(50) I believe in the Holy Ghost

Before I go on with the third paragraph of the Creed, it’s time for a glance back over the path we have followed. The story all arose out of the glorious unity of God the Father-Son-Holy Ghost in holy love. That interpersonal love was so utterly wonderful that there ought to be more and more of it. So God set out to build a creaturely world which would be like a hall of mirrors, reflecting the image, the glory of his love, in all directions.

First he prepared an array of amazing substances which could be put together in no end of ways with the most surprising results. Through millions of years God was working up his simplest materials into higher and higher forms of unity and coherence, moving toward a whole world that would reflect perfectly the image of his love. The dust of the earth was being called upward through the lesser creatures to make the human race within which Jesus Christ appeared. In this man’s life God saw himself shining out clearly in the creaturely world for the first time. With such a start he could begin to build a human race which would bear his image in a new and corporate way. Imagine mankind with every man like Christ in attitude and behavior toward God and other men! How glorious! But what a God-sized task!

The church in its broadest and deepest sense was to be the next stage of God’s world-building project. The people, the pattern, and the power were available. The power to bring it about? That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. And that’s where I come in, with my pen in my hand. I believe that the Holy Spirit is using me right now as part of the process which is producing his church in his world, bringing his creatures toward their highest destiny.

God in his totality is involved, of course, in every one of his acts. But the three persons of the Holy Trinity may be distinguished helpfully by functions. God the Father-Creator brings things and people into existence, building into them all sorts of possibilities. God’s Word, his eternal Son, calls people, and places them where they can use their possibilities to further God’s purposes. But it is the special concern of God the Holy Ghost to awaken these possibilities, to bring hidden assets out into action, and to free men for their highest functions. The life of Simon, son of Jonas, shows the threefold role of God. Created by the Father, God’s Son called Simon to forgiveness, discipleship, and apostleship, redirecting his life and renaming him Peter. But it was the Holy Spirit who set him on fire and brought everything that was in him out into such glorious service in the church that he will never be forgotten.

The Holy Spirit, then, is God working as development agent, as production manager, promotion director, expediter, and the like. He is God making the most of what he’s got, moving all of us on the upward way toward our ultimate destiny in the fullness of Christ. The symbols of the Holy Spirit are those which show power moving in a definite direction. He is a wind, a bird in flight, a flowing stream, a flame burning upward and outward.