The Third Article in the 
Science-Theology Dialogue


St. Mark Lutheran Church
Tallmadge, Ohio 44278

From: PSCF 45 (September 1993): 162-168.

The science-theology dialogue has given little attention to the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's distinctive works. Reasons for this neglect, and for remedying it, are considered briefly. We then examine several areas of the dialogue in which insights from theology of the Third Article may be helpful: the importance of the Spirit for living systems, the role of chance in natural processes, spiritual gifts, and cosmic sanctification.

Until recently, the distinctively Christian understanding of God as the Trinity has not played an extensive role in the science-theology dialogue. As has been the case throughout much of the history of western theology, God's trinitarian character has been subordinated to the divine unity. Much of the science-theology dialogue has made use of an undifferentiated idea of "God," with little attention given to how an understanding of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit might contribute to the conversation. "God" often means in effect "God the Father,1 and since theology's interaction with science has often had to do with creation, the dialogue has been limited to issues addressed by the First Article of Christianity's ancient Creeds.

In recent years, however, the importance of Second Article concerns for the dialogue has been recognized, Teilhard de Chardin's emphasis on the relationship of evolution to christology being an important example.2 Here I want to suggest that similar attention to Third Article concerns, the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's distinctive activities, may be beneficial.

The intent here is not to present a detailed theology of the Holy Spirit or of discussion of the place of such theology within trinitarian thought. The subject has some long-standing difficulties which it would be presumptuous to claim to be able to solve in a brief discussion.3 Nor do I claim any definitive treatment of the issues to be considered. My goal is the more modest one of placing them on the agenda for the dialogue.

Some general trinitarian concerns do need to be mentioned here. For over a thousand years eastern and western Christians have been divided over the question of whether the Spirit proceeds "from the Father," as in the original Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, or "from the Father and the Son" (filioque), as in the western modification of the Creed.4 This is of some importance for our present topic, for Eastern Orthodox theologians have argued that by making the Spirit dependent upon the Son, western Christians have effectively excluded a cosmic role for the Spirit. Eastern and western Christians are agreed that in the economic Trinity, the Spirit's mission in the world is "from the Father and the Son" and as the Spirit of the Son as well as of the Father (Gal. 4:6). The basic difference concerns the immanent Trinity (and the extent to which a distinction between economic and immanent Trinities is legitimate). But the Orthodox are right that, for whatever reasons, the cosmic role of the Spirit has been neglected in western Christianity. Many western Christians operate in practice with something like Origen's pre-Nicene concept:5 The Father is active in all creation, the Son in rational beings, and the Spirit in Christians. Such a view hardly does justice to the biblical witness.

As we reflect on God's trinitarian activity in the world, we need to keep within the bounds set by two ideas. One is summed up in the traditional phrase, "The external works of the Trinity are undivided." All three persons are involved in everything that God does in the world. This does not mean that they are all active in the same way: The Father is involved in the redemption of the world, but the Father was not crucified.

On the other hand, the doctrine of appropriation expresses the fact that some works should be considered primarily in connection with one person or another. Thus the work of creation is associated with the Father, redemption with the Son, and sanctification with the Spirit. The three persons of the Trinity are not three interchangeable mathematical elements. To speculate, for example, that the Father or the Spirit rather than the Son could have become incarnate is to make the doctrine into a piece of theological algebra rather than an attempt to understand God's self-revelation in Jesus, who addressed God as Abba and who promised the Spirit to his disciples.6

This idea of appropriation has often been overemphasized to the detriment of the idea that all God's activity in the world is trinitarian. One practical reason for this has been the way in which catechisms have presented the Apostles' Creed.7 It makes things more simple to be able to teach the First Article as having to do with the Father's work of creation, the Second with the Son's work of redemption, and the Third with the Spirit's work of sanctification. Anyone who has taught Christian doctrine in a parish will appreciate the need to make the idea of the Trinity understandable. But some care is needed to avoid a "division of labor" caricature. When we speak of "Third Article concerns," then, we must include the work of the Spirit in creation and redemption as well as the Spirit's "appropriate" work of sanctification (and the roles of Father and Son in that).

What then are areas of the science-theology dialogue in which such concerns may be important? Four will be suggested in the following discussion: the importance of the Spirit for living systems, the role of chance in natural processes, spiritual gifts, and cosmic sanctification.

"The Lord and Giver of Life"

So the Spirit is called in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. In the Hebrew Scriptures spirit is ruach, which is also "wind" and "breath." All those connotations must be kept in mind for full appreciation of a passage such as Ez. 37:1-14, where the Spirit/wind/breath comes upon the slain to give new life. The creation of the first human in Gen. 2:7 is described as God's breathing "the breath of life" into dust, though the word ruach is not used there. This has sometimes been seen as a unique act of God which sets humanity apart from other animals formed from the earth (Gen. 2:19). But in Ps. 104:27-30, after speaking of humans along with birds, lions, and other living things, the psalmist says to God:

These all look to you [emphasis added] to give them their food in due season; when you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath [rucham], they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit [ruchakha], they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.

The connection between spirit and life is also found in the New Testament, for example, in Jn. 6:63.

When the Holy Spirit is described in the Creed as "Lord and giver of life," there is no restriction to what is often called "spiritual life" (i.e., some special religious mode of existence) or even human life. In line with Ps. 104, God's Spirit is the giver of life, period.

or many people, "spirit" suggests an invisible but real part of a living organism, perhaps connected with the body but separable from it. In a more profound way, the word "spirit" refers to a living system's capacity to transcend itself. But another common use of the term is significant. We speak of "team spirit," or the spirit of a church or family. Here the spirit is the intangible "something" which connects and holds together different members of a group so that it is a single community and not just a collection of individuals. The life of each member of a group depends on that member's environment, and the life of the whole group depends on its environing reality. The spirit in this sense may be thought of as an "atmosphere" or "field" which makes life possible, a theme which Pannenberg has emphasized.8 The reality of spirit means that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

In the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. The Spirit is the personal love between the Father and the Son which unites them.9 The three persons are one God, the living God, and the appropriate external work of the Spirit of God is to give life. Thus the Holy Spirit is the ultimately environing reality for all living systems.

The existence of dynamic order among parts of a complex system seems to be a basic feature of the things studied by the biological sciences. Electrons are not alive: the concept "life" does not even have a place in particle physics. Systems have to reach some degree of organized complexity before the property which we call "life" emerges.10 It is not easy to describe this "emergence"óas distinguished from the individual physical and chemical processesóin a scientific way. But there is a connected whole which is more than the sum of its parts. If we are not too worried about using a religiously "tainted" word, we can say that what has emerged is "spirit."11

Here the spirit is the intangible "something" which connects 
and holds together different members of a group 
so that it is a single community and not just a collection of individuals.

In this sense, a bacterium as well as a human being has "spirit." In fact, the existence of life in the bacterium has some correspondence with the role of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit emerges from lower forms of life. The emergence is part of the evolutionary process whereby God creates and makes it possible for the creation to share to some degree in the divine existence, and the appropriate mode of such sharing for living systems is spiritual. To speak of "degrees" here is to recognize that some forms of life are fuller than others. Human life is fuller than bacterial life with respect to their relationships with God, though from the biological standpoint they may both be adapted equally well to their environments. But in turn, Jesus says that he has come so that people might have more than "natural" life: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn. 10: 10). And it is for this that what we regard as the peculiarly Christian gift of the Spirit is given in baptism (Jn. 3:5).

It should go without saying (but experience teaches otherwise) that I am not arguing that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit should be introduced into biological science. Biology, like physics, can operate "though God were not given."12 Science can make sense of the world on the natural level, but by itself cannot discern any meaning or purpose in the overall order which it finds. Christianity claims that such meaning can be seen in the light of God's revelation, of which the gift of the Spirit is a part. The universe, including life, has an ultimate purpose, but that purpose is not something which science studies. On the other hand, the fact that living systems are to some degree spiritual does not mean that life is a "vestige of the Trinity," a clue from which we could deduce the existence or attributes of God independently of revelation. The argument must proceed in the other direction, from revelation to understanding of the theological significance of scientific results.

 The Urim and the Thummim

One well-known passage about the Spirit is in John 3, where the evangelist, making use of the spirit/wind ambiguity of both Greek and Hebrew, has Jesus compare the Spirit with the unpredictability of the wind:

The wind [to pneuma] blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit [ek tou pneumatos]. (Jn. 3:8)

Until a few years ago this might have seemed to involve an obsolete picture of the world. According to classical mechanics, it could be argued, the motion of the air can in principle be predicted if we know the initial state of the atmosphere and all the relevant forces with sufficient precision. Accurate long-range weather forecasting with computers did not seem impossible.

We know now that that view of dynamics was naive. The problem of predicting weather was in fact one of the first in which it became clear that long-range results are very sensitive to initial conditions, and that very slight changes in initial data can result in qualitatively different temporal evolution. If, to use a now-common example, the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Asia can change the weather a few weeks later in New York, it is clear that Laplacian determinism is a pure abstraction. The rapidly growing study of what is now known (rather infelicitously) as "chaos" has grown from such examples. The physical worldóeven without considering quantum phenomenaóis a good deal less deterministic than was once thought.13

The Bible shows no embarrassment about the fact that 
some things do happen "by chance," but sees the realm of 
chance phenomena as precisely one in which the 
will of God can be made known.

The world is to some extent open, and there is possibility for spontaneous phenomena which cannot be regarded as already present in earlier states of the system under consideration. Jenson has suggested that the Holy Spirit can be identified with this spontaneity of natural processes.14 Among other things, this means that petitionary prayer, always something of a puzzle for a deterministic view of the world, is a real possibility.

We can then also think in new ways of God's involvement in chance phenomena. Theists have sometimes been unduly concerned, and atheists unduly elated, about indications that some things do happen "by chance." The Bible shows no embarrassment about this, but sees the realm of chance phenomena as precisely one in which the will of God can be made known. When the division of the land of Canaan or the choice of a successor to Judas are made by lot (Josh. 14:2, Acts 1:26), the idea is that God's will is shown in phenomena which human beings cannot predict. The same type of thinking, which of course is not peculiar to Israel, lies behind the somewhat mysterious "urim and thummim." These may have been two stones or other small objects marked in distinctive ways, of which the priest would draw one at random to answer "Yes or No" questions.15

In light of the special associations of the Holy Spirit with the development and maintenance of life and with the spontaneity of the world, the fact that evolution involves random processes takes on new meanings. The Darwin-Wallace idea of natural selection is that an environment acts as a kind of filter for variations among members of species. Those variations themselves are random, and the fact that selection is in terms of probabilitiesósome organisms are more likely than others to survive and pass on their characteristics to offspringómeans that evolution involves chance in crucial ways.

Another probabilistic aspect of evolution appears when we consider the origin of life. Today we are nowhere near a satisfactory theory of chemical evolution, but we can say that the spontaneous emergence of protein-nucleotide systems under equilibrium conditions seems to be extremely improbable.16 Results of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, such as enhanced autocatalytic activity and dissipative structures,17 may result in higher probabilities, but the chances for emergence of simple living systems may still turn out to be quite low.

For it has to be remembered that there is nothing scientifically impossible
about the spontaneous emergence against fantastic odds 
of a protein from a prebiotic soup...

The very slight probability for spontaneous evolution of life from non-living chemicals lies at one end of a spectrum of probabilities for natural processes, a spectrum which runs through higher probabilities for survival of a given species and fifty-fifty chances for rain tomorrow to virtual certainties such as "Within experimental error, the atoms of hydrogen in this sample will have an ionization potential of 13.6 volts." One way of expressing the Christian doctrine of creation is to say that God "concurs" with all such natural processes.18 This would mean that claiming the Spirit's involvement in the low-probability emergence of life is not simply a "god of the gaps" idea. It is part of a total belief in the Trinity's activity in all natural and scientifically describable processes. For it has to be remembered that there is nothing scientifically impossible about the spontaneous emergence against fantastic odds of a protein from a prebiotic soup, anymore than there is about rain on a day when the best meteorological techniques predicted only a 20% chance of precipitation. We knowóor at this point think we knowóthe basic laws of physics relevant to those situations, and neither life nor rain violates those laws. But the laws of physics simply are not able to tell us with certainty which of the possible outcomes will be realized.

But if the real God is... the God whose glory is hidden 
in the humiliation of the cross and whose characteristic 
activity is resurrection of the dead and creation in spite of 
the lack of creaturely possibility, then Gould's picture 
of evolution is the type of thing we might expect.

The basic theological problem with the "god of the gaps" approach is that it makes God a specialist who simply can do a few things that no one else can do, instead of God Almighty who actually does everything that happens in the world, but in a hidden way through concurrence with natural processes. We are not making any such error here. And in turn, the involvement of the Holy Spirit in phenomena of low probability, like the emergence of life, offers no proof of God's existence or activity because, again, the processes involved do not contradict known scientific laws. The atheist who wishes to can simply say, "Strange things do happen," though some may be made nervous by such amazing coincidences.

The activity of the Spirit in random events often presents a threat to established structures and organizations. It results in "wild" behaviors, as when God's ruach came upon Samson (Judg. 14:6, 19; 15:14) and Saul (I Sam. 10:6; 11:6). The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed identifies the Holy Spirit as the One who "has spoken through the prophets," and the prophets of Israel were often the fiercest critics of established religious and political structures. Conflicts between "charismatic" and "regular" ministries have taken place in various ways in the Christian Church from the first century until the present.

That revolutionary role of the Spirit is also important for our theological understanding of the evolutionary process. Gould has argued forcefully, with particular attention to the remains from the early Cambrian in the Burgess Shale, that it is wrong to view evolution as a kind of Manifest Destiny of superior lifeforms.19 Natural selection does not mean that the strange extinct animals of the Burgess Shale were intrinsically inferior to those which survived. They may simply not have been as lucky! There are serious limits to the extent to which any species could adapt to environments produced by global catastrophes such as asteroid impacts. If such catastrophes are significant factors in evolution, chance again plays a fundamental role in the development of life.

Of course many people, including Gould, see this as an argument against any kind of theistic design for evolution. We should agree in abandoning any belief in a traditional watchmaker God. But if the real God is the One described by the theology of the cross, the God whose glory is hidden in the humiliation of the cross and whose characteristic activity is resurrection of the dead and creation in spite of the lack of creaturely possibility, then Gould's picture of evolution is the type of thing we might expect.20 The life-giving activity of "the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead" (Rom. 8:11) is then a coherent part of this theological approach.

This does not mean that the Holy Spirit works against all types of order. Beginning with Paul's argument against uncontrolled glossolalia at Corinth that "God is a God not of disorder but of peace" (I Cor. 14:33), the Church has had to resist Enthusiasm, and it is clear that the evolutionary process has led to high degrees of order. But this order seems to be of the type of dissipative structures which we have already mentioned, and from the theological point of view we can describe the Body of Christ, evolution's future, as the ultimate dissipative structure.21 Its head is the Crucified, and it lives from the cross. Thus it should not be surprising that its order is not that which common sense expects.

Spiritual Gifts

Paul's listing of gifts (charismata) of the Spirit in Rom. 12:6-8 and I Cor. 12:4-11 & 27-31 has evoked a good deal of discussion. His point here is that all Christians have spiritual gifts, and thus are "charismatics." Limited understanding of the range of the Spirit's operation has sometimes resulted in the idea that Paul is speaking here only of abilities which are important in some restricted "religious" area of life, or of gifts which are peculiar to Christians. It is clear, however, from examination of these listings of gifts, that most if not all of them have counterparts outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. Many of these gifts have a considerable overlap with what are otherwise considered "natural talents" or abilities.22

An earlier passage about spiritual gifts is important for understanding the significance of science and technology. When the Tabernacle is to be built, God tells Moses (Ex. 31:2-6):

See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit [ruach 'elohim, "the spirit of God" in margin], with ability, intelligence and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you.

Metal working and carpentry can thus be spiritual gifts.

God is, contrary to deistic ideas, continually involved in the world, and a proper trinitarian understanding then implies that the Holy Spirit is continually active in natural processes. What distinguishes some abilities from others as "spiritual" is not whether they are given by the Spirit or not but, paralleling Paul's spirit/flesh distinction, whether they are used in accord with God's purposes or contrary to them. The discussion of gifts in Eph. 4:1-16 points out that they are for the purpose of "building up the body of Christ" (v. 12). All abilities, including those for science and technology, have a spiritual character when they are directed toward the accomplishment of God's purpose for the world which is centered upon the body of which Christ is the head.

"The Spirit of the Lord has Filled the World"

The Book of Wisdom (1:7) thus speaks in the intertestamental period of a cosmic presence of God's Spirit. But we do not have to wait till such a late date to find this idea. At the beginning of the first creation account of Genesis we read that "the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2 RSV).23 In the New Testament, Paul's statement of hope for the redemption of the whole creation, Rom. 8:18-25, is in the context of a discussion of the work of the Holy Spirit.

A theme which runs throughout Scripture, and begins at least as early as the texts dealing with the Tabernacle in the wilderness, is that of the dwelling of God. It is recognized that God cannot really be confined to any shrine (I Kg. 8:27), but there is the ongoing promise that God will dwell with his people. In the Johannine literature especially, Jesus is seen as the definitive presence of God in creation (Jn. 1:14) which replaces the Temple (Jn. 2:21), and the ultimate hope is that the dwelling of God will be with humanity (Rev. 21:3).24 Through the Incarnation, the universe is to become the home of God. In the light of this idea, the presence of the Spirit in Gen. 1:2 can be seen as a "consecration of the cosmos."

What is unique about the Christian community is 
that its "community spirit" is the same as the Spirit 
of the triune community. It is the nucleus of God's new creation, 
made up of those who are the first to have the hope 
of becoming "participants of the divine nature."

To speak of this with another image which we have already introduced, the future of evolution is the Body of Christ. (Note the use of both of these images in Eph. 2:11-22.) And the spirit of this body, in the sense which we discussed above, is the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. What is unique about the Christian community is that its "community spirit" is the same as the Spirit of the triune community. It is the nucleus of God's new creation, made up of those who are the first to have the hope of becoming "participants of the divine nature" (II Pet. 1:4). All discussions of the theological significance of evolution and cosmology should eventually be put in this context.

It is important to emphasize that this eschatological activity of the Spirit, and our recognition that the Spirit is at work in this cosmic fashion, begin from the cross. When Jesus promises the gift of the Spirit at the Feast of Booths, the evangelist tells us that "as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Jn. 7:39), which in the Fourth Gospel takes place on the cross. And when we are told that, on the cross, Jesus "gave up his spirit" (Jn. 19:30), this refers both to his death and to the gift of the Spirit, which is "made official" when he appears to his disciples on Easter evening (Jn. 20:22-23). There is no proper cosmic spirituality which does not begin from the cross.25

To speak of "consecration" and "spirituality" moves us into the realm of doxological language. It is a basic part of the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit that those who receive the Spirit are led to prayer and worship. Doxological language may not be appropriate for science-theology dialogue with non-Christians, but Christian reflection on the work of the Spirit is distorted if this element is omitted. Christians do not simply talk about the Holy Spirit, but invoke the Spirit as the one who makes faith in Christ possible (I Cor. 12:3) and who gives any distinctively Christian understanding. For over a thousand years, one of the great hymns for such invocation has been the Veni, Creator Spiritus of Rhabanus Maurus, which is familiar to English-speaking Christians in Dryden's translation.26

Creator Spirit, by whose aid 
The world's foundations first were laid, 
Come, visit every humble mind; 
Come, pour thy joys on humankind; 
From sin and sorrow set us free, 
And make thy temples fit for thee.



Biblical references are to the New Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1 Such usage of course goes back to the fact that Jesus called "God" his "Father." St. Paul uses "God" in a number of trinitarian passages in which later theology would use "Father." The clearest instance is II Cor. 13:14.

2 See, e.g., Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1969).

3 George S. Hendry, The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology (SCM Press, London, 1957). Wolfhart Pannenberg, The Apostles' Creed in the Light of Today's Questions (Westminster, Philadelphia, 1972), pp. 128-178. Robert W. Jenson, Eighth Locus, "The Holy Spirit," in Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson (eds.), Christian Dogmatics (Fortress, Philadelphia, 1984), Volume 2, pp. 101-178. For a brief modern treatment from an Eastern Orthodox standpoint, see Emilianos Timiadis, The Nicene Creed (Fortress, Philadelphia, 1983), especially pp. 77-88.

4 J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 2d ed. (David McKay, New York, 1960), pp. 358-367.

5 Origen, On First Principles (Peter Smith, Gloucester, MA, 1973), pp. 33-34.

6 Robert W. Jenson, Second Locus, "The Triune God," in Braaten and Jenson (eds.), Christian Dogmatics, Volume 1, pp. 143-144.

7 Luther's Small Catechism is a clear example of this. Luther was certainly aware of the trinitarian character of God's activity. See, e.g., his "On the Last Words of David," pp. 267-352 of Luther's Works, Vol.15 (Concordia, St. Louis, 1972), especially pp. 275-283.

8 Pannenberg, The Apostles' Creed, pp. 133-136, and more recently pp. 162-167 of Wolfhart Pannenberg, "The Doctrine of Creation and Modern Science" in Ted Peters (ed.), Cosmos as Creation (Abingdon, Nashville, 1989). The latter reference gives some relevant background for the field concept.

9 Saint Augustine, The Trinity, Volume 45 of The Fathers of the Church (The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, 1963), Book Fifteen, Chapter 17, pp. 491-496.

10 For a brief biological discussion on the concept "life" see John Maynard Smith, The Problems of Biology (Oxford, New York, 1986), Chapter 1. Different ideas of emergence are presented in Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1966), Donald MacKay, The Clockwork Image (Inter-Varsity, London, 1976), and Douglas R. Hofstadter, G–del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Basic, New York, 1979).

11 Edmund W. Sinnott, The Biology of the Spirit (Viking, New York, 1961).

12 George L. Murphy, "The Paradox of Mediated Creation Ex Nihilo," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 39, 1987, p. 221.

13 James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science (Viking, New York, 1987). John Polkinghorne, "God's Action in the World," CTNS Bulletin 10.2, 1991, p. 1.

14 Jenson, Second Locus, "The Holy Spirit," in Braaten and Jenson (eds.), Christian Dogmatics, Volume 1, pp. 170-173.

15 The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon, Nashville, 1962), s.v. "Urim and Thummim," I. Mendelsohn.

16 Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories (Philosophical Library, New York, 1984), especially Chapter 8.

17 I. Prigogine, From Being to Becoming (Freeman, San Francisco, 1980).

18 See, e.g., Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3rd ed. (Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1961), pp. 677-692. A Reformed discussion is Benjamin Wirt Farley, The Providence of God (Baker, Grand Rapids MI, 1988), especially pp. 37-42.

19 Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life (W.W. Norton, New York, 1989). Gould's arguments have been criticized: for a popular discussion see Roger Lewin, "Whose View of Life," Discover 13.5, 1991, p. 18. These criticisms do not seem to me to have invalidated the basic thrust of Gould's argument.

20 George L. Murphy, The Trademark of God (Morehouse-Barlow, Wilton CT, 1986).

21 George L. Murphy, "Time, Thermodynamics, and Theology," Zygon 26, 1991, p. 359.

22 Cf. Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit (Warner, Waco TX, 1978), p. 198: "I am not sure we can always draw a sharp line between spiritual gifts and natural abilitiesóboth of which, remember, come ultimately from God. Nor do I believe it is always necessary to make a sharp distinction." He does go on to speak of "supernatural" gifts given for the good of the Church.

23 The wind/spirit ambiguity allows ruach 'elohim also to be translated as "a wind from God" (NRSV). But it would be a mistake to suggest here that ruach is "wind" and not spirit. To do justice both to Hebrew thought and the setting of this phrase within the whole canon, it has to be remembered that mention of "a wind from God" also calls up the idea of "the Spirit of God." More problematic is the idea that 'elohim here is a superlative adjective, so that one can translate ruach'elohim as "a mighty wind" (NEB). For more extensive discussion see Brevard S. Childs, Myth and Reality in the Old Testament (Alec R. Alllenson, Naperville IL, 1960), pp. 30-42.

24 NRSV's choice of "mortals" to translate anthropon is poor here since v. 4 says that "death will be no more."

25 To say this in another way, the activity of the Spirit is always closely connected with that of the Word. Gen. 1:2 is followed immediately by Gen. 1:3!

26 Lutheran Book of Worship (Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1978), Hymn # 164, verse 1.