The Category of Genius
George H. Morrison
Among all the recent answers to this question, there is one that has obtained peculiar prominence. It is the answer that describes our Lord in terms of spiritual or religious genius. As one man has a genius for poetry, and another a genius for mathematics, so are we told today in many quarters that Jesus had a genius for religion. What Shakespeare was within the realm of poetry, and Newton1 or Kepler2 within that of science, that, though more conspicuously perhaps, was Jesus in the realm of religion. Now of course there is an element of truth in that, for the one passion of Jesus was religion. It filled His heart; it colored all His life; it was the source of all He said and did. Yet if there be one thing that is growing clearer to me, as I study the mind of Christ in Scripture, it is that the category of genius, as we call it, is quite inadequate to the historic Jesus. I beg to remind you that no one is at liberty to construct a Christ out of his inner consciousness. The one valid procedure for the student is to examine every fact the sources give. And I wish tonight to show you, if I can, that if anyone will only do that seriously, it becomes impossible to think of Christ as genius.
Well, in the first place it is a mark of genius that it is separable from its own achievements. This, I think, is not an accident; it is an essential and universal feature. The history of genius is nothing else than the long struggle to liberate its powers. It is the effort to work into expression the forces that are tumultuous within. It is the passion to body out the soul, in block of marble or in word of beauty, which shall live on and be a joy to others when the creator is sleeping in the grave. You can get all the enrichment of a play like Hamlet though you know nothing about William Shakespeare. You can possess the truth of the law of gravitation though you never heard the name of Isaac Newton. You can learn the wonders ...
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