In this blog article, which can be quite technical especially for beginners in theology and more specifically in Christology, we will deal with the omniscience and omnipotence of Christ. This subject is extremely important in Christian theology and has been addressed by a very large number of theologians and Fathers of the Church, as it allows us to respond to attacks made against the divinity of Christ and even goes so far as to prove this divinity. .
This blog post will be structured according to the following plan: first, we will define what omniscience and omnipotence are. Subsequently, for the purpose of clarification, we will recall the distinction of the two natures present in Christ. Which will finally allow us to address the proofs of the omniscience and omnipotence of Christ present in the Bible. To conclude, we will address possible questions relating to the omniscience and omnipotence of Christ, as well as the response to said questions by the various Fathers of the Church. So we can begin.
Omniscience and Omnipotence: Definition
Omniscience is the ability to have total and complete knowledge of everything that can be known. An omniscient person would know everything that happened in the past, everything that is happening in the present, and everything that will happen in the future. This ability is often associated with the notion of a god or supreme entity.
Omnipotence, on the other hand, is the ability to have absolute and unlimited power. An omnipotent person would be able to do and accomplish anything. This ability is also often associated with the notion of a god or supreme entity.
In Christianity, omniscience and omnipotence are attributes traditionally associated with God. According to Christian theology, God is omniscient, meaning he knows everything that is possible to know, including the deepest thoughts and intentions of human beings. He is also omnipotent, meaning he has absolute power over all things, including the laws of nature, in the past, present and future. In reality, omnipotence and omniscience also includes things and possibilities that the human mind is not even capable of imagining or considering because they are so superior to it.
These attributes of God are fundamental to the Christian understanding of the universe and the relationship between God and humanity. God's omniscience implies that God knows what is good and right for his creatures, while his omnipotence means that he has the power to put these plans into action. Christians believe that God is able to intervene in the world to accomplish his will, but also allows humanity some freedom to choose their own path, this is the theory of free will.
Reminder of the distinction between the two natures of Christ
Jesus Christ possesses both a divine nature and a human nature, fully and simultaneously. This belief is based on the Scriptures, particularly the Gospels and Paul's letters in the New Testament. According to this doctrine, Jesus is both God and man, both perfectly divine and perfectly human.
The divine nature of Jesus Christ is considered eternal, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the only Son of God, who has existed from eternity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As God, Jesus possesses all divine attributes and is revered and worshiped as such.
The human nature of Jesus Christ, for its part, is considered real and complete. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a woman, Mary. As a human being, Jesus lived a normal life, with experiences of joy, sorrow, fatigue and temptation. He was crucified, died and buried, but he also rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.
As God, Jesus possesses divine attributes such as omniscience, omnipotence, and eternity. As a man, he possesses human characteristics such as weakness, suffering, and mortality. However, these two natures do not merge and do not cancel each other.
The doctrine of the dual nature of Jesus Christ is important to the Christian understanding of redemption. By assuming a human nature, Jesus was able to undergo death and resurrection to save humanity from sin. At the same time, by being fully God, Jesus brought infinite value to his sacrifice, allowing reconciliation between God and men.
Thus, the two natures of Jesus Christ are essential to the Christian understanding of redemption and are closely related to the doctrine of the Trinity, which teaches that God exists in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, omniscience and omnipotence are only specific to the divine nature of Christ and not to his human nature, which is why it is important to distinguish the two natures of Christ.
Evidence of Christ's omniscience and omnipotence in the Bible
The omniscience of Jesus Christ is emphasized in several biblical passages. For example, in John 16:30, the disciples declare to Jesus: "Now we know that you know all things, and that you need no one to question you; therefore we believe that you came from God ." Likewise, in Colossians 2:3 it is written that "in him [Jesus Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
The omnipotence of Jesus Christ is also affirmed in several biblical passages. For example, in Philippians 3:20-21 it is written that Jesus Christ "will transform the body of our humiliation, making it like the body of his glory, through his power to subject all things to himself. " Likewise, in Revelation 1:8, Jesus declares: "I am Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
In summary, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is omniscient and omnipotent, possessing divine wisdom, knowledge, and power from God.
In John 1:1-3 it is written that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it, and nothing what was done was not done without it.” Here, the "Word" is a reference to Jesus Christ, who is identified as God and having participated in the creation of all things.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus declared after his resurrection: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." This assertion of absolute power over all created things emphasizes the omnipotence of Jesus Christ.
In John 21:17, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, and when Peter answers yes, Jesus tells him, "Feed my sheep." This instruction implies that Jesus has intimate, personal knowledge of every individual who belongs to his flock, which is another example of his omniscience.
In Hebrews 4:12 it is written that "the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow; it judges the feelings and the thoughts of the heart." Here, the “word of God” is a reference to Jesus Christ, who is able to plumb the depths of the human mind and discern the most hidden intentions and thoughts.
These examples and many others emphasize the divine nature of Jesus Christ and his ability to act with unlimited power and wisdom. Thus, Christ's divine nature allows him to be omniscient and omnipotent. Indeed, as the Son is in everything in the Father and the Father is in everything in the Son, Christ knows everything that the Father knows and can perform the same acts as him. It is worth remembering, even if it is quite technical, that unlike the Father, the Son cannot "generate" alone. The Father can, but it is absolutely not a matter of aptitude or potentially lacking power. It's just a question of logic and role. The Son being the Word of God and not his principle, which is the Father, the Son has no reason to generate, it is the role of the Father.
Some possible questions
The Fathers and Doctors of the Church often spoke of the omniscience and omnipotence of Christ. Here are some examples, such as Saint Thomas Aquinas, Leontius of Byzantium, Eulogius, Saint Augustine and Clement of Rome. :
Saint Thomas Aquinas:
- According to him, Christ is omniscient and omnipotent by virtue of his divine nature.
- The omniscience of Christ is infinite and encompasses all possible knowledge, past, present and future.
- Christ's omnipotence is limitless and he can do anything that is possible.
Leonce of Byzantium:
- According to him, Christ is omnipotent because he is God incarnate.
- Christ's omniscience is also emphasized, because as God incarnate, he knows everything.
- According to Eulogius, Christ is omniscient and omnipotent because he is God incarnate.
- He emphasizes that Christ's omniscience includes his knowledge of divine mysteries and the thoughts of men.
Saint Augustin :
- Saint Augustine affirms that Christ is omniscient and omnipotent by virtue of his divine nature.
- According to him, Christ's omniscience is linked to his ability to know the thoughts and intentions of men.
- He also emphasizes that Christ's omnipotence includes his ability to perform miracles.
Clement of Rome:
- Clement of Rome emphasizes that Christ is omniscient and omnipotent as the Son of God.
- It asserts that Christ's omniscience includes his knowledge of all things, even the most hidden secrets.
- He also emphasizes that Christ's omnipotence includes his ability to perform miracles and resurrect the dead.
In summary, the Doctors of the Church agree that Christ, thanks to his divinity, is omnipotent and omniscient. This allows him to know the past, the present, as well as the future, and obviously the thoughts of men. Moreover, he has the ability to achieve everything that is possible to achieve. Be careful, affirming that the divine nature of Christ is perfect does not mean saying that his human nature is imperfect, no, the human nature of Christ has reached the perfection of human nature, everything in Christ is perfect and there is no defect and no sin.
In conclusion, it is widely believed that Christ possesses omnipotence and omniscience. Indeed, as a deity, this is inherent in his nature and no mystery can be hidden from him. He also has the ability to achieve whatever God can accomplish, because he himself is God. However, he chose to limit his own omniscience and omnipotence in order to live as a human being and gradually reveal his true nature, even though it has always been fully present from the beginning. Christ is truly God made man, being both 100% human and 100% divine.
If you would like to know more about the important apostles of our Lord, our blog article entitled "The Apostles of Christ" should greatly appeal to you.