Is the whole Trinity omniscient? Or just the Father?


“But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36)

Does this mean Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not omniscient, and only the Father is? I don’t really understand why. Thanks in advance.


God the Son and God the Holy Ghost are equal to God the Father in everything. Not one has/knows something that the other doesn’t since, if that were true, He couldn’t be God. So the Son & the Holy Ghost are omniscient.

I believe that that specific passage is when Christ spoke in a manner that reflected His humanity rather than His divinity, although I am not sure.


All three Divine Persons are omniscient. And Confiteor Deo is correct that the passage in Matthew is understood as referring to the assumed humanity of Jesus and not to the Divine Person.


There is something I still don’t understand though. “Only the Father knows”. Jesus had limitations as a human being, I get it. But, what about the Holy Spirit? It still says “only the father knows”.


How can they be three different persons when the content of their “minds” is exactly the same? One consciousness = one person.


It’s a mystery. I accept it as it is, even if I can’t understand it well. I have some doubts about certain things, and that is why I am asking. But I believe.

  1. The concept of the person as a center of consciousness is a modern concept resting in the field of psychology and would not be known to the era of the Latin and the Greek Fathers of the Church, who confronted the questions and canonized the language we use in trintarian theology and in Christology. “Persona” in Latin and its Greek equivalents, prosopon (πρόσωπον) and hypostasis (ὑπόστασις) is rather the definition we must default to. You would have to look to the definition of Boethius, which is clarified and explicated by Saint Thomas Aquinas, particularly in the tertia pars of the Summa, for how to understand “person” as it is being used in these parts of theology.

  2. The two natures in Christ – the divine and the human – are perfectly distinct, unmixed and unconfused but perfectly united at the level of the Person of the Incarnate Word, the mystery of the hypostatic union. Each nature acts according to the proper operation of that nature. Thus it is the human intellect of Christ, part of the assumed human nature, that is being referenced in the Matthean passage.

  3. The distinction of Persons within the Trinity is through the opposition of relationships among the Divine Persons…that is, the Father is distinguished by Fatherhood and the Son by Sonship for example. In everything else, They are One…the ineffable Unity in the mystery of the Trinity – thus They share one will, one intellect, one substance, etc. Thus, all three Persons are omniscient.

  4. Jesus is speaking in terms of creation in this passage of Matthew…the angels do not know the day or the hour nor does the Son [of Man], whom Matthew repeatedly images as the summit of creation (sitting at the right of the Father, commanding the angels, returning in glory to judge at the end of the age, etc.). The reference to the Father here is to the Godhead. In the Godhead, the Second Person of the Trinity, (the Logos, the Word) and the Third Person have the same knowledge as the First Person, otherwise there would be a multiplicity of intellects in the one Divine Mind and that is not possible as it would violate the absolute Unity.

  5. The original question goes much to the heart of Trinitarian theology and is profoundly deep – and usually requires more than one lecture when teaching De trinitate! It is a complex question to answer in this sort of forum. The question which is corollary goes much to the heart of Christology: how the two intellects in Christ worked separately and together (the human intellect proper to the assumed human nature – being referenced here in Matthew – and the divine intellect proper to the Second Person of the Trinity and His divine nature.) There are various articles online in the Catholic Encyclopedia that treat each of these topics in depth but also in a relatively accessible language.

A maxim for all, wherever we are in the study of theology, is the one of Saint Anselm of Canterbury, a Doctor of the Church: Credo ut intelligam. (“I believe so that I may understand”).


That is what I also do not understand. According to Scripture, only the Father knows. If only the Father knows, then how could the Holy Spirit be omniscient?


Jesus chose not to know. He took the form of a servant.

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Phillipians 2:6-7)

Servants are not told what their master is doing.

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)

Having made himself a servant he was not privy to what the father was doing. This Jesus did by choice. It was Jesus’ will that he not be told by the Father.



There is no real indication in the Gospels that the Holy Spirit is an equal part of a trinitarian God. The full understanding and formal recognition of the Trinity did not happen until centuries after. The writers of the Gospels, with the exception of one debatable passage in Matthew, see the Spirit as a power or messenger of God, not as an equal. And as is pointed out by the OP, Jesus treats the Holy Spiritt, in the cited passage and elsewhere, in a similar way, as a spirit or force that God will send and employ at the proper times. But not as omniscient.


So Jesus was not omniscient?


Jesus in His humanity was not omniscient.

The Persons of the Trinity share one mind and one will. Since the Incarnation, the Son has assumed a second, human mind and will (and body and soul).

So it is not possible for the Persons of the Trinity to keep knowledge from each other or disagree, because they share the one divine mind and will. But it is possible for the human mind of the Son not to know something that His divine mind knows. (For example, Jesus most likely never learned Chinese in the human manner, and He certainly was never taught yet-to-exist languages like English. But as God He knows all human languages.)

Now, exactly how all that worked in Jesus’ personal experience is something theologians have debated ever since. Was He sometimes truly ignorant unless He chose to tap into His divine knowledge, or did He always know everything but sometimes spoke from a human perspective? Only He could tell us.



Did Jesus have two different minds? Could He choose to use either mind, or once He was human, did He have to use only His human mind?


He was when he chose to be and wasn’t when he chose not to be.



As I thought I said already in the post you are replying to, the answers are “yes” and “we don’t really know how that worked.”


One person generally would have one mind?


That is generally our experience, yes. But God is three Persons sharing one mind, and Jesus is one Person (the second of the aforememtioned three) with two minds.

As has been mentioned earlier in the thread, though, the word “person” when used of God is an English rendering of a Latin translation of a Greek word being used in a technical sense. It is likely unsafe to assume it is identical with the present concept of personhood.



What does “one person” mean?


From what I’ve read, the best definition for “person” when applied to God is “thing you can have a relationship with.” The Persons of the Trinity are distinguished by their relationships with each other. The Son is begotten of the Father; the Spirit proceeds from the Father (and/through the Son); the Father is neither begotten nor proceeding. Those are the only inherent differences between the three Persons.

Jesus, by contrast, does not have internal relationships. He has two natures, divine and human, but he is only one person, God the Son. There is not a separate human Jesus that God “possessed” or is sharing a body with. LIkewise, other people can’t have separate relationships with Jesus as a man and as God the Son. That’s why we are so insistent that Mary is properly called the bearer or mother of God – not because she is older or greater than God, as she most certainly is not, but to affirm that the son she carried and bore and brought up IS the second Person of the Trinity. You can’t divide Jesus up and say that Mary is only the mother of the human.

One popular way of expressing this is that the personhood is the “who” and the nature is the “what.” God, the Trinity, is one “what” and three “whos.” Jesus is one “who” and two “whats.”



But if He has two minds, there must be a relationship between the two minds that you say He has.

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