Infused Knowledge – What do we know? How do we know?

The Magisterium and the Human Knowledge of Christ – CWR

Infused knowledge is a specific type of knowledge outlined mostly by believing theologians. It usually refers to the direct or “imprinted” knowledge that Jesus Christ possessed, but the term may apply to anyone.

King Solomon, for example, was known for his tremendous wisdom and apparently possessed infused knowledge.

Most everyday Christians believe that people other than Christ possess some but a lot less infused knowledge than what their savior enjoyed. Even a great herald like John the Baptist, for example, proclaims that “the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal” (John 1:27).

The outstanding Catholic scholar, Fr. John Hardon, defines infused knowledge this way:

The gift of natural (secular) and supernatural (spiritual) knowledge miraculously conferred by God. Thought by some to have been possessed by Adam and Eve, who came into existence in an adult state and were to be the first teachers of the human race.¹

Another definition includes the possibility of angelic mediation:

Infused knowledge is that knowledge that is not acquired by personal effort nor by the instruction of others, but rather is produced directly in a created mind by some angelic or divine illumination.

This last definition appears at but seems to be a reprint or summary of material at the New Catholic Encyclopedia. The Old Catholic Encyclopedia goes into great detail on the topic, showing that for some, the notion of infused knowledge is not some arcane point but one of central importance.

Here we find St. Thomas Aquinas’ intricate reasoning on the topic, in his usual question and answer style of presentation:…

Today, Justin Paul Abraham presents his own take on infused knowledge. What arguably differs most between his and the standard Catholic view is that traditionally, one need not meditate first to obtain such knowledge. It can just happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. Also, no matter what we do in advance, if God does not wish to confer infused knowledge, it will not happen.

In other words, God is in control and coordinates the entire process, not us. We may try to cooperate with God’s plan, as Abraham suggests, but if we experience so-called “dry” periods where we do not receive supernatural graces or knowledge, most traditionalists accept that as part of the divine plan of salvation.

Another question arises, one recognized by the German scholar of religion, Joachim Wach. And that is – How can we be sure that one person’s experience of the “light” is of the same quality and character as another’s?

John the Baptist baptizing Christ
John the Baptist baptizing Christ via Wikipedia

Again, this may seem esoteric but I think sober reflection in this area could prevent a lot of folks from getting hoodwinked or cheated by cults, fundamentalists or anyone unable or unwilling to critically reflect on their unconventional beliefs and experiences.

For me, instead of going on a prepaid ‘retreat,’ taking a course or workshop to learn how to understand God, I would prefer to simply enroll in the Course of Life.

That way we don’t get stuck with any particular preacher and their personal view of how things are. After surviving two different religious perspectives, I came to believe that God teaches us everywhere, all the time.

¹ See:…


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