God the Holy Spirit Is Everywhere (Object Lesson for Children)

Have you ever been asked the following question?

How can the Holy Spirit be a person in the Trinity and yet He cannot be seen and does not take up any space like all people do?

This is a simple object lesson that incorporates science to demonstrate one aspect of the doctrine of the Trinity. Many children begin to get curious about the Holy Spirit as they grow older. They do not think it is logical to be a person and not be seen while still alive. Be careful not to mistakenly offer a pantheistic answer and say that God is in everything! That is different than saying God is everywhere (which is called God’s omnipresence. See Psalm 139:7-10).

Materials Needed

  • Paper towel
  • 2 Large Cups or Glasses
  • Tub of water (while a tub is preferable, a bucket will work)

The Set-up

So how do you answer the above question?  I have found a simple experiment helps the children to understand how something can exist yet not be seen and not take up any space.  Ask the kids if they can think of anything they use on a daily basis that would have these same qualities.  Allow them to give some answers.   Some of your older children may answer correctly, but many will not think along the lines.  (The correct answer is Oxygen but don’t say it just yet!)

The Experiment

Fill the tub with water.  Take a paper towel and put it in the cup.  Ask the children what will happen if you put the cup in the water–will the towel get wet or will it stay dry?  Allow for some answers.  Presumably, the kids will be giving both answers–wet and dry.

First show them how the paper towel stays dry by placing the cup perpendicularly in the water.  The air in the cup will force the water to around the cup keeping the paper towel dry. As you are showing the dry paper towel, explain to the children that we don’t see the air and that everything in the room is surrounded by the air but it would appear that the air does not take up any space.  However, the air took up space in the cup so that water could not get it.

The science is that the pocket of air in the cup cannot escape and therefore keeping the water from entering the cup.

The Explanation

Even though we can’t see the air, we can see that it has properties that can be seen.  This is true of the Holy Spirit.  Those who have the invisible Holy Spirit living inside them will have visible evidence.  At this point, take the opportunity to share Gal. 5:22-25.


Comments

  1. phyllis says

    I just found this website. I love it. I am teaching 4-6 grade and have been teaching same literature over and over. I need something extra to add to the literature and make things fresh again.

  2. Brian Couch says

    Great idea Jay! Try filling the bottom of a metal cake pan with 1/2 inch of water, then carefully placing a chunk of dry ice in the middle of the pan of water and cover with a glass cake cover. You have ice, steam and water all in one place for the illustration.

  3. Carolyn Covert says

    I’m wondering if you could clarify the direction to this experiment for anyone else following them on your website. I read and re-read these directions and first of all couldn’t understand why you needed 2 cups, not just one. My husband had to explain to me the cup should be turned upside down as I was thinking you just put the cup with the towel into the water “perpendicular” meaning just straight up and down. The paper towel works best if you crinkle it up and place it at the bottom of the cup. Hope this is helpful for those trying this!

  4. Peter Cook says

    “Water illustration would work if all three could be the case at one time.” It can. All elements have a “triple point”. A place where if you vary temperature and pressure it can exist in as solid, liquid and gas at the same time. Hard to demonstrate, but true enough to avoid the claim of modalism.

  5. Andrew Quill says

    I have found that a better illustration is to use a 750 ml bottle filled with water and place it inbetween you and a candle. Ask the kids if they think that you can blow out the candle with the bottle in the way. They will say no. Then blow on the bottle and your breath will go around the bottle and blow out the candle.
    Ask them what happened. Someone will eventually say that your breath went around the bottle. Then ask, ‘But did you see my breath?’ They will say no. Then add, ‘But you saw the effects of my breath’.

    “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

    Now you can go on to talk about the Holy Spirit using both ‘breath’ and ‘water’ (in the bottle) and draw out things about both bring life and even mention about being filled just as the bottle is filled with the water.

  6. says

    Terry was wise in warning against teaching pantheism, or panentheism: God is in everything. We also need to be careful not to teach modalism; God in one form or mode then in another. The Ice, Steam, Water illustration would work if all three could be the case at one time. Picky? Maybe, but worth consideration since the objective is to teach truth, not just to give a good illustration.

  7. Stephanie says

    Lin, the passage you referred to is another excellent example of how air is not seen but certainly affects our lives, however the reference you cite should be John 3:8, not John 5:8.

  8. says

    The God Head can be explained in this way. Water comes in three forms. What are they? The answer is liquid water, solid ice, and vapor steem. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as kind of like steem. Steem is still water but we can not drink it or swim in it like we can liquid, fluid water. We can ice skate on hard ice. Steem is a gas or vapor. A gas or vapor can travel around the room and hang in the air. Steem is still water but it is in a vapor or gas form. The Holy Spirit is still God but He is able to be everywhere and he is able to travel everywhere and be evedrywhere. God is also in three forms, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

  9. says

    Lin,

    Thank you for your illustration. I have used that many times with my children as well as with my own kids. The only reason I didn’t use that is because, with these apologetic posts, I am attempting to show how we can use science to explain some things about our faith rather than referring to the Bible. This is intentional on my behalf.

    I felt the need to explicitly state that because we do not want anyone to think we are leaving the sufficiency of Scripture behind in these posts. Rather, we are trying to show how the sufficiency of Scripture can be tested in a tangible way. This all stems from a book I read and an interview with Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis posted here on our website.

    Again, thank you for your comment. I just do not want to assume everyone knows what we are doing with these posts.

    God bless,

    Terry Delaney

  10. says

    To further expand on Terry’s post and experiement, may I add this?
    In John 5:8 Jesus gives an illustration which children understand. Like all good illustrations it relates to something they know, experience and accept.
    It is the wind. We cannot see the wind, we can only feel it’s impact. We can, however, see what the wind does. [The children may come upo with some good examples - like its effect on leaves in the street, our clothing, hair, flags fluttering, balloons blowing away, etc. ]

    In the same way, though we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we can see the effects of him working in the lives of those who have trusted Christ for forgiveness, who have been “born of the Spirit”, as Jesus referred to the salvation experience. When the Holy Spirit lives in us we can see a change in our lives, as he helps us turn away from wrong and choose right.

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