Term Paper: Father, and of the Son

Pages: 10 (3558 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] The Spirit's role in Christology began when God granted it to Jesus. Christ's actions flowed from this Spirit. Later, the Spirit is awakened in Christ. It flows from Christ. Pneumatology is the divinely inspired work of the Holy Spirit. Moltmann puts it best: "Christ was raised through Yahweh's ruach, the divine energy of life, so that his raising and his presence as "the Living One" is the manifestation of God's Spirit." (Moltmann, 1992, p. 66)

In another opinion by the papal encyclical Dominium et Vivificantem indicates the power of the Spirit throughout the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. In this case, it is the Spirit that establishes the Trinity by "directing the suffering of Christ at God." From Christ's point-of-view, however, the Spirit that has guided Christ's ministry temporarily abdicates this unique responsibility -- a kenosis if you will. Contrarily, Paul in his epistles dictated that God was one with Christ throughout the period of suffering. The papal authority supports this view. God suffered with Jesus and the Spirit was the vehicle that God used to be part of his Son.

As mentioned above, John's gospel is the perfect balance at the time of transition from Christology and Pneumatology. He invokes the role of the Spirit in Christ and connects it to the new role of the Spirit emanating from Christ. This Spirit, John assures, us gathers people into its fold. The Spirit uses Christ as an exemplar in his suffering and death for our sins; and, that we may have new life. This new life includes the recognition that the Son Jesus is the representative of God's kingdom. The following echoes the transition: "If I do not go away, the Counselor (Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John, 16.7) (Moltmann, 1992, p. 69) It does not mean (obviously) that the Christ part of the Trinity is no more. It merely means that the Trinity as we know will manifest itself towards another goal. Here, furthering the cause of the establishment of God's Kingdom of Heaven on earth. If the discourse hitherto seems mostly about the interrelation between Christ and the Spirit with God not openly playing a significant role, John reminds us of God's abiding role in the Trinity. John talks about Christ promises of sending a Comforter (Spirit) by praying to the Father. This comforter would be sent in (emanate from) my name (me).

After the glorious occurrence of resurrection, Christ visits his apostles twice. The first time Thomas is absent. The second time, however, Thomas is present and shamed into renewing his faith in his risen Lord. This is the first transference of the Spirit. The infusion of the Spirit at the feast of the Pentecost is the first visually stunning experience related by the evangelists. The tongues of fire (Spirit) burn with the love of Christ and God. The Pneumatological work of the Holy Spirit marked the beginning of the spread of Christianity. The spread and assimilation of Christ's life, teachings, message, death, resurrection and the Spirit in him is a new beginning for all Christians. This is eschatology.

Since nothing advances without the will of God, the Father, it is necessary to reconcile with the three-fold nature of the Trinity.

Since the human manifestation of Christ and the Spirit are evident from the gospels and the eschatology of the establishment of Christianity, it is difficult to visualize the hand of God because of the lack of specific evidence as told by the evangelists or the apostles. As the "Magnificat" proclaims (though not necessarily in this context), "Senses cannot grasp this marvel, faith must serve to compensate." As Christians, we must recognize that neither Christology nor Pneumatology would have occurred without the presence of God. The Spirit flowed into Christ through God, and the Sprit flowed from Christ through God. Logical inconsistencies arise for the same reason there is disconnect between Oneness and the Trinity. It is difficult to explain to distill the individual roles of each of the three entities and yet consider them as an indivisible and eternally integrated whole.

Moltmann's solution to the above is to adapt a theological whole to Christology and Pneumatology. In his opinion, religious questions cannot be answered by merely defining the roles of Christ in the Spirit, or the Spirit in Christ. He proposes a doxological approach. In doxology, everything flows through God. God is intrinsic to everything; and, God is eternal.

Pneumatological Focus

Jurgen Moltmann's book is titled the Spirit of Life. And the chapter being considered in this document is about Trinitarianism from the perspective of the Spirit. While, in Christology, the actions are primarily attributable to Christ with the Spirit serving as the guiding light, interceder and companion, the author focuses on the Pneumatological aspects of the Trinity's work (Dabney, 1993). These are the actions of the Spirit that came through Christ, awakened by Christ's acquiescence to God's will during his passion and suffering.

Jurgen Moltmann's pneumatology requires us to extend our understanding of the Spirit beyond our traditional paradigms that are laced with an innate arrogance. Jurgen Moltmann himself believes that he has experienced the Spirit and His gifts. As Christ's children born of the Spirit, we must not doubt but glorify God that the Spirit has revealed himself and continues to reveal himself to all that believe the Trinity and the power of the Spirit. Moltmann bemoans the leanings of western theologians and philosophers who see the Spirit merely as a channel of Christ. He outright rejects the doctrine of Filioque -- from the Father to the Son (McWilliams, 1995). That any credit to the Spirit has to be nullified and resisted. The Spirit became the domain of a few. "And the simplest way of repressing them was to historicize the story of Jesus assigning it to a time before the cross and resurrection which means placing firmly in the past." (Moltmann, 1992, p. 59) Moltmann goes so far as to credit the Spirit as being the divine part of Christ's life as God-become-man. While acclaiming the role of the spirit, Moltmann cautions that Christology and Pneumatology are irretrievably intertwined and should always be perceived as so. Essentially, Moltmann wishes to establish the Trinity as long as the three entities play significant roles. Moltmann intends to facilitate the liberation of pneumatology from its past Christological shadow. Repudiating older means of understanding God, Moltmann opens a window for escaping the Christological domination of Trinitarian thought and provides for an opportunity to elucidate a new theology of God, the Holy Spirit.

Jurgen Moltmann's theology distinguishes itself as being a theologia crucis (later developing also into a pneumatologia crucis) in which the cross reveals God's nature and being. He avows the role of the Spirit in the struggles and death of Jesus Christ. "The value of the sacrifice does not depend solely on the one surrendered. It has to do with the mode of surrender too. And in this happening Christ is determined through the Holy Spirit." (Moltmann, 1992, p. 67) Here Moltmann does not agree with anyone who would separate the Spirit in the death of Christ. He avers that the Spirit suffered too. He agrees with John Calvin (founder of the Protestant sect-

Calvinism) who theorized that Christ did not suffer death outwardly, but in spirit through the power of the Holy Spirit. Moltmann believes the operation of the Holy Spirit is the preconditioning premise upon which the life of Jesus Christ begins.

In the fourth part of the chapter, Moltmann also espouses the importance of the Pneumatology as the precursor of eschatology, which in his opinions, serves as a beacon to all Christians. Christians live our lives in the hope of being one with the Father in the Kingdom that Jesus, through the Spirit readied for us by dying on the cross. "The experience of the Spirit is the reason for eschatological longing for the completion of salvation, the redemption of the body, and the new creation of all things." (Moltmann, 1992, p. 73) Moltmann impresses upon us the power of the Spirit in declaring that eschatology is really a longing for the Spirit. He presents this longing in two different ways: positively and negatively. In the first, the longing is characterized by the adage "Hope Springs Eternal." The Spirit is not far away if the Christian tenets of fellowship and acceptance of the Spirit are closely followed. In the negative sense, however, the Spirit manifests itself. Ironically, this sentiment too can be characterized by the hope -- or the lack of hope. Moltmann assures that if restlessness and eternal yearning are followed, the Spirit will come. He cautions not be fall under the yoke of lack of faith to a point that we lose the yearning for the spirit.

The Trinitarian Experience of the Spirit in some cases can seem as sacrilegious: Jurgen Moltmann seems to fight very hard to restore the place of the Spirit… [END OF PREVIEW]

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