Q: How is Jesus God if He Doesn’t Know All that the Father Knows?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

A Jehovah’s Witness said this to me in a discussion: “If the Son doesn’t know what God knows, then the Son is not almighty God. Imposing ‘limitations’ on Jesus because of His humanity while insisting He was ‘fully God’ in ‘nature’ is a natural conflict. There is no scriptural support for this assumption that I can think of.” How would you respond to this?

Thanks for your question. Your friend is referring to Matthew 24:36 where Jesus says that only God the Father knows the day when heaven and earth will pass away and that He, the Son, doesn’t know. I can understand how someone could be perplexed by this. If Jesus is God, and God knows everything, why doesn’t Jesus know this? It seems that you and your friend both know that orthodox, traditional, evangelical Christianity teaches Jesus was fully God but took on the limitations of humanity when He was born in Bethlehem. This is a difficult thing to grasp, so I can understand his confusion. Where he errs is when he says there is no scriptural support for this.

There are numerous passages that speak of Christ’s deity and how He took on the limitations of humanity to be our Savior. Here are a few:

The most important is probably Philippians 2:5-11.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

As far as knowing for sure that Jesus is God, keep in mind Jesus used titles for Himself that only belonged to God (John 8:58). His enemies knew exactly what He was saying, that He was claiming to be equal with God, and that’s why they tried to stone Him (John 5:17-18). He took on prerogatives that belong to God alone, like forgiving sins (Luke 7:48) and judging mankind (John 5:22). He also accepted the worship of His followers, which was forbidden for any mere man or angel (Matt. 14:33). Paul made it clear Jesus is God in Col. 1:15-20. And don’t forget John 1:1-14 – the Word was with God and the Word WAS God. And then the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Every theological position has its own “difficult” verses that are hard to explain. Matthew 24:36 could be considered one of those for us who believe Jesus is God. The question you have to ask is “Which side’s explanation of its own difficult passages is more plausible?” If you start with the clear teaching of the verses above, Matthew 24:36 can be easily explained. On the flip side, I don’t see how a Jehovah’s Witness can start with the idea that Jesus isn’t God and then explain away all these verses I gave you.

Convincing Proof