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“The Spirit in Creation” Article by David Williams

Introduction and Brief Summary

In In the article, “The Spirit in creation,” the author David Williams explores the role of the Holy Spirit within the scope of creation, defining and stressing its significance in the Trinity in the context given. Williams, a professor of divinity at the University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa, claims that the outcome of the Arian polemic was the affirmed total equality of the trinitarian persons. Due to this, it was recognized that each of the mentioned persons plays their part in all the external actions of God. Nevertheless, it should be admitted that the role of the Spirit in creation is not clarified exhaustively, to an exact extent, because of a few concrete mentions in the creation narratives. Such a state of affairs makes the article “The Spirit in creation” of particular interest and draws attention to its consistent rationale, on which the choice of this article, its theme, and its core ideas for the discussion is founded.

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Williams began with a discussion on the issue of creation in the framework of the sacred texts and emphasized that by the fifth century, the equality of the persons of the Trinity was affirmed. It was also recognized that the Spirit has its specific role in creation, but this role was not explored. Then, the author argues, “The Spirit is then present at the very start of creation, as this aspect is essential for the existence of anything at all.”1 The Holy Spirit gives the interaction that is essential for existing. According to Williams, existence needs not only matter but also the form that is created by how the components of this matter are related; “it is the relating which gives form,”2 which is suggested to be the crucial role of Spirit in creation. In other words, the Holy Spirit should not be considered as merely connected to life but as providing order in things. The author concludes the following, “The Spirit does not act in the creation of matter, but in the provision of the underlying form and order necessary for very existence.”3

Critical Iteration

It seems reasonable to state that Williams is right in his claim that the theme of the Spirit in creation in the context of the Trinity might cause an exact extent of controversy and ambiguity. The Spirit indeed has been mostly discussed in the framework of redemption and salvation, given that the act of creation has been commonly associated with God and the Son, which is supported by the position of Pinnock. However, the latter has a relatively contrasting opinion – if compared with Williams’s one – regarding the role of the Holy Spirit in creation. Pinnock says that “Spirit is the source of creation,”4 still recognizing the equality of the persons of the Trinity in this vein. A notable point here is that he refers to the idea that the Spirit turned chaos into cosmos; hence, the Holy Spirit provided matter with form, justifying orderliness in things – an argument to which Williams also appealed. Such a commonplace implies the similarity in the mentioned scholars’ rationale.

Nevertheless, it might be assumed that Pinnock’s view is less attractive than Williams’s one. The primary weakness here may be that the Spirit does not seem to be “a source of creation” – this gives him a leading role in the Trinity within the scope of creation because being a source implies the power to create solely. Instead, the Spirit is rather the provider of form for chaotic matter, as Williams reasonably notes. Still, the strength of Pinnok’s position is that it also aligns with the sacred texts and stresses the importance of the Spirit’s cosmic creative functions.

Then, Pannenberg holds another noticeable position in this regard. He states that the Spirit may be considered as the higher field of power pervading all of creation. Finite events or being should be perceived as specific manifestations of the mentioned field, and their actions seem to be responsive to its vigor.5 Pannenberg notably names the Spirit the field of power but not power – this saves the coherence and unity within Trinity’s roles in creation. This field of power might be understood as a prerequisite for the creative act, which fully stays in line and supplements the idea of Williams.

However, both the mentioned articles of Williams and Pannenberg seem to share the same weakness. They exhaustively discuss the issue of the role of the Spirit in creation but do not cover the point of his part in redemption appropriately, which is crucial as well. The scholars could not have done this to narrow the scope of the publications, but the diversity of the Spirit’s roles is essential for its understanding and further research. In this vein, Pinnok’s article possesses a visible strength as it allows comprehending the impressive range of the Spirit’s functions.

Conclusion

To conclude, the chosen article “The Spirit in creation” by David Williams is a significant piece of theological research with a notable core idea. Its content aligns with the sacred texts and supplements the positions of many recognized scholars in this field. The only limitation that was identified is the narrowed scope of the Spirit’s roles, which may cause an exact degree of ambiguity for the reader without the necessary background. Finally, the article enriched my knowledge and understanding of the part the Spirit has in the Trinity, which will be applied in my future research on the Trinity’s inner interaction and interdependence.

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Bibliography

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. “The Doctrine of Creation and a Modern Science.” Zygon 23, no. 1 (1988): 3–21.

Pinnock, Clark. “The Role of the Spirit in Creation.” The Asbury Theological Journal 52, no. 1: 47–54.

Williams, David. “The Spirit in Creation.” Scottish Journal of Theology 67, no. 1 (2014): 1–14.

Footnotes

  1. David Williams, “The Spirit in Creation,” Scottish Journal of Theology 67, no. 1 (2014): 4.
  2. Ibid., 5.
  3. David Williams, “The Spirit in Creation,” Scottish Journal of Theology 67, no. 1 (2014): 1.
  4. Clark Pinnock, “The Role of the Spirit in Creation,” The Asbury Theological Journal 52, no. 1: 48.
  5. Wolfhart Pannenberg, “The Doctrine of Creation and a Modern Science,” Zygon 23, no. 1 (1988): 11.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“The Spirit in Creation” Article by David Williams." June 30, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-spirit-in-creation-article-by-david-williams/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“The Spirit in Creation” Article by David Williams'. 30 June.

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