Why did the Holy Spirit come down like a dove?
Here's the answer:
God sent the Holy Spirit as a dove to represent peace and purity.
When Jesus was being baptized and came up out of the water, the Bible says that "the Holy Spirit came to rest on him in the form of a dove” (Luke 3:22). It goes on to tell us what happened next. “A voice came from heaven. It said, 'You are my Son, and I love you. I am very pleased with you.'"
Why a dove? We learn from other areas in the Bible that the Holy Spirit doesn’t have a body. Because of this, the Holy Spirit took on the form of something people could see. A dove often represents peace and purity, so maybe that is why God chose a dove. The Spirit brings peace and purity to people!
There was another time God used a dove as a symbol. Remember the story of the flood and Noah’s ark in Genesis 6—8? When the earth had been covered with water for some time, Noah wanted to check to see if there was dry land anywhere, so he sent out a dove which came back with an olive branch in her beak (Genesis 8:11). The dove was a symbol, telling us that God declared peace after the flood.
Does the Holy Spirit still come as a dove? No, now that Jesus is in heaven, He sends the Holy Spirit to us in a different way. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit lives in us.
"When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened. The Holy Spirit came to rest on him in the form of a dove. A voice came from heaven. It said, 'You are my Son, and I love you. I am very pleased with you'" (Luke 3:21-22).
"I [Jesus] will ask the Father. And he will give you [believers] another Friend to help you and to be with you forever. The Friend is the Spirit of truth [Holy Spirit]. The world can’t accept him. That is because the world does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you … the Friend is the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:16–17, 26).