The Universal Christ

"The resurrection gives us a Christ who is spiritually present; the Holy Spirit gives us a Christ who is universally present. By the coming of the Holy Spirit the risen Christ is made omnipresent, and the whole process of revelation here and now completed. Nothing higher can be looked for until the veil is dropped on the other side. Momentous consequences follow the acceptance of this truth. If the age of the Spirit under which we are now living marks the final outgoing of God to man; if the God who is manifested in Christ is every-where present in the Spirit; if through the medium-ship of the Spirit he dwells in the inner sanctuary of the soul; if he is not only with man, but in man; if through the Holy Spirit his presence within the soul is realized as the presence of Christ, then the time foretold by Jesus has come when temples and shrines are no longer indispensable, when every man has immediate access to God as the Father, and when every humble receptive soul may become "an habitation of God in the Spirit." "
- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, p. 89)

The New Covenant Gift of the Spirit

"Let us recall the three considerations that have been
mentioned. First, that our Lord Himself in His Divine-human nature was on earth, and is now in heaven, possessed of the fulness of the Spirit, and this in such a manner that the Spirit entered into all He was in the one sphere, and enters into all He is in the other. Secondly, that the Spirit given us by our Lord in His glorified condition is His own Spirit in the most definite and particular meaning of the words. Thirdly, that when the Spirit is bestowed upon us He must be made inwardly and experimentally ours, entering into all that we are in a manner similar to that in which He entered into all that Jesus was and is. Let us fix these three points distinctly in our minds, and it will follow that the Spirit promised as the chief gift of the New Covenant is pervaded by human as well as Divine elements. As the Spirit of the exalted and glorified Lord, He is not the Third Person of the Trinity in His absolute and metaphysical existence, but that Person as He is mediated through the Son, who is human as well as Divine. It is on this particular aspect of His being that He diffuses Himself through the members of Christ's body, and abides in them. Only as human, entering into and coalescing with what is human, can He be also our Spirit dwelling in a living and real way within us."
- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, p. 189)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Spirit of Jesus, part 12 of 13

    "(e) In relation to the person of Christ, the Spirit,
according to the representation of the Fourth gospel,
occupies a position different from that of the synoptic
    The birth-stories of Matthew and Luke represent
a somewhat developed stage of reflection in their
association of the Spirit with the personality of
Jesus, as compared with the baptism-stories (see
above, pp. 136 f.). It was felt that prior to His
mission Jesus must have been invested with the
Spirit, and at the same time that the Spirit must
have been more to Him than an equipment for the
messianic vocation. Matthew, therefore, like Luke
(i. 35) and Ignatius, 1 ascribes the conception of
Jesus by his mother to the Spirit (i. 18, 20), while
Luke, who is even more influenced by the apostolic
age as the age of the Spirit, adds that John the
Baptist was filled with the messianic Spirit from his
birth (i. 15, 17), and that his parents also possessed
the prophetic Spirit (i. 41, 67), 2 like Simeon (ii. 25 f.).
The Fourth gospel, instead of employing the idea of
a virgin-birth, emphasises the fact that the divine
Spirit remained upon Jesus at the baptism (i. 32-33),
a touch which also appears in the gospel according
to the Hebrews, 3 although the latter apparently
omits any reference to the dove-symbolism. The 
Fourth gospel thus develops in its own way (cf. iii. 
34-35 with Luke iv. 1, 14) Luke's emphasis upon 
the permanent endowment of Jesus with the Spirit, 
and if the union of the divine Spirit with the person 
of Jesus appears superfluous 1 after the incarnation 
of the Logos, it is hardly more so than the endow- 
ment of the Spirit at baptism after the Lucan explan- 
ation of the birth of Jesus. The logical position was 
to argue that such a supernatural being did not 
require the Spirit. Justin Martyr's theology reaches 
this stage: We know it was not because he needed 
baptism or the Spirit that came upon him 2 like a dove, 
that he came to the river (Dial. 88). The Fourth 
evangelist might have taken this view (cf. xi. 42), but 
he retains the incident of the Spirit's descent at 
baptism as a sign (see link for Greek) for John the Baptist; 
it had not any specific significance for his own 
christology, but it served to emphasise the superi- 
ority of Christianity to the contemporary sect of 
John the Baptist's disciples and their sympathisers 
within Judaism. 
    One remarkable feature of this theology of the 
Spirit in relation to the birth of Jesus is that it never 
associates the Spirit with the beginning of a new 
creation in Jesus as the second Adam (cf. Luke iii. 
38). According to one rabbinic conception, the 
Spirit brooded like a dove over the waters at the 
creation of the world, but there is not the slightest 
hint that a similar idea of the Spirit as the presiding 
principle of the new order occurred to the authors 
of the gospels. Had they shared this view, they 
would not have left the symbolism of the dove in the 
narrative of the baptism. Even the Fourth gospel 
does not identify the birth of Jesus with the incarna- 
tion of the Spirit of God. According to its theology, 
the function of the Spirit in relation to the person 
of Christ is to inspire the utterances which reveal the 
nature and purpose of God (cf. iii. 31-34, vi. 63). This 
corresponds to its function in the Church (cf. xiv. 26), 
which deals with these revelations through Christ 
as its material, except that, while the Son possesses 
the Spirit in complete measure, Christians simply 
receive it in part (iii. 32, cf. 1 John iv. 13). 1 As 
for the functions of the Spirit in relation to the 
indwelling Christ in chapters xiv.-xvi., they are as un- 
defined as they are in relation to the Logos; in the 
prologue the Spirit is absent, in the rest of the gospel 
the Logos. Probably in both cases the idea of the 
Spirit partially coalesces with the other conception; 
the latter is specifically Johannine, and logically 
takes the place of the former, but the author carries 
on from the synoptic tradition and Paulinism the 
Spirit-idea, without definitely explaining its place 
in the light of his characteristic categories. 2 It 
forms one expression for the personal religious 
experience, parallel to those of the Logos and the 
indwelling Christ; but the writer, like Paul, tends to 
confine the relations of God and the Christian to the 
Spirit, grouping under the category of the Logos the 
cosmic and providential functions which in Hebrew 
thought were subsumed under Wisdom or the Spirit."

*See link for footnotes.

No comments:

Post a Comment