Kenosis and the knowledge of God

Jurgen Moltmann's major work is his "theology of hope", which in many ways re-launched the study of this key theological virtue. One key aspect of Moltmann's thought is the idea that God is not "aloof" from time. He focusses on Jesus' suffering on the cross: if God is "passionless", and Jesus is God, and Jesus suffered, isn't that a contradiction in terms? In Jesus, God has definitely entered into time and has experienced time.

Moltmann also focusses on the notion that God is Love. He argues that we often understand this with regards to God-in-himself (the immanent Trinity), but forget that it also applies to God-for-others (the economic Trinity); instead, we tend to say "God is loving" in regards to the latter element. But Moltmann argues that in doing so we overlook the reciprocal nature of love, i.e. that when we love someone we hope that s/he will love us back. Limiting ourselves to the statement "God is loving" risks turning our perception of God into that of a giant celestial vending machine. But to say "God is Love", even in regards to his creation, actually implies that God (1) desires for us to have free will, for our love to be genuine, and (2) opens himself up to the possibility of "being hurt" by our refusal to love. Creation is actually an act of kenosis, or "self-emptying".

Which got me thinking about a debate that took place on this blog a long, long time ago. One of the first theological controversies I ever stirred up was a discussion of whether or not God knows actual future events. The argument being made at the time was that God could not know actual future events because there is no such thing as an actual future event, i.e. it was a philosophical argument, implying that such knowledge was impossible for God. This generated a lot of controversy and criticism, in particular because it seemed to detract from the idea of God's omnipotence and omniscience. It seemed to introduce a defect in God. (The discussion was a lot of fun, I might add. OK, so I have an odd sense of fun.)

But what if the argument were phrased differently? Suppose one were to argue that God *could* know actual future events, but *chooses not to* as a part of the movement of kenosis? The general problem of free will vs. predestination disappears, there is no "defect" in God, and the prophetic dimension of Scripture (regarding actual future events) can be maintained.