The Holy Spirit in the Bible
and Everywhere Else

Exercise: Sketch the Holy Spirit in relation to creation.

I. "Worshipped and glorified": The Church Discovers the Holy Spirit
The Spirit has made a difference!
E.g., Gal 3:1-5, patristic pneumatology in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, world Christianity, my 1986 and 1995.
The Christian story displays (at least) five aspects of the Spirit's work and character.
These cross the Old and New Testaments.
Various church practices embody our relationships with the Spirit.
Christian traditions can privilege some over others.
When one dominates the others, a tradition's 'Spirit' is weakened and set tragically against others and their weak 'Spirits'.
Each offers resources for broader dilemmas and problems in our intellectual culture.
II. "Giver of life": The Spirit Is before Us, in ...
the breath of God in the water of creation
(Gen 1:2, 2:7, Ps 33:6, 104:29-30);
conception and new creation
(Matt 1:18-25, 3:11, John 3:1-10, 2 Cor 3:1-3, Ezek 37:5-14, 1 Cor 15:42-49, 1 Pet 3:18, Rev 21:5-7);
(not as the water of Mark 1:8 or 1 John 5:6-9 but the Creator in John 3:8 and Rom 8:11a) (esp. Anglicans, Restorationists).
We narrow this into tribalism, baptismal entitlement, and Deism; it dies as empty civil religion.
Addressing issues in religion and science?
III. "Lord": The Spirit Stands over Us, in ...
the finger of God in Egypt and Sinai (Ex 8:19, 31:18, Isa 63:7-14)
makes a name for the Lord (Ex 6:3-8, 7:5);
Jesus at the Jordan and in the wilderness (Mark 1:9-13, Luke 3:15-22, 4:1-15);
signs and wonders (Mark 1-8, Luke 11:20 cf. Mark 3:22-30, Acts 2, Acts 10:34-48)
and vindication (1 Tim 3:16, Rom 1:3, 1:16-17);
obedience and justification (Rom 1:3-5, Heb 9:14, 1 Tim 3:16, 2 Cor 3:4-6)
to God's direct rule (Rom 8:1-8, Gal 5:16-26, Heb 10:16-17);
blessing, covenanting, preaching, and healing (esp. Lutherans, Presbyterians).
We narrow it into forensic libertinism and legalism, provoking Pietist, Arminian, and liberal reactions; it dies as Hegelian immanentism, open theism, and process theology.
Addressing issues of directionality in history?
IV. "Spoke through the prophets": The Spirit Rests upon Us, in ...
the providential mouth of God
(Deut 1:26, Deut 8:3 in Matt 4:4, Jer 1:9-10);
anointed Israel
(Num 11:29, Num 27:18, Deut 34:9, 1 Sam 10:1-11, 19:18ff, Isa 61, Mic 3:5-8, Zech 7:12);
the charismatic Church, with the fire of God upon it
(Ex 31:3, Joel 2 in Acts 2, Rom 12, 1 Cor 12-14, 2 Cor 3:7-11);
ordination and gifting (esp. Roman Catholics, Pentecostals).
We narrow it into enthusiasm; it dies as burnout and passivity.
Addressing issues of divine-human agency?
V. "Proceeds from the Father": The Spirit Dwells in Us, in ...
Israel's seeing
(Gen 41:38-39, Dan 5:11, Ps 51, Wis 7:21-30);
the eyes of God
(Isa 11:1-5 in Rev 3:1 and 5:6);
the mind of Christ
(John 14:15-17, 16:12-15, 1 Cor 3:16-17, 2 Cor 3:12-17a);
discernment, contemplation, and teaching (Eastern Orthodox, Quakers).
We narrow it into spiritualism, it dies as secularism.
Addressing issues in self-knowledge?
VI. "And from the Son": The Spirit Flows into and through Us, in ...
sanctifying presence
(Lev 26:11, Num 14:14, Ps 51, Ezek 36:24-38, 37:12-14);
the living water of God
(John 4:7-30, 7:37-39, 19:34-35);
the Spirit of Christ in the Church
(1 Cor 2, 2 Cor 3:17b-18, Rom 8:1-27, Gal 4:6, Eph 5:18, Rev 22:17);
communion, discipline, mission, asceticism (esp. Pietists, Arminians, and Wesleyans).
We narrow it into arrogance and self-centeredness; it dies as Nietzschean self-assertion or as despair.
Addressing the issue of progress?
VII. Narrowed Spirits versus Holy Spirit
Which of these relationships sound natural, and which are shocking?
When one relationship dominates, the Spirit's (and Son's and Father's) specificity recedes behind an abstract "divine"/human relationship.
arrowing fails to honor the full shape of our graced relations with the Triune God.
2 Cor 3 (for example) honors all five types, revealing a richer apostolic Church than ours, and none other than the Holy Spirit.