the question needs to define more clearly the matter of indwelling in Spirit. The Unity of Deity is such that both Father and Son (of whom the Holy Spirit is called both 'the Spirit of the Father' and 'the Spirit of Christ') dwell in the believer in Spirit. Thus the indwelling of Spirit brings both Father and Son, the unity of Deity being such a perfect unanimity and harmony. I suggest a brief edit to make the issue a little clearer.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 1 at 9:26
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    @NihilSineDeo I am aware of that verse in John, yet there word “dwell” isn’t used so I guess I thought it wasn’t as specific.
    – Cork88
    Jul 1 at 15:37
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    @NigelJ Made some best attempted edits, given what you requested.
    – Cork88
    Jul 1 at 16:49
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    Your edit appreciated.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 1 at 19:05

4 Answers 4

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Let us be very careful here. Allow me to show why.

1. If we assume that the Holy Spirit is NOT a separate person but mere the Power of the Father and/or Jesus

This is the starting assumption of Unitarians, Arians and Binitarians. They simply brush 2 Cor 6:16 & 1 Cor 3:16 off as one of the many places that Jesus and the Father say that they will come to us such as:

  • John 14:18 - I will not leave you as orphans; I [Jesus] will come to you.
  • John 14:23 - Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
  • Rev 2:16 - Therefore repent! Otherwise I [Jesus] will come to you shortly and wage war against them with the sword of My mouth.
  • Rev 3:3 - Remember, then, what you have received and heard. Keep it and repent. If you do not wake up, I [Jesus] will come like a thief, and you will not know the hour when I will come upon you.

As further evidence of this Holy Spirit being merely the power of God, these anti-pneumatists suggest the parallelism in Luke 1:35 -

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.

2. If we assume that the Holy Spirit is a separate Person in the Godhead

Under this assumption, 2 Cor 6:16 & 1 Cor 3:16 is compelling evidence that the Holy Spirit is God as much as Jesus and the Father. As further evidence of this, such people quote other texts such as:

  • John 15:26 - When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me. [Note the distinction between the Advocate and the Father and Son]
  • John 16:13, 14 - But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.

CONCLUSION

Therefore, before proffering 2 Cor 6:16 & 1 Cor 3:16 as evidence of the divinity (or otherwise) of the Holy Spirit, one needs to establish that the Holy Spirit is a separate person. See appendix below for some suggestions.

APPENDIX - Personhood of the Holy Spirit

  • The passages in John 15:26 – 16:14 repeatedly talk about the Holy Spirit as a separate person from either the Father or Jesus.
  • 1 Cor 2:10, 11 (see also Isa 40:13, 14) also identifies the Holy Spirit as a separate person because of His teaching and instructing function. See also Rom 15:19 and Ps 104:30.
  • In Matt 12:31, 32, Mark 3:28, 29, and Luke 12:8-10 the unforgivable sin is defined as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is an expansion of Isa 63:10-14 where people grieved the Holy Spirit. Such a sin would not be even possible if the Holy Spirit were not both a person and divine. Note further, that these passages make a clear distinction between sinning against the Son or Father as opposed to the Holy Spirit, again, showing that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person.
  • In 1 Cor 12:11 it is the Holy Spirit who decides about spiritual gifts and their distribution. This passage attributes volition and sentience to the person of the Holy Spirit.
  • In Acts 7:51, 1 Thess 5:19, Eph 4:30 we have various people resisting or spurning the Holy Spirit and in Acts 15:28 the Holy Spirit’s opinion is consulted.

Possibly the best verses to demonstrate the individuality and personhood of the Holy Spirit is found in Rom 8:26, 27, which says –

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

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    The emphasis on the mistranslation of the Spirit's gender into masculine is a desperate practice; the John 16 masculine pronoun is for the helper, not spirit. Rom 8:26, correct English translation is this < but the Spirit itself maketh intercession>. Just as these kinds of Ques are opinion based, so are the answers are typically opinion based on them.
    – Michael16
    Jul 1 at 11:39
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    It is a mistranslation in English, you presuppose that the English and Greek neuter gender of Spirit contradict that It's a person. This is why you emphasis the false masculine gender which has been debunked many times here. Not about sex.
    – Michael16
    Jul 2 at 3:40
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    @Michael16 - you have misunderstood - I do not mind the translation "It" for the Spirit" or "he" for the Spirit - whatever the Greek says is OK with me. The fact is that these say that the Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son as per John 16:13 and other references.
    – Dottard
    Jul 2 at 4:09
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    You have boldened the masculine pronouns which is actually used for Helper instead of Spirit, as the principle of attraction. You can't detract from your agenda and tradition of the new English translations that you find neuter pronoun against your doctrine. Nobody's saying Spirit is not distinct form or acts as diff person. Spirit is one of 3. That's your own misunderstanding or insecurity which you're attacking in your answers. It is a desperate attempt to repeat traditional views in circular reasoning without substance.
    – Michael16
    Jul 2 at 4:14
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    It is masculine for the masculine Helper. Your emphasis on the masculine pronouns is irrelevant and circular in repeating a debunked mistranslation of modern versions. Spirit is always it never he, in English of course. If agree then remove the emphasis on pronouns.
    – Michael16
    Jul 2 at 5:06
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The key word in this question strikes me as being the word "subtle". If it is ignored, then answers will deal with whether 2 Corinthians 6:16 is a reference to the Holy Spirit's deity, or not. Yet, if the reference is subtle, then focus might need to go on how to find the evidence, when it is not clearly obvious.

A gentle unpicking of threads would be required if there's something subtle going on here. The first thread would be found in Leviticus, as the text in question is partially quoting this ancient statement of God, to the newly formed nation of Israel. God makes this promise to them:

"And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." Deuteronomy 26:11-12 A.V.)

There is no mention of the Holy Spirit here, but of God himself walking among them. The presence of God is linked to the tabernacle of God, in the camp of the Israelites. Of course, they all knew that they would not see God himself, with their eyes, moving throughout the camp. So, why did Paul quote this when warning Christians of the need to touch nothing unclean in order to have God receive them as his children? That is the context of the letter as illustrated by the preceding verses:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

Then comes the verse you quote, which is clearly a continuation of that line of questioning - getting Christians to see that they must not contaminate themselves with idolatry if God is to "dwell in them, and walk in them". That was exactly the point the Israelites had to get, having come out of the idolatry of Egypt. If God would tabernacle in their midst, they had to eschew all idolatry and remain clean, both spiritually and physically. Leviticus 26:1-13 details all of that, and that is why Paul quoted that ancient text, first stated to the Israelites.

So far, there seems to be nothing of the Holy Spirit in this, let alone his deity. But that is why it is correct to include 1 Corinthians 3:16 alongside 2 Corinthians 6:16, which most Bibles with margins do, and which you did:

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

There is the subtle link. The temple / tabernacle of God as opposed to the temple of idols; Christians are the temple of God; he tabernacles (dwells) in them via the Spirit of God. And in the new testament, the Spirit of God is simultaneously called the Spirit of Christ, so that the 'clincher' verse is this one:

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin: but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Romans 8:9-11

Those who personally know, by experience, what Romans chapter 8 is on about, know that the Spirit indwelling them is simultaneously the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, who communicates the life of God and Christ to them. This assures them that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are, as one, tabernacling within their bodies which have become temples of the living God.

Those who do not personally know, by experience, the outworking of Romans chapter 8, could not possibly be expected to make the subtle connection between it and 2 Corinthians 6:16. The subtlety of the hints of the Holy Spirit's deity in those scriptures, indeed, in all the scriptures, will be missed, for this is a matter of divine revelation given by the Holy Spirit himself.

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Is this not a reference to the Holy Spirit being that same God who will dwell in His people?

Remember that capitalization was added by the English translators; it doesn't appear in the original Greek. When one reads this as "the spirit of God dwells in you", it no longer has any implication of that spirit being anything else than a tool used by God to communicate directly with us.

Compare with:

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Had the translators personified these as "Peace of God", would it mean that "Peace" is a fourth person?


God provides several different kinds of spirit.

  • A life spirit that forms the life-force of all living creatures:

    • It is simply an immaterial substance.
    • It does not contain any information about the creature it animates.
    • When something dies, God reclaims this spirit (it "returns to God").
    • In the case of humans, this spirit is not what we are.

    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath[spirit] of life; and man became a living being.
    — Genesis 2:7

    All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.
    — Genesis 7:22

    Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
    — Ecclesiastes 12:7

  • A human spirit that distinguishes humans from other animals:

    • This "spirit of man" gives us self-awareness, free-will, understanding, etc.
    • It is what we think of as being our real selves.

    Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him
    — Zechariah 12:1

    But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.
    — Job 32:8

  • An ad hoc spirit that, perhaps temporarily, allows direct communication with God.

    • This "holy spirit" was occasionally given to special people at specific times.
    • It gave them extra spiritual strength to accomplish some task for God.
    • It allowed them to receive information directly from God.
    • It could be removed when no longer needed.

    And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
    — Exodus 31:3

    When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
    — 1 Samuel 10:10

    And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
    — Acts 4:31

    But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.
    — 1 Samuel 16:14

    And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God
    — Ephesians 5:18–21

  • A holy spirit that combines with the human spirit to create the embryo of a new spirit being.

    • This "holy spirit" is a permanent one-time gift.
    • It is what is received as part of the baptism process.
    • Like the human spirit, it too is what we are, but it is also what God is.
    • It is this spirit that we must care for, to help it to grow and develop God-like character.
    • It is this spirit that will eventually be reborn as an immortal spirit being at the first resurrection when Christ returns.

    Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    — Acts 2:38

    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

    in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
    — 1 Corinthians 15:52–53

This is the fundamental concept of Christianity. It is the entire purpose of mankind.

— See also my answer to What is the biblical basis for interpreting "born again", "baptized in the Holy Spirit" and "filled with the Holy Spirit" as different experiences? - Christianity Stack Exchange.

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  • @Rat Butterworth I am not sure I understand your line of argumentation there, The Spirit of God is said to be able to be grieved (Eph 4:30) which implies personality(conscious personhood) - and the Holy Spirit speaks: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:7-8‬ ‭- He then goes on to say: “Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭- The Spirit was tested by men, and the Israelites saw the Spirit “work”.
    – Cork88
    Jul 1 at 15:30
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    @Cork88, compare "as the holy spirit says" with "as the television says", or "as I read in the newspaper", or "as his e-mail says". Just because God's holy spirit provides a message from God, it doesn't mean it is God. Jul 1 at 15:56
  • I’m not sure your common 21st century analogies with T.V.’s annuls the reality that The Spirit can be grieved & that He speaks, in fact, the very truth of these 2 scriptural evidences proves that He has a mind, intellect, will, and it also proves that He isn’t a mere force. The biblical testimony of the Spirit is personal, never impersonal. “Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭8:29‬ ‭- Impersonal forces do not talk.
    – Cork88
    Jul 1 at 16:00
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    @RayButterworth It appears that we differ with respect to certain exegetical approaches, we can leave it at that for now. ;)
    – Cork88
    Jul 1 at 18:50
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    This is mixing up things that differ. The new humanity is a matter of being under the headship of Christ (though still in a body of sin and death). Without the indwelling of the Person of the Divine Holy Spirit, there can be no union with the Father and with the Son. But I shall leave it there, rather than prolong discussion in comment.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 1 at 19:04
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As the disciples have pointed out with the Gospel messages, they note that the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the Father are the same essence.

do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11-

for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matt 10:20

Are these two descriptors of different persons? Hardly.

The biblical evidence does not allow room to invent another, somehow separate entity to God, the Father, leaving little doubt about the plain revelation here. There is no separate Holy Spirit entity/person according to this plain teaching - knowing it took several generations and various councils to begin incorporating such a concept no one ever taught before.

The OP asks if the Father dwells in believers.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

So yes, the Father does abide/dwell in believers via His spirit.

This passage closes off the message from Jesus about him sending the spirit. Not a separate entity, but the means of Jesus the Father being present in spirit.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper, so that he may be with you forever; 17the helper is the Spirit of truth V16

Conclusion:

Any ‘subtle’ reference to a holy spirit entity is imagined only and not delivered by the text of 2Cor 6:16. A sound hermeneutical approach does not read into the text that which is not plainly evident, and in fact, refuted by other scripture. Of course, as the holy spirit IS the spirit of the Father/ God, then it is obviously divine and fully representative of deity/God.

Tradition has conditioned many to think that the doctrines decided on long after the Apostles, have superior relevance and veracity. Unfortunately, they cause glaring contradiction, rendering the Gospels and Epistles a secondary status subject to various complex interpretive readings instead of the plain and simple reading God provided.

The holy spirit IS the spirit of the Father. Any other idea is a contradiction.

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    This is a theological answer and not based on the text at question. The fact that Arians, Binitarians and Trinitarians use this text says that it has limited evidenciary value - so why respond as you have? What not try a Hermeneutical response rather than a response from your creed?
    – Dottard
    Jul 1 at 6:15
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    Having a whinge about answers that do not fit your theology is not encouraged here. The verse in question has nothing to do with the supposed subtle reference, there is nothing to work with without practicing eisegesis. I have merely stuck to the facts provided.
    – steveowen
    Jul 1 at 7:14
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    In fact, I welcome answers that disagree with my theology because from I learn more. My objection to your answer is not its theology, but the fact it is purely theological - no analysis of the subject of the question nor any analysis of the text itself.
    – Dottard
    Jul 1 at 8:22
  • @steveowen Your own hermeneutical approach makes no sense, just as you quoted: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper, so that he may be with you forever; 17the helper is the Spirit of truth V16”. If the “Helper, namely the Spirit of truth” is (another) then He is not the Father.
    – Cork88
    Jul 1 at 16:05

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