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Nets Stylesheet

Spirit and Creation

We’re going to start with Spirit in Creation. The bible is usually considered a story of redemption, with creation being a background or secondary story. But Clarke Pinnock argues that they are two very close and intertwined and both very important stories that are there. Even when we’re reading redemption stories and parables in the New Testament we’re seeing the creation story is right beneath it. The Spirit is involved with both stories and we cannot take one without the other.

This is what Pinnock says: “Creation is related to the reality of the Son and by incarnation the Son becomes part of creation. What creation is meant to be is seen in the loving response of the Son to the Father. The Son does not live for himself. He does not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he gives glory and thanks to God. The Son gives focus and direction to the creative process. He shows that humans are destined for community, mutuality and relationship. Since God is a community of persons his image is vested not in isolated individuals but in persons as community. The image of God is really seen in Christ together with his brothers and sisters” (Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit).

What we have here is God in relationship; in relationship to the Son, to the Spirit. These weird ideas we have in our head that God is an aloof God in a fortress who is creating the universe is really blown out of the water as there’s this relational thing happening throughout the old and the new testament. He’s intimately involved with his creation in every respect, leading and guiding so that we would truly reflect his glory. The trinity is a fellowship of giving and receiving. Creation is intended to echo mutuality. There’s this incredible mutuality within the Father, Son and the Spirit and also with the rest of creation.

The Spirit is the creative force that actively and continually works in this world drawing us in hope and love toward relationship with God that was intended for us to have.

There’s a name for that. Remember … the dance.

Parakoresis – the integration of community in the process of creation that takes place whenever there is the presence of the Spirit in particular. So the Spirit tends to be the motivating or the energizing of that dance.

It’s para which is the same as parallel, like along with, and koresis which is choreography. They talk about that as a name for how the Trinity works in that they’re alongside each other but they’re not each other, but they’re constantly moving around each other in a creative dance in a relationship of love and mutuality. We’re invited into that dance as well.

What’s interesting about that is that there’s not so much an emphasis on the individual but you don’t lose the individual in the context. That’s also parallel to the human experience when people work together in a group and you accomplish some creative action and what ultimately ends up happening is you don’t know who did what. But you know that everyone participated in the process of it.

The result is actually greater than what we could do individually. That’s what the creation of the cosmos really is; God in community working and relating to this creation. The result is greater than what we could imagine individually.

It’s kind of a question of cosmology in the end. We sometimes put all the emphasis on God’s creation. In the bible it says, God said ‘let there be’ and there was. The created order is more a forming of a pre-existent material. It’s similar to the idea of those particles that go in and out of existence. Quark kind of stuff. What is happening is that it’s not just God speaking, it’s God allowing the freedom of material to be there aside from just his voice.

The early church for instance always talked about how creation happened ex niliho, just by word. But the classicists, the Romans, they said creation was the formation of chaos by rationality which is God. So that seems to be more the dance then the idea that God autonomously acted. This is the whole universe interacting with the principle of life.

So when Jesus comes on the scene, that’s how we think of the fecund abyss, something coming out of nothing. The same principle then happens in John. Jesus came on the scene and it was like a fecund abyss in some ways because he was creating something new out of all these different energies.

And he never knew how it would turn out because of the people’s individual personalities, the culture, the history, when it happened. It was all up for grabs, and yet there’s some larger, rational, pre-existent plan behind all this, and these two things form together to end up with the dance. I kind of like that idea.

Irraneus was an early church father who said, “There was two hands with which God creates and perfects. The Son and the Spirit. The Son gives form to the creation - he’s sort of the epitome of what creation could look like in human form – establishes the identity and destiny of what has been created, essentially creating the framework of life and being in reflection of his own relationship with the Father. The Spirit that comes along, comes afterwards and takes this form and seeks to perfect it, bring it to its goal in all of creation. So we have a particular event in Christ, which is sort of the best of creation and the Son is redeeming the whole as well through the Spirit. The Spirit is perfecting it.

When something creative happens its often in answer to chaos.

You can’t understand redemption without the chaos. So the whole story has to be there. It’s a mythological thing that has to span the entire.

Jesus is that restoration, is what we’re saying, of all of history’s chaos. Because often when we think about moments of restoration it’s to answer something very immediate. Jesus is like that, breaking into all of history.

That’s why it says in Romans that creation is disturbed until the revelation of the sons of God are restored in Jesus Christ. It’s saying that creation itself, which is the animals and everything else, is under a curse until there is redemption of the human race. It groans for the revealing of this new thing.

That’s eschatological, but it’s also very pneumatological. The Spirit is the means by which the new creation comes forth.

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