1. Having done a post on the bell curve of atheism:
I was, not surprisingly, asked about a sequel for Christianity or theism. A few preliminaries:
i) There are different kinds of intelligence. Because Christianity is a religion centered on historical events and sacred texts, it recruits for scholars who excel at linguistics and historical reconstruction. That's a different kind of intelligence than a mathematical, philosophical, or scientific aptitude, although those are not mutually exclusive.
To take an example, Aquinas probably had a higher IQ than Calvin. However, Calvin is interdisciplinary. A great pioneering systematic theologian. A fine philosophical theologian. An outstanding Bible commentator, by the standards of the day. He's a product of Renaissance scholarship. Knew Greek and Hebrew. It's a different skill set than Aquinas.
ii) The bell curve is about IQ. That's not a criterion of truth. A person can be very smart and very wrong. And that's a crucial distinction in theology. For instance, Rahner is very brilliant, but his frame of reference is hopelessly mistaken. This post is not a list of recommendations–although some of them I strongly recommend.
It is useful, however, to point out that people aren't Christians or theists because they're too dumb to know any better.
iii) My list will skimp on Jewish representatives simply because I'm more conversant with the Christian landscape than the Jewish landscape. Needless to say, Jews are disproportionately represented in math and science. There's a further distinction between nominal/secular Jews and believing Jews.
iv) I'm not qualified to handicap how some people rank in the pecking order of science. I judge them by reputation
v) Who makes the cut in my divisions is somewhat arbitrary. Even within my divisions, some are more gifted than others.
vi) I'm not sure quite how to classify pagan philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. How theistic were they?
Likewise, I'm not sure how to classify Da Vinci. Nominal Catholic?
vii) Finally, my lists aren't meant to be exhaustive. No doubt I may omit or overlook significant figures. Sometimes that's deliberate, sometimes inadvertent.
2. At the very tippy top of the bell curve are some theists of genius, viz. Anselm, Aquinas, Augustine, Bayes, Berkeley, Cantor, Alonzo Church, Descartes, Jonathan Edwards, Euler, Gödel, William Hamilton, Leibniz, Maimonides, Maxwell, Newman, Newton, Pascal, Plato, Riemann, Scotus.
That's a list of historical figures. They're about as smart as humans get.
A bit lower on the bell curve, but very significant, are Butler, Locke, Paley, and Reid. Perhaps this is where I should put Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg.
3. Among contemporary figures, theists at or near the very top of the bell curve probably include Francis Collins, William Dembski, Donald Knuth, David Gelernter, Saul Kripke, John Lennox, Juan Maldacena, Robert Marks, Stephen Meyer, Martin Nowak, Don Page, Jonathan Sarfati, Henry Schaefer, Rupert Sheldrake, Wesley So, James Tour, and Andrew Kamal.
That list has a focus on math, and science. And that list could no doubt be expanded.
4. Among recent or contemporary Christian thinkers, I'd say the smartest are probably: William Lane Craig, Peter van Inwagen, Peter Geach, Michael Almeida, Alvin Plantinga, Vern Poythress, Nicholas Rescher, Alexander Pruss, Bas van Fraassen, and Peter van Inwagen.
(3) and (4) overlap.
5. A list of the most talented scholars includes Dale Allison, Richard Bauckham, Gleason Archer, Roger Beckwith, F. F. Bruce, David Noel Freedman, Martin Hengel, Kenneth Kitchen, Craig Keener, Meredith Kline, John Lightfoot, Bruce Metzger, D. S. Margoliouth, Alan Millard, Adolf Schlatter, Donald Wiseman, Edwin Yamauchi, E. J. Young, Theodor Zahn.
6. It would be a mistake to overlook artistic genius, viz. Bach, Handel, Dante.
7. Vos and Warfield were the intellectual standouts at Princeton.
8. Robert Adams, Elizabeth Anscombe, Alston, Swinburne, Tim & Lydia McGrew, Van Til, Wolterstorff, John Warwick Montgomery are topnotch thinkers. As are James Anderson, John Frame, Paul Helm, Paul Manata, and Greg Welty. And keep your eye on Jonathan McLatchie and Neil Shenvi.