Good Things for Believers and
Unbelievers

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Question
Does the Holy Spirit provide good things for unbelievers as well as believers?
Answer
In the creation account we read that God breathed life into the man that he formed from the dust of the ground. That word ruach means "spirit" as well, that God's Spirit was breathed into man. And so, what we see from the beginning is that God's Spirit animates every human life. So, it shouldn't surprise us that God's wisdom appears even in human wisdom traditions in every culture. And so, in the book of Proverbs, for example, we have wisdom incorporated, even from Egypt, into the wisdom of God. Isaiah writes how even the farmer is taught by God in the process of harvesting and threshing his grains to prepare bread. And yet, we learn also that human beings, in our rebellion against God, suppress the truth that is evident, the wisdom of God that's evident in every culture and every person. We push it down because we're in rebellion against God and against God's wisdom. We want to define good and evil on our own terms. So, Jesus explained to his disciples in the Upper Room Discourse in John 16 that he would send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would convict the world—unbelievers as well as believers—of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. So, in God's mercy, the Spirit not only animates the created order and even every human being with the wisdom of God, but even when we suppress God's wisdom, the Spirit is there to convict us of God's truth and to invite us, summon us even, back into a relationship with God.

Answer by Dr. Gregory R. Perry

Dr. Gregory R. Perry is Vice President for Strategic Projects at Third Millennium Ministries and former Associate Professor of New Testament and the Director of City Ministry Initiative at Covenant Theological Seminary.