BACKGROUND TO BUDDY #12

Note to the reader: the series of articles entitled Background to Buddy were extracted from a Christian nonfiction work that formed the basis for the novel Buddy, which is available from either Amazon or Signalman Publishing. Directions are noted on the page entitled Buddy on this blog site. The purpose of this work was to explain the reasons why I consider the Holy Spirit to be functionally female. Adventure episodes and humor were added for the entertainment of both the reader and the author.

Chapter 7: In the Beginning – – –

Perceiving the Holy Spirit as functionally female immediately raises a deeper companion issue: that the relationship between the Father and the Holy Spirit, like that of the anticipated marriage between Christ and His Church, is and has been a romantic one. This notion, in turn, hints of a possibility, again from the example of Jesus’ marriage, that such a relationship did not exist at the outset.

To address that last possibility, we first address the related possibility that at the outset, Jesus Himself existed within the Father.

This does not imply my agreement with the heretic Arius1, who proposed that “there was a time that Jesus was not”. There are two elements at play in the difference. First is the acknowledgment that Jesus always existed. Second is the appreciation that, given our dimensional limitations, time is an inadequate expression for God. I used the term “outset” carefully, attempting to avoid the connotation of time. Jesus, being the Creator of all that is reality in our physical universe, also represents the creation of time. Thus time, including eternity, began with Jesus, and we can therefore visualize Jesus as having existed for all eternity without encountering a logical contradiction. Arius, on the other hand, in using the term “time”, placed the hypothetical non-existence of Jesus within our own dimensional constraints, which is an obvious violation of Scripture.

Jesus not only openly subordinated Himself to the Father (e.g. John 14:28), but gave the Father sequential precedence. In Revelation 3:14, Jesus referred to Himself as “the beginning of the creation of God”, which, in turn, brings us back to the beginning of the creation epic in Genesis 1:

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

This statement also brings us to the New Testament counterpart of Genesis 1, which is John 1:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

How well these statements dovetail together with the view that the first spoken Word was Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, the beginning of reality in our universe!

In the context of these Scriptural passages, and in the additional information given in Proverbs 3:19 and 8:1 and 22-31 as well as Psalm 104:30 and John 3, I view Jesus as the fulfillment of the Divine Will, the representation of that will in the reality of our universe. Rather that being a response to the Will, it is a representation, the realization of that Will, having been given birth by the creative, perfectly responsive office of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Means.

I also see in Scripture three other items that lead me to consider as a possibility that the Holy Spirit, like Jesus, had a sequential beginning. The first of these items is the theme, running throughout Scripture (examples include but certainly are not limited to the story of Joseph in Genesis and the crucifixion of Jesus foretold in Genesis 22, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and elsewhere in the Old Testament and enacted by Jesus as related in the Gospels) of God’s own example of selfless nobility and His expectation of the same for Jesus’ Bride. The second item is the importance that God places on a self-humbling spirit, as evidenced throughout the Gospels, as developed in the Book of Hebrews, and as clearly and movingly presented in the songs of Ruth, Hannah (1 Samuel) and Mary (Luke). The third and most important item is God’s intrinsic nature as the embodiment of love, as suggested in Deuteronomy 6:4 and 5, Matthew 22:37 and 38, and 1 John 4:8.

These traits of God as well as the general thrust of Scripture lead me to view God as initially existing entirely within the Person of the Father. I suspect (admittedly without specific Scriptural backup save for the tenor of Scripture in its entirety, for the example set in the creation of Adam and Eve, the further example set in the future marriage of Jesus and His Church, and for the description of God given in Hebrews and 1 John) that the Father had the ability within Himself to exercise absolute creative and sustaining control over all that is or ever will be.

In this picture, in a primeval universe at the beginning of time, God was truly One. As absolute Master of the universe, He had the choice to go it alone and retain within Himself absolute power and authority over everything that He would subsequently create. Instead, He chose an entirely different path, a selfless and noble one that had an immense impact on the universe. He gave up the absolute majesty of His singleness in favor of an Associate to share it with, diminishing Himself in the process and restricting His portion in everything to that of a Partner. But in relinquishing His singleness He added something vital: love. And through this love He again became One.

In that self-humbling move, God (according to this picture) chose to give up the majesty of His absolute kingship in favor of creating in love, out of Himself a complementary Other, One with whom He could share the process of Creation. In doing so, He divided Himself into Two, Father and Spirit, Will and Means, both having the same original substance, but both limited to specific, complementary roles.

The role of the Father in His grand vision of the universe dovetails well with Jesus’ insistence in the Gospel of John that He, as the Divine Representative of reality, perfectly reflects the intent of the Father. The creative ability of the Holy Spirit in the role of the Divine Means, moreover, is perfectly compatible with the nature of Wisdom as presented in Proverbs.

God then, having formed Two from One, brought the Two back into One through love. Thus Adam’s statement in Genesis 2:23 and 24,

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”

applied not only to mankind, but, (again, according to this view) in the spiritual realm, to God Himself. The initial two Members of the Godhead then, formed the essence of a Divine Family. Their romantic and epic union therefore produced the Divine Fruit in Jesus Christ as the Word of God and the Divine Representation of Creation. This notion of Jesus as the Divine Representation, or the Actualization of the Father’s Will, is also perfectly compatible with Scripture, for example John 12:44-50:

“Jesus cried out, and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but of him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came, not to judge the world but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father, who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”

The anticipated marriage between Jesus and His Church, in the context of an earlier union between Father and Spirit, suggests as well that the Church Herself in union with Her Husband Jesus will also produce fruit in the form of some possibly creative act in response to Jesus’ will, making the Church a functional Daughter of the Holy Spirit.

While I hesitate to be dogmatic about it as there are other possible interpretations, Scripture can be interpreted to suggest that Jesus might exercise His own will in His marriage to His Church. The relevant passage is John 5:5-18, where Jesus is being accused of working on the Sabbath in violation of the Mosaic law:

“And a certain man was there, who had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been thus now a long time, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked; and the same day was the Sabbath. The Jews, therefore, said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day; it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that who said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed knew not who it was; for Jesus had moved away, a multitude being in that place.
“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.”

It is at this point that Jesus makes a statement to his accusers that may be interpreted to suggest that in the future (possibly on the eighth day of God, or the eight thousandth year after the beginning related in Genesis 1:1), Jesus may assume on earth the Father’s previous role of Divine Will:

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

I could go further with additional follow-on notions, but for this point in time, my speculations regarding the nature of God have been carried far enough. But this line of thought has some very beautiful connotations that have been quite useful to me in bringing me to obedience to God’s commandment to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind.

The attribution of selfless nobility to the character of God is such a vital element in my vision of how the Holy Trinity was formed that my understanding of this trait in the Godhead as developed in Scripture and its impact on our relationship with God will be pursued in detail below.

From the nature of Jesus’ work on the cross on behalf of mankind, along with the false accusations and rejection that went along with it, it is obvious that one of Jesus’ primary attributes is the possession of selfless nobility of the highest order. Because Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father according to John 10:30 and elsewhere, one can apply this attribute directly to the Father as well.

Given that two of the three Members of the Godhead share this attribute of selfless and courageous nobility, it is probable that this attribute is also possessed by the Holy Spirit. The creative, responsive role of the Holy Spirit is illustrated at the very beginning of Scripture, in Genesis 1:1-3, where Jesus Christ in the form of creation itself is born through the movement of the Holy Spirit as directed by the Divine Will. If indeed the Holy Spirit operates responsively to the Divine Will as suggested there in Genesis and in Psalm 104, Proverbs 3 and 8, Luke 11 and elsewhere in Scripture, this function of itself speaks of willing subordination and therefore of selflessness. Granted, observation of behavioral differences between human males and females indicates that the nobility of women may differ slightly from that of men. Nevertheless, there are plenty of women in our history who have demonstrated courage and nobility of a very high order, often surpassing those attributes of their male contemporaries.

I admit that in view of the fact that I’m not a woman, one of my marriages didn’t turn out so good, I have no background or training in psychology, and theologically I belong to the Great Unwashed Masses, I can’t claim to be an expert on womanhood, and particularly on the attributes of the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, my second marriage made up for the bad one. Carolyn’s not perfect by any means (as if I am). When she’s mad, she’s meaner than a snake. She’ll scrunch up her eyes, turn red as a beet, and scream insults while splattering me with spittle and tears. We’ve had “discussions” that have descended into nasty little inventories of our assets and how they will be distributed.

But more often than not, she displays nobility. I have carefully observed her when she does so. After close to thirty years together, I pretty well know what this nobility of hers consists of. If I possess any nobility at all, it’s different than hers. Our attitudes and actions (when things are working well) are complementary. She’s often and in many various ways pushed me to better behavior under circumstances that have involved her as well as me in discomfort or some other form of unpleasantness, including terror.

[to be continued]

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