The Spirit of Christ as Entelechy

Philosophy and Theology 13 (2):363-398 (2001)
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Abstract

This article pursues Rahner’s idea that the Holy Spirit has the role of “Spirit of Christ” even before the Incarnation, namely as “entelechy” directed to the Christ event. In the article, particular use is made of a biblical text hitherto not invoked in this connection, namely 1 Peter 1:11, from which a biblical base for this theology is developed. The article also investigates Teilhard de Chardin’s theory of evolution encompassing the world religions and Christianity, the absolute religion. The idea of the Spirit of Christ as entelechy is clarified and refined by application of the author’s construct of the “return” model of the Trinity, in which the Son does not just come forth from the Father, but returns to him in the power of the Spirit (see his newly published book, Deus Trinitas). Before, and in reparation for, the Son’s historical return to the Father, in Christ, the Spirit, precisely as entelechy, has to seek him in history, that is, through the creation and evolution of the cosmos, the arrival of humans, the consequent and new operation of the Spirit as grace, and the history of Israel culminating in the lives of Mary and, finally, Jesus, in whom this operation finds its final goal. Moreover, the role of the Spirit as entelechy complements and forms a unity with that of the same Spirit (again “Spirit of Christ”) as sent historically by the glorified Christ upon the Church, and continues even after the Incarnation, in leading to Christ (as “anonymous Christians”) men and women of goodwill, including those belonging to the world religions who have not yet had the gospel effectively preached to them. Finally, the paper notes that it covers some of the same ground as the Vatican Declaration Dominus Iesus, but in a different way, namely as instructed by the work of Teilhard and Rahner.

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