In my previous blog entry I used the phrase “Kenotic Ethic”.

This phrase takes its origin from the word “Kenosis”.  Kenosis is defined as “emptying” or “emptiness”.

The word Kenosis is found in the famous scriptural passage of Philippians 2:7:

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[a] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

the first line of this scripture can also be translated “but emptied himself”.

Often this scriptural passage becomes a discussion on subjects pertaining to the divinity of Christ, the Incarnation, or the Hypostatic Union.

Although the aforementioned subjects are absolutely wonderful subjects to explore and study we often can get tunnel vision and forget to look at the scripture with new and refreshed eyes 🙂

This is most evident in how scripture usually gets involved in a Philosophical Theology at the highest levels.  This movement to philosophic systems sometimes bypasses avenues of exegesis that could provide a better witness to the Living Word – Christ.


Some very intelligent church fathers and theologians took this passage to be a witness to God in a refreshing way.

They relate the passage to the gospel as a whole;  This passage they say is not speaking to a theory about God.  Philippians 2:7 is a call to believers to understand the humility of God exhibited in the incarnation event and be similarly subservient to others.

It is a holy passage that speaks to the Gospel message of self-sacrifice.

These are powerful themes and ones which should be explored in a private and intimate fashion.

I would recommend that one looking to immerse themselves in this type of contemplation follow an Ignatian form of spirituality.  St. Ignatius was wonderfully gifted at understanding some of the patterns in which even the most earnest deny themselves a closer relationship with the Living God.

Maybe I will write on that in a later post 😉





A.  Philippians 2:7 Or the form


About The Smiling Pilgrim

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." -- 1 John 4:7 A simple man exploring the mysteries of love - TSP
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