Christ’s Knowledge as Man

Christ's human intellect was imbued with beatific, infused and experiential knowledge

Christ, as one divine Person knows all things, so it's heretical to imply Christ was ignorant of anything. It can be asked, however, what knowledge was in Christ's human intellect when He was on earth.

Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that Christ, whose divine intellect was omniscient, also had a human intellect imbued with beatific, infused and experiential knowledge. If Christ's human mind is likened to a computer, then beatific knowledge would be like accessing all the knowledge on the internet. Infused knowledge in Christ's human mind would be like downloaded software. Acquired or sense knowledge would be like information typed in on a keyboard or the senses. Thus, when Christ heard, felt or saw something, it was again only in what's called sensual or experiential knowledge without any actual increase in conceptual knowledge.

Christ knows all things by virtue of His divine intellect but His human mind beheld the beatific vision and thus knew all things that have been created in the past and present or will be created in the future. The infused knowledge in His human intellect exceeded that of all the angels. Both beatific and infused knowledge were fixed in Christ's human mind from the moment of His incarnation in Mary's womb and never increased.

While knowing all things as God, Christ's human nature could grow in experiential knowledge which wasn't an increase in new concepts but was merely another way of experiencing the same knowledge He'd obtained from beatific or infused knowledge. An example of this is in John 18:4 which reads, "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said to them: Whom seek ye?" Likewise, John 6:5–6 reads, "When Jesus, therefore, had lifted up His eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to Him, He said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to try him; for He, Himself knew what He would do."

Gain a close-up view of the God-man in season one of Armor of God—The Incarnation.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli