According to Chalcedonians, how did Jesus increase in wisdom?
Jesus increased in wisdom through his human nature!
Did Jesus know that he was God or the Son of God when he was growing up? Was he all knowing as a human?
Yes, Jesus necessarily had to know he was God as a child; otherwise, his taking on a human nature would’ve demonstrated he wasn’t God, which, of course, is heretical. Many erroneously conclude that Jesus didn’t know he was God as a child from the closing verse of the account of his being found in the Temple by the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
In short, Jesus could grow in wisdom insofar as he appropriated knowledge in a new way through his human nature, as a boy and as a man, but he necessarily couldn’t have had a net increase in knowledge, given that he’s first and foremost a divine and thus omniscient person. And his divine intellect informed his human intellect of the reality of his divinity.
The hypostatic union, that Jesus is both true God and true man (CCC 464-469), is a profound sacred mystery, i.e., a truth we will never fully grasp, second only to the Holy Trinity. So we need to bow at that mystery when we reach our human limits and not venture into doctrinal error in misguided attempts to explain it.
Jesus increased in wisdom and stature as seeming any ordinary human being would amongst others in their social surroundings.
What does it mean when Luke says that the child Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature”? St. Athanasius says that the Word of God could not grow any more perfect; but the human body grew, and as Jesus grew older the people around him understood his wisdom more and more.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
If he “increases” in being the Word, what more can he become than Word and Wisdom and Son and God’s power? The Word is all these things. Anyone who shares even one ray of all this light, so to speak, becomes all-perfect among mortals, and equal to angels.
Angels, and Archangels, and Dominions, and all the Powers, and Thrones, share in the Word, and by sharing in the Word always see the face of the Father. He supplies perfection to others! How can he “increase” more than they do? An- gels even ministered at his Nativity—and this passage from Luke comes later than that.
How could anyone even think it? How could Wisdom advance in wisdom?
No, he did not “increase” as the Word, but he did as a man, since it is human to increase. Thus the Evangelist, choosing his words carefully, mentions that he increased “in stature.” As Word and God he is not measured in stature: stature belongs to bodies. So the increase is of the body; and when it increased, the mani- festation of the Godhead also increased, to those who saw it.
– St. Athanasius, Discourse 3 Against the Arians
Thus in his humanity, we can see Jesus learning how to use the tools of the trade of his foster father St. Joseph who was a carpenter.
A Prophet Without Honour
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. - Matthew 13:53-58
Even though Jesus grew in grace and wisdom before God and man, And if Jesus is God, wouldn’t he know when the end would come?
Matthew 24:36 says, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father only." If Jesus is God, wouldn’t he know when the end would come? Why then does it say "nor the son, but the Father only"?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the orthodox interpretation of these words of the Lord:
By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal. What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal (474).
What this means then is that “not knowing” refers to his not being sent to reveal the day and the hour in his human nature, leaving that office to the Father. It has always been understood that as God, Christ knows the day and the hour but that in his mission on Earth he was not sent to reveal this. We need to remember that the word to know in the Semitic senses used in Scripture is very diverse and rich and does not refer only to mental information but to actions and offices. - Jesus Knows When the End Will Come
There many more mysteries within the Scriptures and they there in order that we may contemplate the Sacred, grow in holiness and follow in His footprints.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. - Matthew 11:15