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.
The first article of faith in Michael Palmer’s “The Atheist’s Creed” is that he believes, echoing Carl Sagan, that “the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.” (Palmer 2012:5) “The fact of the matter is that the most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing and for nothing” (Smith 1993: 135), so we are told by Quentin Smith.
Was Bertrand Russell correct in deeming that “the universe is just there, and that’s all” ? Why are some atheists repelled by the concept of the cosmic beginning? It is time to ponder. Keeping my post short, I have divided this article in two parts, part I Cosmic Beginning and part II Cosmic Genesis.
Eternal Universe: Religious Atheists’ Article of Faith
Michael Ruse quoted Ernst Mayr’s noteworthy observation: “People forget that it is possible to be intensely religious in the entire absence of theological belief.” (Ruse 2003: 335) To avoid painting all atheists with a single stroke, an explanation of what I mean by the oxymoron “religious atheists,” as used in this article, is required. Continue reading
Michael Palmer’s The Atheist’s Creed records the first article of faith, which characterizes what I call religious atheism, namely “I BELIEVE THAT the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.”(Palmer 2012:5, emphasis in original), which is contrary to modern cosmology. I recommend reading the first part: Cosmic Beginning And Grousing Of Religious Atheists, before reading its second.
In The Beginning And Religious Atheists’ Fear
Religious atheists’ fear, as echoed in Steven Hawking’s prerecorded speech played on his 70th birthday, is that “[a] point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” (Grossman 2012: 6).
“All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” – Alexander Vilenkin
Are you interested in ‘The State of the Universe’? Celebrating Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday, University of Cambridge assembled 27 contemporary and world leading experts in cosmology to review the current status of the fields of black holes, cosmology and fundamental physics. Video and audio: ‘The State of the Universe’ – Stephen Hawking 70th Birthday Conference/Symposium
“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” – Alexander Vilenkin
– Alex Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176.
“This is also not a good candidate for a beginningless universe,” [cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University, dismissing “Cracked” a third, lesser-known proposal that the cosmos existed eternally] concludes. “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”(New Scientist: Why physicists can’t avoid a creation event )
“Designoid[category of objects which is hard to distinguish whether they are accidental or designed] objects are living bodies and their products. Designoid objects look designed, so much so that some people – probably, alas, most people think that they are designed. These people are wrong. But they are right in their conviction that designoid objects cannot be the result of chance. Designoid objects are not accidental. They have in fact been shaped by a magnificently non-random process which creates an almost perfect illusion of design.”
– Richard Dawkins, Richard Climbing Mount Improbable, (TSP: Viking, 1996), p. 4
“As a biochemist and software developer who works in genetic and metabolic screening, I am continually amazed by the incredible complexity of life. For example, each of us has a vast ‘computer program’ of six billion DNA bases in every cell that guided our development from a fertilized egg, specifies how to make more than 200 tissue types, and ties all this together in numerous highly functional organ systems. Few people outside of genetics or biochemistry realize that evolutionists still can provide no substantive details at all about the origin of life, and particularly the origin of genetic information in the first self-replicating organism. What genes did it require — or did it even have genes? How much DNA and RNA did it have — or did it even have nucleic acids? How did huge information-rich molecules arise before natural selection? Exactly how did the genetic code linking nucleic acids to amino acid sequence originate? Clearly the origin of life — the foundation of evolution – is still virtually all speculation, and little if no fact.”
– Chris Williams, Ph.D., Biochemistry Ohio State University
“You are a Christian only because you were born in a Christian country”
Quiz: Is this a good argument? If not explain what is wrong with it?