On the human nature not Jesus

I hope I can get this question right but…

When ‘God the Son’ became man he took on all the limitations to grow in wisdom like us correct? To what extent did that go?

For example, my little one in a sense grows in wisdom by freely trying to explore his surroundings. If he doesn’t listen to my warnings about not running in the living room, he will ‘grow in wisdom’ when he bashes his head on the coffee table :). Would this same example apply to Jesus? Would absolute sinless perfect obidence to Mary have prevented him from learning in this way? (Seems to me that it takes away from the human experience of being a child)

Similar to his career has a carpenter. I assume he wouldn’t be intentionally lazy and careless so as to make a shoddy product, but did his divine nature make him a perfect carpenter? Would it have been possible for him to have made a defective product by mistake that would need to be fixed or replaced?

Hope this gets the point of my pondering across:)

Given that “He was like us in all ways but sin,” Jesus would have been just like any other young child. Once the age of reason kicked in and He gained some maturity, His sinlessness would probably have predisposed Him to be obedient to Mary - although that’s not to say He wouldn’t have gotten annoyed when she told Him to eat His vegetables, or huffed under His breath when she told Him to do His chores.

I imagine He would have been a diligent carpenter, but that doesn’t mean He wouldn’t have been subject to the same shortcomings as any other dedicated artisan. He might have put something together wrong while working in a hurry, forgotten to put the finish on a product, or unintentionally overcharged a customer - simple human mistakes that are not determined by holiness.

He would have had to learn things, so would have made mistakes.
He was perfectly sinless so would not have slacked off or did shoddy work by intent.
I doubt he would have ever gotten annoyed or upset on his own behalf. He might be angry for someone else’s sake, as He was with the moneychangers in the Temple, or that time He called the scribes and Pharisees ‘whitewashed tombs’.

He was fully human.


…lets separate things…

There’s the Divine and the human.

Jesus set aside His Divinity in order to experience our existence as a common folk–with the exception of sin.

There are children and then there are children…

Some toddlers are hardheads, some are intelligent, some are shy, some conceited… if we study them carefully we will note that their different characteristics have been influenced by both their inherent natures and their environment…

It is the reason why children develop faster when they are surrounded by other children in their homes (siblings, cousins, etc.).

Children do learn through experience rather then through lectures (words); so the Holy Child would have acted/learned just as children do today.

Yet, children are also imitators… they pick up the body language as well as the oral language from those who surround them… so given the models, a child is apt to emulate the energy/comportment in his/her environment… a humble prayerful life would most likely yield a child that is obedient and in tune with God.

We must also consider that when Jesus was born there was not as much noise (diversions and hyper stimulus) in His environment as we have today–Jesus would not have been exposed to agents that would void/corrupt His parents’ teachings…

As far as workmanship… Jesus could not use His Divinity to produce the “perfect” product; but we must remember that shadiness exist to gain the most out of the least effort–St. Joseph is introduced as a “just” man by Scriptures… could you see him taking shortcuts to reap off his clients and passing such traits to Jesus?

…remember when “pride” was a good thing?

In the past, most laborers prided themselves on excellence and fairness… just look around those pieces of furniture, homes, and vehicles (and some appliances) that have survived the passage of time… excellence and pride meant: honor!

Maran atha!


I have to disagree with the others that have posted, I do not know where they have come up with their views. Jesus did not become exactly like us as far as wisdom goes because He is naturally God. To truly think Jesus could cease to have the knowledge of God is to declare Him not God since what makes Him God is his changelessness. And to think that somehow as a man He really has ignorance and must grow in knowledge is to separate Him into two persons as did Nestorian. The fathers of the Church such as St. Cyril of Alexandria have explained that during these early years, Christ simply demonstrated the appropriate level of wisdom for the age, not imposing His Divine Wisdom to act beyond His age. So yes, if He chose to demonstrate learning through bumping his head or whatever, it was purely intentional for our benefit, as was His whole incarnation. The key factors that are to be emphasized about Him becoming like us, have more to do with the choice to endure hard work and pain of the body and finally death on the Holy Cross. Since sharing with us these things, we can share in His Godly nature through adoption, sitting at God’s right hand.


…I think that you are reading too much into this…

No Catholic thinks that Jesus existed in a duality (two persons).

Yet, by putting aside His Divinity, Jesus chose to engage the human experience as a man… only at the appointed time (well at the Virgin’s rushing Him to the appointed time) did He began to Unfold His Divine Connection.

…so as a boy, young man, and young adult Jesus would have acted and learned just as humans do–remember, some of us are clearly gifted and intelligent (made in the Image and Likeness of God) so no one is stating that Jesus became two persons (playing the fool for those who would discover His Divinity).

Maran atha!


Hi, I am not sure exactly what you are saying here about me reading too much into this. It appears that you are teaching something different than what the Catholic and Orthodox Churches teach about these verses speaking about Jesus “growing in wisdom”. You have mentioned Christ putting aside his Divinity and have said that he learned just as humans do. I am saying that these statements are not correct. You can speak of Christ putting aside his Divinity only in the sense that He added to Himself something lowly, not really ceasing to have all Divine qualities even for a split second. So given that He cannot change, but has added to Himself our nature, a dilemma is reached when it comes to wisdom/knowledge. And as I was trying to explain, this means that the incarnate Christ had his Divine Knowledge from conception, but since this was not the product of his human body and soul, he only demonstrated the knowledge and wisdom of whatever age He was. And at times He showed His Divine knowledge, as seen at age 12, instructing the wisest men at that time, clearly not the product of his human body and soul.

http://jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/BASKETBALL-300x228.jpgWould Jesus have been the all-time, all-history MVP if he played basketball?

Did he have to learn his craft of carpentry? Did he have to learn table manners?

There are all kinds of questions one can ask about the way Jesus’ divine and human natures related in his earthly life, and we can’t know the answers to all of them.

But looking at the principles involved can be instructive.

Let’s talk about that.

Carpentry and Table Manners

A reader writes:

We know that Jesus is completely divine and completely human, so did Joseph have to teach him how to cut stone? How to measure correctly?

Did the Blessed Mother ever say something like, “Chew with your mouth closed. Stay in your seat. Don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking”—like I have to do with my children?

What Jesus Knew and When He Knew It

Jesus had both a divine knowledge and a human knowledge.

His divine knowledge was unlimited, and therefore in his divine intellect, he knew everything. He was omniscient.

The question here pertains more directly to his human knowledge. Concerning that, the Catechism states:

[The] 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 472).

The statement about Jesus “increasing in wisdom” is taken from Luke 2:52, which discusses Jesus’ growth as a young person. Commenting on this passage, Pope Benedict wrote:

*t is also true that his wisdom grows. As a human being, he does not live in some abstract omniscience, but he is rooted in a concrete history, a place and a time, in the different phases of human life, and this is what gives concrete shape to his knowledge.

So it emerges clearly here that he thought and learned in human fashion.

It becomes quite apparent that he is true man and true God, as the Church’s faith expresses it. The interplay between the two is something that we cannot ultimately define (Jesus of Nazareth, vol. 3: The Infancy Narratives, “Epilogue”).

The Child Jesus

As Pope Benedict indicates, we can’t fully understand the interplay between Christ’s divine and human natures.

However, it would seem that, in terms of learning his craft as a carpenter in his human knowledge, Jesus would have been instructed by Joseph, like any boy being apprenticed in that trade.

What are considered appropriate table manners varies widely from one culture to another, so they are not built directly into human nature. Presumably Joseph and Mary would have taught him these things as well.

Having said that, Jesus would have been intelligent and obedient (cf. Luke 2:51), so it’s not like he would have been an unruly child.

Yet he could do things that were surprising, confusing, and even dismaying to his parents (cf. Luke 2:48), as illustrated by the incident in the Temple when he was twelve (Luke 2:41-50).

Jesus would have appeared to others as an unusual child—unusually intelligent, unusually holy, etc.—but not so otherworldly that people automatically recognized him as the Son of God.

After all, they didn’t automatically see him that way even when he was an adult (cf. 1 Cor. 2:8).


The reader continues:

The theology teacher at the school where I work referenced Aquinas saying that Jesus being human and divine, had to learn as a human—but once he learned he never erred.

The example he gave was this: If Lebron James went back in time and taught Jesus how to play basketball then Jesus would then be the greatest basketball player ever. He would never miss a shot, never lose a game, never miss a free throw, etc.

It seems to me that there are pitfalls on both sides of this question. If Jesus is fully human, then he would HAVE to miss a shot, misbehave, miss cut a piece of wood from time to time—like we all do. And if he’s fully divine, then of course he would never miss a shot, misbehave as a child, miss cut wood or stone, etc.

The Christian Faith holds that Jesus was like us in all things but sin (cf. Heb. 4:15). It does not teach that he wouldn’t need to practice in order to build skills, whether they are skills used in carpentry or sports.

Practicing Skills

Any athlete, or athletics teacher, can tell you that practice is necessary to build skills even once the concepts involved are understood intellectually.

It takes repetition to build the neural pathways needed for a move to become second nature—part of one’s “muscle memory.” And it certainly takes repetition to build one’s muscles up and to develop fine motor control and hand-eye coordination.

It’s not simply a question of understanding the concepts involved. You have to do the work to train your body.

The same thing goes for a skill like touch typing. You can explain the concept in minutes, but becoming a proficient, ten-finger typist—so that you can hit the correct key without having to stop and think about where it is—takes lots of practice.

Playing the piano—or any instrument—is the same.

Also, your body has to be old enough to have the kind of muscles and neurology needed to learn a skill. Before that point, practicing it won’t work.

That’s why there aren’t any toddlers who are professional weight lifters or professional ballerinas, even if they try to imitate the moves of adults engaging in these activities.

Jesus’ Miracles

As the miracle-working Son of God, Jesus could have instantaneously given himself any skill, in any degree, and been the best in world history at anything.

However, in the Gospels Jesus performs miracles in service of his mission, not to show off or do things completely unrelated to his mission.

Except when his mission was involved, he chose to live like others in a non-glorified human condition.

This is what Scripture means when it says he “emptied himself,*taking the form of a servant,*being born in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7).

Jesus’ Growth

As one born into a non-glorified human condition, Jesus did not start with all physical perfections. He grew and developed like we do.

He was not born with his adult height, an adult’s bodily agility, an adult’s fine motor skills, or an adult’s hand-eye coordination.

He was born as a baby, with a baby’s height, a baby’s agility, a baby’s motor skills, and a baby’s hand-eye coordination.

He also was not born with specialized skills in his human knowledge involving carpentry, basketball, playing the piano, or other activities.

All-Time MVP?

Even once Jesus did start working on a skill, the Faith does not oblige us to hold that he would automatically have been the best in human history at that skill.

Skills come in degrees, and the degree to which you have a skill depends on your natural aptitude for it and how much effort you have put into practicing it.

Jesus may have had a great deal of natural aptitude, but that wouldn’t mean he had every conceivable advantage.

In basketball, height is an advantage, but the Church does not hold that Jesus was the tallest man in history.

Similarly, the ability to run fast—which is dependent on factors like body weight, leg muscle mass, and how many fast-twitch nerve fibers you have in your legs—is also an advantage in basketball. But the Church does not teach that Jesus had the biggest leg muscles or the most fast-twitch nerve fibers in human history.

Jesus also didn’t eat a special sports nutrition diet, lift weights, or take performance-enhancers.

And—even on our imaginary scenario where Lebron James teaches him basketball—he wouldn’t have spent hours a day practicing on the court. It would have interfered with his mission.

Consequently, as one living in a non-glorified human condition, Jesus would not automatically have been the greatest basketball player in world history from the moment he learned, in his human knowledge, how the game is played.

Of course, as the omnipotent Son of God, he could have become the all-time MVP using his miraculous powers, but that wasn’t his mission.

Mr. Popular?

Finally, the reader writes:

In my mind I am struggling to envision a teenage Jesus who never ever makes a mistake. Nobody likes being around someone who is perfect—someone who never loses a game, never stubs his toe, never over sleeps, never hit his thumb with the hammer.

Jesus, we know, had to be charismatic. People followed Him; people liked him. I can’t seem to reconcile Jesus’ perfection and also being human like us.

I think I view this differently.

While people would notice if someone never loses a game, that would alternately be attractive or off-putting depending on whether you’re on the same team or the opposite one.

Also, whether a sports team wins generally doesn’t depend on the actions of just one person. That’s why they’re team sports. Even if Jesus were the greatest basketball player in history, his teammates (e.g., a ragtag bunch of Galilean fishermen) could lose the game.

In addition, few people would notice that another person doesn’t stub his toe or hit his thumb with a hammer.

And in the ancient world—before alarm clocks, watches, and tight schedules—oversleeping almost wasn’t even a thing.

A person who always got up when he intended wouldn’t be noticed, though people may have simply thought such a person was “an early riser” (cf. Mark 1:35).

What people don’t like are know-it-alls and show-offs: people who have high skill levels and are arrogant about it.

However, Jesus was meek and humble of heart (Matt. 11:29), and people do find it attractive when a person has high skill levels but is humble.

In fact, that’s very attractive, and Jesus’ humility no doubt played a significant role in his popularity.

Of course, even when a skilled person is humble, some will still be jealous. And some people were jealous of Jesus (Matt. 27:18, Mark 15:10).

But then he didn’t come to be Mr. Popular and win everybody over. He came to be “a sign of contradiction” who was set “for the fall and rising of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34).



This article is definitely biased by it’s exclusion of the paragraphs immediately following the one cited. If you notice this paragraph has reference to actual Church Fathers. The one cited seems to contradict at worse and confuse at best these following paragraphs. It’s better to stick to more ancient writings.

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

104 Cf. St. Gregory the Great, “Sicut aqua” ad Eulogium, Epist. Lib. 10, 39 PL 77, 1097A ff.; DS 475.
105 St. Maximus the Confessor, Qu. et dub. 66: PG 90, 840A.

re: attributes of Almighty God such as wisdom, knowledge, understanding etc., these are human concepts that are derived from human understanding.

God Himself is perfectly simple. we humans must speak of His knowledge, His wisdom, etc. to gain human understanding of God’s Divine Nature. however, in God, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, love, humility, etc., etc. etc., are ALL ONE.

Jesus fully possessed the Oneness of His divinity. Jesus also possessed the limitations of a human being in His human nature. Jesus human nature was informed and developed by its perfect union with His Divine Nature. to me, that means that while His human nature grew in every human sense, it grew in a way far exceeding or superior to such growth in we created human persons.

Jesus was an extraordinary human being when compared to any of the rest of us, including moses, elijah, His Holy Mother Mary, st. joseph, einstein, leonardo and anyone else whom you might mention or imagine.


…ok… let’s see… did Jesus, because He was human and Divine, become the perfect human being who never had a cold, a fever, never sneezed, never needed food, would perform miracles and design/construct in perfection?

…while Scriptures are silent about most of His Life (only intermittent revelations: Birth, move to Egypt, return to Israel, travel to the Temple at age 12, remaining with parents into adulthood, Beginning of Public Ministry), we must surmise from Scriptures that He in deed put aside His Divinity and engage the world as a human being would–save our tendencies to commit to sin.

Given that, there would be no grandstanding with major innovations in carpentry or any other science/tech; most importantly, there would be no Divine “power ups” or “flares,” that would attract attention to His Divinity.

…there was no duality in Him–Jesus was not having a power struggle (‘to do or not to do?, that’s really my dichotomy…’)

…conversely, demonstrating, through his Wisdom, that He is Aware of Who He Is does not betray His determination to embrace His human condition and refrain from holding on to His Divinity as a mode of operandi.

…Jesus did not rack up multiple jobs and did not influence human culture to cash up on His Power so as to finance a wealthy lifestyle, His Ministry nor His mom’s future…

Jesus’ determination to become as man followed the human limits in how he would interact and comport Himself… Satan attempted to play on his humanity (ego) and only then did His Divinity show itself:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]10 Then Jesus replied, ‘Be off, Satan!

For scripture says: You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone. 11 Then the devil left him, and angels appeared and looked after him. (St. Matthew 4:10-11)
…so how is that akin to two persons of Christ or in your words:

Maran atha!



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