A Trinitarian Pneumatology of the Indonesian Maritime

  • Elia Maggang

Student thesis: Phd


How should humans respond to the sea and the sea’s agency for life on this blue planet? In light of the ecological crisis at sea and its impacts, addressing that question is necessary for Christians. Framing human response to the sea with the term maritime, which speaks of humanity’s relationship with the sea from a particular context, this thesis offers a Trinitarian Pneumatology of the Indonesian Maritime. This maritime theology suggests that the sea, humans and their mutual yet asymmetrical relationship participate in the Trinitarian Spirit’s work of preserving and renewing the whole creation from the sea. I navigate these discussions over the three parts of this thesis. Part I investigates the significance of maritime theology for Indonesia. I start by constructing five guiding principles of a maritime theology: (1) the sea is sacramental; (2) the sea affirms humans as participants, not the centre in God’s work; (3) the sea is a participant in God’s work; (4) as connector, the sea offers a friendship for the common life; and (5) as boundary, the sea shapes maritime particularity and affirms its significance. Then, I explore the Indonesian maritime world and bring it into conversations with the guiding principles. As it encourages humans to let the sea flourish in its ecological and social agencies, maritime theology is significant for Indonesia, which is in a maritime crisis but has maritime potential to address that crisis. This part indicates Trinitarian pneumatology's critical role in constructing such a maritime theology. Part II clarifies and justifies that crucial role by discussing the Trinitarian theology with an emphasis on the Spirit’s work in creation. I demonstrate the significance of Trinitarian theology and then turn to the Spirit’s work as specifically suitable for the maritime world. The Trinitarian Spirit creates space for non-human creatures, including the sea and sea spirits recognised in traditional maritime cultures, to participate in God’s economy, as illustrated in the Trinitarian theology of creation. The Trinitarian Spirit also embraces traditional maritime cultures as expressions of the Spirit’s work. Part II constructs my Trinitarian pneumatology of the maritime: the we-sea relationship, which puts humans and the sea as co-participants in the Trinitarian Spirit’s work. Finally, Part III brings the Trinitarian pneumatology of the maritime into an encounter with the Indonesian maritime to splash out my Trinitarian pneumatology of the Indonesian maritime. This part elucidates the Indonesian we-sea relationship. I argue that the Indonesian maritime space is a participation in the Spirit’s work as the Spirit dwells and works in that space, including in-between the sea and humans, to preserve and renew the space. Indonesian people and the sea are co-participants in the Trinitarian Spirit’s work.
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Scott (Supervisor) & Scott Midson (Supervisor)


  • Indonesia
  • The Sea
  • Trinitarian Theology
  • Pneumatology
  • Maritime
  • Traditional Maritime Culture

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