Date of Award

5-1-2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Joel Okamoto

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Acts 2:17-18; Ephesians 4:8; Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 61:1; Isaiah 66:13; Isaiah 7:10; Joel 2:28-29; Luke 1:35; Luke 13:34; Luke 3:22b; Matthew 16:15; Matthew 2:11; Micah 5:2; Psalm 110:3-4; Psalm 2:7; Psalm 45:6; Psalm 45:7b; Psalm 68:18; Psalm 72:5, 17; Zechariah 9:9;

Abstract

In this project, I assess the usefulness of a Spirit-christology for reflection on Jesus’ perennial question, "But who do you say that I am?" (Mt. 16:15), and its implications for christology itself, trinitarian theology, and the proclamation of Jesus' story.1 I argue that reading the life and mission of Jesus as receiver, bearer, and giver of God's Spirit—i.e., a"Spirit-christology"2 —invigorates and complements classic Logos-oriented approaches to christology, Trinity, and proclamation.

Like many proposals in systematic theology, mine has both critical and constructive tasks. Critically, I investigate some reasons for the partial eclipse of the place of the Holy Spirit in the history of theological reflection on Jesus Christ. Constructively, I propose an invigoration or revitalization of the pneumatological dimensions of the Christ-event in view of their relativization by the church's predominant apologetic interest in Logos oriented approaches to the same. My investigation shows that a rediscovery of these historically weakened and even forgotten pneumatic aspects can help us immensely to recover once again the economic-trinitarian dimensions of the mystery of Christ for the sake of reflection on their soteriological and immanent-trinitarian implications. In other words, a Spirit-christology places the question of Jesus' identity in the broader context of God’s acts in history through the Son and in the Spirit (economic Trinity) for the sake of reflection both on their import for us (soteriology) and on their eternal ground in relations among divine persons who precede our creation and salvation (immanent Trinity).

Against Arianism and modalism, a Logos-oriented christology defines Jesus' identity respectively in terms of his divine equality with God the Father and his personal self- distinction from the same in eternity. Moreover, in reaction to Nestorian and Eutychian christologies, this classical approach defines Jesus' identity in terms of his individual inner-constitution in time as God-man from the first moment of the incarnation. In both cases, the emphasis falls on the "static" and "individual" dimensions of Jesus' identity, namely, his "being-from-the-beginning" (or being-from-before") and his "being-in himself.” A Spirit-oriented christology, as I envision it, defines the Son's identity in terms of his openness to exist in relation to the Father in the Spirit, both temporally for us and eternally in the inner-life of God. By placing the question of Jesus' identity in the wider soteriological and trinitarian context of his acts and relations, a Spirit-oriented Christology complements, not replaces, the static and individual emphases of Logos-oriented christology with "dynamic" and "relational" aspects. We can then speak of Jesus' identity in terms of his "being-in-act" (or "being-in-action") and his "being-in relation"(or "being-in/through/with/for-another"). This move allows us to give full weight to the defining place of the Spirit of the Father in the humanity of the Son and the events of his life and work (christology), in his trinitarian existence (Trinity), and in our present-day participation in his anointing (baptism), death, and resurrection through the convicting and liberating word (proclamation).

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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