I was very interested to learn that John and Philosophy: A New Reading of the Fourth Gospel by Troels Engberg-Pedersen (p.69) advocates for identifying two key moments in the Gospel of John as one and the same, or two sides of the same coin. When the Gospel of John says that the Spirit descended upon Jesus and remained on him, there is no fundamental difference in meaning to what is said in the prologue, namely that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This is a view that I myself have advocated for in the past – see “Prologue as Legitimation” (pp.117-118), “Johannine Christianity – Jewish Christianity?” (pp.4-7), as well as John’s Apologetic Christology (p.140 n.37). I brought up this possibility in Sunday school last week, towards the end of the class, and will be interested to see whether anyone is interested in talking about the possibility further – whether because they find it persuasive or because they want to push back against it. I hope at some point to write a book that explores in detail what the implications might be of adopting (pun intended) this view of who Jesus is, and how that relates to God as Father, Spirit, and Word. Several authors have explored this possibility, but to my knowledge no one has made the case for it and explored the implications for our understanding of the Fourth Gospel in a book-length monograph dedicated specifically to that subject in its own right.
A number of other items online are worth drawing attention to as they relate to this subject. Dale Tuggy recently discussed whether references to the Spirit of God in the Bible envisage a distinct person from God, or refer to the self of the one God as understood in ancient Israel’s monotheistic viewpoint. David Litwa shared a very helpful article that he wrote recently, about what the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Thomas have in common and what separates them, when it comes to sharing in divinity. There have also been several other blog posts by Dale Tuggy that are of related interest, including the following: