Q&A: Did Christ know everything when he was a baby?

Did Christ know everything when he was a baby?

Question

Did Christ know everything when he was a baby?

Answer

Answering this question requires understanding Christ's nature. Achieving that completely is impossible, but a godly effort will draw us nearer to the great treasure of knowing him. So let's briefly look at Christ's two natures: divine and human.

As a baby, Jesus' human nature had all the qualities and limitations of a human child and so he couldn't have known everything. But as he increased in age he increased in wisdom (Luke 2:52). Therefore, in one sense we must say that Jesus did not know everything when he was a baby but that he had the mind of just an infant. And even as an adult, Jesus didn’t know everything, such as the date of his return (Mark 13:32).

Jesus was divine at birth and this nature remained all-knowing while his human nature grew. According to the Nicene Creed, the Son is very God of very God and is of the same substance as the Father (Heb. 1:2-3). So, in his divine nature, Jesus knew everything; he even sustained the universe in his infancy (Col. 1:16-17). Jesus’ divine nature did not change with the incarnation and so in this respect, he did not grow. As the writer of Hebrews tells us:

You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end. (Heb. 1:10-12).

Since Jesus Christ is God, he cannot cease at any time to be God in all his divine attributes, including his infinite knowledge (cf. Matt. 9:4; 11:27; 12:25; Luke 6:8; John 2:25; 6:64; 16:30). So, baby Jesus as very God of very God knew everything.

My answer then is a clear yes and no.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).