by Canon F. H. Drinkwater NEARS ago theologians
used to theorise a lot, in rather a priori fashion. about Our Lord's "knowledge" as man, without distinguishing very much between his mortal life and his risen life.
There was first his normally human knowledge derived from his human experience; then his "infused" knowledge, by which he knew God from all things needed for his redemptive mission; and finally the knowledge of all things in the beatific vision, which he was regarded as possessing as a necessary consequence of the Incarnation.
Such speculation is legitimate, and the categories are still useful to use in dis cussion. The more thoughtful kind of theologian would no doubt make a Jistinction between fully-aware "knowledge" and knowledge possessed in reserve somehow, for clouded over, as tha beatific vision might well he); in short an obvious enough distinction between knowledge and consciousness. But for the average unreflecting Catholic there was the likelihood that he would get the wrong impression of Our Lord as of a God walking the earth just pretending to be a man.
Where the threefoldknowledge theory is fully applicable is to the Risen Christ. His human mind is still human, still finite in heaven. but we cannot set any limits to its operation. Just as his now-glorified Body freed from its mortal limitations, so his soul, spirit, mind, mentality (call it what you will) with his consciousness included, is still the same, still finite, but has been lifted or expanded to what can only be called cosmic and eternal horizons.
Except that he can still show us his hands and side, and still speak to us in human accents, the still hui man Christ for our practical purposes is not easily distinguishable from the Spirit he sends.
This is plain in the gospels. During his mortal life, Our Lord occasionally forgives people's sins himself; occasionally sends the disciples on a practice-preach ing tour: risen from the dead, he sent out his disciples to preach and bring forgiveness to all nations. During his mortal life, whatever his ideals and plans may be, he confines his own ministry to Israel; risen, he sends the apostles to the whole world.
When rationalist critics or trendy theologians seek to distinguish between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, is not this what they are really feeling after -the distinction between the mortal Jesus of Nazareth and the risen Jesus? In both cases it is God incarnate, but in "the days of his flesh" he was sharing our human condition to the full, in all except our sin.