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Water, Wind and Fire: The Holy Spirit in Scripture – Notes from Class 1

September 20th, 2016 by Brian Pinter

The focus of our studies this season will be the Holy Spirit in scripture.  We will explore the biblical foundations and antecedents for what became known as the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  The ancients used metaphors such as moving wind, fire, water, and a hovering dove to describe the activity and power of God’s spirit.  Modern scholars invite us to imagine the spirit as the energy that animates all life and nurtures the unfolding of history and the evolutionary process.  We might liken it to the mystical powers of the universe that scientists call dark matter, stardust, dark energy, etc.  These are mysterious, invisible things, but they are real and their power is felt!

Elizabeth Johnson, theologian, says this of the Spirit: “Speaking about the Spirit signifies the presence of the living God active in this historical world.  The Spirit is God who actually arrives in every moment, God drawing near and passing by in vivifying power in the midst of historical struggle.  So profoundly is this the case that whenever people speak in a generic way of ‘God’, of their experience of God or of God’s doing something in the world, more often than not they are referring to the Spirit…”

Some focus questions:

Next week we will explore some texts that speak of the Spirit as a creative, renewing force in the life of God’s people.

Brian Pinter

Brian Pinter serves as the Director of Spiritual Formation at Christ Church. He is also a certified Spiritual Director.