Wednesday, May 08, 2019

I.Q. and paradox

Unlike many Christians, I don't find the Trinity or Incarnation paradoxical, although they are inevitably mysterious to some degree. Some Christians are too quick to resort to mystery or paradox to justify their positions. Transubstantiation is a textbook example. 

But having said all that, there's nothing essentially suspect about the idea of mystery or paradox in Christian theology. To begin with, human intelligence ranges along a continuum. As a result, things that are incomprehensible to some humans are comprehensible to other humans.

However, it's more complex than that, and in an interesting way. There are different kinds of intelligence, so you can have equally smart people who aren't equally smart about the same things. Roger Penrose and Edward Witten are far greater mathematicians than Einstein, yet they haven't made a breakthrough at all comparable to Einstein. Moreover, the basis for his breakthrough was picturesque thought-experiments. He had a knack for visualizing problems in physics. He could translate them into graphic analogies.

Great chess players can intuit a winning strategy in a way that average chess players cannot. Some humans have a particular insight that others lack. Some humans have a knack for solving intellectual puzzles.  Some mathematicians specialize in number theory while others specialize in geometry. According to The Cambridge Companion to Newton, Leibniz was an algebraist while Newton was a geometer.

Let's assume for argument's sake that the Trinity and Incarnation are paradoxical. But as I just demonstrated, and the demonstration could be easily expanded by citing additional examples, it's quite reasonable to suppose that if humans were more intelligent, or not even more intelligent, but had a different kind of intelligence, they wouldn't find the Trinity or Incarnation paradoxical. There are many examples in human experience where what's baffling to one thinker is obvious to another thinker. And it's not necessarily a difference in IQ. Even at genius level intelligence, there are different intellectual aptitudes. There's musical genius and artistic genius. What's impenetrable to one kind of intelligence may be transparent to another. As such, there are many analogies in human experience to warrant the contention that, even assuming the Trinity and Incarnation to be paradoxical, that's because we either lack sufficient intelligence or the right kind of intelligence to discern it. That's not invoking a special kind of justification for Christian doctrine, because that's easily paralleled in human experience. 

1 comment:

  1. --To begin with, human intelligence ranges along a continuum. As a result, things that are incomprehensible to some humans are comprehensible to other humans.--

    I want the reader to honestly try and conceptualize, visualize, elucidate the Einsteinian concept of gravity as the bending of spacetime by mass. None of this straightforward Newtonian 'gravity as a force' outdated nonsense.

    Next, we can move on to things like quantum mechanics, or chemical resonance (particularly of carbonate ions, and something which myself and Nabeel Qureshi in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus realized independently - look it up, it's a Trinity!).

    I honestly grasp none of these things - all of which are true & hard science proven by experiments and everyday usage.