WOJCIECH SZYPUŁA, THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE ESCHATOLOGICAL TENSION OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. An Exegetico-Theological Study of 2 Corinthians 5,1-5 and Romans 8,18-27
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ constitute the pivotal point of the apostle Paul's thought world. Thanks to this key salvific event those united with Christ through faith are endowed with life that reaches beyond confines of mortality. Still the faithful continue to live in the world where they experience the tension between being already saved but not yet fully redeemed, living in the body but following the Spirit, and dying while being called to immortality. This tension between the «already» and the «not yet» of Christian life constitutes the backdrop of this research.
In his reflection on living in the «in-between times» found in 2 Corinthians 5,1-5 and Romans 8,18-27, the apostle uses three cognate words: στενάζω, συστενάζω, and στεναγμός, which are often understood as expressions of distressed groaning issued by believers, creation, and the Holy Spirit in response to the sufferings and burdens of the present, Yet a close analysis reveals that the apostles applies these terms to denote the sighing/sighs of longing and yearning for the fullness of redeemed existence intended by God for his creatures. This desire, induced by the Holy Spirit, expresses itself in an expectant sighing in which the Spirit himself participates. This very Spirit, whom the apostle names the first installment and the first fruits, infuses the very life of God and of Christ into the anguished world and permeates it with salvific grace. Immersed in this all-encompassing realm of God's redeeming love, the Spirit, believers, and creation journey together towards the horizon of hope, where the divine design of cosmic renewal will reach its completion and where God will be «all in all» (1Cor 15,28).
WOJCIECH SZYPUŁA, born in Przemyśl, Poland, is a member of the Society of the Divine Word. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Divine Word Seminary, Nysa, and an M.A. from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. After completion of his doctoral studies in biblical theology at the Gregorian University in Rome he teaches in St. Bonaventure College, Lusaka, Zambia.
(C) PUG 2008