Published in Grail World 45/2007
When you ask someone about something they don't know, or perhaps can't know, their response is sometimes a brash counter-question, "Am I Jesus?"
Implicit in this retort is that Jesus, as the Son of God, would have been omniscient.
Was he really?
Honestly, sometimes I too ask a fake question that is more to confuse the other person than to get an answer:
At intervals of several weeks I am visited by Bible believers who like to talk to me, although they have long known that my understanding of the Bible is different from theirs. I then ask them, for example, about the language in which Moses wrote the Ten Commandments (as an Egyptian prince he probably knew the Egyptian, but hardly the Hebrew script). Or I am surprised that the Holy Spirit - who supposedly wrote the Bible - could not have written the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. literally did not know how many times the diameter of a circle fits into the circumference of a circle (from 1 Kings 7:23 it can be seen that the circumference of a circle is three times as long as its diameter).
Should Jesus have known the Ludolph's number? The Ludolph's number is the transcendent number Pi = 3,14159... with infinitely many places behind the decimal point. For a building craftsman (HE was a carpenter or stonemason) the 3 1/7 of antiquity would have been accurate enough. As an engineer, I didn't need a more accurate value than 3.14 very often.
Did Jesus know that the earth is a sphere? Did he know the circumference of the earth, which had been measured relatively accurately for centuries at that time?[i] (He could have learned this from Greek or Roman philosophers; from Jewish rabbis, hardly.)
Could Jesus have been asked about the distance of the moon from the earth and that of the earth from the sun? (Both distances ancient astronomers knew only very approximately).
I am quite sure, HE would have rejected such questions, neither helpful nor meaningful for his goals, alienated. Just as he rejected Sadducee questions[ii] has met with dismissiveness.
A modern image of God
Everyone has heard that Jesus is the "Son of God".[iii] was.
What does this sonship of God mean?
Religions partly still spread naive ideas of an all-knowing creator. This creator continuously cares for each individual (human, animal and - plant?) and, if necessary, intervenes correcting his work of creation. This creator god fits to the medieval understanding of rule. His image is that of a wise king who sees everything, knows everything, directs everything.
The Grail Message of Abd-ru-shin sketches a more generous image of God that is more in line with our modern understanding of the world:
Our wonderful creation is therefore supported by eternal, perfect laws of nature or creation, within the framework of which everything that exists is allowed to develop. These holy laws promote upward developments and inhibit erroneous developments. They are sufficient by themselves for the preservation and promotion of the creations of God. Direct interventions of the Creator in His work are to be assumed at most in extremely rare, very special exceptional cases. In no case arbitrary acts are to be reckoned with, which move outside of the laws of nature proceeding from Himself.
An approach to a more modern image of God - actually impossible by the nature of things - can give us the idea of God as the starting point, the origin of everything that exists. Then we may perhaps imagine the creator as a gigantic sea of fire, of inconceivable size, which emits radiation uninterruptedly. This radiation of God contains everything, including the laws, which is necessary for the formation, the development and the preservation of everything created.
This dynamic image of God is also inevitably incomplete or even wrong. For God is unsubstantial; so unformed, movable, not fixed, incomprehensible. HE is everything and carries all creation-law possibilities of the past and the future for all eternity in itself.. No human image, no earthly conception, no essential shape, no spiritual idea can match its living Its distant become true, in which past, present and future is one.
Who was Jesus?
A son of God on earth would be a person in human form, who carries a drop from the divine-beingless sea of fire in himself; a divine spark, in which everything is contained, which also characterizes God himself. Thus, such a light envoy is an embodiment of God's will, that is, a bearer of the divine laws. He is connected with the spirit of truth and inseparable from his father.
Does this necessarily make HE omniscient?
Must Jesus have been omniscient?
Jesus - as part of the living God - lived in the law of God and was all wise.
HE had the great overview of the creation weaving. He experienced the connections according to the law of creation. HE felt spiritual and earthly misbehavior. Everything what ran contrary to earthly and spiritual creation laws HE had to feel as wrong. Not least HE recognized the final effects of wrong approaches, knew where erroneous ways lead to.
Jesus imparted Wisdom. He built bridges to lead people out of their limited, time-bound understanding to higher insights, up to the true knowledge of God. For this purpose HE had to speak their language - also in the figurative sense - to meet them on their level of understanding. For the Jews of that time, the basis from which Jesus could lead them upwards was the Old Testament.
But I don't think he everything "knew". That he spoke all languages of the world, was familiar with all religions, knew all plants and animals, mastered all crafts, could navigate ships across all seas, had all factual knowledge of his, the present and future time - right and wrong - at hand, etc.
In the past, I would have been threatened with a heresy trial for such statements, and even today some believers will be outraged. I can only ask such to think about it themselves without bias.
Would the truthfulness of Jesus' teaching suffer if Jesus did not know the number pi? How many decimal places of the transcendent Ludolph's number would a God-sent person have had to know? Or would his reputation have suffered if he had not been able to say which scriptural languages Moses knew?
My reverence for a Son of God is not diminished but increased when I believe HE would not be all knowing but all wise!
Because wisdom is more than knowledge! The eternal wisdom stands above the time-bound factual knowledge which nobody can know completely.
[i] Eratosthenes of Cyrene (276-194 BC) determined the circumference of the earth to be 37,800 km. Today's value is 40,000 km.
[ii] Sadducee questions are questions that are asked to embarrass the questioner. The questioner thinks he already knows the answer. (Such a trick question is noted e.g. Matth. in 22,24-30).
[iii] For ancient people, a son of God was nothing special. All kinds of heroes, for example Heracles, were sons of gods, and an ancient person would have asked, "The son of which of God?" Orthodox Jews also saw themselves as "children of God". It was not until Christianity that sonship with God became an important theological concept.