I was recently listening to an interview in which William Lane Craig argued that Jesus of Nazareth could not know something, but the divine logos (the second person of the trinity) could know something. The example he used was the second coming. Is this view considered heresy? Are there similar interpretations of this view?

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    @LukeHill Could you edit this to give a full quote? Your summary sounds much more like Nestorianism, and even WLC isn't that much of a heretic (AFAIK). We need a proper quote to be able to assess his teachings.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 4:13
  • @curiousdannii I don’t have time tonight - if I remember I will tomorrow
    – Luke Hill
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 4:38
  • Could you say exactly how Jesus is differentiated from the Logos on WLC's view? Commented May 18, 2022 at 18:09
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    @OneGodtheFather in essence, the knowledge (and maybe more, but the knowledge was the context) of Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnated person, does not contain the same properties as the Logos. The logos as God contains that knowledge, but only the Father (the person of the trinity) contains the knowledge of the final day.
    – Luke Hill
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 18:14
  • It seems dangerously close to modalism if we aren't careful but it doesn't seem too incoherent
    – Luke Hill
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


St. Thomas Aquinas says "the soul of Christ knows all things in the Word", "whatsoever is, will be, or was done, said, or thought, by whomsoever and at any time" (Summa Theologica III q. 10 a. 2 co.). This includes the time of the Second Coming.

His soul does not know all things that "are in the Divine power alone"*, but it does know all that is "in the power of the creature", everything creatures can do or be. (ibid.)

*"For this would be to comprehend all that God could do, which would be to comprehend the Divine power, and, consequently, the Divine Essence."

Regarding Mark 13:32 ("But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father."), St. Thomas answers (Summa Theologica III q. 10 a. 2 ad 1):

He is said, therefore, [in Mark 13:32,] not to know the day and the hour of the Judgment, for that He does not make it known, since, on being asked by the apostles (Acts 1:7), He was unwilling to reveal it; and, on the contrary, we read (Gn. 22:12): "Now I know that thou fearest God," i.e. "Now I have made thee know." But the Father is said to know, because He imparted this knowledge to the Son.

So, the Son does not know the time of the Second Coming independently from the Father, Who "imparted this knowledge to the Son".

William Lane Craig's view is summarized @8:22 of this interview:

there can be things of which Jesus of Nazareth is ignorant and unaware, like the date of his second coming, even though this is known to the Logos.

But the Second Person of the Trinity is not ignorant of the time of His Second Coming. Christ "is not ignorant of anything that was made by Him" (Summa Theologica III q. 10 a. 2 ad 1).

Perhaps Craig means He did not know the time of the Second Coming independently of the Divine Essence? Still, Craig's assertion does have a Nestorian (that there are two persons in Christ, "Jesus of Nazareth" and the "Logos") or Modernist (that the historical Jesus, "Jesus of Nazareth", is not the same as the object of faith, the "Logos") ring to it; Jesus of Nazereth = Son = Logos = Christ = Second Person of the Trinity.

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    Would you mind adding a conclusion - I’m having trouble following
    – Luke Hill
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 3:28
  • So, according to Aquinas, is WLC's view heresy or not? That was the question. Commented May 18, 2022 at 11:36
  • WLC is simply embellishing on Mark 13:32 Commented May 18, 2022 at 12:16
  • @MikeBorden What is his position?
    – Geremia
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 17:33
  • @LukeHill I added a § on Mk. 13:32.
    – Geremia
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 17:43

In addition to the hypostatic union, one must also consider Jesus in his state of humiliation or exinanition vs. his state of exaltation (Philippians 2:5-11). While the incarnate Son has all the divine knowledge of the Logos, in his state of humiliation he willingly gave up the full use of it (as well as of his omnipotence and other divine attributes). So Jesus, in his state of humiliation, did not know the time of the Second Coming, did not know whether a tree had any figs on it (Mark 11:13), grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52), etc. But in his state of exaltation, Jesus knows all things. WLC's statement is in line with traditional orthodox Christology, as long as by "Jesus of Nazareth" he is referring to the Incarnate Son in his state of exinination/humiliation, which is that period of time from his conception to his death and burial.

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    Commented May 28, 2022 at 21:28

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