Book Review: Fee’s Pauline Christology Part 10
For the series outline, click here.
Chapter 16: ‘Christ and the Spirit: Paul as a proto-Trinitarian’
Fee has two aims in this final short chapter. First is an examination of the christological implications of ‘the varied statements that conjoin Spirit with Christ (and the Father) in the economy of salvation’ (586). Second, Fee will attempt to plot:
‘... where Paul fits into the trajectory that caused that caused these early, thoroughgoing monotheists to speak of Christ and the Spirit and their relationship to God the Father in such a way that finally resulted in the Trinitarian resolutions of the early fourth century’ (586).
After overviewing the evidence for the personhood of the Spirit in the Pauline corpus, a matter he has treated in considerable depth elsewhere (in God’s Empowering Presence), Fee argues that Paul understood the Spirit as distinct from the Father and the Son. The Spirit relates to Christ by mediating the presence of the Risen One. Given Paul’s affirmations of his monotheism this leads to Fee’s claim:
‘[T]hat Paul was at least proto-Trinitarian: the believer knows and experiences the one God as Father, Son, and Spirit, and when dealing with Christ and the Spirit, one is dealing with God every bit as much as when one is dealing with the Father’ (592).