The condescension of the Spirit
: the nature of the relation of the indwelling Holy Spirit

  • Kimberley Kroll

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


There are no conciliar teachings which are authoritative on the doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And yet, this doctrine is central to properly understanding the relations between redeemed human creatures (individually and corporately) and the Godhead as well as relations between redeemed human creatures and the rest of creation. The redeemed human creature is the Spirit indwelt human creature, and it is this indwelling relation that informs and constitutes every aspect of the redeemed human creature’s life. Because of this, it is pertinent to contemplate the indwelling relation simpliciter and not merely the effects of the relation (e.g., progressive sanctification, gifting, etc.). The thesis begins by nesting the indwelling relation in a larger theological frame for understanding God’s relation to that which is not God. Following this, merger and non-merger models of indwelling in analytic theology are investigated to see if they meet six desiderata of the indwelling relation and are thus theologically and philosophically tenable. This is followed by two constructive chapters that, utilizing the biblical metaphor of the Vine and the homeomorphic model of the High Priesthood, develop two possible models of the indwelling relation of the Holy Spirit that (1) are biblically rooted, and (2) satisfy the six desiderata. The hope is that this thesis will spark a conversation amongst scholars such that the indwelling relation of the Holy Spirit and the human creature is not minimized or passed over but instead seen as crucial to our understanding God, ourselves, and why it is better that Jesus ascended and the Spirit condescended to dwell in human creatures.
Date of Award2 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorMichael Cannon Rea (Supervisor) & T.J. Lang (Supervisor)

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 19 November 2025

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