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The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit:

Trinitarian Pneumatology

J. Moltmann and Margaret Kohl

Scottish Journal of Theology / Volume 37 / Issue 03 / August 1984, pp 287 - 300

DOI: 10.1017/S0036930600017919, Published online: 02 February 2009

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J. Moltmann and Margaret Kohl (1984). The Fellowship of the Holy
Spirit: Trinitarian Pneumatology. Scottish Journal of Theology, 37, pp
287-300 doi:10.1017/S0036930600017919

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Scot. Joum. of Theol. Vol. 37, pp. 287-300



The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

C~|-IHE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father
JL and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.' This is an
ancient form of benediction very generally used in the Christian
church. I should like to take it up here, asking what is meant by 'the
fellowship of the Holy Spirit'? Does the divine Spirit enter into
community with us human beings? Does he admit us into his
'community' with the Father and the Son? Why does the benediction
not talk about divine sovereignty and absolute human dependence in
connection with the Holy Spirit? Why does it so emphatically use the
word 'fellowship' instead?
Our spontaneous reaction may be that 'fellowship' does not
overpower or violate; it liberates. Fellowship does not subjugate; it
brings the other person to himself. Fellowship means openness for the
other, entering into each other's concerns, respect for one another.
Fellowship is the mutual communication of everything a person has
and is. What does this mean for the Holy Spirit, in his life-giving
fellowship with us and for us, in the trinitarian fellowship of the Spirit
with the Father and the Son?
If we are to become receptive for the experience of the fellowship of
the Holy Spirit, we have to recognise that in some respects traditional
pneumatology is too abbreviated too narrow. And these shortcom-
ings have to be surmounted. I shall be confining myself to the
pneumatology of the Western church, and shall concentrate on
Protestant problems for the most part. But I believe that some general
Christian difficulties can be found here too.
Generally speaking, what is in question here is the relation between
the Trinity and the sovereignty of God trinitas and monarchic. This
relationship has remained unelucidated ever since the beginnings of
Christian theology.1 The divine sovereignty can only be exercised by a
J. Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, trans. Margaret Kohl (London:
SCM Press; New York: Harper & Row, 1981). I am here developing further some ideas
put forward there.
single subject. The only possible attitude to the sovereign rule of the
One God is obedience. To the One God, therefore, even the Son must
be subordinated; and the Spirit must be subordinated to the Son. But
the triune God is in himself a community or fellowship of a unique
kind, in which the Spirit 'with the Father and the Son together is
worshipped and glorified' (Nicene Creed). Anyone who is worshipped
'together with' others, cannot be subordinate to those others. He has
the same eternal dignity and the same divine quality. Most of the
theological disputes in the church of the patristic period were coloured
by the conflict between the fundamental outlook of monarchical
theism, and the trinitarian belief in community and fellowship. The
Arians' intention was not to diminish the position of the Son. What
they were concerned about was the august monarchy of the One God.
That was why they subordinated the Son. The Pneumatomacheans'
intention was not to diminish the position of the Spirit. Their concern
was to safequard the unique monarchy of the One God. That was why
they subordinated the Spirit to the Son, and the Son to the Father.
Even after the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, the pneuma-
tology we find in the tradition of the Western church continually took
a monarchical form, which meant that it was subordinationist and not
trinitarian: God rules through Christ, and the efficacy of his rule is the
Spirit. In the universal monarchy of the One God, the Spirit is nothing
other than the efficacy of his rule, the subjective side of his objective
revelation, and the inner fruit of his external word and sacrament.
Once this view becomes the sole way of looking at God and his
revelation, the result is the truncated and restricted pneumatology
which has increasingly come under attack, and rightly so. This
monarchical pneumatology has to be absorbed into a trinitarian one if
it is not to be one-sided.
How ought we to interpret the trinitarian fellowship of the Spirit
with the Father and Son? There are a number of different possible
ways of defining the unity of the triune God. Tertullian proceeded
from the unity of the one, homogeneous, divine being and essence: una
substantia tres personae. The precedence he gave to the one divine
essence over the tri-unity of the divine Persons was long accepted as a
matter of course in the tradition of the Western church. When, at the
beginning of the modern period in Europe, the metaphysic of
subjectivity replaced the metaphysic of substance, God ceased to be
thought of solely as supreme substance. He was now also conceived of as
the absolute subject (e.g. by Fichte and Hegel). The unity of the triune
God then no longer lay solely in the homogeneity of the divine
substance; it was also to be found in the identity of the one divine
subject. This led to the modern formulation of trinitarian doctrine: one
divine subject three different modes of being (cf. Hegel, Dorner,
Barth and Rahner). In this formula too the unity of God takes
precedence over the Trinity of the divine Persons.
We are going to a step beyond this when we say: the unity of the
triune God is not to be found solely in the single divine substance, or
merely in the identical divine subject; it consists above all in the unique
community of the three Persons. The trinitarian Persons possess in
common the divine essence, and exercise in common the divine
sovereignty. This means that their trinitarian community precedes
their substantial and their subjective unity ad extra. The expression 'tri-
unity' means: three Persons one fellowship, in a singular union or at-
oneness. In saying this we are putting the trinitarian concept of God's
unity before the metaphysical concept of that unity. In their
relationship to one another the divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, exist simultaneously for one another and in one another in so
intimate a way that in themselves they constitute their complete, trini-
tarian unity. The ancient concepts of circumincessio and perichoresis are
ways of describing this unique at-oneness, in which the three Persons
live by virtue of their mutual relationships. When we call this at-
oneness of the Trinity 'fellowship' (koinonia), we are expressing what
links the Holy Spirit 'with the Father and the Son'. We mean that this
is a community that is special and incomparable, but which human
beings seek after in their community with one another, a community
of which they have a presentiment in their love for one another, and
which they experience from afar in moments of mystical union.
The at-oneness of the triune God is truly manifested, however, in the
event about which Jesus, the Son, says: 'That they may all be one, even
as Thou, Father, art in me and I in Thee, that they may also be in us'
(John 17.21). The fellowship of the triune God is so open and inviting
that it finds its true reflection in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit which
human beings experience with one another: 'Even as Thou, Father, art
in me and I in Thee'; it draws this true human fellowship into itself and
gives it a share in itself: 'That they also may be in us.' The true human
fellowship is designed to correspond to the triune God and to be his
image on earth. The true human fellowship will participate in the
inner life of the triune God. We shall now consider the meaning of'the
fellowship of the Holy Spirit' at the three keypoints of Christian doc-
trine: anthropology, ecclesiology, and the doctrine of the Scriptures;
and we shall then conclude with some reflections about the unity of
the monarchical, eucharistic and doxological concepts of the Trinity.

Trinitarian Anthropology: the Social Image of God

In the course of its history Christian theology has taken two different
analogies to help it to comprehend the mystery of human beings in
their likeness to God. One is the analogy of the soul which dominates
the body. The other is the analogy of the community between man
and woman. That is to say, it has drawn on an individual analogy and
on a social one. Ever since Augustine, the first of these has led to the
development of the psychological doctrine of the Trinity in the West,
whereas the second has led to the development of a social doctrine of
the Trinity in the East.
Gregory of Nazianzus discovered the analogy and image of the triune
God on earth in the primal 'nuclear' family of Adam and Eve and
Seth. It is not the human individual all by himself or herself that
corresponds to the triune God; it is this elemental cell of human
community. For these three persons share onefleshand blood, and form
a single family. In the primal human community of husband, wife and
child the triune God sees himself reflected.2
Augustine considered this social analogy and rejected it.3 If it were
correct, he argues, the man would only be the image of God from the
moment when he finds a wife and she has a child. But when Scripture
talks about imago Dei it is talking about individual persons. Seth is not
yet mentioned at all in the account of the creation. Paul clinched the
matter for Augustine when, in I Cor. 11.7, he calls the man 'the image
and glory of God', while the woman is only 'the glory of man'.
Augustine concludes from this that the woman is certainly God's
image in that she shares a common human nature with the man; but
inasmuch as according to the Yahwist's creation account she was
created to be man's 'helper', she is not in herself and independently the
image of God. The man, on the other hand, is the image of God himself
and independently. Augustine consequently maintains first, that
Greg. Naz., Or. 31, n .
Augustine, Dt trinitate, XII c. 5. Also Thomas Aquinas, S.Th., I, q. 93 a.4. Cf. also
the comments of F. K. Mayr, 'Trinitatstheologie und theologische Anthropologie',
^rAA"68(1971), pp. 427-77.
likeness to God is a quality of soul, and is as such sexless; and second,
that the woman can only be viewed as God's image in subordination to
her head, the man.
Michael Schmaus considered that this was 'a profound and
ingenious solution' to the problem.4 But it is a solution that takes no
account of'the fellowship of the Holy Spirit'. Of course the image of the
primal 'nuclear' family of Adam, Eve and Seth is open to misunder-
standing; and the only evidence for it comes from the Priestly Document,
which shows no knowledge of the Fall. Nor can human likeness to
God be made dependent on family status. Yet the answer is not
individualism, for the anthropological triangle determines the
existence of every human being. Everyone is man or woman and the
child of his or her parents. Man and woman show the ingrained
sociality of human beings, while parents and child make clear their
equally essential generative nature. The first is human community in
space; the second, human community in time. If the whole, true
human being is made and meant to be the image of God, then this is
also true of the communtiy in which human beings are their whole and
veritable selves: the community of the sexes and the community
between the generations.
Augustine, however, reduced the likeness to God to the human soul.
The soul dominates the body in the same way that God dominates the
world. The soul is the best part of a human being, for it is higher and
nobler than the body, which it animates, dominates, and uses as its
instrument. The soul operates on the body, but the body does not
operate on the soul. The soul is the side of human beings which is
related to God: 'Nothing is mightier than that creation which we call
the reasonable soul', declared Augustine. 'If thou art in the soul thou
art in the centre: if thou lookest down, there is the body; if thou lookest
up, there is God.'5 Only the body-dominating soul is the likeness of
God (imago Dei). The subjected body shows merely traces of God
(vestigia Dei). Because in every individual person the soul is the subject,
every person, each for himself, is the image of God on earth. This is the
substance of Augustine's so-called 'psychological doctrine of the
Trinity': the human subject corresponds to the divine subject through
mind knowledge love. The analogy of the likeness to God is

* M. Schmaus, Die psychologische Trinitdtslehre des hi. Augustinus (Miinster, 1927), p.

* ibid., pp. 222f;cf. F. K. Mayr,'AugustinsKritikderAnalogiezwischenTrinitat und

menschlichcr Familie in De Trinitate XII', Revue des Etudes Augustiennes 19 (1971).
based, not on God's inner being, but on his outward relationship to the
world: as God is to the world, as its ruler, so the soul is to the body.
This confronts us with the critical anthropological question: if the
human body does not belong to the image of God, how can the body
become 'the temple of the Holy Spirit', as Paul says it is in I Cor. 6? Let
us look here at a discussion belonging to the Reformation period.6
Andreas Osiander answered this question by saying that the body is
also part of the imago Dei, because the whole human being (totus homo) is
created as God's image. Calvin denied this initially. He maintained
that the imago Dei is spiritual in nature (spiritualis), since God is spirit.
Consequently only the soul is the 'seat' of the imago Dei. The imago puts
its stamp on the soul. The soul is the mirror of God. The body is not
part of the divine likeness. In saying this Calvin was simply repeating
the mediaeval Augustinian tradition. But then following biblical
tradition he went on to make a distinction between the imago Dei in
creation and in redemption: human beings are created to be the image
of'the invisible God', but they are redeemedin the image of the God who
was incarnate. In Christ's fellowship the believer becomes the image of
Christ, the Word made flesh, and his body becomes 'the temple of the
Holy Spirit' (I Cor. 6.13ff-)- So in the process of redemption and perfec-
tion the h u m a n being becomes imago Dei 'tarn in corpore quam in anima'.1
But if human beings in their bodily existence are God's image on
earth, then they are this too in their sexual differentiation as male and
female. If, according to the creation account in the Priestly Writing,
God created his image on earth 'male and female', then this original
difference and community between men and women must already in
itself be understood as belonging to the image of God. It is not the
sexless soul and not the solitary individual that is counted worthy to
correspond to God and to participate in his eternal Being; it is the
human community of persons. In human fellowship God finds his
counterpart that 'mirror' in which he desires to see himself reflected.
We are therefore forced to come back to the idea of the 'social' image of
God which we find in the Greek Fathers.
Even Augustine could not entirely avoid the social analogy. Even
though he reduced the imago Dei to the individual soul of individual
persons, he did not wholly abstract it from the person's physical
nature: what he did was to reduce the woman's likeness to God to the
This discussion is very well described in W. Krusche, Das Wirkcn des Heiligen Geistes
nach Calvin (Gottingen, 1957), pp. 338".
Quoted in Krusche, op. at., p. 41.
lordship of the man who was supposed to be her 'head'. Augustine was
following Paul's cephalic theology, according to which the man is the
head of the woman as Christ is the head of the man, and God the head
of Christ (I Cor. 11.3f.). This theological hierarchy God Christ
man is, measured by the concepts of the patristic church, a theology
which has not yet been developed in trinitarian terms.
If we see the whole human being man, woman and child as the
image of God, then we understand the truly human community as the
image of the triune God not merely as the image of his outward
sovereignty, but as the image of his inner, essential being as well. In
'the fellowship of the Holy Spirit', human community corresponds to
the unique, incomparable community of the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit.9
Trinitarian Ecclesiology: the Congregation of Brothers and Sisters

In the West, theological ecclesiologies have traditionally put their

main emphasis on the justification of the authority of the church's
ministry. The justification for the community of God's people played a
very secondary part. The gathered church was often seen merely as the
effect of the ministry. Its existence and its unity were thought to be due
solely to the ministry of word and sacrament. This view led to the
depreciation of the charismata of the Holy Spirit which are poured out
on the whole church. It led to the reduction of the charismatic church
to the charisma of a single office.10 But, according to New Testament
experience, the community of Christ is itself already the charismatic
community (I Cor. 12; Rom. i2-3ff.; Eph. 4.7). The entire church has
a charismatic structure. The theological justification for the authority
of the ministry has often enough altogether by-passed the existence of
the congregation. I need only point to the doctrine of the monarchical
For criticism of this view cf. K. E. B^rresen, Subordination et equivalence. Nature et role de
lafemme d'apres Augustin et Thomas d'Aquin (Oslo & Paris, 1968); R. Ruether, New Woman
New Earth: Sexist Ideologies and Human Liberation (New York: Seabury Press, 1975).
* D. Staniloae, 'The Holy Trinity: Structure of Supreme Love' in his Theology and the
Church (New York, 1980), pp. 73-108; G. Mar Osthathios, Theology of a Classless Society
(London, 1979; Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1980), esp. 926".
On the concept of the charismatic church cf. G. Eichholz, 'Charismatische
Gemeinde' ThEx yy (1959); J. Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, trans.
Margaret Kohl (London: SCM Press; New York: Harper & Row, 1975). In
eucumenical discussions it is always only the mutual recognition of ministries which is
talked about as condition for the church's unity. Why is the fellowship of the
congregations not also brought into the discussion as a condition for unity?
episcopate which Ignatius of Antioch developed, and which led to the
one-sided concept of the church just described. The principle behind
the monarchical episcopate is: one bishop one church: ubi Pelrus
ibi ecclesia. The theological justification runs: one God one Christ
one bishop one church. The bishop represents Christ towards the
church, just as Christ represents God. This certainly guarantees the
church's unity, but it also confines the Spirit to the ministry, so that a
church which is in itself charismatic can hardly develop at all, because
it remains passive the recipient of ecclesiastical ministrations.
The charismatic church does not initially find its unity in the
monarchical episcopate nor in the universal episcopate of the papacy.
It already finds it in the fellowship of the Son with the Father, into
which the Holy Spirit draws the community of Christians too, as John
i 7.2of. tells us." In reality the unity of the church lies in the trinitarian
fellowship of God himself, which it reflects and in which it participates.
This fellowship with the Trinity and in the Trinity is given to the
community of Jesus' disciples from the very outset, because it has its
foundation in Jesus' prayer, which the church knows with absolute
certainty has been heard by the Father. The community of Christ is the
'lived' Trinity, in so far as it practises the mutual love which
corresponds to the eternal love of the Trinity itself. When, as has been
said, the church grounds its ministry on the sovereign rule of God, this
is not a justification that can be maintained apart from the community
of Christ's own foundation in the triune God himself. The pneuma-
tology of the monarchical episcopate must therefore be drawn into the
trinitarian pneumatology of the entire people of God if the
shortcomings and narrownesses in the interpretation of the Holy Spirit
which I criticised at the beginning are to be overcome.
In the fellowship of the Holy Spirit a community of people comes
into being without a hierarchy of subordinations and supra-
ordinations, a community of men and women liberated through love.
In order to understand this community better, it may be helpful to take
up an earlier pneumatological idea which has often been pushed aside
or forgotten: the idea of the motherly function of the Holy Spirit.
When Count Zinzendorf founded the first American community of
brothers and sisters in 1741 in Pennsylvania, he at the same time
affirmed his insight into the motherly function of the Holy Spirit: 'The
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our true Father, and the Spirit of
M.-D. Chenu, 'Die Neubelehung der trinitarischen Grundstruktur der Kirche',
Concilium 17 (1981), pp. 453-60.
Jesus Christ is our true mother; because the Son of the living God, his
only begotten Son, i s . . . our true brother. The Father must love us and
cannot do otherwise. The Mother.must guide us through the world
and cannot do otherwise. The Son, our brother, must love the soul as
his own soul and the body as his own body, because we are flesh of his
flesh and bone of his bone, and he cannot do otherwise."2 Of course
this doctrine about the motherly function of the Spirit can lead to
unwarranted speculations about the Trinity as a 'divine family', with
Father, Mother and Child. But what is primarily meant is that the
motherliness of God is as important as his fatherliness, which justifies us
in integrating femininity fully and independently into the dignity of
the image of God and provides the legitimation for the gathering of a
Christian community, not merely of 'brothers' but of brothers and
Zinzendorf arrived at this insight by reading the Homilies of
Macarius the Egyptian/Symeon, which Gottfried Arnold had just re-
translated at the time.13 Hebrew and Syriac are languages which
themselves make it easy to call the Holy Spirit 'the heavenly Mother',
for both ruach and ruho are feminine words. But Macarius/Symeon has
two essential theological arguments for the motherly function of the
Holy Spirit: 1. Helinksjohn 14.26 with Isaiah 66.13: the Holy Spirit is
the Paraclete, the promised Comforter, and 'as one whom his mother
comforts, so he will comfort you'; 2. Only the person who 'is born
anew' can see the kingdom of God. And people are born anew from the
Spirit (John 3.3-6). So believers are 'children of the Spirit'. The Spirit
is their 'Mother'. 14
Mother as a name for the Holy Spirit is therefore Syrian in origin.
Whereas Irenaeus describes the Son and the Spirit as the Father's two
hands, while Augustine represents the Spirit as the bond of love
between the Father and the Son, the Syrian Fathers of the church (and
later the Ethiopian Fathers as well) introduce the image of the Spirit's
femininity and motherly office, and the concept of the family, into the
discussion of trinitarian pneumatology. This idea helps us to overcome
Nikolaus Graf Zinzendorf, Hauptschriften, II (Hildesheim, 1963), pp. 33ff- The first
address in Pennsylvania.
Many of the homilies ascribed to Macarius appear to be the work of Symeon: cf. the
extensive historical study by H. Domes, Die Theologie des Makarios/Symeon (Gottingen,
" For further evidence cf. R. Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom. A Study in Early
Syriac Tradition (London, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975), pp. 1420%
a masculine imbalance in the picture of God, and in the church. It
serves to warrant a liberated community of men and women as
brothers and sisters the community Paul had in view in Gal. 3.28f., a
fellowship based on the same baptism and the same eschatological
inheritance in the kingdom of God.
The motherly image makes it possible to grasp the personal character
of the Holy Spirit more precisely than other images. The motherly
image makes it possible to understand the unique community of the
Trinity better than other concepts of the Spirit. Incidentally, the dove
as symbol for the Holy Spirit is also a feminine image and points in the
same direction. 'The fellowship of the Holy Spirit' in its feminine and
motherly character operates sympathetically on men and women,
healing them and liberating them.

The Trinitarian Doctrine of the Scriptures: the Fulfilment of the
Scriptures in the Spirit

The Protestant churches understand themselves as churches of the

Scriptures. They are creaturae verbi. Protestant theology recognises
Holy Scripture as norma normans. Their theology is 'in accordance with
the Scriptures'. The Protestant churches, more than the others, have
particularly stressed the scriptural principle, and have subjected
everything in church and tradition to the criterion of Holy Scripture.
But in this tradition as well, pneumatology has come to be too
restrictive and too one-sided. Yet these shortcomings can be overcome
in this tradition too without surrendering the scriptural principle in its
proper sense.
The post-Reformation, early Protestant doctrine of the verbal
inspiration of the Scriptures led to Protestant biblicism and
'evangelical' fundamentalism: Holy Scripture was inspired by the
Spirit, and has hence become the revelation of God in the Holy Spirit.
There is no revelation of the Spirit apart from the Scriptures or beyond
them. The Scriptures are the 'complete', 'exhaustive', 'clear' and
'inerrant' revelation of God. They therefore have normative authority
in all divine things.13
What pneumatology is implicit in this early Protestant doctrine of
H. Schmid, Die Dogmatik der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche, 7th ed. (Giitersloh,
893), 'V: De scriptura sacra, pp. i8ff. Also the comments of K. Barth, Church Dogmatics
I/i, trans. Geoffrey Bromiley (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1975). 4. PP- '2ff-
the Scriptures? God reveals himself through his eternal Word. This
eternal World became flesh in Jesus Christ. The Word was committed
to writing in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. So
there is no longer any distinction between the Word of God and its
written form; for, in accordance with God's will, the Scriptures contain
this divine Word wholly and completely. The power through which
the Scriptures came into being is the Holy Spirit, so his efficacy is called
verbal inspiration. Here the legitimation takes the following order:
God the Word of God the Scriptures. The monarchical
alignment is obvious. God rules through his Word. His Scriptures
possess normative authority. The required attitude is therefore one of
unconditional acceptance and obedience. God therefore rules through
Christ by virtue of the Scriptures.
In order to take this monarchical pneumatology up into a more
comprehensive trinitarian pneumatology in which its truth is still
preserved, we shall first of all complement it by a eucharistic
pneumatology: Scripture is not merely the testimony of God's Word; it
is at the same time the testimony to human response to that Word. It
does not merely witness to God's history with human beings; it
witnesses also to the history of human beings with God. To the Word
corresponds the response, to the promise the hope, to the Gospel faith,
to the word of judgment the complaint, to God's silence human
despair, and to the divine charts the human eucharist. The interpre-
tation of the Scriptures as the testimony of persons moved by faith
i.e., the existential interpretation has to correspond to the
interpretation of the Scriptures as God's revelation.
Seen as revelation, the Scriptures can be viewed as the final and
ultimately valid proclamation, since they testify to the One through
whom God has 'last' spoken to us: the Son, whom he has made Lord of
the world (Heb. 1.2). The formula sola scriptura does not stand for itself.
It stands for the fact: solus Christus. Seen eucharistically, however,
Scripture is open for the boundless riches of the Holy Spirit and for the
experiences of his energies that are still to come, when these energies
are 'poured out on all flesh'. As revelation, the manifestation of God is
concentrated on the final and ultimate Christ, the only begotten Son.
But eucharistically, the response of praise spreads out to take in the
whole creation on earth and in heaven (Phil. 2.iof.). We therefore
understand the Scriptures as completed christologically, but as open
pneumatologically for the future of the kingdom of glory. This is not a
contradiction. But the difference in the angle of vision is masked by the
doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, since this doctrine
gives the impression that inspiration was finished and done with once
the canon was completed. But in fact the inspiration of the Scriptures is
only the inverbation of the Spirit. This aims at the inhabitation of the
Spirit in the community of Christ's people and in the heart. And this,
in its turn, aims at the innovation of heaven and earth, since the Holy
Spirit is also the power of the new creation.
If we put these two aspects together, it becomes clear that Scripture
must not be isolated from its own future, since this future is what
Scripture itself promises. The Reformers called Christ the centre of the
Scriptures; but then the kingdom of God must be called 'the future of
the Scriptures'. The Scriptures point beyond themselves to the history
of the coming kingdom of God. This history is the history of the Spirit,
who gathers God's people for God's coming kingdom, communicates
the powers ofsanctification, and preserves and prepares creation for the
day of glory to which the Spirit points. The Scriptures are hence ful-
filled initially and embryonically in the experience of the Holy Spirit;
they will be fulfilled in perfection in the kingdom of the coming glory.
We can therefore complement the subordinationist pneumatology
of the early Protestant doctrine of Scripture by a eucharistic
pneumatology, and we can carry both into trinitarian pneumatology.
We then acquire a doctrine of the Scriptures which brings out their
function within the all-embracing history of the Trinity without any
abandonment of the authoritative and critical sense of the Protestant
scriptural principle. Through the Scriptures and through the Spirit,
the triune God brings his creation to his kingdom and is glorified in
that creation.

Trinitarian Doxology: the Fellowship of the Spirit 'with the Father and the Son'

In theological tradition we are familiar with two forms of the

doctrine of the Trinity, one of them monarchical, the other eucharistic.
Both these orders of the Trinity emerge from an understanding of
salvation history. In closing, we shall try to carry them both into the
trinitarian doxology of the eternal God.
The monarchical form of the Trinity is manifest from all God's
works: the Father creates through the Son in the power of the Holy
Spirit. The Father sends the Son and the Spirit. The Father redeems
through the surrender of the Son by virtue of the Holy Spirit. In this
respect all activity proceeds from the Father, is mediated by the Son
and is efficacious in the Spirit. The Spirit brings the acts of the Father
and the Son to their objective. The particular characteristic of the
Spirit's activity here is that he does not do anything of his own, but
implements the work of the Father and the Son. Everything that God
brings about takes place in the Holy Spirit. The spearhead and thrust
of all divine activity must therefore be understood pneumatologically.
In this respect, however, the Spirit is anonymous and his personal
character can hardly be perceived. If the Spirit is nothing but the opera-
tion of the divine influence and the final outworking of the divine ac-
tivity, then one might just as well think in terms of a 'power' or 'energy'.
In this respect the Holy Spirit does not in fact exercise any activity of his
own over against the Father and the Son. The Spirit proceeds from the
Father and is sent into the world by the Son. So over against the Father
and the Son he is purely passive. He receives his existence from the
Father and his mission from the Son, and for his part gives the Father
and the Son nothing. The Western church, and Protestant theology
especially, have often enough made this form of the Trinity the only
one: in the light of creation, revelation, sending and sanctification, all
activity proceeds from God alone. The church participates in this
activity when it is obedient to its mission. It has then the self-revealing,
sending God at its back, as it were, and the world as its mission field
before it.
The eucharistic form of the Trinity is the direct reversal of the
monarchical form: in complaint, in thanksgiving, in praise and in the
glorification of the Father all activity proceeds from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son and through the Son and together
with him glorifies the Father, until the goal of creation and all God's
works is reached and the praise of God fills heaven and earth and
imbues all created beings with bliss. In 'the fellowship of the Holy
Spirit' we therefore do not merely experience God's works; in our
thanksgiving we already begin to realise or effect the goal for which
these works are destined. In the power of the Spirit we recognise the
Father in the image of the Son, call upon the Father through the Son,
and praise the Father for the Son's sake. In the eucharistic form of the
Trinity, activity proceeds/rom the Spirit and with the Son in the direction
of the Father. The Father receives the praise of a creation renewed in
the Spirit. If we think theologically in this eucharistic movement, then
we have God before us, as it were, and the world in us and round about
us. We then not only represent God to the world. We also represent the
world before God, and our thanks and our praise are uttered on behalf
of the whole creation.
The two forms of the Trinity, the monarchical and the eucharistic,
are therefore related to one another and belong together. According to
the pattern of experience, the monarchical form precedes the eucharistic
form. But in the light of the end, the eucharistic form of the Trinity is the
fulfilment of the monarchical form. The eschatological goal of all
God's works is the eternal sabbath, the feast of eternal glory.
Both forms of the Trinity belong to the history of salvation. Both
show the Trinity along a particular line and in a purposeful order:
Father Son Spirit; and Spirit Son Father. In the
monarchical form of the Trinity the Spirit appears to be subordinate to
the Father and the Son: he is their efficacy. In the eucharistic form of
the Trinity the Spirit appears as the real subject: the Spirit glorifies the
Son and the Father. Both forms of the Trinity are gathered up and
transcended in the trinitarian doxology to which the Nicene Creed
points in the phrase ' . . . who with the Father and the Son together is
worshipped and glorified'. Worship and adoration certainly proceed
from the salvation that has been experienced and the praise that is
expressed, but they go beyond these things: in worship and adoration
the triune God is loved and praised for his own sake. In the trinitarian
doxology we forget, as it were, the works of God that have been ex-
perienced, and forget, too, the gratitude owed, because we are totally
absorbed in the contemplation of the beauty of God. The trinitarian
doxology is the beginning of the visio beatifica, in which God is seen face
to face. That is why the trinitarian doxology passes beyond the history
(or 'economy') of salvation into the eternal essence and being of the
Trinity itself. And in this eternal essence and being of the Trinity, the
Spirit appears no longer in his temporal order, after or below the son and
the Father, but in his eternal fellowship with the Father and the Son.
In its monarchical form the Trinity opens itself for creation and its
salvation. In its eucharistic form the Trinity gathers redeemed creation
into its glory. In trinitarian doxology the Trinity comes to light in its
eternal perfection. In this doxology of God for God's sake every
trinitarian pneumatology finds its consummation.
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