Friday 28th July 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Our Savior And Redeemer . . . Answering Objections Concerning Christ’s Knowledge And Will

April 16, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 3

St. Peter, in his first epistle, teaches us to always be ready to satisfy everyone that asks for a reason of that hope which is in us (1 Peter 3:15). This is the very raison d’être of apologetics: to give the right answer to those who ask about our hope, our faith. And, I must add, that also includes answering objections to the faith.
In this article, as in others before, we answer objections that have been raised against the Catholic faith. In this case, against the knowledge and the will of Christ.
First objection: “If Jesus was perfect from the beginning, what is meant by the words in the Gospel: ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man’ (Luke 2:52)?”
Reply: It must always be kept in mind that Christ has two natures: one divine, and one human. He is God and Man. As God, He did not — and could not — advance in anything; because, as God, He was and is infinitely perfect. But Christ as Man advanced in wisdom and favor, i.e., His experimental knowledge and the sum of His virtuous acts increased from day to day in the sight of God the Father and men, Mary and Joseph, and the people of Nazareth who knew Him.
Second objection: “You say that Christ as Man enjoyed the beatific vision. His happiness was greater than that of the angels. How then could He have suffered pain, since the Beatific Vision is the height of happiness?”
Reply: Christ did not allow the happiness He enjoyed either as God or as Man to save Him from truly suffering. As a mountain-summit may be bathed in peaceful sunshine, while below the rocks are riven with lightning, so Christ confined the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision within the higher part of His soul, while at the same time exposing all the rest of His human nature to the tempest of grief and affliction.
This coexistence of joy with pain may be illustrated from the early Christian martyrs, whose souls were filled with gladness in the midst of all their agony.
Third objection: “If He was not ignorant, then what did the Son of God mean when He said of the Day of Judgment, ‘Of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father’ (Mark 13:32)?”
Reply: Christ knew perfectly well the day and the hour in His human mind, but He did not have this knowledge from His human nature, from His experimental knowledge as man. He was using a mode of speaking understood by His disciples and, therefore, not deceptive to express that He had not come to reveal the day and the hour of judgment. As He would tell them at another time: “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7).
Fourth objection: “If our Savior was sinless, why was He baptized by John the Baptist? It was a baptism of repentance, was it not? And people confessed their sins.”
Reply: The baptism given by John prefigured Christian Baptism, but was not the Sacrament of Baptism. The Sacrament of Baptism removes sin and makes one a child of God. He who was the sinless and natural Son of God had no need of it, therefore. The baptism of John was a ritual cleansing to express repentance and the desire to be purified from sins in expectation of the Messias.
Jesus allowed Himself to be numbered among sinners and submitted to John’s baptism to show that He had come to take our sins upon Himself and was prepared to undergo the later “baptism” of His death. Christ was baptized, not so that He might be sanctified by the waters, but so that He Himself might sanctify the waters. Christ’s baptism illustrates what happens to us at our Baptism.
Fifth objection: “If Christ our Lord was incapable of sin, then what meaning have His temptations in the desert by the Devil? Was He able to sin?”
Reply: A temptation is a test. Our Lord was tested by the Devil, who pressured Him to desist from His mission. Just as a student who knows his subject perfectly cannot fail an examination but submits to a genuine test nevertheless, or just as a weightlifter will lift a heavy weight with effort and strength, so Jesus passed His tests and proved His love for God and His unfailing determination to fulfill the will of God, at whatever personal sacrifice.
The difference between us and Him is that He did have an orientation to evil. Here it is essential to understand the sinlessness and impeccability of Christ: Our Blessed Lord was conceived without sin and remained free from sin all through His life. In His humanity, He was “tempted as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb. 4:15). He claimed this sinlessness publicly: “Which of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46.
Our Savior was not only sinless but incapable of sin. Since sin always involves something against God, it is obvious that Christ, being God, did not, and could not, will or do something against Himself.
Sixth objection: “If Christ was truly God, what did He mean by saying, ‘the Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28)? Jehovah’s Witnesses quotes this verse all the time.”
Reply: Again, we must always keep in mind the two natures of Christ. Sometimes He referred to His divine nature, and sometimes to His human nature. St. John, who records these words, also says that “the Word was God” (1:1), and records the confession of St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (20:28), and our Lord’s declaration, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (8:58). All these verses refer to His divine nature.
But at times He referred to His human nature, as in “the Father is greater than I.” Here He was speaking as man, for in His Humanity and veiled glory, He was not equal to the Father. St. Basil and others say the words mean that “the Son has His origin in the Father.” The Greek words for “greater than I” mean here, “my origin, my principle.” The words come from the Last Supper, when, as St. John says (13:1, 3), “Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father . . . knowing that He had come from God and was going to God.”
The full sentence is, “If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I”; that is to say: “Although I am leaving you, if you loved me, you would be happy for me, because I am going home, to my Father, to my Origin, to the One from whom I came.”
Next article: The three offices of Christ: Priest, Prophet, and King.

+ + +

(Raymond de Souza is an EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International [HLI]; president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His website is: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Bishops to Trump: Don’t abandon young people to deportation

Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2017 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Undocumented young people brought to the U.S. by their parents contribute to American society and deserve continued protections from the Trump administration, said the U.S. Catholic bishops this week. “These…Continue Reading

Facing outrage – Facebook unblocks Catholic pages

Dozens of Catholic Facebook pages have been blocked, according to several Catholic news organizations. UPDATE: Facebook has unblocked more than 20 Catholic-interest pages – blaming the issue on a technical glitch. “All Pages have now been restored,” a Facebook spokesperson…Continue Reading

Bishops stress hospitality for Camino de Santiago hosts

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Jul 14, 2017 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The bishops of Spain and France have published a new letter emphasizing the importance of hospitality for people who host pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, offering guidelines…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah wants ‘liturgical reconciliation’ between old and new forms of Mass

Sarah says phrase ‘reform of the reform’ should no longer be used but wants ordinary version of Mass to be more like the extraordinary form The Cardinal leading the Vatican’s divine worship office has called for a truce in the…Continue Reading

Video game store promotes graphic animated porn to 35 million child users

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2017 (NCOSE) – A mainstream online video game store, with an estimated 35 million users under the age of 18, is facilitating gamified sexual coercion and animated pornography featuring genitalia, ejaculation, to users of all ages. This…Continue Reading

Trump: ‘If We Do Not Have Strong Families and Strong Values…We Will Not Survive’

(CNSNews.com) – The values that bind America and Europe together – freedom, faith and family — are threatened from the outside by common enemies and from the inside by bureaucracy, President Donald Trump told a cheering crowd of Poles in…Continue Reading

House Republican says health care bill in jeopardy over Planned Parenthood

Rep. Trent Franks said Wednesday that if Planned Parenthood funding is added to the GOP health care bill, numerous Republican senators will no longer support it. “I think a lot of us are ‘no’ votes,” the Arizona Republican said. “We can’t continue…Continue Reading

Müller has a clear criticism of Francis

Critical criticism of Pope Franziskus was voiced by the Kurien Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller. He told the “Passauer Neuen Presse” (Thursday) that Pope Francis Francis had informed him of the decision not to extend his office as a prefect of the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals, has died aged 83

Former German Bishops’ Conference president and Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner has died at the age of 83. Cardinal Meisner served as Archbishop of Cologne for 25 years. A spokesman for the archdiocese said he died on Wednesday morning…Continue Reading

Vietnamese Catholic blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison

HANOI, Vietnam – A Vietnamese court sentenced a Catholic blogger to 10 years in prison for propaganda against the Communist government. Rights activists described the sentence as “heavy.” Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, also known as “Mother Mushroom,” was tried…Continue Reading

‘It’s not all black and white’: New cardinal criticizes 4 cardinals asking Pope for clarity

ROME, June 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — One of Pope Francis’ newly appointed cardinals is already calling out fellow cardinals who are questioning the new direction in which the Pope is trying to move the Church. Archbishop Juan José Omella of…Continue Reading

Vatican’s Cardinal Pell charged with sex abuse, vows to defend himself in Australia

Australian police on Thursday charged Cardinal George Pell, a top adviser to Pope Francis, with multiple historical sex crimes, bringing a worldwide abuse scandal to the heart of the Vatican. As Vatican economy minister, Pell is the highest-ranking Church official…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Today . . .

Bishop Paprocki explains Catholic teaching: Repentance is for everyone

Springfield, Ill., Jul 26, 2017 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A prominent media priest who criticized Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s restatement of norms regarding church funerals “gets a lot wrong,” the bishop said in a response noting the importance of repentance for everyone. Bishop Paprocki explained his decree in a July 9 video on the Diocese of Springfield’s website. He reminded everyone with a ministry in the Church that “while being clear and direct about what…Continue Reading

These Chicago Catholics have a game plan for evangelization

Chicago, Ill., Jul 26, 2017 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Taking its cue from the recent and massive Convocation of Catholic Leaders in the U.S., one Chicago-based organization is partnering with parishes to form missionary disciples. The convocation took place in Florida July 1-4, drawing several thousand participants. Aimed at equipping and invigorating Catholic leaders, the event addressed challenges that inhibit parishes from evangelization, especially the deflating attendance of parishioners in

Catholic nuns urge senators to oppose any bill repealing Obamacare, cutting Medicaid

More than 7,000 Catholic nuns are urging senators to oppose a motion to proceed to debate on a healthcare bill before the Senate this week, and called the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare “immoral and contrary to the teachings of our Catholic faith.” The letter, organized by the Catholic social justice organization NETWORK, was sent to senators Monday and signed by 7,150 Catholic sisters. The nuns are being led by Sister Simone…Continue Reading

Bishop Paprocki Responds to Fr. Martin

There has been quite a bit of consternation since I sent an internal communication to my clergy and staff last month that was unfortunately leaked to the public concerning my “Decree Regarding Same-sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues.” While the underlying doctrinal issues are not new, these norms were necessary to address situations in the pastoral context arising from the new reality in the law and in our culture, given that same-sex marriage is now recognized by…Continue Reading

Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia | Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon – Archbishop Alexander K. Sample

The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia completes the reflection on the family conducted by the Synods of Bishops of 2014 and 2015, a reflection that engaged the Church throughout the world. In issuing Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis once again calls the Church to renew and intensify the Christian missionary proclamation of God’s mercy, while presenting more persuasively the Church’s teaching about the nature of the family and the Sacrament of Matrimony. In all of this the

Advertisement(2)

Radio Hosts… Hope New Book Shows What Conservatives Got Wrong

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw to the people of Poland was the most important talk given on foreign soil by a U.S. president since Ronald Reagan in 1987, near the Berlin Wall, called on the head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to tear down that wall, conservative political activist…Continue Reading

Romero At 100 . . . The Background Of A Modern Catholic Icon

By RAY CAVANAUGH When hearing of Blessed Oscar Romero, one tends to think of his assassination and martyrdom. With good reason, the former Salvadoran archbishop’s violent 1980 death has received thorough coverage. Neglected by comparison, however, has been the earlier part of his life, which began 100 years ago this August 15. Óscar Arnulfo Romero…Continue Reading

New Research Says… Shroud Of Turin Bears Blood Of A Torture Victim

TURIN, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — New research indicates that the Shroud of Turin shows signs of blood from a torture victim, and undermines arguments that the reputed burial shroud of Jesus Christ was painted. Very small particles attached to the linen fibers of the shroud “have recorded a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was…Continue Reading

The Voters Rejected You?… Push Them Aside And Push To Deliver The Agenda

By DEXTER DUGGAN SAN DIEGO — Including six color photos, this area’s largest newspaper co-celebrated the annual “Pride Parade,” positioned as its Sunday lead story, with about half the news space on page one and about three-quarters of an inside page, marching to the activist theme of “Allied in Action, United for Justice.” The San…Continue Reading

A Word About Useful Tools

By MOST REV. CHARLES J. CHAPUT, OFM Cap. (Editor’s Note: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia posted this commentary on July 18 at CatholicPhilly.com. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia granted reprint permission to The Wanderer; all rights reserved.) + + + History is full of great quotations that people never said. One of the…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Feast Of The Transfiguration (YR A)

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Readings: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 2 Peter 1:16-19 Matt. 17:1-9 Hear The Voice Of The Father Today we celebrate one of those rare occasions when the regular Sunday Mass is replaced by a different feast. Even though the Transfiguration is, liturgically speaking, a feast rather than a solemnity, the fact that it is celebrated even on Sunday…Continue Reading

Respectful, If Unsolicited, Advice To The Bishop Of Burlington, Vt.

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon Toner is professor emeritus of leadership and ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. (Below is his open letter to the Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Benedict XVI: “Resist The Dictatorship Of The Spirit Of The Age”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK What did Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI mean by his metaphor of the Church as a boat taking on so much water that it is “in danger of capsizing”? The questions are coming thick and fast as a result of the reaction to this passage in Pope Benedict’s eulogy for Joachim Cardinal Meisner, delivered by Archbishop…Continue Reading

The Church Of Jesus Christ . . . The Church Is The Bride Of Christ

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 Jesus promulgated the Church on the day of Pentecost. It was the Church’s formal birthday. I remember my smile when, on Pentecost Day, a priest in New Zealand said to the people, “Happy Birthday!” The people were a bit puzzled and did not know what to think, and then the priest explained that…Continue Reading

The Sacramental Seal Of Confession

By DON FIER Only bishops and priests, as we saw last week, are valid ministers of the Sacrament of Penance. Just as Christ works through His ordained ministers in the Eucharist to transform bread and wine into His Body and Blood, so too He works through bishops and priests to forgive the sins of repentant sinners. The Vicar of Christ…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Edmund Bojanowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many lay saints throughout the history of the Church from all different walks of life. There is the peasant girl, St. Maria Goretti, patron of young women. St. Thomas More, patron of lawyers, comes to mind when thinking of putting God before government. There are the many lay martyrs, especially in the first few centuries…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bonaventure

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many saints who have been called saints long before the formal process for canonization was put in place. Some of the names by which we know them may not be the names they were given at birth, but indicate their special gifts. For example, St. Veronica, known from the sixth station of the cross, may…Continue Reading