Why the disagreements and even the hesitation to identify “the Spirit of God” in Genesis 1:2 as a person of the Godhead? Part of the resistance comes from the thinking that the interpreter must give due recognition to the ANE setting for the writing of Genesis and its Creation account.12 Is that how we must read Genesis? Must we limit ourselves to the way that pagan, unbelieving, idolatrous ANE cultures viewed God (or, gods)? To yield to this hermeneutic requires one to degrade and even destroy the significant difference between genuine believers in the true God and those who ridicule them for their faith. Their worldviews are (and were) very different. Their value systems are opposed. A rough equivalent in our own day would be to insist that future readers of evangelical books should read them as though evangelicals have adopted the prevailing worldview or Zeitgeist—that our theology and morality actually coincide with non-Christian philosophy and (im)morality in the twenty-first century. If we would scream, “Foul!,” so would the OT writers. Many who write as Hildenbrandt does only intend that we recognize that the OT writers are reacting to and interacting with the unbelieving culture of their day, not adopting the beliefs expressed by pagan myths. However, it doesn’t always come out sounding or smelling that way, especially when someone insists that there is no way that “the Spirit of God” in Genesis 1:2 could be a person of the Godhead, because such a concept was totally foreign to the ANE cultures among whom the Hebrew writers dwelt.
One must also look at Genesis 6:3 where God refers to “My Spirit.” Hildebrandt’s treatment of this text detours into later revelation before reaching a conclusion. He seeks to place the reference in a context of divine judgment as expressed throughout the OT. He still comes to a result identifying the Spirit as a personal being, but not as independently as the decision he made in 1:2.
William D. Barrick, Divine Persons in Genesis: Theological Implications, p. 3-4