Was Jesus always omniscient while on Earth?

This is related to another thread, but basically:

If Jesus as a 1st century man living in Palestine had encountered a person speaking a completely foreign language, like a Germanic language, would he have been able to understand him without the Father enabling him to understand?

Or, would Jesus as a 1st century man have known about general & special relativity even though it wouldn’t be discovered until almost 2000 years in the future?

My assumption to this was: no, he would not. When Jesus was an infant - without ceasing to be divine - he really was an infant, and he had to actually practice and learn from his mother and father how to walk, to run, to speak, to be trained where to go to the bathroom, etc. He wasn’t merely possessing a human body and going through the motions.

The hypostatic union is a mystery indeed.


I’m just curious. In another thread I was accused of heresy ( :yum: ) for saying that Jesus experienced not knowing certain things, since I thought he shared in everything except for sin.

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A conundrum, a dichotomy if you will, between His Divine Nature, which is indeed omniscient, and His human nature, which had to grow and develop.

As ratio 1 said above, the hypostatic union (a doctrine disputed and argued for centuries) is indeed mysterious.

As St. Luke said, Jesus “grew in wisdom.” Although being 100% God, He was also 100% Man experiencing life & “learning” as a human being, while remaining omniscient. St. Paul explained this well, when he wrote that Jesus “emptied” Himself, meaning that He never “gave up” His godly attributes, like omniscience. Because He was also omnipotent, He was able to restrain His omniscience & other godly attributes to experience life as a human being. This explains why He said, “No one knows the day nor hour of My return, including the Son.” So, Jesus was able to “grow in wisdom” & not know when He would return because of His omnipotence to restrain His omniscience, while still possessing both…which can only be possible for the only God-Man.

See my previous comment. Believing Jesus restrained His omniscience with His omnipotence doesn’t make you a heretic. It makes you Biblical.

I was just wondering this morning… did Jesus ever suffer from confusion? If He didn’t know everything as a Man, then the answer could be yes. However, I’m still confused about this…

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The Athanasian Creed solves this one:

Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. One altogether; not by confusion of Substance; but by unity of Person.

This creed is not from Athanasius, but something later that somehow his name got mixed up with. But it says right there, the hypostatic union is “not by confusion.” So Jesus was never confused.

Unless I have mixed up something. :man_shrugging:

No. And yes.

Jesus’ knowledge is acknowledged to be threefold.

First, the Beatific Vision. By virtue of the his divine nature, Jesus, as God, knows all things. So all that stuff about language, special and general relativity, all things past, present, and future, and even what could have been (“middle knowledge” in Molinist thought) Jesus knew.

Next, Jesus also possessed infused knowledge. This is also knowledge imparted to the human soul of Jesus by virtue of his union with the Divine nature, and would be the same kind of knowledge possessed by the angels, who can comprehend things not comprehensible to man. I am also guessing this is the kind of knowledge we will possess when we too enter eternal life in heaven.

Thirdly, his experimental knowledge. This is the normal human knowledge all of us possess, which he also possessed by virtue of his human nature. In this knowledge, Jesus did NOT know everything, and here he was able to learn and to grow. It is also how he could truthfully claim that he did not know all the details of the end times, as this would not be part of his natural knowledge.

When Jesus was a child in the temple He taught and conversed with the rabbis despite His young age and presumed lack of knowledge and education. This would then be an example of Jesus having all-knowledge and expressing it as He wanted to


This is portrayed differently in different gospels. John shows us Jesus as God’s Word from the beginning of time, and fully knowing what is happening. The others portray Jesus in somewhat less exalted states, ie as an infant who grows in wisdom.

The dogmatic truth is an attempt to reconcile these accounts, showing Jesus as incarnate Word and as fully human. It is not always easy to reconcile his fully knowing as God with his humanity, but we try.

I take from this that Our Lord emptied Himself of omniscience, trusting the Holy Spirit to give him that knowledge that the Father willed Him to have:
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Phil. 2:5-8

My idea of this is that Jesus knew all the languages of the world so that if any person spoke to him he would understand, just like any person in the world can pray in their own language and not worry that God whether God understands them. However, he made the choice to remain confined to our human experience, so that he spoke when it was appropriate for a little boy to speak.

The reason I believe this is because I think it was a greater cross. For example, if I became a dog but retained my understanding of English. I could understand conversations but confining myself to being a dog, could not talk or reply with English. That I think is my poor way of understanding how Christ took on our human experience, yet was God. He knew what it was to be cold, to be hot, to be hungry, all those things of human experience, yet he could say to someone, “I saw you under the fig tree”. There was way more going on within him that he hid from us. Then I look at the Eucharist and think how Jesus chooses to hide himself and yet still be present. It is more than we can comprehend.

I posted this in the other thread, but I’ll repost it here for those participating in this thread.

From the Catechism (bolding is mine):

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


Your scenario is not realistic. At the time of Jesus, Greek was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire. Having lived in Egypt for years, Jesus would have learned Greek and that would solve any language barrier.

True but it could also just be from his profound sanctity. Children impressing adults - even wildly beyond expectations - isn’t a new thing. Being divine, he was insurpassable towards sin, and he had Mary and St Joseph as his teachers, which is as good as it gets.

The idea from another poster of the Son restraining his omniscience through his omnipotence is a helpful explanation for me. I realize the hypostatic union isn’t meant to be fully comprehended.

TK421 why aren’t you at your post?

(Sorry, but whoever gets this should make them smile, despite being completely irrelevant to the OP.) :smile:

I think this means that Jesus wasn’t human some of the time and divine some of the time, but that he is always both human and divine at all times.

I think there was a condemned teaching that said otherwise at some point but I forget the name of it. There was so much spiritual struggle in the first four centuries of the Church related to Christology and Mariology. We owe them such a debt. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It means that Jesus was not half divine, half human. Not like Spock who was half Vulcan, half human. Jesus is fully divine and fully human, not a mix of the two.

Monophysites believed Jesus is fully divine, Arians that he is fully human. I am not sure if there was anybody who thought Jesus was some 3rd thing formed by mixing humanity and divinity. Semi-Arians?

I was mostly just joking about confusion and its use in a creed.

How would the Transfiguration fit into this discussion? Here Jesus is told through Moses and Elijah of what kind of death he would suffer.

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