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The term kenosis is often used for the incarnation of Jesus and the translation of this term means “to empty”. Kenosis is a term that comes from the Greek word “κενόω”. This concept spots light on Christ’s personality, having some form of self-limitation by the pre-existence of His Son, in becoming an earthly man. Kenotic theology is a kind of unbiblical view of nature of Christ and this idea teaches us that somehow, divinity of the Son of God was lessened or lost when Jesus took human form and entered this sinful world. One of the most trusted truths that Jesus Christ possessed are that He had both human and divine natures. Both these natures co-existed in the world after Jesus came to Earth. Kenosis is a concept that is presented for redefining Christ's nature, as most people accept the reality of Jesus as a human (Ridenour et al, pp. 187-206). It has been claimed that Jesus like other humans born, lived and died but on the other hand, it becomes difficult to accept the idea of incarnation i.e. Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again.
The notion of Christ’s emptying himself was responsible for lying aside privileges of the divinity but not the divinity itself. According to Philippians 2:7, Son of God possessed adoration, glory and infinite honor, but chose to leave the Heavens and position of honor, then made himself nothing to be here on earth and payed for the sins committed by man. Jesus paid for man's sin and veiled His glory by choosing a position of a slave on Earth and bore all the hardships that he could have abandoned at once (Oakes et al, pp. 871-891). It is important to understand that Jesus never claimed being God and he did not at all exchange deity for humanity.
Jesus chose to leave the glorious Heavens and refrained voluntarily, miracles for himself Though, he helped the needy people when they needed His miracles. He also refused to use His divinity so that he could feel the pain as a man and make his path easier. After coming to Earth, he had both divine and human nature as he suffered from the pain of being a man, while on the other hand, Jesus did miracles that were for others, not for His own self and this is a divine quality (Emerson et al, pp. 277-290). In John 5:19, it has been written that Christ completely submitted Himself as per the will of His Heavenly father. Jesus holds both natures i.e. divine and human by not surrendering any of the Deity attributes. However, He voluntarily restricted the use of these deity powers so that He could live a human life and feel at its fullest living among the men, by abiding to their limitations.
For having a better understanding of the conception of the presence of Christ on Earth as a man, there is a need to understand the ideas of God's hypostatic union. Hypostatic union is the term used for describing how Jesus took on human nature, yet staying fully God at the same time as He lived life like as an ordinary man. John 8:58 spots light on the biblical teachings that Jesus always had been God but it is the incarnation due to which Jesus became a human being
“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I was” (John 8:58)
The hypostatic union claims that Jesus Christ is the only person who was fully man and fully God. Both the natures (God and man) are inseparable in Jesus. Jesus would always stay as God-man, having the attributes of both. Divinity and the humanity of Jesus Christ are not mixed but remain intact without loss of separate identity. Throughout His life on earth, Jesus sometimes operated as a man by working in certain limitations but at other times, He operated in the power of the Deity which spots light on the co-existence of both the identities (God and man) in Jesus Christ. All the actions that Jesus performed were from a single person, which means that though Christ had two natures, He had but one personality. The doctrine of the hypostatic union is an attempt to explain how Christ could be man and God at the same time, without mixing the two natures.
Taking a look at the life of Christ and biblical teachings, it won’t be wrong to say that in Jesus' ministry he operated as both man and God (Jacobs et al, pp. 242-269). He did not give up his divine attributes as the Son of Man on Earth. Jesus is both man and God, and He has been God since the beginning of this world’s creation.
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17).
There are various scriptures in the Holy Bible that claim Jesus has always been God until he was conceived by Mother Mary, he becomes man so that he could identify with us in our difficulties and struggles. In the ministry of Jesus, it could be seen that Christ never left or mixed any of the attributes and distinctively expressed both natures. He was always Son of God and is present since the beginning of the creations and will be there till the end.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13)
Son of God becomes the Son of a man so that He could pay the penalty of the sin committed by man, and die on the cross so that he could rebuild the connection that was lost between God and His creation. So, in the light of all the above-mentioned biblical verses, it could be said that Christ serves humanity by becoming a man though he was Son of God, but restricted the use of His powers so that he could experience a human life and bear the sufferings that man went through. Jesus, by adopting the nature of man, taught his followers to have the same self-sacrificial mindset. Although He was all powering with miracles, He limited His powers and used His miracles, not for Himself, but rather for others. Christ does not give up his divine attributes as the Son of man on Earth by becoming a slave and emptying Himself. So, after analyzing and reviewing different verses from the Holy Bible, it could be said that Christ came to Earth as a man, but His attributes of being God were there as well. He came to save humanity from the burden of the sin committed by Adam and Eve. He took the form of a man, so that He could revive the relation between God and man.
Emerson, Matthew Y. "‘The one who trampled Hades underfoot’: a comparative analysis of Christ's descent to the dead and trinitarian relations in second-century Christian texts and Hans Urs von Balthasar." Scottish Journal of Theology 72.3 (2019): 277-290.
Jacobs, Lloyd. "Kenosis." Pennsylvania Literary Journal 11.2 (2019): 242-269.
Oakes, Kenneth. "Gathering Many Likenesses: Trinity and Kenosis." Nova et vetera 17.3 (2019): 871-891.
Ridenour, Autumn Alcott. "Union with Christ: Participation as the Ground of Christian Ethics in Augustine and Reformed Augustinianisms." Scripture, Tradition, and Reason in Christian Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2019. 187-206.
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