Six Ways the Genius of Jesus Outshines the Genius of Einstein (No Small Feat!)
[Editor’s Note: Compare Einstein to Jesus! Have you ever seen anyone do this before? It’s a whole new way to highlight and adore the wonders we find in our Lord Jesus today. Think about it: Your whole life as a Christian is lived in a deepening relationship as a disciple (student) of the Master of the Universe! As a result of the ongoing revelatory work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, the Bible you are in possession of is “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2)! In this week’s blog post David Bryant helps us look at the glory of Jesus from “outside the box.”]
Recently Walter Issacson put the word “genius” back on the map.
Formerly CEO of CNN and managing editor of TIME, Isaacson currently leads the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership. A best-selling biographer of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin, he has also authored two books about Albert Einstein. In both books, Einstein: His Life and Universe and Einstein: The Life of a Genius, he reintroduces the public to this extraordinary physicist and in the process catalogs the marks of a true genius. (Incidentally, both books are the basis of the National Geographic 10-part television series simply titled Genius, starring the acclaimed actor Geoffrey Rush in the main role).
The dictionary tells us a genius is “a person of exceptional, extraordinary capacity of intellect and creativity, often in multiple fields of activity.” Words often associated with such a phenomenon include: brilliance, originality, mastery, innovation, pioneering, revolutionary.
Genius as Defined in One Paragraph About Einstein
Possibly the most vivid insight into what true “genius” looks like comes in one of Issacson’s concluding paragraphs about Einstein. Above all, what struck me in reading it was how his short sketch of one of the greatest scientists of all times can be refocused to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ—in six identical dimensions. I think you’ll find this fascinating!
First, let me give you Issacson’s six pithy observations (I’ve highlighted the six in bold in the quotation below). Then, let me apply them to our Savior in a way that will confirm why Jesus is eternally the supreme genius of the cosmos in the same six areas.
Decades after his death, all of Einstein’s great discoveries remain durable, and we are still living in his universe, one defined on the macro scale by his theory of relativity and on the micro scale by his quantum theory. His fingerprints are all over the technologies that have defined our times, from lasers and DVDs to atomic power and fiber optics, to space travel and even semiconductors. From the infinite to the infinitesimal—from the largest concept imaginable, the expansion of the Universe, to the very smallest one, the emission of photons from the nucleus of an atom—Einstein’s creativity continues to define the vast sweep of what we know about our cosmos and about everything in it.
Six Themes That Magnify the Supreme Genius of Jesus
In relationship to Jesus, we might picture the 20th century’s world-class physicist as the moon in relationship to the sun—the one is merely a small reflection of the intense light of the other. In other words, the six tributes (bold phrases) paid to Einstein by the 118 words quoted above, though worthy of him, pale when compared to the one who reigns above, whom Scripture calls “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1).
That’s because Jesus is the one who conceived of Einstein and created him in his own image in the first place. He’s the one who endowed the professor’s mind with such extraordinary powers of reasoning. He’s the one who came into this world in order to save sinners, including sinful mental giants, in order to reclaim every human expression of preternatural prowess for the glory of God. He’s the one who intends to bring to their knees any who have used their God-given capacities to change the course of history and nations, as each one confesses Jesus to be the sovereign of history and nations.
In the short space a blog post permits, let me track with the six categories Issacson spells out in his yeasty paragraph above (the parts in bold) by drawing on selected Scriptures from the New Living Translation that illustrate how in each area Jesus’ genius outshines—rather, surpasses and overwhelms—Einstein’s. (Italics are added in passages for emphasis).
1. What Genius Is This! Christ’s Great Achievements Remain Durable Forever
Daniel 7: I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
Hebrews 12: … you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God … You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people … Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.
Romans 8: Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?… Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us … despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us … indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Timothy 3: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.
2. What Genius Is This! We Are Living in a Universe Defined by Christ Alone
Revelation 11: … there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Hebrews 1: God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.
Revelation 4 and 5: I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it … Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them … they keep on saying … “you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased” … Then I saw a Lamb … He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth … And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
Matthew 24: … the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken … the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will … gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
3. What Genius Is This! Christ’s Fingerprints Are All Over Everything
Colossians 1: Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything … through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God.
2 Corinthians 3: Clearly, you are a letter from Christ … written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts … And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like [Christ] as we are changed into his glorious image.
Galatians 6: From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.
Ephesians 4: “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people” … Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church … we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ … growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly.
Revelation 21: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared … And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven … And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” … I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light …
4. What Genius Is This! Christ’s Kingship Defines Our Times and All Times
Ephesians 1: God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
Isaiah 9: For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
Revelation 1: [Christ is] the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father.
Matthew 24: And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
Revelation 12: Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!”
5. What Genius Is This! Christ’s Lordship Extends From Infinite to Infinitesimal
Matthew 25: But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Psalm 110: The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies … You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
Zechariah 9: Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious … and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea … I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon. Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.
Isaiah 61: The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
1 Corinthians 15: But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died … Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back …the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit … Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man … thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. What Genius Is This! In Christ Lies the Vast Sweep of Truth About This World and the World to Come
Colossians 2: I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 3: Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand … For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
Ephesians 3: [God] graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.
1 John 3: [God] has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
Titus 2: We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people …
John 17: “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me … Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
Philippians 2: Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Christ: “The Theory of Everything”
After a lifetime of pursuing it, Einstein concluded days before he died that his great failure was his inability to discover what he called a unified field theory, sometimes referred to as the Theory of Everything. For decades he looked for a way to tie together all known phenomena to explain the nature and behavior of all matter and energy in existence. Such a theory, he was convinced, would unlock all secrets of nature bringing such benefits as time travel and inexhaustible sources of clean energy.
According to Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist at City College of New York, those in pursuit of a unified field theory are seeking “an equation an inch long that would allow us to read the mind of God” (emphasis added).
The passages listed above (and hundreds more like them) make it convincingly obvious that Christ himself is the “equation” Einstein was searching for. Christ alone brings everything together in perfect harmony and opens to us the very mind and heart and purposes of the God who made us and loves us.
This truth comes through loud and clear in the way Eugene Peterson translates Colossians 1:18-20 in The Message:
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
Of course, this means Jesus must play the role of unifier of everything in your life as well. As Scripture declares: “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ-proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI) and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely-read book at www.ChristIsAllBook.com.