The work of the spirit in redemption and creation : a theological evaluation of influential reformed views

Yoon, Hyung-Chul (2008-12)

Thesis (MTh (Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This thesis endeavours to evaluate influential Reformed perspectives on the work of the Spirit and to search for a constructive framework to understand more fully the work of the Spirit in redemption and creation. For Reformed theology, the work of the Spirit has mainly been interpreted in two ways, namely, redemption-centred and creation-centred. These perspectives have each generated its own focus and consequences for both pneumatology and the Christian faith and life. The result of the different perspectives was the tension between the creative and redemptive activity of the Spirit of God. For both John Calvin and Karl Barth—because of their practical intention and the particular contextual circumstances—the work of the Spirit in redemption became priority and they, subsequently, gave more attention to this particular attribute. The Spirit quickens faith in us, enables us to have faith in the authority of the Scriptures as well as to understand and believe in the reality of God’s self-revelation. It is the primary work of the Spirit to lead us, in Christ, to unity with the Triune God and with the faith community. Abraham Kuyper and Jürgen Moltmann focus on the cosmic, universal work of the Spirit, from whom life is quickened and given, by whom the destiny of creation is perfected, and through whom the Creator inhabits the whole creation. The creation-centred perspective means to positively, yet critically, affirm the world and culture, to extend the Christian life and action to the whole of creation, and to allow us to participate in the cosmic work of the Spirit. Although Reformed theologians tried to understand the unity of the work of the Spirit in redemption and creation, the tension between Spiritus Redemptor and Spiritus Creator is still present and thus, a more satisfying pneumatological framework is needed. Contemporary theological movements hold most insightful implications towards establishing a constructive pneumatology—cosmic, trinitarian, and realistic pneumatology. According to the constructive perspective with which the work of the Spirit can be reflected in a more distinctive, relationally-personalistic, and concrete and realistic way, it is the Spirit—who is a fully divine person in the Trinity—who fulfils salvation for the glory of God, and who calls us to participate in his cosmic, godly, and unexpected work.

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