How can God be intelligent if He is immaterial?

We know that God is spirit (John 4:24).
We know that He is the uncaused first cause, that is to say that He created everything (John 1:3).
This means that God is spaceless, timeless and immaterial.

I recently heard atheists say that God cannot be intelligent because he is immaterial. 
The argument was:
1. Intelligence, as we experience it, comes from a brain. We never saw something "brainless" be intelligent or thinking by itself.
2. Since God is immaterial, He does not have a brain
3. Therefore, God cannot be intelligent.

I didn't know how to answer this argument.

How can something immaterial have intelligence?
"Where" is the intelligence, if it is immaterial?

John 4:24

LS1910 - 24 Dieu est Esprit, et il faut que ceux qui l'adorent l'adorent en esprit et en vérité.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 19 2013 Mini Samuel Bourassa

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
The difficulty in coming up with an adequate answer to this question is that the question itself demands that God must be defined according to human terms. As we know, God is not limited to our feeble human terms, descriptions, or understanding. As you stated, He is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. 

He is the Author and Creator of all intelligence; therefore He is infinitely above all intelligence. Just as a computer could do nothing intelligent apart from the intelligence that its creators programmed into it, so any intelligent being needed a Creator who could instill into it intelligent processes and all of the materials needed to put those processes together and to cause them to function properly.

Unfortunately, this takes faith to believe, even though logically it actually makes sense. The atheists you overheard must come to God with faith rather than reason, because there is no way to "prove" the existence of God, even though the scriptures tell us in Romans 1 that nature itself is enough to convince sinners that God indeed exists. Verse 20 says,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The intelligence of God is clear when we view God's creation, but it still takes faith to initially put one's trust in God.

December 21 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Colin Wong Supporter Founder, eBible.com
Samuel. What the Atheists are trying to lure you to agree to, is a framework of discussion that assumes an immaterial being cannot create material.

Let's take a step back further and even consider this. If God is immaterial, how can He possibly create material (real physical objects)? At this point, they don't even have to discuss a brain or intelligence. They're basically saying God cannot create anything.

So if a spirit being has the power to create the heavens and the earth, all of creation, from the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals on the land and everything that creeps, would this same spirit require a physical brain to be intelligent?

That's like a fish arguing that birds cannot possibly exist because they don't have gills. The spiritual world works differently from our physical world. We cannot apply our understanding of physics in this world to how things work in the spirit world. 

Lastly, understand that their whole argument makes absolutely no sense. If they require that our God have a physical brain in order to be intelligent, how then can they possibly explain their scientific rationale that all intelligence in this universe was created out of nothing (big bang)? 

That's basically arguing that God (a spirit being) cannot create intelligence but the void (nothingness) can. What a double standard.

December 21 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20130807 12032 18udcoo Chris Button Retired Fire Captain, sinner saved by Grace
"Intelligence, as we experience it..."

Their argument collapses on itself right from the start. Many atheists use science as the basis for their argument that God doesn't exist. They say science is based in facts which cannot be disputed.

But science is based on experience and observation. A scientist either observes something and comes up with a theory or postulates a theory and observes something in an attempt to prove or disprove said theory.

The problem is the scientist cannot say with 100% certainty what happened outside the observation period. If I watch a robin sitting on the ground for 20 minutes, I might come to the conclusion that robins can't fly based on my observations. Ridiculous isn't it?

To rebut my theory someone may say, "Of course robins can fly because I've seen them fly." Here's where it gets interesting. I have a few options. I can reject their rebuttal and stick with my original assumption. I can do more observation and possibly change my assumption (This never happens in the scientific world he says sarcastically!). I could also take in faith that robins can fly because someone else observed them flying. In this last option, I'm placing faith in something unseen (at least by me.)

We all place our faith and trust in something outside of our personal experiences and observations. If I don't, my existence becomes a very sad, fear-filled dilemma. I can't leave my house because I don't trust that a run away driver won't run over me. I can't stay in the house because I don't trust that someone won't break in and kill me.

To avoid the aforementioned dilemma, we MUST have faith in something other than what we've observed or experienced. If we must have faith, why can't that faith be that there is a God who created EVERYTHING. If this is true, it makes sense to me that the full attributes of God are obviously outside the realm of human comprehension and any attempt to fully prove or disprove the existence of God will fail because these attempts will be based in HUMAN science.

Boom! Chris out! (He drops the mic and walks off stage)

December 22 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Image Tim Thornton Bible student, unprofitable servant
How can God be intelligent if He is immaterial?

The premise upon which this question is built is that operation of intelligence is simply the accumulation and processing of physical of data by a physical brain through the the physical senses. If in fact this is true then ask your dog what the answer to this question is because he lives consistently by this premise. This is the intelligence of animal existence.

To limit the definition of human let alone Devine intelligence by this is to deny the operation of the immaterial part of man called a mind.

Why can't the dog of the atheist or even the christians dog answer this question. And why can't the dog know he can't answer this question and why is it that the dog doesn't even care that he doesn't know that he can't answer this question?

Because he is a dog

A man can understand that such a thing as a rational question exist because he is made in the image of God. Gen.1:27 
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

The atheist must answer the question, why can't your dog answer this question? If his answer is because he doesn't have enough intelligence he is back to square one. 

His real problem isn't rational, his mind works fine, his problem is moral and spiritual. 

In his heart he is at enmity against God and is trying to persuade himself that God doesn't exist. He is working under the the greatest imaginable conflict of interest and for a time feels he has control over the evidence in the case. His is the convicted felon who who gets a law degree and for a time is granted the freedom to think about the court and the judge and the outcome he can secure any way he chooses or the, or the master politician spinning the truth in order to avoid consequences and accountability only with stakes that are eternal.

The facts of the case are these.
Man is capable of questioning and knowing he is questioning and knowing why he is questioning because he has a spirit an immaterial part.

1 Cor. 2:11
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

The intelligence of God while exhaustive and eternal is mirrored by the finite replica of the intelligence of man

December 21 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Pst candy Candy Omoleme
The word "God" means the one who is to be worshiped, served, reverenced and adored because of "Who He Is". This is a name or title that refers and recognizes the supremacy of our creator, the possessor of the Heaven and earth. He, who was, before the world began. 

God is "Spirit" and not immaterial. We do not have to compare God with objects. If you do not see me or cannot touch me - does not mean I am irrelevant. My contribution to your state of existence and success, is a picture of my presence and wise direction over your life purpose and destiny. 

God may be immaterial in the eyes of the natural, because according to 1 Cor. 2:14 - the natural man cannot receive the things of the spirit of God, for those things are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because those things are spiritually discerned. 

Believers should not be like the doubting Thomas, who needs a physical touch before believing in Christ' existence, resurrection or wisdom. 

God is Spirit according to John 4:4 and is infinite. He is NOT subject to human limitations. Ps 90:2; Ps 104:24, Provs 3:19, Jer. 10:12, Dan 2:20-21, Rom. 11:33, 1 Cor. 1:24-30 and many other scriptures talk about the intelligence of God. 

2 Tim. 3:16 says: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is Profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 

God gave us His Word so we can profit by it in our beliefs and teachings: for righteous rebukes, to correct us when we are wrong and to teach us to think, say and do the right thing in agreement with God's intelligent plans. 

In essence, God Himself is - Intelligence. 
James 1:5

December 21 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
I would agree with the atheist - an immaterial being cannot be intelligent. 

However, the claim "God is the most intelligent being" falls short of God's attributes. God is NOT the most intelligent being, He is Intelligence itself. Therefore, we can agree with the atheist:

1. Intelligent beings require a brain.
2. Intelligence itself does not need a brain.

December 20 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Shanna Duck "Let a search be made in the royal archives..." Ezra 5:17 NIV
I'm just going to interject something that has helped me, especially when talking with intelligent non-believers, esp. Those who consider themselves "geeks." NOTE WELL: We CAN'T definitively "know" what God is, and this answer is not intended to be blasphemous or upsetting to anyone. It's also possible that these people are NOT really searching for answers. If they are, however, this may help.

Many intelligent young people are heavily into comic books and understand the concept of multiple dimensions. In fact, physicists speculate on how many different dimensions there may be. 

Sometimes it may help unbelievers (it sometimes helps me, too) to consider God as the highest order of higher-dimensional beings, even that He is above and the creator of the higher dimensions (there may be 11 or more of these). If we postulate that each dimension not only has its own reality, but that dimensions can overlap one another with the lower dimensions unaware of the presence of the higher ones, then we can understand how God can exist apart from time and physical space, can be omniscient and omnipresent, and can honestly be so far above us that we can't even comprehend His reality. In His reality, intelligence simply IS because He is intelligent. Following this, the different levels of angels are also speculated to be higher-dimensional beings, which explains why they can come-and-go and seemingly defy the physical laws of our plane. (We don't want to get into a Gnostic-like "levels" of angels and beings here, but a Christian author has also connected the secular sightings of "UFOs" and "Aliens" with the possibility of these actually being higher-dimensional demons rather than extraterrestrial "aliens". It IS strange that these "aliens" often defy our current physical laws, but that's another story. I think Creation Ministries International has more information about this theory.) 

As humans, having some way to picture or understand God: as a parent, as a shepherd, as a King, helps us grapple with His ineffable characteristics. This idea also removes God from being a vague figure to being VERY, sometimes frighteningly at first, real. GOD IS REAL. (It's amazing how many Christians "believe" in God and yet He's not really "real" to them. If He WERE "real" to them, they would obey Him.) In the early Church, God was often pictured as a King surrounded by his court. In the Medieval mind, God gave orders to humans and angels and was obeyed, as any human ruler would be. There was a very concrete hierarchy to the universe, and God was as real to people as the local lord, duke or king. Yet now I feel that even many Christians have lost that. 

If the analogy of God to a higher dimensional being helps you or an unbeliever, then use it with the understanding that it is at best "faith seeking understanding." If not, let it alone. It honestly has helped me understand God with both sides of the brain: both as a logical reality AND as an unknowable intuitive mystery. 

We are so limited that any way that we have of understanding God is at best flawed and imperfect. As the Bible says, now we see in a glass darkly (as in an ancient bronze mirror), but one day we will, God willing, see Him face to face.

December 22 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
1 Corinthians 2:14. Your atheist cannot understand anything spiritual. This is an answer that cannot be given only from scripture, but must also use other words from the mouth of God. We are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut 8:3 and quoted by Jesus in answer to his first wilderness temptation) and that begins not simply with the first recorded word God spoke -- light (Genesis 1:3) but even the word that created the darkness Genesis 1:2 says was already there (Isaiah 45:7). All of creation is a word of God and scientists are studying God's word as surely as any theologian does, whether either is willing to admit this or not.

Your atheist does not know his science very well. Contrary to common Christian thinking, which is more Greek and Manichean than scriptural in this matter, scripture teaches that we have two consciousnesses. The "natural" man referenced in 1 Corinthians 2:14 is called a soulish man if the Greek is properly translated. Greek religion teaches that soul and spirit are the same thing, and this is what most Christians also believe. Hebrew scripture is clear that they are not the same thing, and Paul is clear throughout his writings, especially in Romans 5 through Romans 7 that they are separate things, that both have a consciousness and that both are at war with each other in our bodies for control. Romans 5:12 is also clear when translated properly that we sin because we are mortal and the soul cannot overcome the weakness of the flesh. However, Paul goes on to show us that the spirit within us cannot sin and that when we overcome sin it is the work of this spirit overcoming our flesh.

I am not up on the most recent science concerning these matters and because all religionists and scientists alike interpret the words of God that they study according to the idols of their hearts (Eze 14:1-11) and the will not to believe is strong; there will always be some authority who claims the exact opposite of provable fact. However, a great many scientific authorities on memory and intelligence have come to believe the brain is simply a conduit, not a repository and that all intelligence and memory in some way reside outside our flesh. 

Paul says that God is a 4 dimensional being (able to move freely in 4 dimensions (Eph 3:18).) Man is a 3 dimensional being able to move relatively freely in 3 dimensions (defined as space), at a fixed direction and fixed rate in a 4th dimension (time) and having no ability to sense or perceive the remaining dimensions separately from the advanced mathematics of the theoretical physicist. The current state of this science says there are 11 dimensions (or over 20, depending on which camp you believe). God is active and intelligent in all of them. Thus what we perceive as wisdom is foolishness to such a multidimensional being, and there is absolutely no way for a being limited to a perception of only space-time and not even able to move freely in that to understand true intelligence. 

The atheist you reference is simply trying to puff up his own self-importance and to make man god and the highest intelligence known. Quantum particles are known to physicists to be self aware, to be able to exist in multiple places at once (due to its multidimensional abilities), to be aware of when it is being directly observed and to behave differently when that happens. How can your atheist claim that intelligence only exists in his fleshly brain when these particles clearly show intelligence according to physicists?

The claim of the physicist is that with the recent proof of the existence of the Higgs boson we are now 2 orders of magnitude (n^-100)from the God particle. Some claim this was named blasphemously, others claim once that particle is discovered we will prove the existence of God. Take your pick.

September 03 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20150711 11373 dvqsks Steve clonts
He has always existed. Psalms 90:2
He is unchanging. Hebrews 1:8-12
He is all powerful. Matthew 19:26
He is all wise. Romans 11:33
He is all knowing. Acts 15:18
"The foolishness of God is wiser then men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men". 1-Cor. 1:25-27
Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world." Acts 15:18
God is all knowing. He has all wisdom, knowledge and intelligence. And that's not Theory like what most Atheists believe in. That's the truth. Gods truth. The only truth that matters. 

By the way, the Bible says,God is a Spirit, not God is Spirit. There's a big difference. And then how do you define,"a Spirit or a Spirit God. And no where in the Bible does it say,"God is immaterial". However, the Athanasian Creed dictates that God is immaterial. Many Christians subscribe to the Trinitarian doctrine in the Creed. The Bible has a lot to say what God is and what God is not. The Bible is Gods word and the final authority on who He is. I suggest a thorough reading of the Bible with a red pencil in hand. Mark any and all references to God and who or what He, She or It is. And then come to your own conclusion. Or, you can let someone else tell you who God is.

August 28 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Emilio 1992 Emo Tenorio Shomer
In my humble opinion just because our small brains can't envision such things so complex as our universe and it"s ten dimensions, does not make it untrue.

Consider all it's complex parts interdependent and in perfect mathematical balance to each other, means there was an intelligent creative force at work.

Mathematically the chances of all this being some random luck of the draw, requires so much more faith than a simple belief in God. But for some any answer is better than the simple one, and thinking themselves wise, they became foolish!

The discipline of science called physics has structure and intelligent laws but no brain and yet we know it's there, because it works......

In the Lord's freedom to explore His creation with joy.....warrior on

December 19 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Bob Henderson
Intelligence and thought are not physical or material, even when they are embodied in a human being. Can you see, hear, feel, touch, or smell your spirit, your thought, and your intellect? No, only to the extent they cause something physical to react. You can see the results of their presence on material things. 

So, they are spiritual in essence and to exist they do not require a physical body or they are not required to become physical in order to exist. Spirit is not physical or material. It's the fourth dimension. 

At present, mankind's physically embodied intellect is not sufficient to comprehend these mysteries. In the future, this limitation will change to some extent, both to the glorified and un-glorified, but the glorified redeemed will have a clearer understanding than the un-glorified because of their position in Christ. To question the existence of the Source of all things, both material and spiritual is a copout on reality.
Bob Henderson

October 09 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Anand Mishra trying to be humane
The lord is beyond intelligence. However, the lord does not mind to get bound by intelligence for the one who is in complete devotion.

This is for your own understanding, not for beating an atheist in the argument.

April 12 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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