You don’t often hear people talk about the importance of “genius” to the Christian faith. But in a recent interview on the Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast, pastor and author Erwin McManus shared how understanding the quality of genius—especially the genius of Jesus—has more fully revealed the nature of God to him.
“If there’s any expression of genius in the world, it means it’s an expression of the image of God,” said McManus. “And in fact, what I would say is that genius is the aberration that reveals to us the capacities that have been lost to us because of our broken relationship with God.”
Erwin McManus’ newest book, released Sept. 14, is called “The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything.” You can listen to our interview with Erwin McManus by clicking on the link below:
Erwin McManus on the Genius of Jesus
Erwin McManus shared that he has faced some resistance for focusing on the genius of Jesus, instead of Jesus’ other qualities. “When I first posted a thought on the genius of Jesus,” said McManus, “one of the first responses I got was, ‘Jesus was not a genius. He was God.’ And I thought, what an interesting response, because if I had said Jesus was compassionate, no one would respond, ‘No, Jesus was not compassionate. He was God!’”
Most people, after considering the idea, would see that discussing the genius of Jesus makes perfect sense. McManus explained, “I don’t know how you could read the Bible and not think that God is inherently a genius. In fact, just take a moment and think how absurd it would be to say humans can be geniuses, but God is not.”
It seems like a no-brainer to discuss Jesus’ genius in terms of his divinity. But, said McManus, “I actually felt that talking about the genius of Jesus is a really important conversation about the humanity of Jesus.” And Jesus stands out from all other human geniuses because his brilliance is in changing people’s lives.
“What really struck me,” said McManus, “is the reason it’s so easy to overlook Jesus’ genius is that his canvas is the human spirit. That’s where Jesus’ genius is actually translated—in the transformation of individuals.”
No other human geniuses throughout history have been able to pass on their “genius” to those around them, said McManus. “You could spend your entire life with Monet and never learn how to paint. And you could spend your entire life with John Lennon and never learn how to write ‘Yesterday.’ I mean, the reality is that genius is not transferable—except when it comes to Jesus.”