Pneumatology

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Moltmann's theology has become more and more strongly pneumatological, a development that culminates in The Spirit of Life. This is in part a consequence of his trinitarian doctrine, which stresses the reciprocal and changing relationships of l5s the three persons, and rejects the subordination of pneumatology to Christology. The principle for both pneumatology and Christology is that they must be understood in relation to each other within an overall trinitarian framework, rather than that pneumatology should be developed exclusively from Christology. This allows Moltmann to give more attention to the Spirit's role for its own sake than the Western theological tradition has often done. His attention to pneumatology also, however, corresponds to his growing stress on the immanence of God in creation, as his eschatological panentheism (the hope that God will indwell all things in the new creation) has been increasingly accompanied by a stress on the coinherence of God and the world already. As the Spirit, God is already present in his creation, both in suffering the transience and evil of the world and in anticipating the eschatological rebirth of all things.

Moltmann's developed pneumatology understands the Holy Spirit primarily as the divine source of life: "the eternal Spirit is the divine wellspring of life - the source of life created, life preserved and life daily renewed, and finally the source of eternal life of all created being" (The Spirit of Life, p. 82). This emphasis serves a number of important purposes. First, it breaks out of the narrow association of the Spirit with revelation, which was characteristic of Barth's theology, and so enables Moltmann, in one of his more emphatic rejections of Barthian positions, to give experience - the experience of God in the whole of life and of all things in God - a place in theology, not as alternative to but in correlation with the revelatory word of God. The Spirit of life is God experienced in the profundity and vitality of life lived in God. As the Spirit is the wellspring of all life, so all experience can be a discovery of this living source in God.

Secondly, a "holistic pneumatology" corresponds to Moltmann's holistic Christo-logy and soteriology. As the Spirit of life, the Spirit is not related to the "spiritual" as opposed to the bodily and material, or to the individual as opposed to the social, or to the human as opposed to the rest of creation. The Spirit is the source of the whole of life in bodiliness and community. Life in the Spirit is not a life of withdrawal from the world into God, but the "vitality of a creative life out of God," which is characterized by love of life and affirmation of all life. This is a relatively new form of Moltmann's characteristic concern for a theology of positive involvement in God's world.

Thirdly, the notion of the Spirit as the divine source of all life highlights both the continuity of God's life and the life of his creation, such that the creatures are not distant from God but live out of his life, and also the continuity of creation and salvation, in that the Spirit is the source both of the transient life that ends in death and of the eternal life of the new creation. The Spirit gives life to all things, sustains all things in life, and brings all things to rebirth beyond death and beyond the reach of death. But finally, this continuity of creation and new creation is not to be understood as excluding the eschatological dualism that has always been a key to Moltmann's thought. Creation is subject to the powers of death and destruction, and the Spirit is the power of the liberating struggle of life against death, the source of life renewed out of death. The continuity of creation and new creation is created by the Spirit's act of restoring the old creation in the eschatologically transcendent new creation. The Christological center of Moltmann's theology - the dialectic in which the Spirit raises the crucified Jesus to eschatological life - still holds.

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