The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life

By Jürgen Moltmann; Margaret Kohl | Go to book overview

I
Wrestling with God

A Personal Meditation on Jacob’s Struggle at the
Brook Jabbok, following Genesis 32.25–32

Jacob wrestles with God at the Jabbok:

And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him
until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he
did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his
thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled
with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is break-
ing.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless
me.’ And he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said
’Jacob.’ Then he said, ‘Your name shall no more be called
Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with
men, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Tell me,
I pray, your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my
name?’ And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name
of the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to
face and my soul has been healed.’ And the sun rose upon
him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh.

In the years I spent as a prisoner of war, 1945–48, the biblical story about Jacob’s struggle with the angel of the Lord at the Jabbok was for me always the story about God in which I found again my own little human story. We were caught up in the terrors of the end of the war, and in the hopeless misery of a prisoner of war’s existence. We wrestled with God in order to survive in the abysses of senselessness and guilt; and we emerged from those years ‘limping’ indeed, but blessed. The end of the war, when it at last came, found

-1-

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The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • I - Wrestling with God 1
  • II - The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life 10
  • III - Born Again to a Living Hope 26
  • IV - A Meditation on Hope 38
  • V - The Sanctification of Life 43
  • VI - Charismatic Powers of Life 55
  • VII - Life's New Spirituality 70
  • VIII - In the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit 89
  • IX - There is Enough for Everyone 103
  • X - … and Thou Renewest the Face of the Earth' 111
  • XI - What Are We Doing When We Pray? 125
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 146
  • Index of Names 147
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