Question Twenty: The Knowledge of Christ
Should we say that there is created knowledge in Christ?
Did the soul of Christ see the Word through a habit?
Does Christ have other knowledge of things than that by which He knows them in the Word?
Does the soul of Christ know in the Word all that the Word knows?
Does the soul of Christ know all that God could make?
Does the soul of Christ know everything with that knowledge by which it knows things in their proper nature?
The question concerns the knowledge of christ,
and in the first article we ask:
Should we say that there is created knowledge in Christ?
[Parallel readings: III Sent., 14, 1, sol. 1; Comp. Theol., 216; S.T., III, 9, 1.]
It seems that there we should not, for
1. Knowledge is a perfection of the one who knows. But every perfection is more noble than the subject of perfectibility. Therefore, if Christ knows by reason of some created knowledge, something created will be more noble than the soul of Christ. But this seems unfitting.
2. Activity is not attributed to the nature, but to the substantial subject. For activities belong to substantial subjects and individuals. But, for the person of Christ to understand, uncreated knowledge is sufficient. Therefore, it is superfluous to ascribe created knowledge to Christ.
3. The more noble a thing is, the more it is like God. But the soul of Christ is more noble than physical heat. Therefore, since physical heat acts without a medium, and in this is like God, who acts without a medium, it seems that, with much greater reason, the soul of Christ should understand without the mediation of any created knowledge. It was said that the activity of heat proceeds from within, but the activity of knowledge, from without, since it is according to the movement from things to the soul. Hence, they are not alike.—On the contrary, in the activity of knowing there is not only reception, but also judgment about the things received. And, although reception is from without, judgment proceeds from within. Therefore, the activity of knowledge is not entirely from without.
5. Christ, the Son of God, did not assume any imperfection unless it aided our redemption. But imperfection of knowledge does not aid our redemption. Therefore, He did not assume imperfection of knowledge. But all created knowledge is imperfect in some degree by the very fact that it is created. Therefore, He did not assume created knowledge.
6. Anyone who is always engaged in the act of thinking according to the most perfect knowledge does not need any less perfect knowledge, because he would never use it, and so would have it to no purpose. But Christ is always engaged in the act of thinking according to the most perfect knowledge, namely, uncreated knowledge. Therefore, we should not ascribe another, that is, created knowledge to Him.
7. Nature does not do with two things that which it can do with one; much less does God, who acts in a more orderly way than nature. But Christ could become wise if He had only uncreated knowledge. Therefore, He did not become wise by means of created knowledge.
8. According to the first Epistle to the Corinthians (13:10): “When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be put away.” But created knowledge, in comparison with uncreated knowledge, is more imperfect than vision in the mirror [of creatures], in comparison with vision of [God’s] essence. Therefore, if the vision of faith is removed because of its imperfection when vision of [God’s] essence arrives, with much greater reason created knowledge will be excluded from Christ in whom there was uncreated knowledge.
9. The Word united to His soul is much more intimate to it than our understanding is to our soul, since the Word is united to it not only through its essence, presence, and power, as in other souls, and through grace, as in the just, but also in unity of person. But our soul understands through its intellective power. Therefore, Christ’s soul could be wise with the wisdom of the Word, and so it did not need created knowledge.
10. If Christ had created knowledge, it was not given to Him except for His perfection. But the soul of Christ, united to the Word and having created knowledge, is not more noble that if it were united to the Word alone without created knowledge. For something created added to God does not increase His goodness, just as a point added to a fine does not make it longer. Therefore, we should not ascribe created knowledge to Christ.
To the Contrary
1. In Luke (2:52) we read: “And Jesus advanced in wisdom...”
But it is clear that he could not advance in uncreated wisdom, since that neither grows nor declines. Therefore, we should say that there is created knowledge in Christ.
2. According to Damascene: “The Word of God assumed everything which God implanted in our nature.” But He implanted created knowledge in our nature. Therefore, He assumed created knowledge.
3. Just as divine knowledge is above created intellective knowledge, so created intellective knowledge is above sensitive knowledge. But one who has created intellective knowledge does not lose sensitive knowledge, as is evident in men. Therefore, created intellective knowledge can remain after the advent of uncreated intellective knowledge.
Just as we say that there are two natures in Christ, so, also, we say that there are two kinds of knowledge: created and uncreated. But some heretics have said that there is only uncreated knowledge in Christ.
To see the source of this error we must bear in mind that some3 have understood that the union of the divine and human natures takes place in the way in which the soul is united to the body. Thus, as the soul is the form of the body, so in Christ the divinity would be the form of the humanity. Therefore, some have thought that if the Word were united to Christ’s body as the soul is to our body, it could give life to Him just as our soul gives life to our body. Hence, they said that there were only two substances in Christ, body and divinity, and the latter in place of the soul gave life to the body. This was the error of Eunomius and his followers.
However, some, perceiving that it would be unworthy for the divinity to be united to the body as that which gives it life, said that Christ had a soul which gives life and sensation, that is to say, a vegetative and a sensitive soul, but did not have an intellectual soul. They said that in Christ the Word Himself took the place of the intellectual soul. This was the error of Apollinaris and his followers. And, granted this error, it is plain that there is only uncreated knowledge in Christ.
But this manner of understanding the union in Christ leads one to believe that the divine and human natures are combined into a single nature, just as the union of body and soul results in not only one substantial subject but also one nature. Furthermore, it follows from this that the true reality of each nature is destroyed. For, since it is essential to the divine nature to have its being separate from all things, if we make it the act of any body, it loses its proper nature. In the same way, if the soul or the understanding or anything integral to human nature is taken away from it, there will no longer remain the true reality of the specific nature, since, as is said in the Metaphysics, the specific natures are similar to numbers, in which the species of the number is changed when unity is added or subtracted. Therefore, according to the foregoing error, Christ was neither true God nor true man.
Therefore, for Christ to be true God and true man, He must have within him all that pertains to the divine nature, and, also, as a distinct nature in the same person, all that constitutes the specific nature of man. And for him to be not only a true man, but a perfect man, he must have everything which we need to be perfect, such as habits of the sciences and of the virtues. However, just as divinity cannot be an act of a body, in such a way that by it the body formally has life, or becomes a rational creature, so also it cannot be the act of the rational soul, so that by it the soul formally has knowledge or virtue in the way in which we have them through a habit of virtue or knowledge. Therefore, we must hold that there is created knowledge and virtue in Christ.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Created knowledge is, indeed, more noble than Christ’s soul in some respect, in so far as it is an act of His soul. In this sense, His color is more noble than His body, and any accident is more noble than its subject, in so far as it is related to it as act to potency. Simply, however, the subject is more noble than an accident, and, thus, Christ’s soul is more noble than its knowledge.
2. Although activity is ascribed to the substantial subject as agent, it is ascribed to the nature as the source of activity. And activity does not receive its specification from the agent but from the source of the activity. Hence, there can be specifically different activities in one agent because of the diversity of the principles of operation, as sight and hearing in man. Therefore, although in Christ there is only one substantial subject, in Him there are two natures and, so, two activities. Furthermore, Christ must have the perfection of both activities. Thus, He has not only uncreated knowledge, which is sufficient for the activity of the uncreated nature, but also created knowledge, which is needed for the perfect activity of the created nature.
3. Properly speaking, heat does not act; rather, it is the medium through which fire acts. For this reason, it is related to the activity of heating in the way in which created knowledge is related to the act of considering.
4. Although there is something from within in the deliberation of science, such activity is completed only when there is something from without. Here we see the dissimilarity.
5. Although created existence is imperfect in comparison with the eminence of the divine perfection, each thing is perfect in its own order and demands some perfection of its own order. Thus, even in Christ the created nature had some created perfection, namely, created knowledge.
6. Christ is always engaged in the act of thinking according to His uncreated knowledge. But, since the two activities belong to Him by reason of two natures, this actual consciousness does not therefore exclude the added consciousness of created knowledge.
7. If Christ had only uncreated knowledge, He would indeed be wise as God, but He would not, so to speak, be wise as man. Hence, He had to have created knowledge to be wise in His humanity.
8. What the Apostle says should be taken of the perfection which is opposed to imperfection, for thus the imperfect is removed when the perfect arrives. But the perfection of divine knowledge is not opposed to the imperfection of created knowledge, since their objects are different. Hence, the conclusion does not follow.
9. Although the Word is more deeply within the soul than any of its powers, inasmuch as it supports and conserves the soul in existence, the understanding or any other power is more at one with the soul because it is united not only in person but also in nature, inasmuch as a power is a perfection of the soul itself, whereas the Word is not. Consequently, formally speaking, the soul of Christ cannot understand through the Word as though through its intellect.
10. Although the Word plus created knowledge is not better than the Word alone, the soul united to the Word and having the perfection of created knowledge is better than if it were united to the Word without having created knowledge. For created knowledge has a relation to the soul in a manner in which the Word does not. Therefore, the conclusion does not follow.
Q. 20: The Knowledge of Christ
In the second article we ask:
Did the soul of Christ see the word through a habit?
[Parallel readings: S.T., III, 9, 2, ad 1; 9, 3.]
It seems that it did not, for
1. To see through a habit is to see through a medium. But the soul of Christ sees the Word without a medium. Therefore, it does not see it through a habit.
2. The soul of Christ is beatified because it sees the Word. But beatitude, or happiness, consists not in habit but in act, according to the Philosopher. Therefore, the soul of Christ does not see the Word through a habit.
3. The more simple a thing is, the closer it is to God. And the closer it is to God, the more noble it is. Therefore, since the soul of Christ has nobility especially because it sees God perfectly, it seems that it gets no composition in that vision, as it would if it understood the Word through a habit conjoined to the soul.
4. The soul of Christ is more noble than the angels, especially with reference to what belongs to vision of the Word. But the angels do not see the Word through habits, since, as Maximus says: “It is not fitting to think that the great Dionysius said that attributes [habitudines] exist in divine intellects in the manner of accidents, as they do in us, and that they exist differently in different subjects, as if they were made into qualities. For every accident is excluded from those divine intellects.” Therefore, neither did the soul of Christ see the Word through a habit.
5. The soul of Christ can be considered only as united to the Word, or according to its own nature. But, in so far as it is united to the Word, it does not befit it to see the Word through the medium of a habit, since it is not united to the Word through the medium of a habit. Likewise, this does not befit it by reason of its proper nature, for, just as every whole is greater than the part, so every whole is better and more perfect than any of its parts. But a part of the soul, the agent intellect, carries on its activity without the mediation of a habit, and this seems to pertain to the nobility of the agent intellect. So, with much greater reason, the whole soul engages in activity without the mediation of a habit. Therefore, the soul of Christ does not in any way see the Word through a habit.
6. As the Gloss says: “After God there is nothing better than the nature of the human mind such as Christ assumed.” But some creatures even without sense perform their activities without the mediation of a habit. And this seems to pertain to their nobility, since in this they are like God. Therefore, the soul of Christ with much greater reason performs its activity without any habit. Thus, we conclude as before.
To the Contrary
1. No passive power can perform its activity unless it is perfected by the form of its corresponding active agent, since a thing operates only in so far as it is in, act. But the possible intellect, by which the soul of Christ understood, was a passive power. Therefore, it could not understand unless it was perfected through the form of its corresponding active principle, that is to say, unless it was perfected by something intelligible. But a habit in the understanding seems to be nothing other than the species of intelligible things in the understanding. Therefore, the soul of Christ saw God and understood through the mediation of a habit.
2. It did not befit the Son of God to assume anything but a perfect intellective power. But the active power is made perfect through the habit of knowledge. Therefore, He assumed habitual knowledge.
For a clear understanding of this question we must know what a habit is, and why We need habits.
At first sight, habit seems to mean something added to a power, by which power receives the perfection needed for its activity. A power, however, needs some addition for two reasons: because of the state of its nature, and because of the nature of the power of itself. Nor is this without reason, since the activity, which proceeds from a power, depends on the nature which is the source of the power.
A power needs something for its activity because of its nature, for example, when the activity is such that it is beyond the capacity and condition of the nature. In this way, to love God with the love of fellowship, as a sharer in His inheritance, is beyond the condition of human nature. Hence, our affective power needs the habit of charity for this activity. A power needs something by reason of the power itself, however, when it is ordained to objects of such a nature that it can in no wise of itself perfectly possess their act. Thus, the power of sight is ordained to knowledge of all colors, but it was not possible for all colors actually to exist in the organ of sight. Therefore, things were ordained differently, namely, that the power of sight could be given the likeness of any color and so proceed to the act of sight.
Still, we must bear in mind that that which is added to a power is sometimes received in it as a habit, and sometimes after the manner of a transient impression.
This latter is the case when that which is received does not remain within the recipient, and does not become a quality of the recipient, but is impressed on it by a kind of contact from some agent, and quickly passes on. Thus, the Philosopher says that, when one suddenly blushes because of shame, the redness is “a transient impression” and not an affective “quality.”
But that which is received is retained as a habit when it becomes in a sense connatural to the receiver. For this reason, the Philosopher says that a habit is a quality which is hard to change. Hence it is, also, that activities which proceed from a habit are pleasurable, readily undertaken, and easily performed, since they have, in a sense, become connatural.
Accordingly, what is supplementary in the sense powers is not given as a habit, but as a transient impression. But in the intellective powers of the soul the supplement is given as a habit. For the sensitive part is led by natural instinct rather than taking the lead itself, whereas the intellective part has the direction of its acts. Therefore, it should have a readiness to act, so that it can engage in activity when it pleases.
From what has been said, it is evident that a power is more perfect when it receives something as a habit than if it receives it only as a transient impression. Therefore, we must say that anything supplementary to the soul of Christ is there as a habit.
For both of the reasons we have given we must say that there is some addition to the soul of Christ. By reason of the nature, for vision of the divine essence is above the state of any created nature. Consequently, no creature can reach this unless it is elevated to that blessed vision by some light. In some, for example those enraptured, this light is received as a temporary impression and transiently. But in Christ it was there as a habit, making the soul of Christ beatified from the beginning of its existence.
By reason of the power, however, the intellect of the human soul is in potency to all things. However, it is impossible for any created being to be perfectly the act and likeness of all beings, for, thus, it would possess the nature of being in an infinite manner. Hence, only God can understand all things by Himself and without any addition. But every created intellect understands through some species given it, either acquired by it, as happens with us, or given in creation or infused, as in the angels. And what belongs to angels by reason of the state of their nature, that is to say, to have the species of all things infused in them from their creation, was conferred on the soul of Christ in a much more excellent way by reason of the fullness of grace. But through the mediation of these species it did not know the Word, but only created things.
Therefore, it must be said that in the knowledge with which the soul of Christ saw the Word it needed the habit which is light, not as that through which something would become actually intelligible, as happens in us with the light of the agent intellect, but as that through which the created understanding would be elevated to that which is above it. But, for knowledge of other creatures, it had the habit which is the aggregate of the species ordained to knowledge.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The soul of Christ sees the Word without that medium which consists in a likeness of the thing seen, as the species in the eye is a likeness of the visible thing, or a mirror is a likeness of the thing reflected. But it does not see the Word without that medium which is a disposition of the one seeing. Thus, the argument is not valid.
2. When one says that happiness is not habitual, this should be understood of the habit from which an act does not proceed. For one who has something habitually and not actually is like one who is asleep. But, according to the opinion of the Philosopher, the act in which happiness consists must proceed from some habit. Otherwise, the activity would not be pleasurable and perfect.
3. According to Dionysius, the situation is not the same in participations and participants, for, the more simple participations are, the more noble they are, as to exist than to live, and to live than to understand, if by our understanding we separate existence and life in order to compare them. But, among participants, the more composed a thing is (not, of course, with material composition, but by reason of reception of more participations), the more noble it is, because it is like God in so many more things. This kind of assimilation can come only from something received from God. Hence, also, the soul which besides its nature has habits perfecting it is more noble.
4. The words of Maximus should be taken of separable accidents and those belonging to [physical] nature, for, if they had accidents of this sort, they would be subject to change, and not immaterial and subsistent essences. Consequently, he adds: “For if it were this, their essence would certainly not remain within itself.” And he concludes: “Therefore, their attributes [habitudines] and powers are essential to them because of their immateriality.” And he calls essential that which never leaves the essence.
5. The union in Christ does not terminate in activity but in existence. Therefore, in so far as the soul is united to the Word, speaking of what is immediate, it is not entitled to sight of the Word or any other activity, but to this only, namely, existence in the person of the Word. However, its activities belong to it by reason of its powers and its nature. And, although the whole soul is more perfect than the agent intellect, no other power of the soul is more noble than the agent intellect. Hence, the fact that the agent intellect does not need a habit does not mean that the possible intellect must not need one. For the agent intellect needs no habit for its activity, because it does not receive anything from intelligible things, but gives its own form to them by making them actually intelligible. The possible intellect, however, has just the opposite relation to intelligible things.
6. Natural powers are limited to one thing, so they reach their objects of themselves and do not need anything supplementary in order to act. But rational powers are ordained to many things, and this is an indication of their nobility. Therefore, the case is not the same.
Q. 20: The Knowledge of Christ
In the third article we ask:
Does Christ have other knowledge of things than that by which he knows them in the Word?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 20, 2; III Sent., 14, 1, sol. 5; Comp. Theol., 216; S.T.; III, 9, 3; 12, 1.]
It seems that he does not, for
1. As is said in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (13:10): “But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be put away.” But the knowledge by which we now know things in themselves is in part, as we read in that same passage. Therefore, when the perfect knowledge of glory comes, our present knowledge will be put away, as the Apostle expressly seems to mean. But, in Christ, from the first moment of His conception there was the knowledge of glory, that is to say, that knowledge by which He knew things in the Word. Therefore, He had no other knowledge of things.
2. It was said that, when glory comes, knowledge will be put away, not in its essence but in the mode in which the understanding now sees by inquiry and dependence on phantasms.—On the contrary, this mode is of the essence of knowledge. And, if something essential is taken away, the substance, of the thing cannot remain. Therefore, if that mode leaves, the knowledge cannot remain in its substance.
3. According to the Philosopher, all habits which are acquired from acts are the source of acts like those from which they are acquired. But the knowledge which we now have was acquired from the kind of consideration in which we turn to phantasms and proceed by making comparisons. Therefore, knowledge like this can produce only acts of this nature. So, the knowledge would remain useless if such a mode of knowledge were discontinued.
4 It is impossible to have two forms of the same species in one and the same subject. But, when the soul of Christ sees things in the Word, it has likenesses of the things it sees, since a thing is seen only through its likeness. Therefore, it is impossible for it to have other likenesses of the same things. So, there cannot be another knowledge in Christ except that by which He knows things in the Word.
5. Knowledge is ascribed to the soul of Christ because of its perfection. But, since the soul of Christ sees things in the Word and sees the Word itself, it is not more or less perfect whether it has other knowledge or not. Therefore, we should not ascribe any other knowledge to Him. I prove the minor premise from Augustine, who says: “Unhappy the man who knows all those things [creatures], and does not know You. Blessed the man who knows You, even if he does not know those things. However, one who knows both You and them is not more blessed because of them, but only blessed because of You.”
To the Contrary
1. Christ was more perfect than the angels, as the Apostle proves (Heb. 1:4 ff.). But, besides knowledge of things which they have in the Word, angels have knowledge of things in their own nature, as is clear from Augustine. Therefore, with much greater reason the soul of Christ knew things in their own nature besides knowing them in the Word.
2. It is not fitting that any of the natural perfections should be lacking in Christ. But it is a natural perfection of the human soul to know things in their own nature. Therefore, Christ had this kind of knowledge of things.
As we said before, the perfection which belongs to Christ supernaturally does not exclude His natural perfection, just as uncreated life does not exclude a soul which gives life. But the knowledge by which the soul of Christ knows the Word and things in the Word is supernatural, as has been said. Hence, this does not prevent the soul of Christ from having every natural perfection. However, to be reduced to act is the natural perfection of anything which is existing in potency. But the possible intellect is naturally in potency to intelligible things. Consequently, before it is reduced to act, it is imperfect, and it is made perfect when it is reduced to act and so has knowledge of things. Therefore, some philosophers,” looking at man’s natural perfection, have said that the ultimate happiness of man consists in the delineation of the order of the whole universe in the soul of man.
Therefore, Christ had this perfection of knowing things in their own nature through the infused knowledge given Him by God, much more than man in the state of innocence or angels by reason of their natural knowledge.
Answers to Difficulties
1. There are two opinions about knowledge. One says that science acquired here remains as far as the essence of the habit is concerned, but the mode in which we use science in this life is taken away. The subsumption in the [second] difficulty proceeds according to this opinion. Nevertheless, we must add that, since Christ was a wayfarer and a possessor of the term, He had both modes of thinking, one in which He was like the angels, in that He knew things without discursive thought, and the other through which He knew by turning to phantasms. And it is proper to Christ to have both modes of knowledge, for it belongs to Him simultaneously to be a wayfarer and possessor of the term.
The other opinion, however, holds that knowledge acquired here will be taken away in so far as the essence of the habit is concerned. According to this (although I do not believe it is true), one could answer that the soul of Christ did not have knowledge acquired from the senses but infused knowledge such as the angels have through species created with them. It is clear that such knowledge remains in angels along with the vision of glory.
2. This mode of knowing is not essential because of itself, but by reason of its subject, for which this is the normal mode of understanding according to the state of this life. But all that is essential to knowledge in itself is that through it things which can be known are known. Therefore, when the condition of the subject is changed, the mode of knowing is changed, although the habit of knowledge is not.
3. An act can be like another act in two ways. In one way, they are alike in the species of the act which it derives from the matter it concerns. According to this, an acquired habit always produces an act similar to the act by which it was generated. Thus, one becomes brave by doing brave deeds, and, when he has become brave, does brave deeds. In the other way, they are alike according to the mode which follows the disposition of the subject. And, according to this, it is not necessary for the acts in question to be alike. For it is clear that the acts by which we acquire political bravery are performed with sadness and without pleasure. But acts which follow a habit are rather easy and are accompanied by pleasure, or at least are without sadness. Hence, in knowledge we see that man acquires knowledge of things by considering some things, and can consider these same things once he knows them. Nevertheless, he does this in a different way than he did before, for he no longer investigates but looks at what he has investigated. Thus, there is nothing to prevent acts which are produced by habits in the state of glory from having a different mode.
4. As far as it is said to know in the Word, the soul of Christ and any other soul has no other likenesses than the Word itself for the things which it knows in the Word. However, from the fact that it sees in the Word, it can form for itself likenesses of the things it sees, as one who sees something in a mirror sees the thing through the form of the mirror. We have discussed this more fully in our treatment of the angels.
5. Man’s beatitude consists in the knowledge of God and not in the knowledge of creatures. Hence, one is more blessed not because of knowledge of creatures but only because of the knowledge of God. Nevertheless, it is still true that knowledge of creatures belongs to the natural perfection of the soul, as has been said.
Q. 20: The Knowledge of Christ
In the fourth article we ask:
Does the soul of Christ know in the word all that the word knows?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 8, 4; III Sent., 14, 2, sol. 2; Comp. Theol., 2 16; S.T., III,10, 2.]
It seems that it does not, for
1. God knows an infinite multitude of things, as Augustine says. But, since the soul of Christ is finite, it cannot know an infinite multitude of things. Therefore, in the Word the soul of Christ cannot know all that God knows.
2. It was said that by its union with the Word the soul of Christ is strengthened, and thus can know an infinite multitude of things.—On the contrary, the activity of the soul of Christ proceeds from it through the mediation not of the Word but of its own power. But its power is not infinite, since its essence is finite. Therefore, neither can its operation extend to the knowledge of an infinite multitude of things, although the Word to whom it is united is infinite.
3. In the union of the human and the divine nature, as Damascene says, “the uncreated remains uncreated, and the created remains created.” But the capacity and activity of any created thing is finite. Therefore, from its union with the Word, the soul of Christ did not receive the ability to know an infinite multitude of things.
4. Since the Word is infinite, it is fitting that He not only know an infinite multitude of things but also comprehend the infinite, that is to say, God. Therefore, if from its union with the Word the soul of Christ received knowledge of an infinite multitude of things, with equal reason, from the same union, it should have received comprehension of God. But this is false.
5. The activity by which the soul of Christ knew an infinite multitude of things was either the Creator or a creature. If it was the creator, it proceeded from the soul of Christ, which is a creature. Therefore, the Creator proceeded from a creature, which is impossible. If it is a creature—and every creature is finite—then that activity is finite. So, an infinite multitude of things are not known through it.
6. It was said that, although the activity is finite, it has an ordination to an infinite multitude of things.—On the contrary, that relation by which it is ordained to what is infinite is either the Creator or a creature. And we can proceed in the same way as before.
7. Since everything known is known through some species, if the soul of Christ knows an infinite multitude of things, it will know them through a finite or an infinite species. But it does not know them through an infinite species, since no created species is infinite. But, if it knows them through a finite species—and such a species does not represent an infinite multitude of things—then it is impossible for the soul of Christ to know an infinite multitude of things.
8. It was said that, although the species by which the soul of Christ knows is created, still, from its union with the Word of God, it becomes a representation for knowing an infinite multitude of things. —On the contrary, union with the Word does not elevate a creature beyond the limits of creaturehood. For what is created can in no way become uncreated. But it is beyond the limits of creaturehood to be a representation of an infinite multitude of things. Therefore, no created species is elevated to this by union [with the Word].
9. Isidore says that the assumed man was made equal to the Word neither in knowledge nor in anything else. Consequently, not in number of things known. Therefore.
10. We can say that two quantities of equal length but unequal width are in some way equal. But, just as a quantity is called large by reason of several dimensions, so knowledge is called great for different reasons, both because of the number of things known and because of the clarity of the cognition. Accordingly, if the knowledge of the soul of Christ is made equal to the knowledge of God in the number of things known, although not in clearness and distinctness of the cognition, it can be said that the knowledge of the soul of Christ is in some way,equal to the divine knowledge. But it seems absurd to make a creature equal to the Creator in anything.
11. Along with our nature, Christ took on those defects which did not hinder the purpose for which He assumed it, namely, our redemption. But a lack of knowledge of many things would never have hindered our redemption, as, for example, if Christ would not have known the number of pebbles in the bed of some river. Therefore, we should not say that Christ knew everything.
12. It was said that, although knowledge of such things would not help toward the end of our redemption, ignorance of these things would derogate from Christ’s perfection.—On the contrary, ignorance is opposed to the perfection of the soul in the way hunger and thirst are opposed to the perfection of the body. But Christ took on hunger and thirst because they were not obstacles to our redemption. Therefore, with equal reason He should have assumed ignorance of many things.
13. Ambrose says: “Every nature is bounded by its given limits.” But nothing of this sort extends to an infinite multitude of things. Therefore, the soul of Christ does not know an infinite multitude of things.
14. just as knowledge is said to be infinite in extension in as far as one knows an infinite multitude of things, so it is said to be infinite in intensity in as far as one knows with infinite clearness. But Christ’s knowledge was not infinite in intensity, since, if it were, it would be equal to God’s knowledge in clearness. Therefore, it was not infinite in extension, either. Hence He did not know an infinite number of things, or all that God knows.
To the Contrary
1. Commenting on the Apocalypse (5:12), “The Lamb... is worthy to receive... wisdom,” the Gloss says: “... knowledge of all things which God knows.” Therefore, the soul of Christ knows everything that God knows.
2. By one infinite, it is possible to know an infinite multitude of things, since God knows an infinite multitude of things by His essence, which is infinite. But the soul of Christ saw the Word, which is infinite, and through the Word it sees other things. Therefore, it can know an infinite multitude of things.
3. In Colossians (1:19) we read: “Because in him [Christ], it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness [of divinity] should dwell.” But this would not be so unless He knew all that God knows. Therefore, the soul of Christ knows everything that God knows.
4. Whatever can be communicated to any creature was communicated to the soul of Christ. But the knowledge of all things can be communicated to a creature, for, according to the Philosopher, the possible intellect is in potency to all intelligible things. Therefore, God conferred on the soul of Christ the vision of all things in the Word.
For a clear understanding of this question we must grasp what it means to see something in the Word. Therefore, we must remember that a thing can be seen in something only in the way in which it exists in that thing. However, there are two ways in which a number of things can come to exist in one thing. In one way, they exist there in separation and multiplicity, as for instance, with many forms, each is reflected separately in a mirror, and as many men are in one house. In the other way, they are there according to one simple form, as many effects exist virtually in a cause, as conclusions in a principle, and as bodily members in seed.
Accordingly, whoever sees anything must, as a consequence, also see those things which exist in it in multiplicity and division. For each one of them presents itself to him in the same way as that single thing in which they are contained presents itself. To this extent, one who sees a mirror sees the forms reflected by the mirror). But one who sees some one thing does not have to see all the things which exist in it as united in one form, except when he comprehends the total power of that one thing. Thus, one who sees some principle does not have to see all the conclusions which exist virtually in it, unless he comprehends the principle.
But created things are not in God in multiplicity, but in unity, as Dionysius says. Hence, when we say that a thing is in God, this is more like the manner in which effects are in a cause and conclusions in a principle, than like the manner in which forms are in a mirror. Therefore, one who sees the Word does not have to see everything which the Word sees in Himself, as some9 have said, using the example of forms which are seen in a mirror when one sees the mirror. For the Word has comprehensive knowledge of Himself, so that, seeing Himself, He knows allthe things which are in Him virtually and in unity.
But created intellects, which do not have a comprehensive grasp of the Word, do not necessarily see all that is in the Word when they see the Word. But, even in this, the soul of Christ enjoyed a greater privilege than any [other] created intellect. For in the Word it sees all things, present, past, and future.
The reason for this is that there is a double relation of God to creatures, since He is the principle and end of all things. We have one of these in so far as all things proceed from God into being, and the other in so far as they are ordained to God as to their end. Some, as the irrational creatures, are thus ordained only by assimilation; others, however, are thus ordained both by assimilation and also by attaining the divine essence itself. For it is innate in every creature proceeding from God to strive for the good by its activity. But a creature is assimilated to God in attaining any good whatsoever. But, beyond this, rational creatures by their activity can attain to knowledge and love of God. Consequently, they, beyond other creatures, have a capacity for beatitude.
The Creator, however, surpasses creatures in both of these relations. In the first, because over and above everything which God has made He can still make other different things, new species, new genera, and other worlds. And that which has been made can never exhaust the power of the Maker. And He surpasses creatures in the second relation because, no matter how much a creature shares the good, it can never reach the point where it is equal to God’s goodness. Also, no matter how much a rational creature knows and loves God, it can never know and love Him as perfectly as He can be known and loved.
And, just as creatures would be imperfect if they proceeded from God and were not ordained to return to God, so, too, their procession from God would be imperfect unless the return to God were equal to the procession. Therefore, every creature participates in goodness to the extent to which it participates in being. Thus, it is necessary for the most excellent created intellects to know God, so that their knowledge be equal to the procession of creatures from God. But things proceed from God naturally and according to the order of grace. Hence, the created intellects, that is, the angels, who in the natural order are set at the peak of creation, receive knowledge of all natural things in God and from God. But Christ stands above every creature also according to the gifts of grace, since “of his fullness we all have received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Therefore, He received in God knowledge of all things which proceed from God at any time, not only according to the order of nature, but 41so according to the order of grace.
Therefore, the soul of Christ knows all creatures not only according to their natural properties, as the angels also do, but even in so far as they are subject to divine providence and are ordered to the end of human salvation and the gifts of grace. Therefore, He knows all individual things and every single act of all things, even the secret thoughts of men’s hearts. This can be said of no other creature. Nevertheless, because this does not reach the point where it includes comprehensive grasp of God’s infinity, God still has the power to do many other things than those which the soul of Christ knows.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The common answer to this objection is that God knows some things with the knowledge of vision, namely, present, past, and future things. And granted that the world has a beginning and an end, these are not infinite. We say that God sees only these because vision concerns things which exist in themselves outside the understanding of the one who sees them. However, He knows some things with the knowledge of simple intelligence, namely, those which He can make, but which will never exist. These things are infinite. And we say that God understands these things by means of the representation which His understanding can use to form quiddities of things which do not exist outside of Him. Accordingly, the soul of Christ sees all things, present, past, and future, in the Word; nevertheless, it does not see everything which God can make, and thus it does not follow that it knows an infinite multitude of things.
But that answer does not meet the force of the difficulty. For, if we grant that generation might continue to infinity in the future, as God could so make it, it is evident that there would be an infinite multitude of men, and God would know them all by knowledge of vision. Hence, if the soul of Christ knew everything that God knows with the knowledge of vision, it would follow that it would know an infinite multitude of things, although it would not know everything which God can do. For, besides an infinite multitude of individuals of these finite species, God can make an infinite multitude of different species and an infinite multitude of individuals in each species, as is clear especially in the ratios of numbers.
For, if we take the individuals in one species of ratio, they will be multiplied to infinity. Thus, in the species of doubling there is the ratio of two to one, four to two, six to three, and so on to infinity. And again, besides the ratio of doubling, there is another species, that of triple, and also of quadruple, and quintuple, and so on to infinity. Yet each of these contains potentially an infinite multitude of individuals. Consequently, if generation were to continue to infinity according to these species which are now finite, God could still make more, because He could make new species, and this to infinity. It is clear from this that it does not mean the same thing to say that the soul of Christ knows an infinite multitude of things and that it knows all that God can make.
Furthermore, in knowing all creatures with the knowledge of vision, God has a comprehensive grasp of them, so He knows whatever is in the potency of creatures. But there is an infinity in the potency of creatures, as is evident in the division of the continuum and in the addition of numbers. Hence, since the soul of Christ has comprehensive knowledge of creatures, it knows the infinite number of things which arc in creatures potentially.
Besides, if the souls of the damned exist forever, and their thoughts, all of which God knows, will be changing, God now knows an infinite multitude of future things with the knowledge of vision. Hence, if the soul of Christ knows everything that God knows with the knowledge of the vision, we must say that it knows an infinite multitude of things.
Hence, we have to give a different answer, and say that in reality we find something which is simply and in every way infinite, namely, God. And there is something finite in every way, namely, material things. Moreover, there is something which is finite in some sense and infinite in some sense, for any immaterial substance is finite in so far as it has existence limited to its own nature, since no created substance, although immaterial, is its own existence, but participates in existence. Nevertheless, it is infinite by reason of the removal of that limitation by which a form is limited by the very fact of its reception into matter. For everything received exists in the recipient according to the mode of the recipient.
Therefore, in so far as a thing is infinite, it is related to the infinite by its activity. For that which is infinite both because of its existence and its immateriality, namely God, is related to infinity through its operation by reason both of its matter, or quantity, and of its specific or generic nature. Consequently, God can know an infinite multitude of individuals and an infinite multitude of species because He knows all that He can do, and He can make new species to infinity. Besides this, since a thing acts in so far as it is in act, just as God’s being is infinite, so also His activity is infinitely efficacious.
But a material thing is not related to an infinite multitude of things either as infinite according to quantity or matter, or as infinite according to species. This is evident in sight, which is a material power and, accordingly, cannot know any species whatever, but a determined species, color. Nor can it know an infinite number of things except successively. For, since it is material, its activity is material, and attains to things which are numerically infinite according to continuous or discrete quantity, and this is material infinity. It does this in the way in which they are infinite, that is to say, materially, numbering part after part. Therefore, it can never arrive at knowledge of an infinite number of individuals. And since our understanding in the present state receives from sense, neither can it know an infinite number of things in this way.
But immaterial substances, which are in some sense infinite and in some sense finite, have limited existence, and because of this their activity has finite efficacy and is ordained to finite natures. But, because they are immaterial, their activity extends to things materially infinite. Hence, as the Commentator says, our understanding appears to be infinite in some respect, in so far as it knows the universal, in which an infinite number of singulars are known. But it is deficient in this, that the universal species which understanding perceives, that of man, for example, is not a perfect representation for knowledge of any individual in its individuality.
However, if that were the case, then our understanding, granted that there were an infinite number of men, would still know these materially infinite things through one finite nature, human nature. For, although in an infinite multitude of men human nature would be infinite quantitatively or materially, it would not be infinite specifically. This is clear from the fact that there can be other species outside of the infinite multitude of men. And the proper object of understanding is. the specific nature, not matter. The case would be similar with one who, by means of the nature of animal, would know all species of animals in their specific qualities. For if there were an actually infinite number of species of animals, he would indeed know an infinite species but only a finite nature, since, besides the nature of animal, there is still the nature of stone.
Therefore, since the soul of Christ knows the Word, which is a sufficient representation for knowledge of all individuals in their individuality, and all species in their specific qualities, nothing prevents the soul of Christ from knowing an infinite multitude of things, even though its being is finite. Nevertheless, it cannot have a comprehensive grasp of infinite nature.
2. The soul of Christ is not elevated above the limits of creaturehood by its union with the Word. Therefore, it does not become infinite, does not have infinite power, and its activity is not intrinsically infinite, although it does know an infinite multitude of things. For it knows an infinite multitude of things with a finite power. As a result, it remains infinite only materially.
3. The solution to the third difficulty is clear from the second response.
4 Comprehensive grasp of the infinite can come only through an activity which has infinite efficacy. For God Himself is known comprehensively by an intellect when it has as much efficacy to understand as God has to be understood. Consequently, He can be known comprehensively only by an uncreated intellect. But knowledge of an infinite multitude of things does not demand infinite efficacy in intellectual activity, as is clear from what has been said. Therefore, the conclusion does not follow.
5-6. The solution to the fifth and sixth difficulties is clear from what has been said.
7. The soul of Christ knows an infinite multitude of things through an uncreated species in the way we have described, that is, through the divine essence itself. And, since this is infinite, nothing prevents it from containing the intelligibility of an infinite multitude of things.
8. The solution to the eighth difficulty is clear from what has been said.
9. The man assumed [by the Word] was not made equal to the Word in the number of things known, although he knew an infinite multitude of things. For it still does not follow that he knows everything which God can make as is clear from what has been said. And, granting that he knew all that the Word knows, even though the number were equal in both, he is not made equal in the number of things known with reference to the manner of knowing.
10. Essentially, any dimension belongs to measurable quantity. Therefore, one body can be said to be equal to another according to any dimension in which it is equal to the other. But quantity of knowledge, which is considered according to the number of things known, belongs to it accidentally and materially, especially when in the many objects of knowledge there is a single intelligible aspect by which they are known. It would be different if they were known according to different intelligible aspects. But the quantity which comes from efficacy of knowledge belongs essentially to knowledge, since such quantity is considered according to the procession of intellectual activity from the intellectual power. Therefore, the situation is not the same.
11. The Son of God did not assume all the defects which could have existed in Him without interfering with the redemption of men. But it is true that He assumed those whose assumption aided in the redemption of the human race. Nevertheless, any lack of knowledge whatever would have been a defect which hindered the redemption of the human race. For the Redeemer, through whom grace and truth were to be diffused throughout the whole human race, needed the fullness of grace and truth. And any defect of knowledge could have been prejudicial to this.
12. Through His bodily weakness Christ came to heal the weakness of soul which consists in a lack of grace and knowledge. Therefore, although He did assume bodily defects, He should not in any way have assumed any defect of knowledge or grace.
13. The solution to this thirteenth difficulty is clear from what has been said.
14. Extensive quantity, as is clear from what has been said, is accidental to knowledge. But intensive quantity is essential to it, as is also clear from our explanation. Therefore, the situation is not the same.
Q. 20: The Knowledge of Christ
In the fifth article we ask:
Does the soul of Christ know all that god could make?
[Parallel readings: De ver., 8, 4; III Sent., 14, sol. 2; Comp. Theol., 216; S.T., III, 10, 2.]
It seems that it does, for
1. Whoever knows the greater can know the less. But God is greater than anything which He can make, for whatever He can make is created. Therefore, since the soul of Christ knows God, it can with much greater reason know whatever God can make.
2. It was said that, although God is greater, the soul of Christ has an ordination to the knowledge of God but not to the knowledge of everything which God can make.—On the contrary, although God in Himself is more knowable than any creature, yet, for us, creatures are more knowable than God. But whatever God can make is a creature. Therefore, it is more natural for the soul to know anything God can make than to know God Himself.
3. just as the soul of Christ sees the divine essence, so, also, it sees the divine power. However, it is said to see the whole divine essence, but does not see it totally. Therefore it sees the whole divine power, although it does not see it totally. But the whole power cannot be seen unless whatever it can extend to is seen. Therefore, the soul of Christ knew everything which God can make.
4. Whatever God can make He can disclose. But whatever can be disclosed to any creature was disclosed to Christ. Therefore, whatever God can make was disclosed to Christ.
5. That which does not entail defect in the one communicating nor in the one to whom it is communicated can be communicated. But to give the soul of Christ the knowledge of everything which God can make does not entail any defect in God, since this would seem to pertain to His supreme liberality, nor in the soul of Christ, since it belongs to its supreme perfection. Therefore, this could be communicated to the soul of Christ; so, it was communicated to it.
6. If the soul of Christ does not know all that God can do, granted that God did something, the soul of Christ would not know it, unless it learned it anew. But it is unfitting to say that the soul of Christ is ignorant of any existing thing, or that it learns anything new. Therefore, the soul of Christ knows all that God can make.
To the Contrary
1. If the soul of Christ knows whatever God can make, everything that God can make is enclosed in the soul of Christ. But the soul of Christ is finite. Therefore, since God can make an infinite multitude of things, it follows that the infinite would be enclosed in the finite. But this is impossible. Therefore the first, that the soul of Christ is able to know whatever God can make, is impossible too.
2. The divine power is infinite, just as the divine essence is. But the soul of Christ cannot have a comprehensive grasp of the divine essence because of its infinity. Therefore, neither can it have a comprehensive grasp of the divine power. Thus, it cannot know whatever God can make.
3. The more perfectly a thing is known by someone, the more things are known in it. But God knows Himself more perfectly than the soul of Christ does. Therefore, He knows more things in Himself than the soul of Christ knows in the Word. But God knows nothing in Himself but what is, or was, or will be, or can be, could have been, or could be [in the future]. Therefore, the soul of Christ does not know all these things.
There have been different opinions on this matter. For some have said that not only the soul of Christ, but every soul, sees in the Word whatever can be seen there. This includes not only what is, will be, or has been, but whatever God can make. But these people were mistaken in this because they thought the mode of seeing things in the Word was like the mode of seeing things in a material mirror, in which images of things are reflected as many and diverse. But the natures of things exist in God in unity and simplicity, as Dionysius says. However, if they existed there as many and diverse, then everything that could be known in God would be known once He was seen. Thus, all who saw God through His essence would see everything that God can make, since all these things could be known in God.
But, since we are told expressly that some who see God through His essence are ignorant of some things, as is evident of the angels, who are illumined by one another, as Dionysius says, some ascribe this perfection of knowledge only to the soul of Christ, and not to all who see God, so that, besides God only the soul of Christ knows all that God can make.
But, since it does not seem fitting to ascribe an infinite activity to a finite creature, and since to see all that God can make requires an infinite activity, others have said that the soul of Christ does not see all the things which God can make in actual knowledge, but still does see them in habitual knowledge. For it knows the Word so perfectly that by turning to the Word it receives in the Word knowledge of whatever it wants to know, although it does not always actually consider everything that it can know in the Word. But this does not seem to be true. For the soul of Christ, and any of the blessed, in so far as they have the beatific vision, by which they see the Word and things in the Word, do not have succession in their acts of understanding. For, according to Augustine: “Thoughts will not come and go in heaven.” Hence, we must say that in the Word the soul of Christ sees in actual knowledge all that it sees there in habitual knowledge. This agrees with what the Philosopher says, when he says that happiness is had according to act, and not only according to habit. Furthermore, as it is not fitting to say that there is a created activity which extends to all that God can make, so it is also not fitting to say that there is a created habit with an ordination to these same things.
Therefore, we must say with others that the soul of Christ does not know all that God can make. The reason for this is that two elements must be considered in knowledge: that which is known and the manner in which it is known. It sometimes happens that some agree in one of these who differ in the other, as when one and the same thing is known by different subjects, less by one and more by the other. That which in itself is presented to be known pertains to that which is known; that, however, which is known in something else pertains to the manner of knowing of that in which it is known. Thus, if one knows some principle and in it acquires knowledge of some conclusions, the knowledge of those conclusions depends on the manner of knowing the principle.
For, the more perfectly one knows a principle, the more conclusions he sees in it, but, however weak his knowledge of the principle is, the substance of that principle always remains known to him. Therefore, his knowledge of it does not involve any determinate way of knowing, as the knowledge of conclusions which are known in the principle involves a determinate way of knowing. Hence it is that all who are presented with one principle know the substance of the principle but do not know the same conclusions or an equal number of conclusions. They differ in this, as they do in the manner of knowing the principle.
All who see God through His essence are said to see the whole essence of God. For there is nothing of the essence which any of them does not see, since the divine essence has no parts. Nevertheless, all do not see it totally, but only God sees Himself totally, in this sense, that the mode of the knower is equal to the mode of the thing known. For the efficacy of the divine intellect in knowing is as great as the knowability of the divine essence.
But this cannot be said of any created intellect; hence, no created intellect reaches the point where it sees the divine essence as perfectly as it can be seen. For this reason, no created intellect can have comprehensive knowledge of it, but one created intellect sees the divine essence more perfectly than another. Therefore, it is evident that knowledge of something in the Word depends on the mode of knowing the Word. Thus, as it is impossible for a created intellect to arrive at the perfect mode of knowing the Word as it can be known, so, too, it is impossible for a created intellect to know everything which can be known in the Word, that is to say, everything which God can make.
Consequently, it is impossible for the soul of Christ to know everything which God can make, just as it is impossible for it to have comprehensive knowledge of the divine power. For each thing is known comprehensively when its definition is known. For the definition is the power comprehending the thing. But the definition of any power is taken from the things to which the power of God extends. Hence, if the soul of Christ knew everything to which the power of God extended, it would completely comprehend the power of God. But this is altogether impossible.
Answers to Difficulties
1. Whatever God can do is less than God Himself. And it could be known more easily by the soul of Christ if whatever God can make were in itself presented to the soul of Christ, as God Himself is thus presented to it. But, in the present state of things, what God can do, or what He did, are not presented to the soul of Christ in themselves, but in the Word. Therefore, the conclusion does not follow.
2. That through which another thing is known is always more evident. Therefore, although according to a certain mode of knowing creatures are more evident to us than God, still, in the mode of knowledge in which things are seen in the Word, the Word itself is more evident than the things seen in the Word. Hence, the conclusion does not follow.
3. Power can be considered in two ways, either according to its substance, and thus the soul of Christ sees the whole divine power, as it sees the whole essence, or according to the things to which the power extends, and it is from these that the quantity of power is calculated. In this way, the soul of Christ does not see the whole power, because this would be completely to grasp the power, as has been said.
4. It is impossible that God has made everything which He can make, for thus God would have made so many things that He could not make any more, and thus His power would be limited to the creatures actually in existence. Similarly, it is impossible to hold that whatever God can disclose has been disclosed to any creature.
5. To hold that the soul of Christ knows everything which God can make implies a defect in God Himself. For God would be grasped completely by the soul of Christ, and this would derogate from His infinity.
6. We have to answer this difficulty in the way in which we answered the difficulties about predestination. For, although it is possible for one who is predestined to be damned, still, as soon as we say he is damned, we say that he was not predestined, since these two, to be predestined and to be damned, cannot stand together. Similarly, I say that when the soul of Christ knows everything which God foresees that He will do, as soon as it is true that God does something else, it is true that God foresaw that He would do it, and the soul of Christ knew it. Thus, it is not necessary to say that there is ignorance of anything in the soul of Christ, or that He learned anything anew.
Q. 20: The Knowledge of Christ
In the sixth article we ask:
Does the soul of Christ know everything with that knowledge by which it knows things in their proper nature?
[Parallel readings: III Sent., 14, 3, sol. 1; Comp. Theol.,16; S.T., III, 11,1; 12, 1.]
It seems that it does, for
1. The capacity of the soul is not limited to a certain number of objects of knowledge. Accordingly, if the capacity of Christ’s soul is adequately filled with the knowledge of things in their proper genus, we must say that it knows all things according to this knowledge.
2. Everything which is in potency is imperfect before it is reduced to act. But the possible intellect, which was not missing from the soul of Christ, is “that by which one becomes all things,” as is said in The Soul. Therefore, since Christ’s understanding was not imperfect, it seems that it had knowledge of all intelligible things.
3. Not to be able to advance in scientific knowledge pertains to the perfection of knowledge only when all things are knon scientifically. But, according to the common opinion, the soul of Christ could not advance in the habit of science. Therefore, it knew all things according to the knowledge with which it knew things in their proper genus.
To the Contrary
The soul of Christ knew created things by a created habit of science. But a created habit of science cannot be the likeness of all things. Therefore, the soul of Christ could not know all things according to that mode of science.
We ascribe that scientific knowledge of things in their proper genus to the soul of Christ so that no natural perfection may be lacking to it, as is clear from what has been said.Therefore, through this knowledge He knew as much as the natural knowledge of the soul can reach, not only in this life, but after death. This is so because in His soul Christ was at once a wayfarer and one who possessed the term.
But there are some things which natural knowledge can in no way reach. Such are the divine essence, future contingents, the secret thoughts of men’s hearts, and other things of this sort. And the soul of Christ did not have knowledge of these things through that mode of knowledge, but knew them in the Word. It did not know them by the knowledge of prophecy, since prophecy is an imperfect participation of that sight by which things are seen in the Word. And, since this knowledge was perfect in Christ, the imperfection of prophecy had no place there.
It is also clear that Christ had this knowledge more fully than Adam, since through this knowledge Adam did not know created separated substances, and the soul of Christ did. For the natural knowledge of the separated soul extends to this, although the knowledge of the soul joined to a corruptible body does not.
Answers to Difficulties
1. The capacity of the human soul extends to a determined class of knowable things, but not to a definite number in that class.
2. The possible intellect is in potency to receive all intelligible things which can become such through the agent intellect. Of this the Philosopher says that the agent intellect is that “by which one makes all things [intelligible].” But these are the things which are abstracted from phantasms and which we can come to know through naturally known principles. Therefore, the possible intellect is in natural potency only to these things. But Christ knew all these through this knowledge. Hence, there was no imperfection in His understanding.
3. For that matter, even in this knowledge Christ could not advance in so far as the habit is concerned, since such knowledge by the nature of its genus cannot extend to more things than Christ knew through it. But in the Gospel it is said that He “advanced in wisdom” with reference to experience of those things which He knew in the habit.