Is it possible for man to have infused knowledge?

It is commonly taught that man can only gain knowledge via the senses. Is it possible that this knowledge is infused and only appears to be through the senses?

Do you mean like instincts? Or do you mean more concrete and tangible knowledge?

1 Like

Concrete and tangible.

1 Like

Just off of personal experience, I doubt it. Sometimes it seems this way for me due to deja vu.

Yes it is possible. This isn’t ordinarily how we know things though.

I feel I’m not 100% clear on what you’re asking…but if I’m interpreting your question correctly, look up HIldegard von Bingen and her books, Scivia and Physica. I believe she had a few others too. Her knowledge of human anatomy, as outlined in these books, came purely from visions, and later generations of knowledge were astounded by her accuracy. She lived in early to mid medieval times and had no formal education in these things.

Yes, God CAN grant us knowledge. It doesn’t happen often, but He can do as He pleases.

2 Likes

Infused knowledge was one of the preternatural gifts to man before the fall. It is not possible without divine intervention.

If you merely want to know whether man can receive infused knowledge, then the answer is yes, although that is not naturally how we acquire knowledge. Ordinarily and naturally we acquire knowledge through the senses. But there is no reason why God cannot, in some exceptional cases, allow you to receive infused knowledge without the aid of any of your senses. However, this would be a supernatural, rather than a natural mode of knowing. For creatures composed of body and soul the natural mode of knowing is through the senses.

If your question is whether our knowledge has been infused all along, and that it only appears to us as being acquired through the senses, then the answer is NO. If we receive infused knowledge of anything from God or from any of the angels, then we will know that we did not get it through the senses. In like manner, if we acquire knowledge of anything through the senses then we know it is NOT infused knowledge.

If you happen to have a vision of an angel or a saint from heaven, and the angel or saint starts talking to you in audible words (which happened to St. Joan of Arc, for example), then the knowledge you acquire is not infused knowledge. Truly infused knowledge is purely intellectual, and does not happen with visual, auditory or any sensory aids. For example, Christ, as human, did not know everything and had to learn many things through His senses. (He learned carpentry from St. Joseph.) However, He had an infused knowledge of His divinity, which was not acquired by any of His senses.

I believe that Adam and Eve were also given infused knowledge of many of the things that they needed to learn when they were in Paradise. They were created as adults, and they didn’t have time to learn everything from scratch. So they were granted some infused knowledge. If you believe in human evolution, which I don’t, then we may a fundamental disagreement on that point. But that will be off topic, so I will not encourage any further discussion on that issue in this thread.

2 Likes

.
I expect that many examples of this could be provided. One example: the Church teaches that the Bible is the inspired word of God. That is, the writers of the Bible were inspired about what to say–the Bible is the word of God in the words of men.
When it comes to the theology of the Church–several of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit involve knowledge given by God. The seven gifts are given with baptism.
I expect that many people on these forums can give personal examples of this happening to them.

People may be able to get knowledge from a computer ? See Neuralink

Listen to Father Donald Calloway’s conversion story. His Faith can ONLY be explained by Holy Infusion. He says he knew NOTHING about God, etc. He said understanding of the Faith was just like it was being injected into his body/mind. Talk about receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit from out of no where.

2 Likes

@rom
This was exactly my question. So one couldn’t have infused knowledge and believe it was acquired? The infused knowledge would be manifest?

Those who receive infused knowledge know their knowledge was not acquired. They may not be able to explain how they got their knowledge, but they know they did not spend any effort to acquire it. The reason I know this is because I have listened to some interviews made with musical child prodigies, and they all say that the music just comes to their head. For example, Alma Deutscher, who composed her first piano sonata at age six, and her first opera, “The Sweeper of Dreams,” at age seven, had an interview on the Ellen Show when she was just 8 (She is 15 now.) Here is a 5-min. Youtube video of the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHYHswmUVGs

@rom

What if the person had their knowledge infused simultaneously during the period they were being taught by someone?

For example, a student in English class is infused with the meaning of the word “wagon” during the same exact time the student’s teacher educates him on the word “wagon”. Would the student be able to know the difference between how he learned the word?

This is a hypothetical question and is not likely to happen. But in answer to your question, I do not know whether you can distinguish right away that a certain infusion of knowledge happened simultaneously with acquired learning. But I’d say that the enlightenment you get from the infusion of knowledge would let you understand more fully whatever knowledge you acquire by instruction from a teacher. Many saints have said that what they learn from the contemplation of God (which happens through infusion of knowledge) is worth more than many years of study of theology.

I think Adam and Eve and Mary had infused knowledge. I’m not sure about Joseph; angels gave him knowledge in dreams, but I don’t think that is what is meant by infused knowledge. Did he have anything else? I don’t know . . .

If Mary had infused knowledge, then almost certainly Jesus did, but although He was man, he is also God, so I don’t know how that works.

In principle, God could infuse knowledge into anybody for any reason or even for no reason at all, but in practice it seems like it’s actually a rather rare phenomenon, or at least that is how it seems to me.

Revelation is infused knowledge.

Saint Peter “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”
Our Lord: “Blessed are you, Simon Peter, for man has not revealed this to you (senses), but my Father in heaven” (infused/revelation).

Could be wrong here, but I think this is correct.

1 Like

So that might be what . . . 6 out of very roughly 100 billion people who have ever lived? So the chance of anybody ever getting infused knowledge is what, about 1 out of 17 billion?

Even if there are a few more, this is still rare, very very rare . . .

It is a rare gift, but perhaps not as rare as you imagine. I know many saints have been gifted with infused knowledge. Also, God’s generosity is not limited to those who are exceptionally holy. There are many painters, musicians, poets who receive some infused knowledge to a limited degree. So do scientists and mathematicians who discover a brilliant idea or the solution to a problem out of nowhere. Well, it is not really out of nowhere, because all knowledge ultimately comes from God, but proximately they might come from angels or other saints. Perhaps we sometimes receive that gift, too, but we may not realize it unless we are paying attention. Infused knowledge always benefits the recipient, of course, but some infused knowledge may be granted, not exclusively to benefit the recipient, but for the good of the Church or of the world at large. This is why I am not surprised if people who are not very saintly also receive this infusion of knowledge. Take Mozart, for example. He was not perfect, but it is difficult to explain where he got his talent for music without infused knowledge. Yet, I think he received that gift, not for himself alone, but for the world.

Among those who pray in the spirit - especially before the Blessed Sacrament, infused knowledge, called the “Word of Knowledge” is not all that uncommon, actually. I can personally attest to that, as can any charismatic priest, up to and including Fr. Ramiero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan Capuchin and the preacher of the papal household for the last several popes.

http://www.cantalamessa.org/?cat=1&lang=en

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.