The work of the Holy Spirit as breath, wind, and spirit must be understood as the cohesive nature of God that fellowships within the community of believers. Simply put, the Holy Spirit’s essential nature constitutes the fellowship of the triune God among His people. If one could have been the trees in the field on which Jesus prayed in John 17, the mention of unity (verse 21) would have made leaves fall like tears. Christ revealed a transitional unity that God incepted in the Garden of Eden. This unity of diversity could only come by none other than the Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit.
In his prayer, Jesus revealed a compassion narrative shared among the triune Godhead: “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us…” (John 17:21). Jürgen Moltmann adds that truly this is an “expression of the at-oneness of the triune God.” John 17 was the ‘tree’ in the field that Jesus prayed, as each word was recorded to bring recollection to the identity of a far superior revelation of the life of Jesus-his life as ‘Pneuma’ within the fellowship of believers.
The life of Jesus is a transcendent Trinitarian fellowship, individually (not independently) enhanced by God at given points throughout history. As God wills, he stresses the importance of each divine persona, throughout history and even in our personal lives. However, in man’s foolishness to enclosed God within the frame of their thinking, they divide what cannot be divided to control what can not be controlled. In other words, they place the genie in the bottle and rub it when they want seeking one or the other, but not the totality of the one God. Reverentially, scholars delicately approach understanding the importance of the Gods communion with humanity.
The necessity of this fellowship is stressed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he contends that it is when we fellowship and communion with the Lord “we recover our true humanity.” Further, one is delivered from the ‘individualism’—a consequence of sin—and is able to recover harmony “with the whole human race.” It is truly in the fellowship, brought by the Holy Spirit, where humanity finds the grace of Christ romanticize by the aroma of God’s love. Yet, for God to desire a recapturing of humanity back into his bosom, it suggest that man occupied a place among God at one point in time.
The question bares the thought that suggests an obvious answer, ‘When did man fall out of fellowship with God?’ Answer: When they ate from the tree (disobedience). Yet the more intriguing question is, when was this fellowship with God created, and from where did this model come from? This question is then overshadowed by a more intriguing question: What is the magnitude of importance the Holy Spirit plays within the community of believers and the Trinity? Our journey begins in the heart of the Father. There we will find his desire and aspirations for his creation.
The Gospel of John 1:1-2 parallels Genesis 1:1. The writer builds his case for Jesus being God incarnate, through the revelation that Jesus was in the “beginning with God” (John 1:2). What must be seen is the evidence of a community of one: Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. In the beginning, God sought to make humanity identical to His reality, consisting of three parts: dust of the ground (Gen 2:7), the breath (neshamah [ruach is used in other cases]) of life (Gen 2:7), and his female partner (Gen 2:22). Multmann describes the triune relationship with inquisition: Grace is attributed to Christ and love to God the Father, why is fellowship contributed to the Spirit? Jokingly, one can see the parallel of fellowship being attributed to the women as we see Eve speaking to the serpent like lost friends, and in her defense to God. Though Adam does speak, the contrast of who fellowships most between the two, in Genesis 3, is given to Eve.
If Jesus is seen as God’s heart, then the Spirit of God is His passion. This is not a far fetch statement, as one can readily look throughout the Gospels and see that, ‘He was moved with compassion’ (Matt 14:14). Multmann agrees that God is touched by humanity and he touches humanity. Here one can see the fellowship of the Spirit within the Godhead and humanity.
The Spirit of God entered man and caused him to live. How was man to live? As the Spirit of God revealed. A revelation of such could only come about through fellowship. Gods Spirit within man reflected the oneness of Himself. God made man in His image (Gen 1:27). The Spirit is tasked with returning those who believe in Jesus back into the image of God. One must not think that the image of God is simply a reflection, but is a regeneration of life by the Holy Spirit. With reference to the word ‘Holy Spirit,’ Nigel Turner points out that the word is rarely seen in the Bible let alone referred to as co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Son.
This however is out of the scope of this paper, but to make a point, one must see the connection among the triune Godhead is the fellowship of One. Moltmann clarifies this relationship, stating that the Trinity is seen in God’s rule through Christ, and the efficacy of his rule, through His Spirit. Could this then be the purpose of God, the meaning of Jesus, and the direction of the Holy Spirit, to unite humanity back into fellowship with its Creator? To bare the image again of God? How did the early Christian community develop a resemblance to the fellowship of the Holy Spirit?
James D. G. Dunn notes that the community of Israel understood themselves to be the ‘eschatological community.’ After the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of God revealed a communal mindset, having everything common (Acts 2:44). Though filled with God’s Spirit, Israel gained the deeper appreciation for ‘breaking bread.’ They saw that both acts (the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the Breaking of Bread) reflected the nature of God as Jesus, and Jesus as Spirit, but ultimately all as One. In diversity, the Spirit of God builds unity.
The understanding of the oneness of God can be found in the following model: In the beginning God, simply one, created man, then two; formed woman then three, and united them, as one. The function of the Godhead reflects the evidences of the other in the life of the believer and the believer’s life within the community. When neither the Godhead nor the community of believers is seen, namely the Body of Christ, in the writer’s opinion, the notorious question arises, “Is there a God?” This then is the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit: A ministry of reconciled restoration. Daniel Thimell, professor at Oral Roberts University emphasizes that though we are joined together with Christ, the work and the ministry belong to the Spirit. The Spirit of God, he continues, operates in the entire Christian experience “outwardly dramatic or not.” Thimell furthers this thought stating that when Christ died “we died, and when he arose, we arose.” The last breath of Jesus became the first breath of humanity. Bonhoeffer challenges the follower of Christ to become as He is. What Bonhoeffer is not saying is that the power lies within humanity to become like Christ. Rather he is pointing to a fellowship of inherent obedience to God. Bonhoeffer articulates that through obedience, the believer is made more into the image of God.