God’s IQ

IQ Graffiti by walknboston - CC

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

From the archives

“His name was William James Sidis, and his IQ was estimated at between 250 and 300 [8, p. 283]. At eighteen months he could read The New York Times, at two he taught himself Latin, at three he learned Greek. By the time he was an adult he could speak more than forty languages and dialects. He gained entrance to Harvard at eleven, and gave a lecture on four-dimensional bodies to the Harvard Mathematical Club his first year. He graduated cum laude at sixteen, and became the youngest professor in history. He deduced the possibility of black holes more than twenty years before Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar published An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure. His life held possibilities for achievement that few people can imagine. Of all the prodigies for which there are records, his was probably the most powerful intellect of all. And yet it all came to nothing. He soon gave up his position as a professor, and for the rest of his life wandered from one menial job to another. His experiences as a child prodigy had proven so painful that he decided for the rest of his life to shun public exposure at all costs. Henceforth, he denied his gifts, refused to think about mathematics, and above all refused to perform as he had been made to do as a child. Instead, he devoted his intellect almost exclusively to the collection of streetcar transfers, and to the study of the history of his native Boston.” (Towers)

I’ve been reading about geniuses recently and I learned they often have great difficulty adjusting to life. They’re unlikely to find peers with whom they can relate to. Kids their own age just don’t have the same interests and they aren’t inclined to organize their activities in the way a child genius often desires to. So kids with high IQs tend to isolate themselves. Also, because everything comes so easy to them they sometimes struggle with self discipline and persistence. They often know more than half the material taught in school so they find it very difficult to engage. It might seem hard to empathize with someone who’s extremely smart but they really do face a serious struggle: mainly to just fit in.

One of the most difficult problems is communication with someone of significantly lower intelligence. Most of us have experienced this ourselves at one time or another. You know, you’re talking with someone and you know what he’s going to say before he even says it. You feign interest as best you can but after a minute or two you’re already bored. You’d love to talk to this person about your own current topic of interest but you can already tell: there’s just no point. Your topic of choice is simply beyond his understanding. So while your ears endure his awkward and mundane conversation, your mind is figuring out how to escape.

I think that happens to everybody occasionally, but for a genius, it’s often the rule rather than the exception.

This phenomena can be explained by science. For an IQ test, one standard deviation equals 15 IQ points, and we know communication problems arise between two people where we find a gap of two standard deviations, or 30 IQ points. (see Towers) William James Sidis’s IQ was estimated at 250. If he’s trying to make himself understood to someone whose IQ is a dead on average 100, that’s a gap of 150 IQ points, which is five times the gap where we begin to see communication problems. So how is an average person supposed to understand everything about the way William James Sidis looks at the world? We’re simply not capable. Historically, that’s been a problem for people of superior intelligence. The propensity for the gifted to be misunderstood is an ancient story. Leta Hollingworth in her book Children Above 180 IQ writes:

A lesson which many gifted persons never learn as long as they live is that human beings in general are inherently very different from themselves in thought, in action, in general intention, and in interests. Many a reformer has died at the hands of a mob which he was trying to improve in the belief that other human beings can and should enjoy what he enjoys. (Hollingworth, as cited in Towers, 1987)

So it’s not logical for us to expect the person of average intelligence to understand a person like William James Sidis. After all, at age two he taught himself Latin and Greek. He was a Harvard freshman at age eleven and he even lectured on four-dimensional bodies to the Harvard Math Club–in his first year. And he figured out that black holes were possible before black holes were even a thing.

The average person, looking up from a position a full ten standard deviations below, will never understand the way a person like Sidis, or others of greatly superior intelligence, looks at the world.

Which brings us to God, who is omniscient. God knows everything. Which begs the question: How many standard deviations above William James Sidis is God’s IQ?

And is it really logical to expect even a man like Sidis to understand everything about God? After all God didn’t discover black holes, God created black holes. And he created quarks and comets. He created the language encoded in our DNA. God created the Yosemite Valley, and the Grand Canyon, and 100 billion galaxies. He created supernovas. What’s the IQ of a Person who created such as these? 1,500? 15 thousand? 15 million?

Is there even a limit? When we talk about the Creator of the universe and all that’s in it, we’re talking about a Person who’s beyond IQ. He transcends IQ.

And that’s why it’s only logical that even a genius, even a genius like William James Sidis, looking up from a position hundreds or thousands of standard deviations below, if you will, is never going to understand everything about the way God looks at and interacts with the world.

“He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way.” John 3:31

May I recommend reading aloud Job chapters 38-39, and then Psalm 145.

(You might also like: Who Then Can Understand and the Genuine Seeker Series)

References and Resources:

Stephen E. Brock, Ph.D., NCSP, Descriptive Statistics and Psychological Testing, California State University, Sacramento

Grady M. Towers, The Outsiders, Prometheussociety.org, 1987

Leta Stetter Hollingworth, Harry Levi Hollingworth, Children Above 180 IQ

Image via walknboston – Creative Commons

Available on Amazon!

Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:

  • Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
  • How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
  • The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
  • How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
  • How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
  • How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
  • How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
  • How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.

With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.

A life of loving like Jesus.

(Kindlehardcover, and paperback now available on Amazon.)

19 Comments on “God’s IQ

  1. club you know we all deserve hell right? stop trying to single yourself out as if even christians don’t suffer the same risk of going to hell for their mistakes. i feel that you’ve met the wrong people, which in your case helps brand a false label on Christianity. it’s not a hateful religion, its main doctrine is God’s love for the world, so strong in fact that his Son died for the worlds sins, including yours. Also, christians inventing new religions? That’s completely laughable and asinine at best, considering the fact that, well, the bible clearly speaks well of not adding or removing any of its scripture, so yes I’ll keep to the bible and say that we’re all deserving of eternal torture, but with Jesus’ blood we are saved, whether you believe it or not.

  2. God, being imaginary, has no IQ. However, as described in the bible, this god isn’t intelligent at all. It fails repeatedly, though supposedly omniscient and omnipotent. it does take some stupid to make humans, make them amoral, and then take a tantrum when they do not understand what good and evil is. Your god never gave morality to humans. That was Eve.

    Then your god fails again with the flood, and again with the laws in exodus. per the silly story, this god finally decides, ostensibly thousands of years later, that it really needs a blood sacrifice by torture to correct its incompetence.

    it also takes some stupid to make the earth’s main source of energy give humans cancer, and to put the esophagus beside the trachea, guaranteeing thousands of humans choke to death each year. Oh and then we have DNA which often fails, so much for an “intelligent” god. You certainly don’t have one, not even as a character in a book.

            • Hmmm. Just to be clear, the statement, “I suspect those statements are also false claims” refers to when I commented: “Thank you for your interest and your comment club. I appreciate you.” Is that right?

              • OK. I’m sorry you feel that way. I hope you’ll come and visit again. I wish you all the best club.

              • a religion that hopes anyone who disagree with it will be tortured forever isnt’ wishing me “all of the best”.

              • if that person believes in a religion that requires anyone who disagrees with it be tortured forever, the believer can’t wish me the best, since he wishes me the worst.

                If you believe in the christian god, Kurt, you believe in hell, and that I, as an atheist, deserve to be tortured forever. You may be a christian who has decided to invent a “kinder, gentler” version of this god, but that requires ignoring your bible when its inconvenient for you.

              • Club, do you believe someone who genuinely believes God doesn’t exist, and someone who is a genuine Jesus follower could be friends with each other?

              • You seem unable to accept that anyone can indeed genuinely believes your god doesn’t exist. You also seem to think that there are genuine jesus followers and ones that aren’t genuine? How would that work?

                There are various versions of jesus followers so I can indeed see that I can be friends with some versions. With some versions I couldnt’ be.

                At the base of things, christianity depends on an idea that anyone who doesn’t agree with them deserves eternal torture. Some chrsitians agree with that that and some don’t.

                “Club, do you believe someone who genuinely believes God doesn’t exist, and someone who is a genuine Jesus follower could be friends with each other?”

              • The reason I asked is because one of my favorite people on the planet happens to be someone who genuinely believes God doesn’t exist.

              • Yep, I have. It’s quite an example of how Christians invent new religions for themselves when they don’t like the violent and ignorant bible. Lewis has to play blame the victim so he can invent a less disgusting god.

                now, do you believe that folks who dont’ agree with you deserve eternal torture?

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