Jesus wasn't all-knowing as a human?


One of the things that kept my faith afloat in moments of doubt was the fact that it has been taught that Jesus was all-knowing. This is what separates him from the other religious leaders in history.

Recently I realized that only the Divine version of Jesus was all-knowing. The Human version of Jesus was not.

This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man”, and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.(CCC 471–474)

Since all of Scripture accounts of Jesus are in his fallible human form, doesn’t this just make him “another guy” who can’t fully be trusted since his intellect is limited? What separates him from the likes of a Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, etc.? These were all very wise human beings that weren’t all knowing.

Why should we trust Jesus’s word over those guys? People say, the Resurrection, but this only proves that he conquered death. Not that he was all powerful and all-knowing.


When Jesus walked this earth He was not just merely a man but both God and man. There is no separating.
Thee are several places in the gospels that speak of Jesus having knowledge that an ordinary man would not have.


Indeed. Still, Jesus set aside his divine privileges and as the God-man he did his miracles and had his knowledge through the Holy Spirit. So, it was possible for him to be surprised by the centurion’s faith, but also be able to do miracles and read the hearts of men. He operated through the Holy Spirit and not by his divine powers in order to make it possible for us to do the same. He stated, “Greater things that this shall you do…” He could say that because he sent the Holy Spirit upon us in two special ways:

Firstly, when he breathed on the Apostles and gave them the authority to bind and loose, to forgive sins and retain them. And secondly, at Pentecost he sent the Holy Spirit upon all assembled. So, he did his earthly ministry through the Holy Spirit as the God-man who became one of us so that we could do that works he did and to preach the gospel to all the world.

It wasn’t necessary that he know all things as a human being only that he be faithful to the Father’s will. He knew the Father intimately since he had come from the Father, but as a man he knew the Father through prayer and obedience to his will. If this were not so the temptation in the desert wouldn’t have been real nor his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, but only shams. He was tested and tried in his manhood and grew in wisdom and grace.


This article by famous apologist, Jimmy Akin, is what really muddied the pot for me.

He is basically stating that The Church “doesn’t know yet” if Jesus saw the Beatific Vision at conception nor did he always know that he was God.

Basically, how can we say that Jesus is the Way, the Life, and the Truth if even he didn’t know that when he was alive?


I went over the article and didn’t find anything like your conclusion. :shrug:

Faith in Christ isn’t based on his divinity alone. It’s also based on the fact of his Incarnation and the limits he set on himself when he “took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of man.” So, he grew in knowledge of who he was, but it was no doubt revealed to him when he was old enough to comprehend what that meant–not that he wasn’t aware of his Father before that. Even very young children may be aware of God’s existence and that he is someone they can know. But just who he was, the Messiah, and his mission weren’t something he’d need to know at the moment of his conception. Indeed, it’s very touching to me to think that he allowed himself to be completely dependent on his parents to care for him and safeguard his life in infancy and childhood. It’s not until age twelve that he lets his parents know that he knows who he is and that he has come to do his Father’s will. Exactly when he knew that, though, we cannot know. Only he and the Father the Holy Spirit would know that. It’s enough for us to know that he came to do his Father’s will and that he did it, no matter when he knew it as a human being.


We have in Luke2;49 Jesus telling His parents that He must about His father`s business.
the footnote in my bible states that Jesus was infused with the greatest human knowledge and that He had the beatific vision.


We don’t know to what extent was the fullness of the knowledge within Jesus’ human brain and the exact relationship of the human consciousness with the divine, but he was not fallible. Any lack of fullness of knowledge within the human nature was an intentional humbling on his part.

Is there any Catholic teaching that he didn’t know who he was?

Edit: It seems like the Church formal rejected the idea that Christ at one point did not know who he was as a Modernist heresy in the early 20th century.


The reason the great theologians have wrestled so hard with this question is because it cannot be answered–it’s a paradox. God the Son becoming man is a paradox–opposing things that are not in opposition. We cannot understand it, although that doesn’t stop us from trying. :wink: It is part of the great mystery of the Incarnation, which we may never understand, but do we need to? Is Christ’s redemption of mankind any less real if we never do? It’s an exercise in futility, as I see it to wrangle around and around about when Jesus knew what. Only God can know that, after all.



In the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Alone posesed two PERFECT Natures

Jesus Always was and IS GOD with a Percet Divine Nature

At the SAME TIME, Jesus was [is] also fully human with a perfect Human Nature:)

Hence ALL that was POSSIBLE for God remained POSSIBLE for Jesus:thumbsup:

Take for example:

**LK 2:43- 52 **"[45] and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.
[46] After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;
[47] and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
[48] And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”
[49] And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
[50] And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.
[51] And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
**[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man. **

Haydock’s commentary:

Ver. 52. Not that he was wiser at any future period of his life, than he was at the moment of his conception, but this is said, because he chose to manifest increasing signs of wisdom as he increased in years. — In the same manner also he increased in grace, by displaying, as he advanced in age, the gifts of grace with which he was endowed; and by this excited men to the praise of God, from the consideration of favours God had bestowed upon him; and thus he conduced to the honour of God, and the salvation of men. (St. Gregory) — The sun, always equally brilliant in itself, is said to increase in splendour, till it has reached its meridian brilliancy.





This is what St. Thomas Aquinas formulated in keeping with the traditional teachings of the Church Fathers.

’And in this way it must be said that the soul of Christ knows all things in the Word. For every created intellect knows, in the Word, not all simply, but so many more things the more perfectly it sees the Word. Yet no beatified intellect fails to know in the Word whatever pertains to itself. Now to Christ and His dignity all things to some extent belong, inasmuch as all things are subject to Him.’ [S.T. III 10,2.]

What the Angelic Doctor means is that Jesus’ human intellect grasped all things past, present, and future through his Beatific Vision. But since our Lord’s human mind was created in time and finite, he couldn’t know all the possibilities. Yet, in his divine mind, Jesus did and could know all that could have been, being one with the Father. Moreover, Jesus had knowledge in his human soul which was infused by God. This knowledge comprised all things belonging to human knowledge and divine revelation. Finally, Christ’s human soul did possess experiential knowledge. It was this kind of knowledge that our Lord acquired and progressed in while living on earth - “growing in wisdom and in stature” (Luke 2:52) [S.T. III 12,2.]

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church, 28 January



What I learned in my courses at the New Saint Thomas Institute & from Tim Staples is that Jesus was/is all knowing when He walked the Earth.

However, He was not authorized by The Father to reveal everything to us. Only what we needed to know in order to enter the Kingdom.

The example that was used: Jesus says that even He doesn’t know the time of the final judgment. But Jesus says that in His humanity, but He does know it in his Divinity. However, He (God The Son) was not authorized by God The Father to reveal that to us. So Jesus answered “even I [in my humanity] do not know the time.”

I pray that this helps.


Hi, Ben!

…here’s the problem with that understanding (though I must confess that the CCC does try it’s best in defining God… but it is not God)… where in Scriptures does it say that Jesus was a sinner?

The CCC is attempting to reconcile Scriptures that state that Jesus “grew” in wisdom and abilities with Who Jesus Is.

Since Jesus never stopped being God. He is fully Divine (God); since Jesus (the Word) became Incarnate, He was fully man.

The Writers of the Sacred Scriptures were not only fallible but also sinners… but when they Spoke/Wrote the Word of God they did so under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus states that everything that the Father has Belongs to Him… does that sound like Jesus is fallible and able to err… more importantly, teach error?

Our understanding of God is minute and in a constant state of flux… we will never fully Know and Understand God until we are taken by God and changed into the beings that God wants us to be.

If God is willing to share His Divinity with man, do you think He would Allow His Only Begotten Son to err and to blatantly teach error?

Revisit your thoughts through Jesus’ declaration at age twelve:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]49 And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business?

(St. Luke 2:49)

How many fallible children (as matter of fact–how many adults) realize that they must be about God?

Maran atha!




Another part of the question I forgot to ask.

The Church is founded by Jesus Christ when he gave the keys to Peter and they are the ones that come up with these doctrines. But the Church also admit that Jesus didn’t know everything when he was on Earth. So how can The Church, including Peter, trust itself knowing that the person they are basing their truth on didn’t know everything?


I think you read it too fast…

(thus lending to this mistaken notion).


Jesus knew everything necessary for his mission of redemption/salvation/revealing his Father to mankind. Merely because, as a man, he didn’t know everything–he knew all that he needed to know to gain our salvation and to reveal the Father’s love to us.

All this was done through the power of the Holy Spirit. You are leaving the third person of the Trinity out of the picture. Jesus taught Peter, the Apostles and his disciples through the Holy Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit is one of Jesus’ witnesses that he is who he claimed to be–the Son of God, the Son of man, and the Messiah. If you leave out the Holy Spirit you leave out an essential person in all this.

Jesus assured Peter and the Apostles that they would be “led into all truth” by the Holy Spirit–the same Spirit through whom Jesus did his miracles and the witness to who he is and what he came to do–to be the Savior of the World. The Spirit Jesus promised he would send to them in Jerusalem after his Ascension, which was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.

The temptation to doubt Jesus as the Son of God/Son of man is not from God. You have to keep firmly in mind that he was BOTH God and man. Not partial man, overwhelmed by divinity, but truly man who in his perfect nature fully cooperated with his divine nature in all things. His will as a man and his will as the Son of God were one in intention. This did not necessitate Jesus knowing everything as a man, although he certainly knew what most men didn’t know and had communion with his Father and the Holy Spirit others didn’t have. But now we too can have that same communion precisely because, as a man, he did his Father’s will in all things, gaining our redemption and making possible our salvation.


Catechism: Christ’s soul and his human knowledge

472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man”,101 and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience.102 This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.103

473 But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God’s Son expressed the divine life of his person.104 "The human nature of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God."105 Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father.106 The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.107

474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal.108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal.109


He did not need to! But what he did reveal is from God (and he knew too that he was the Son of God).

Read fully the Longer CCC quote up above.

Jesus did what after he ascended?

He fulfilled his promise.

He and the Father sent the* Holy Spirit.*


Hi, Ben!

…this is the same tenet only viewed from a different vantage point.

Please reread the replies you’ve been given, the answer is there!

Jesus never ceased being Divine; for God’s Salvific Plan to take effect, error could not be allowed to be Taught as Doctrine.

…as hard as you might will it, you cannot divorce God from His Salvific Plan–since God is Truth, Jesus, God’s Visible Image, cannot but be Truth.

Maran atha!




Since Jesus is fully Divine and his divine character never mixes with his Human nature. He is fully Human and his human nature never mixes with his Human nature. Thus they are two people that make up one person. So when one character is ignorant, than the Person of Christ is also ignorant. And if one character is all-knowing, than the Person of Christ is all knowing.

Thus he would be ignorant and not ignorant at the same time…Doesn’t this violate the law of Non-Contradiction?..and at worse, it is claiming that there are times when God can be ignorant since he IS also this person?

How can I put my trust in someone that is all-knowing and ignorant at the same time?


No. Jesus wasn’t two separate people. He submitted his divine nature to his human nature while he lived on earth. He was/is fully divine and fully human–one person with two natures, not two people crammed together. Jesus assumed his human nature at his conception, but did not use his divine powers/privileges until his Resurrection from the dead. It was a great act of humility on his part to empty himself of his divine powers and privileges in order to become a human being. Rather like a king taking on being a peasant in order to raise the peasantry to royalty.

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