Is God Intelligent?


Gut reaction? Well, D’UH! Of COURSE God is intelligent.

However, upon further reflection, what is meant by intelligence? For that matter, what is meant by God? We’ll get to those shortly but a really big issue for me is how we are always trying to put God into a box.


As human beings we seek to define the indefinable. We try to ascribe human qualities to the metaphysical. That’s kind of like doing a critical analysis of the running abilities of a mouse and comparing it to a cheetah. Here’s another one but more along the lines of the posed question: Imagine you are an amoeba, contemplating the known universe, just hanging out in your protective house you made for yourself (really, they DO). You ask yourself, can God catch food? Catching food is a part of your universe and your paradigm. Consumption and excretion is simply a part of who you are. It defines you and you presume, quite logically, that since you were made in God’s image, that God too must engage in the same processes. Assumption can be the greater part of failure. So, your response as an amoeba is ‘D’UH! Of course God catches food! Every amoeba knows God catches food.’ But you, in your self-defined world assume that food and the method of intake of food is defined thusly: single celled organisms and endocytosis. But that then begs the questions: ‘What is food for God?’ and ‘ How does God consume this food?’ In other words, it is just as presumptuous of us (as human beings) to think that God is an intelligent entity in the same way that we are as it is to be an amoeba and believe that God eats food just like an amoeba does.


If God sits outside of time and space does God see all and know all? I think that it is a foregone conclusion that God is not limited by time or space (even though I am likely being presumptuous in saying so). I do think that it is safe to say that most people’s definition of God has Him/Her being everywhere and everywhen. I believe that the ideas of position and time are human concepts derived from our eviction from the Garden of Eden aka the notion of epistemic duality and ego referenced reality. But getting back to our relationship with God, in order for God to make Him/Her self known, He/She must have the capacity to speak the language of the finite and time defined entities that are us. Of course, we derive meaning through context so therefore our interpretation of God’s word is also derived through context. This would make God not only universal but also very personal. This becomes an extremely rich field for dialogue so more on the nature of God and its relationship to intelligence later. Let’s move on to better understand the idea of intelligence.


So, what is intelligence? In a single simple term it is about thinking but that term doesn’t normally account for the nuances that can surround it. I believe that intelligence is essentially about the ability to reason and solve problems. For the purposes of our discussion it is important to understand that intelligence is gradient in nature. In other words there can be degrees of intelligence. To complicate things even more there are different forms of intelligence as well. In fact, there are currently thought to be ten different forms of intelligence (eg – interpersonal, intrapersonal, existential, artistic, etc.). Finally, one more complicating factor regarding intelligence is that it also can be unconscious or conscious in nature. Unconscious as in the genetic memory/instinct of a bird of paradise doing its mating dance. Conscious as in a person using inductive and deductive reasoning while engaged in creating and solving quadratic equations.

Using the squirrel family (Sciuridae) as an analog there are two examples of high intelligence but manifested in very different ways. To say that this intelligence is conscious or not is highly speculative since one cannot be in the mind of a squirrel. In one example, there is the groundhog (aka – whistlepig, woodchuck, Marmota monax) whose lumbering ways on the surface (literally) appear quite pedestrian and simple minded. But to witness its underground lair is to see its social intelligence conveyed in a highly structured and well-defined architecture. There are special rooms for defecating, ones for communal gathering and even private quarters for sleeping. His ‘cousin’ the American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and the related Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a different matter all together. His sleeping quarters are at best, crude but his everyday problem solving abilities are legend. The red squirrel’s intelligence is more ‘in your face’ and of quite a frenetic nature in its expression. There has yet to be designed a squirrel proof bird feeder. Both of these examples are of a high intelligence manifested in very different ways.