II Corinthians 12:3-4 is beyond the intellect. How can we know something beyond the intellect without the intellect?
The answer to this question requires an understanding of Epistemology, the study of knowledge, more specifically, how knowledge is defined and taxonomized. Put simply, how do we “know” things, and what is meant by “knowing”? Our intellect, by which is meant our ability and capacity for logical assembly of “facts” to reach a “logical” conclusion, is only one way of gaining knowledge, according to philosophers and examiners of epistemology. The scientific method is the most common and accepted form of “intellect”; it uses data and experimentation to find physical “truths.” But there are other ways of knowing, such as personal experience, innate beliefs (we know as “true” that mothers love their children), religious dogma, and even “intuition.” Philosophers such as Emmanuel Kant point out that we all “know” things that we believe to be true without scientific, “intellectual" proof. Even the truism “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” can be seen as giving credence to the physical world by “scientific reasoning,” but believing in the spiritual, non-physical world by faith. Corinthians brings this truth to our understanding of religious faith. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica spent his life trying to clarify for Christians the difference between faith and proof.