Power and the Spirit of God: Toward an Experience-Based Pneumatology

Power and the Spirit of God: Toward an Experience-Based Pneumatology

Power and the Spirit of God: Toward an Experience-Based Pneumatology

Power and the Spirit of God: Toward an Experience-Based Pneumatology

Synopsis

In this book the distinguished Roman Catholic theologian Bernard Cooke reassesses the long-standing Christian description of divine power. The word "power" evokes the spheres of economic, political, and social life. Cooke suggests, however, that the deepest questions about conflicting powersare theological and concern what Christians have traditionally referred to as "the Holy Spirit" and "salvation."

Excerpt

The project of this book is extremely broad and at the same time specifically limited, namely, to the relation between power and God as Spirit, two realities that have intrigued and puzzled me for de- cades. Study of power has resulted in hundreds of books on the sub- ject. Even a “theology of power” has been sketched, though not fully developed. the Catholic Theology Society of America convention of 1980 was devoted to this topic, and the result was a valuable volume of proceedings. John Coleman’s keynote address was particularly il- luminating and tantalizing in its implications, but he purposely lim- ited himself to one approach to the topic, though arguably a most important approach. Earlier, in his essay “The Theology of Power” (in the fourth volume of his Theological Investigations, 1966), Karl Rahner dealt briefly with the topic. Rahner’s essay intentionally dealt with the topic from a very specific point of view, namely, physical force in relation to freedom and human salvation. the broader real- ity of empowerment was left untouched.

At the same time, there has been a recent flurry of books on pneumatology, so that the long-standing complaint about theological neglect of the Holy Spirit is no longer valid. One can truly ask the question: why another book on the Holy Spirit? My answer, perhaps questionable, is that most studies still focus on the trinitarian role of the Spirit in the immanent Trinity, but much remains to be done in clarifying the Spirit as divine “outreach” to creation. Particularly needed is reflection on the role of the Spirit in the reconsideration . . .

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