7. Did The Holy Spirit Appear As A Bird Literally (John 1:32)?
Did The Holy Spirit Appear As A Bird Literally (John 1:32)?
We should first review what we know about spirits. A spirit is regarded as supernatural and is separate from matter. See: (What Is A Spirit)
Matter = material substance that occupies space, has mass, and is perceptible to the senses-(man is an example of matter)
Supernatural = of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; transcends the laws of nature especially of or relating to God, spirits, ghosts, etc.
There is no information given as to the appearance of a spirit; since by its very definition a spirit is separate from matter, it may not have a “physical” appearance.
Since it is accepted that a spirit is a supernatural being, (something not explainable by the known forces or laws of nature), then it is possible that a spirit can live inside a human being and remain separately identifiable from the human being and not required to assume the physical form of a human being.
Subsequently, since a spirit is something that is “not explainable by the known forces or laws of nature” then that implies a spirit can be anything (even appearing as or taking other forms) because it is not bound by the laws of nature.
NOTE: A spirit taking on another form (as someone else or something else) however is never going to ever literally be the actual object it is portraying (i.e., a Rock, Dove, or a person).
NOTE: What is important to note here in John 1:32 is that it says “like a dove”, not John saw a dove. This passage does not mean the Holy Spirit looks like a dove, no more than it looks like a man.
In the 14-16th chapters of the Gospel of John, the “he” and the “him”, which refer to the Holy Spirit, do not describe it as looking like a male dove, this passage in John is clearly a figure of speech.
At the baptism of Christ, the Father simply allowed John to witness the power of His Spirit coming upon Christ, and from John’s perspective, he described it as a dove (possibly symbolic of its character).
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