Can you imagine it? Jesus, five years old, sitting in math class, 1 A.D. (Okay, maybe he was homeschooled, but just roll with me here!) He gets back the quiz he took the previous day. The result? 95%. Jesus missed one! But wait…could Jesus have erred?
Back up. Pop quiz.
- Did Jesus ever stumble and fall down?
- Did Jesus ever get sick?
- Did Jesus have any grey hairs?
- Did Christ ever get depressed?
- When did Jesus know he was God?
- Could Jesus have gotten a math problem wrong?
These are interesting questions, as they all center around the relationship of Christ’s humanity to his deity while here on the earth. I think I know the answer to most of these. I am sure that Christ could have misstepped and fallen down. Yes, I imagine he got sick from time to time. Grey hairs? Why not? No, he did not have a sin nature, but he did live in a fallen world whose inhabitants suffered the effects of the fall. Concerning being depressed, I imagine that Christ was depressed from time to time. He was a “man of sorrows” and even cried.
When did Jesus know he was God? That is a good question. I am not sure about this one. It seems as if he knew by the time he was twelve, at least, as he expresses this self-realization in Luke 2:42-49. But how long before that? Who knows? However, I do think his understanding was a realization that was communicated to him by the Father and the Holy Spirit according to “the plan.” In other words, I don’t think he knew it from his time in Mary’s womb. I think his human self had to grow as any normal human would; therefore, his knowledge was limited by his humanity. After all, Luke 2:52 says that Christ “grew in wisdom.” In other words, he went from the lesser to the greater in his humanity, even in knowledge and wisdom.
This brings us to the question of the hour: Could Jesus have gotten a math problem wrong? Here are some options and their implications:
1. Yes, he could get a math problem wrong. He was human.
Problems: You are saying that Christ could have made a factual error. I suppose this is not problematic for the most part, right? I mean where is the harm in him getting a math problem wrong, or accidentally saying the nails are in the second drawer when they were actually in the third? Harmless mistakes are not sinful. However, it is hard not to translate this into the words of Christ as recorded in Scripture. What about the problem of Abiathar in Mark 2:23? You know, where Christ said that Abiathar was the high priest at the time David took the bread, even though (according to 1 Sam 21:1-7) it seems like the high priest was actually Ahimelech. The solution to that problem is not the issue. The very fact that it is a problem is the issue. If Christ could have gotten a math problem wrong, then he can be wrong about factual information. If he was wrong about factual information, then who cares about the Abiathar slip? Conversely, if he could get a 90% on these factual quizzes, how do we determine the 10% that he missed? Is it only when it does not matter? How do we know what matters and what does not? Is it only when it is not in Scripture? So, technically speaking, Scripture is more inspired than Christ?
2. No, he could not get a math problem wrong. He was God.
Problems: This option is difficult because we want to be careful not to seem to “apollinarian” in our view of Christ. You know, the view that Christ was just “God in a bod”? If Christ was no more than pure divinity, knowledge and power, housed temporarily in human flesh, then we don’t have a redeemer because we don’t have fully human representation. We all know the saying, “to err is human.” I don’t really like that, since it is not necessary for a human to err to be truly human. So I would not say that unless Christ erred, he was not really human. But I don’t think that Christ had to have perfect knowledge at every stage of his development. If he grew in wisdom, remember, this is from the lesser to the greater. Maybe the lesser got things wrong from time to time. Maybe he sent his dad to the wrong drawer to get the nails. To suggest otherwise seems very apollinarian and unnecessary.
I don’t know where I stand on this. I have to admit I do have trouble with the implications and problems of both answers. Maybe he could have gotten a math problem wrong simply because he left the answer blank!! That way he did not err and he could still grow from the lesser to the greater!
What do you think? Could Christ have gotten a math problem wrong?