Now that I’ve shared the insights of my contrarian friend on the word “genius” and whether it can be applied to me, or to God, I wish to add some thoughts of my own. But cautiously, for Paul warned Timothy against quarreling about words which in his opinion is valueless. (2. Timothy 2:14)
First: I agree that a dictionary is a good first place to study a word. However, there are differences among dictionaries. Some are collegiate, others are on a high school level with simpler definitions. Dictionaries like translations of the Bible should be compared and contrasted.
The compilers of dictionaries are aware that the context shapes the meaning to a word. That is true of all words; no final meaning without a context. So my anonimos friend had his dictionary, but he did ask me what I meant by genius, and it did not occur to me to ask the man who called me an old genius what he meant by the term.
I accept the verdict that I am a follower. I don’t think it is a bad thing to be a follower especially if it means that I am able to adopt and adapt to those to whom I am accountable. I was somewhat submissive to and honored my father and the Lancaster Conference bishop board. I was more attentive to the wishes of the local congregations in my district than to a Bishop Board a thousand miles away. A conservative bishop traveled to the Southeast and reported to another that the farther south you go the worse it gets.
More than any other motivation, I have wanted to be a follower of Jesus. My text for my first florida sermon centered on what is found in 2. Corinthians 2:2 Paul was determined to know nothing in Corinth except Jesus Christ. In this I have followed Paul as he followed Jesus. This is the theme of my life and like Paul, I am counted a fool by the world for doing so.
Now as for the God of the Bible, no idol image was allowed, yet many anthropomorphisms were needed to make an Unknowable One more understandable. An anthropomorphism is the attribution of a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior to nonhuman things as to a deity or an animal. To say that God has a better than genius-like brain is not more blasphemous than to speak of the face of God is blasphemy.
I send this out on MLK day after attending the Goshen College Convocation on this morning. The speaker was Leonard dow from eastern Pennsylvania. You may hear his Sunday morning sermon at College Mennonite Church by clicking here.