Original Research

Mupasi as cosmic s(S)pirit: The universe as a community of life

Kuzipa M.B. Nalwamba
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4624 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4624 | © 2017 Kuzipa M.B. Nalwamba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2017 | Published: 23 August 2017

About the author(s)

Kuzipa M.B. Nalwamba, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa and Council for World Mission, United Kingdom


Mupasi recalls the belief that humans form part of the community of life within the realm of the cosmic spirit. The assertion seems like a truism that requires no further enunciation. However, belief in the Creator-Spirit, a pneuma-theological understanding of creation, is relatively young in the Christian tradition. In Colossians 1:15-20, Christ is presented as instrumental to creation. Christian tradition therefore tends to present creation in Christological terms. The foundational belief in Spirit-Creator-God has not historically undergirded Christian belief about creation. The Christian faith could therefore benefit from ‘companion’ views of creation in terms of the cosmic spirit. Mupasi is understood as cosmic spirit, the axis of the universe apprehended as an organic whole. The web of life was brought into being, is sustained by, and inhabited by Mupasi. This retrieval has continuities and discontinuities with Christian belief as Spirit-Creator-God. It is presented here as a notion that calls the Christian faith back to its originating intuitions about creation. Mupasi is appropriated within a pneuma-theological framework that addressed a pressing issue of our time, the global ecological crisis. Mupasi presents an ecological critique that is meaningful for a renewed appreciation of community beyond an anthropocentric focus. The cosmic relatedness brings a renewed vision of the universe as a cosmic community of the s(S)pirit. The cultural and intellectual milieu of Mupasi is undergirded by a relational conception of reality. It provides a critical lens with implications for ecclesiology that challenges the church’s self-understanding and ways of being.


s(S)pirit; Cosmic Spirit; pneuma-theology; Relational; Mupasi; Spirit-Creator-God; creation; ecological crisis


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