Theories of the incarnation that view God the Son as temporarily emptying or stripping himself of some of the divine attributes, such as omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience are known as kenotic theories (from Greek kenoō, “to empty” in Philippians 2:7)
Thomas V. Morris, who finds these views wanting, correctly expounded that these theories, “involves the attempt to maintain that in order to become incarnate as a human being, God the Son, Second Person of the Trinity, temporarily divested himself of all divine properties not compossibly exemplifiable with human nature.” (Morris 2001: 89)
A general case against kenotic theories would base on the Anselmian notion of God viz., aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit.
- If God is a being that which none greater can be conceived, then omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence [and moral perfection], greatness making properties, are necessarily essential attributes.
- If it was the case that kenotic theories were true, then it is metaphysically possible for God the Son to “laid down” or temporarily limited the exercise of some of greatness making properties, namely there is a possible world in which God lacks or temporarily limits his greatness making properties.
- It is metaphysically impossible for a being that which none greater can be conceived to lack or limit the exercise of any of greatness making properties in any possible world.
By essential attributes I mean the attributes that are of necessity a being could not fail to have yet still exist. Those attributes that a being could fail to have yet still exists are accidental attributes (e.g. Creator, God would still be God even if He did not create the universe).
It would follow, if my assertions 1-3 are true, that any kenosis theory ultimately deny the deity of God the Son, namely which none greater can be conceived when He incarnated, since a being that lacks or limit the exercise of any of greatness making properties cannot be said to be God in any meaningful sense.
Therefore it is metaphysically impossible, if God the Son is God, to “laid down” or temporarily limit the exercise of some of greatness making properties, without ceasing to be God thus it is not the case that kenotic theories are true.
Morris, Thomas V. (2001) The Logic of God Incarnate. Wipf and Stock Publishers. Eugene OR.