The accomplishments of the youngest members of humanity manifest remarkable intelligence almost from birth. God’s image is apparent in a powerful relational quality in their existence. Infants begin to relate to their surroundings and their caretakers in a meaningful way just a few weeks after birth. From that day forward signs of innate intelligence are increasingly evident. They relate to their parents, smiling and responding to their touch. They investigate and babble. Later they thrive on play and stimulating experiences such as exposure to books and exploring cause and effect. They develop social skills and their need for validation and approval increases.
Recollection of early traits in our grandchildren is merely a prelude to our memories of their intelligent achievements in the first 13 years of schooling. These years equip them with skills for a productive career and application of their intrinsic intelligence throughout life. Their most remarkable achievements, however, are but a shadow of the divine intelligence of the God of Creation. God’s intelligence suffuses the physical creation, the existence and unique characteristics of material matter, and the capabilities of all living things embedded in this material sphere. In a sense we borrow divine intelligence from the Creator. When humans create art, music, and literature, and produce technical achievement we become “mini-creators,” employing gifts from the Creator of all things.
One of the most startling examples of ancient creative human intelligence is Petra in Jordan, a city with structures and monuments carved from solid rock. My wife and I visited the site in 2009. We were astounded by the Nabataean civilization and their technical ability several hundred years before Christ.
Intelligence is a hallmark of humanity since the infusion of the image of God at the creation of man. Other living things are gifted with intelligence of a different quality. Our blog has referenced the intelligently designed origin of life—the sudden appearance of complex microbial bacteria from lifeless matter some 3.8 billion years ago. A separate case could be made for the intelligent design of material matter long before the initial appearance of any life in this universe. The spectrum of chemical elements possesses incredible order and design. The intelligent origin of matter is easy to understand for those who believe in divine, universal fine-tuning from the Big Bang until the present.
We quote from Fazale Rana’s The Cell’s Design concerning humanity: “They are mini-creators. Being a reflection of their Maker implies that the hallmark characteristics of humanly designed systems will mirror those that were divinely designed. The expectation, however, is that humanly designed systems would, at best, be an imperfect reflection. If biochemical systems are indeed the the product of a Master Creator who made man in his image, then the defining characteristics of those systems should be analogous to the hallmark characteristics of humanly crafted systems. At the same time, the cell’s chemical systems should be clearly superior to anything produced by the best human minds.”
We thank God for the intelligently designed achievements of the Master Designer, the God of the Bible. We are thankful that he gifts humanity with intelligence to a marvelous degree. Human intelligence is but one characteristic of the Imago Dei, the image of God, applied uniquely to humanity.