George Ellis and Kenotic Ethics

I recently downloaded an interview that I found to be both beautiful and helpful.

Krista Tippett, who hosts Public Broadcastings Speaking Of Faith show, interviews South African Cosmologist George Ellis. Ellis a scientist, and winner of the Templeton Prize. His works span the worlds of mathematics, cosmology, origins of the universe, poverty, advocacy and forgiveness. This interview is called “Science and Hope.”

Walking through the middle of the challenges of Apartheid in South Africa, he uses the term “kenotic ethics” to speak of a way of bringing wholeness to people, systems and nations. “Kenotic” comes from the greek word, “kenosis” which means “emptying.”

He is a Quaker by choice (because of their emphasis on social justice, primarily), and a passionate Christian. His strong scientific and theological belief is that at the center of the universe is a “kenotic” God – a God who empties Himself to suffer with, suffer for, suffer through in a non self-preserving manner.

He actually sees the kenotic principle as woven into the fabric of the universe as mathematics – i.e. life on other planets would understand some form of mathematics given its clear presence in the universe – he believes they would understand the kenotic principle as well.

Ellis suggests that Ghandi, Mandela, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and many others have followed the way of kenotic ethics, and in his mind, have shown it to be the most powerful form of healing available in the world.

For Ellis, Jesus is the primary model of this ethic, and models the nature of God in his life, death and Lordship.

A beautiful interview, worth downloading.

More on George Ellis (from Wikipedia):

He co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking, published in 1973, and is considered one of the world’s leading theorists in cosmology. He is an active Quaker and in 2004 he won the Templeton Prize[1]. From 1989 to 1992 he served as President of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. Currently he is President of the International Society for Science and Religion.

Tippett Interview with Cosmologist George Ellis.

Letter From a Scottish Soldier Sent To George Ellis Modelling Kenotic Ethics in Battle.

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