When Pannenberg turns to the soteriological work of the Spirit the dynamic nature of the Spirit’s relationship to creation and eschatology is revealed. Having previously established the priority of the immanent Trinity Pannenberg recognizes that it is these intra-trinitarian relationships that form the pattern of the Spirit’s action in creation.
The Spirit is understood to have both universal functions, like the foundation for all movement and life in creation, and those specifically related to the believers. The Spirit who is universally the world’s life-giving presence is also the bringer of life in the New Creation of God through the resurrection of the dead. It is only by viewing his “imparting to believers in this comprehensive context [that we can] judge what the event of the outpouring of the Spirit means in truth,” for the work of the Spirit of God in his church and in believers serves the consummating of his work in the world of creation (III, 2).
Pannenberg examines the universal and soteriological operations of the Spirit and relates them to the complementary work of the Logos. It is then the Logos and the Spirit, which work together in creation in such a way that the Word of creation is the fashioning principle, while the Spirit is the source of the movement and life of creatures. In reference only to the Spirit’s historical mediation of the saving effects of the Son, Pannenberg relates the Spirit to the sending of the Son and by doing so creates a cooperation of Father and Son in the sending of the Spirit. This connection proves important for Pannenberg throughout because the Spirit is understood as an eschatological reality that remains in “full and continuous connection with his work in the world of nature as the origin of all life” (III, 17).
The resurrected Jesus who is fully permeated with the eschatological divine life of the Spirit is then able to send the Spirit to others through their relationship to him because of the Son’s reception of the Spirit in the resurrection to new life. The Easter event, in which the Spirit gave new life to the Son, demonstrated the presence of the Spirit in the entirety of his life, in particularly in the in breaking reality of God’s eschatological future.