One last post about Jim Faulconer’s Faith, Philosophy, Scripture (Maxwell Institute, 2010). The final chapter is entitled “Breathing” and is a meditation on Romans 8.
Jim reads Paul’s description of life in Christ as a middle way that neither validates nor annihilates personal “autonomy.”
Rather, life in Christ simultaneously gives, suspends, and opens it:
The dust of our autonomous dead flesh cannot make itself live, but it can be brought to life if we receive the breath of God. Having the Spirit, breathing, is always a matter of exteriority and exposure; to breathe is necessarily to allow what is exterior to come in. It is to expose the interior of my lungs, the very center of my interiority, to the exterior. In place of the suffocation and appropriation found in the autonomous self, Christianity reveals exposure to the Other through the Spirit, the life-giving breath. Life in another, namely, Christ, frees us from death and suffocation, for that life give us breath. The solution to the problem we have seen – either self-enclosed, tragically heroic morality or self-annihilation in the Absolute – is found in the Spirit, in bringing the Other into our autonomous, enclosed world and fracturing our autonomy by that entry. (235)
All life is “life in another.” All life is borrowed and blessed. Spirit is a name for life acknowledged as borrowed.
Pneuma is breath and, for my part, I am convinced that their identity is anything but metaphorical.