Thursday Theological Inquiry: God as Self-Emptying
My imagining of God has evolved some over the years as I’ve moved from accentuating figures and terms of power (almighty, omnipotent) to highlighting those of humility (kenosis, self-emptying, weakness). These days I am drawn to a God found in emptiness and otherness, in death and loss and frailty.
When I say that I have faith, I speak primarily of my desire and will to love when love seems absurd, a love I associate with the divine life. To live self-emptying love is to live in God’s image and likeness. Or so I believe. Such is the lesson I glean from the cross. St. Francis of Assisi, who’s feast day is today, addressed God as “O sublime humility, O humble sublimity,” names also well-suited to love.
My question for you is this: does this image of God as self-emptying love make more sense or less sense than the image of God as the Absolute, Almighty Creator Being? For my part, I find it less intelligible, but more…real. This sits okay with me as my theological disposition tends towards the apophatic–the belief that God is other than what our images and concepts convey. Words disclose what cannot be disclosed. To speak of God is to speak analogously, never literally. At day’s end, I’m concerned more about whether I’ve loved as well as possible than whether my analogy “God is love/love is God” can be put into a coherent theology.