The Empty God

The Empty God
“Kenosis” comes from the Greek word “keno” meaning “to empty.” This word is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians the second chapter.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
There is a pervasive theology widespread among parts of the body of Christ known as “Kenotic Theology” which attempts to explain the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity in light of the Kenosis of Philippians 2:5-8.
The purpose of this theory is to solve some of the supposed paradoxes arising from Jesus having both a divine nature and a human nature. To list a few, how could an all knowing God become a baby, how could God be tempted, or how could Jesus not know the time of His return (Mark 13:32)?
The danger comes when it is concluded that in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity took on human nature and gave up or lost some of the divine attributes–omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Meaning that Jesus was not fully divine.
The doctrine of the two natures of Christ is the Hypostatic Union which states that Jesus possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature, which were not combined or confused into some new nature, but were added to each other forever (yet remain distinct) in the one person Jesus Christ.
The question of the kenosis comes to this–What does it mean when Scripture says Christ “emptied” Himself? Was Jesus not God during His earthly ministry? Absolutely not, because deity cannot stop being deity or He would never have been true deity to begin with. But the “emptying” is satisfactorily explained that He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself, His attributes were veiled.
The kenosis theory is a dangerous doctrine because if it true, it would mean that Jesus was not fully divine. If Jesus was not fully divine, then His atoning work would not be sufficient to atone for the sins of the world. The Hypostatic Union –that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man (Col. 2:9) and never gave up any divine attributes while He walked as a man on earth.


Here in HEB 9:5, hilasterion clearly refers to the mercy-seat, the golden cover for the Ark of the Covenant.

The wood represents the humanity of Christ;
the gold represents the deity of Christ. Together, they represent the Hypostatic Union.

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