Genius in the Garden
1. Genesis chapter one describes the six days of creation where God declared it to be “very good.” Romans 1:20 tells us that since the creation of the world God has provided fallen mankind with an understanding of the perfection of that early and perfect world. What then are the evidences? It is believed that one of those God-given evidences of the perfection of the first man, Adam, is that rare breed of individual we call “genius” and particularly the autistic savant. The latter are a complete enigma to today’s world-view based upon evolution. At the same time, these unusual talents may be seen as evidence of Mankind’s Fall from perfection and not, as evolution teaches, progression from brutal beginnings. A century ago dictionary definitions of “genius” made reference to God and a “tutelary spirit” as the source; today, there is no reference to either.
2. Asperger Syndrome [Autism] affects one in every 164 births and of these one in every 100 display some well-above normal ability e.g. mathematical or linguistic skills. These persons are otherwise mildly to severely retarded. They prefer a regimented and consistent environment finding life as normal people know it, very confusing. Jesus spoke of a man in a similar position, the man born blind, in John 9:3: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” Our first example is: Matt Savage [1992- ] was born with mild autism. He studied at a New York music school for 3 years, formed his own jazz trio, has written and produced six musical albums, and appeared on the front cover of Time magazine all before he was 12 years old! How do creationists explain this?
3. Only Scripture can tell us about the constitution of Man and in Genesis 1:27 and 2:7 we find Adam was made in God’s image … formed from the dust of the ground then God, breathed into his nostrils the neshamah chaiyim -- the breath or spirit of life. Scripture does not say “nose” but “nostrils” [or nares common to all vertebrates] drawing attention to the fact that the breath of life was necessarily divided: part became the spirit of life for the soul and part the spirit of life for the body. John Calvin [1509-1564] educated in the Catholic Church was converted to Protestantism at 24 and immediately began to write a theological treatise [published 1536] stating that the spirit and the soul were not only the same thing but, as Plato said, were immortal. This notion was adopted by the Westminster Confession of 1649 and became the Calvinist Protestant view: Man is a two-part being, body and soul/spirit. First Thessalonians 5:23 gives us God’s order: of priorities: “spirit, soul and body.” While Christians have reversed this to: “body, soul and spirit,” we all acknowledge that God is a trinity and, since we are made in His image, it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that we are also a trinity.
4. 1 Corinthians 15:21 “For since by man [First: Adam] came death, by Man [Last Adam: Jesus] came the resurrection from the dead.” God did not create death for man or animal therefore in the beginning Adam’s body and soul were either eternal or immortal. However, so far, only God is immortal [1 Timothy 6:16]. By definition immortality is a state of being and only heaven can offer that type of environment therefore while Paul looked forward to being immortal, he had to endure martyrdom before entering heaven. Our word “soul” is translated from the Hebrew nephesh and from the Greek psuche or psyche. Both words have been mistranslated [99 times in the KJV as “life”]. God sees us as an eternal soul temporally clothed in a mortal body in order to function in a material world. The soul occupies the whole body [recall the phantom limb syndrome] but it is not accessible to science; the soul is the domain of our intellect, personality and memory and is therefore the actual and eternal person. The spirit is translated from the Hebrew ruach and the Greek pneuma; both words mean wind or breath. It is God’s spirit that gives life to our mortal body and is on loan to us; upon death this spirit returns to God [Ecclesiastes 12:7]. God’s spirit also gives life to our eternal soul and this spirit remains even after death of the body. This explains why God is not the God of the dead but the living [Matthew 22:23-32 and Luke 20:37-38]. Eternal punishment requires that the soul remains eternal.
5. The Book of Jubilees [200 BC but is not Scripture] tells us Adam and Eve were in the Garden for seven years before the Fall; sufficient time to learn a lot from God in the cool of the evening. There were as yet no children, death, earthquakes, tsunamis or hurricanes. Following the Fall, God did not curse Adam, rather God cursed the ground from which grew every food for Man. [Recall Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, rather than bear the stigma of being regarded a poor father by cursing his own son, Ham, Gen. 9:22-27]. By consuming the cursed food Adam and Eve’s bodies gradually changed, cell by living cell, from eternal to mortal i.e. subject to death. Souls do not consume food and every soul has remained eternal and perfect. Adam’s sin of disobedience followed by un-repentance led to great wickedness on the earth [Genesis 6:5] and the Genesis Flood. Possibly it was after the Flood that God placed a “veil” over every human soul to restrict their capabilities. The veil of the tabernacle, described in Exodus 26:31-36, separated Man from God and is a picture of this human condition. When Jesus died, the veil of the Temple was torn [Matthew 27:51] and 2 Corinthians 3:13-16 tells us Jesus came to remove the veil and He does so partially in this life when we accept Him but completely in heaven when He can finally trust us. The veil was colored purple and red, the same colors as the Great Harlot [Revelation 17:4] and Marian images. It is proposed that revelation to the Christian and the abilities of those we call “genius” and the autistic savant result from the partial removal of the individual soul-veil by God’s life-spirit.
6. Some examples of autistic savants and plain cases of genius.
Daniel Tammet [1979- ]. Born in the UK, diagnosed with mild autism when he was 23 he is a high-functioning autistic savant; he also has synaesthesia by which numbers appears as colors and shapes. He speaks 11 languages and for a TV challenge learned perfect Icelandic [a very difficult language] in a week. On another TV program he recited Pi to 22,514 places correctly in 5 hours. He has written a book on his life Born on a Blue Day. He has also appeared on several US TV shows e.g. 60 Minutes and David Letterman.
Kim Peak [1951-]. Born in the US with agenesis of the corpus collosum, he is not autistic but has some disabilities. He has an eidetic memory and can perfectly recall some 12,000 books [mostly telephone books] from memory – he reads both pages at once, one with each eye - and finishes a book in an hour! He plays the piano and has memorized many thousands of pieces of music. He was the subject of the movie, Rain Man, played by D. Hoffman.
Christopher can speak, read, write and translate from 16 languages yet has to live in a sheltered community as he is incapable of living independently. George and Charles are identical twins, cannot multiply, add or subtract even single digit numbers yet can each instantly provide dates or days in the past or the future for over 7000 years! These are called calendar calculators.
W. A. Mozart [1756-1791]. His father took him to the Sistine Chapel to hear Allegri’s Miserere sung in Latin. It is a very complex choral piece and lasts 13 minutes. Considered too sacred to be written down Mozart, then 14, memorized the entire thing, wrote it, played it and sang it before the Pope.
The Shass Pollack. These are Polish Orthodox Jews who have memorized the entire Babylonian Talmud consisting of 12 large folio volumes where each edition is identical. They know every word by volume, page number, line and position on the line. The challenge is to select a volume at random, open any page and stick a pin through five or six pages. The Shass Pollack can tell which words the pin has pierced!
George Koltanowsky [1903-2000]. Played an exhibition chess match at San Francisco in 1960 against 56 world chess experts simultaneously and won 50 games and drew six in 9 hours. He averaged 10 seconds per move and was blindfolded throughout!
Alexander C. Aitken [1895-1977]. Professor of math. at Edinburgh U., was a lightning calculator. Tested at 77 he could square, take the square-root of or generate the logarithm of, any four-figure number in 2 or 3 seconds. He multiplied 123456789 by 987654321 and gave the correct result in 30 secs!
John Forbes Nash [1928 - ]. This American is a gifted mathematician and won the Nobel prize in 1994 for developing the mathematics of game theory used, among other things, for making stock market investments. He suffered for years with schizophrenia and saw his demons who he believed were real people! He was the subject of the 1998 book and movie: A Beautiful Mind played by Russell Crowe.
William James Sidis [1898-1944]. Born in New York City to Russian im-migrant parents who were themselves polyglots both with MD’s and PhD’s. He was not autistic and had no physical or mental handicaps. His godfather was psychologist, William James. He could spell accurately at 12 months, read the New York Times at 18 months, Latin at 2 years, and, as an adult, could speak over forty languages and knew over 200. He could learn a language of 5,000 words and grammar in a single day. Entered Harvard at 11, graduated at 16 then breezed through Harvard’s Law School. At 21  he took part in a May Day parade in Boston, was arrested, declared he was socialist and did not believe in God. He lived out the remainder of his short life in seclusion doing menial work and writing. He had mastered all the higher mathematics that universities could offer and, with an estimated IQ of 250-300, could be described as the ultimate genius.
7. At the end of the nineteenth century the neurosciences of the day searched for evidences of the soul by weighing beds containing dying patients. No weight change was detected and it was concluded the soul was nonexistent. Human consciousness and psychiatric disorders had then to be ascribed to the chemistry of the brain and to this day this is still the tidy belief. The result is that problems of the mind are dealt with by chemistry i.e. drugs. Most often they work by the placebo effect. In His mercy to sinful Man God has provided walking evidence that there is more to Man than mere chemistry. The autistic savant especially defies explanation by the theory of evolution. However, even more bizarre cases exist where perfectly normal people, even having a high IQ, have been found to have virtually no brain! Yet, there are likely to be even greater numbers than have been reported because MRI examination is not usually given to normal people.
Conclusion. Based upon those exceptional cases of memory or calculating ability that accompany every generation, it has long been argued -- and Dale Carnegie capitalized upon it -- that Man uses only 10% of his brain capacity. The evolutionist objects to this argument since it implies that evolution is either driven by more than blind chance implying some intelligent guidance [teleology], or, that early man had full use of his brain. This means that Man has not progressed as commonly taught, but has regressed or Fallen as the Bible teaches. We conclude: Adam was the genius in the Garden. The veil over the soul is a clever device for Mankind’s own good: Imagine a world where Man lived for 1000 years and everyone was an evil genius! God is in our spirit of life for our soul and has inspired some for good inventions, medicines, music etc. and given Satan permission to inspire others for evil so that history will unfold exactly as He has planned.
Photo: Matt Savage, an American savant musician. Photographer: Charles Haynes. CC-BY-SA-2.0.