“Eye Has Not Seen…”
In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read these words: “As it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’.” Paul is quoting Isaiah 64:4. The closing chapters of Isaiah speak to what Yahweh will do in the end times. It contains words of judgment as well as words of hope.
Paul is discussing the wisdom and power of God – things hidden to the worldlings. But believers will often apply this text to the next life, and all the glories that will be found there. The wonder and beauties of the new heavens and the new earth will be incredible indeed.
This is such comforting and heartening news for all believers, myself included. For example, when I read about “what eye has not seen” I get especially interested. You see, all my life I have had bad eyesight. I am even partially colour-blind. And my eyesight seems to be deteriorating quite a bit of late.
If things continue, my work as a writer may have to be reduced, or even come to an end. I know my many enemies will relish the thought, but in one way it does not bother me too much. If I am left with nothing else to do in Christian ministry but engage in heaps of prayer, intercession and spiritual warfare, I may in fact accomplish far more for Christ and the Kingdom than what I am now doing.
So I often wonder what it would be like to have perfect eyesight – even with glasses my vision is rather poor. And in the life to come vision may be even better than 20/20 anyway. Everything will likely be magnified and amplified and so much better.
Music will sound so much more beautiful; what we see will be so much more glorious; what we experience will be so much greater. In every way everything will be so wondrously improved. We simply cannot imagine what things will be like. And all our great efforts and talents and gifts and abilities here on earth will seem so limited and puny then.
The Olympics are now on and there we see the epitome of human endurance, athletic ability and awesome prowess. But with our new resurrection bodies we may all be able to run faster than Usain Bolt, or swim more elegantly and swiftly than Michael Phelps.
It will just be absolutely incredible. It should excite every single believer. And we know this from at least two sources. One of course is Scripture itself, and all the wonderful promises we find there. But the other is something that has long intrigued me and moved me.
I refer to a little-understood and often little-known condition known as Savant syndrome. This is where in rare cases certain individuals seem to have supra-human and supra-normal capabilities and talents. And the really incredible thing about this is that this rare group of people who have extraordinary abilities in mathematics, art, music or calculation are often severely disabled.
The French term idiot savant means learned idiot, and was first used to refer to people with Down syndrome and the like. While I don’t usually rely on Wikipedia, let me offer a few lines from their article on this:
“Savantism is a rare condition in which people with developmental delays of the brain (notably autism spectrum), and/or brain injury, demonstrate profound and prodigious capacities and/or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal.
“According to Darold Treffert, the leading researcher in the study of savant syndrome, almost all savants have prodigious memory of a special type, which he describes as ‘very deep, but exceedingly narrow’. It is wide in the sense that they can have an exceptional memory but have a hard time putting it to use. Certain savants have also been shown to display advanced skill in one or more of five major areas: Art, musical abilities, calendar calculating, mathematics and spatial skills. Most savants display social deficiencies, generally consistent with an Autism spectrum disorder, although symptoms can recede over time.”
For example, such people can hear a very complicated piece of music for the very first and only time, and reproduce it note-perfect on a piano or other instrument. It is an extraordinary ability lacking in us mere mortals. See here for a video example of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWtZA-ZmOAM&feature=related
Or they can have incredible artistic abilities, being able to make perfect replicas of various things. See this savant syndrome man producing incredible sculptures without any training or practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkDMaJ-wZmQ
Or consider this autistic young man who can see a cityscape for a matter of minutes, and then faithfully reproduce it in mammoth sketches: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223790/Autistic-artist-draws-18ft-picture-New-York-skyline-memory.html
Looking at these videos and pictures is the best way to capture what is going on here. Science and medicine do not seem to know much about this condition or why it comes about. But it seems every single believer should be absolutely excited and rapt about this.
These rare and remarkable abilities seem to be glimpses or foretastes of heaven. They seem to be snippets of what life was meant to be like before the fall, or what it will be like when Christ returns. It is so incredibly remarkable and wonderful. Indeed, the best thing it does is give us glimpses of the wonderful and amazing God we serve.
Out of absolutely nothing our wonderful creative God created the universe and everything in it. The majestic mountains, the beautiful sunsets, the amazing aroma of flowers, the glorious sounds of music – all this from the beautiful and creative God we serve.
While we have so much beauty and wonder now in our ordinary lives, the extra bits of wonder and glory displayed in those with Savant syndrome point to something even more wonderful and glorious. They point us to God and his wondrous creative abilities.
Such beauties and wonders can only result in us creatures giving God all our praise and worship and thanksgiving. Christians of all people can exalt in this and celebrate this. Secularists and atheists are much more restricted it seems in this area.
To illustrate, and in closing, let these three comments by G. K. Chesterton make my case:
“The gift without the giver is bare.”
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”
(And please remember to look at the three links above!)
13 Replies to ““Eye Has Not Seen…””
Thanks Bill. A wonderful article. It certainly does make me even more excited about our unending future with the Lord!
To add to those fascinating stories, here’s a 60 Minutes documentary on people who have “superior autobiographical memory”. These people don’t have savant syndrome, but they do have the ability to remember almost every day of their lives. Absolutely incredible!
Thanks for that Annette
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Imagine how much more man could see, if he only kept his eye on God. God’s hand is on everything. His ways are truly not our ways. Science can only see the physical and the finite. People, such as savants, seem to exist in the realm of the supernatural and infinite grace of God. We can’t explain it, but God has a answer to everything. His handiwork is there for all to see. Beautiful, and humble minds, indeed.
Quite so Monica
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Bill, thank you so much for the thought about thanksgiving from G K Chesterton. I think he is absolutely right. When I was un-saved I used to rush headlong past a beautiful sunset to chase wine women and song, bright lights and pounding music. Now I am a 63-yr-old grandfather, and thanks as well to Creation Ministries International, I can be thrilled to watch busy little bees doing what their Creator designed them to do. Interesting too, that of the progressive steps listed in Romans 1 and 2 where people ended up homosexual, “they did not give thanks” is one of them. This seems to be a big deal to our loving Heavenly Father.
I have always looked at what some of Gods servants have been shown with complete wonder. For example Johns heavenly visions in Revelation. Just imagine being called as an over comer (Rev 3:2) who has been given the right to sit with him on his throne, the view would be incomprehensible to us down here and not just the sights but the sounds and fragrances as well.
Then there is Daniels earthly visions, like the one where he sees the arch angel, starting in 10:4 (and he was just standing on the river bank minding his own business, not trying to be spiritual) that was so overpowering all his strength left and he fell flat on his face on the ground as his companions fled in absolute terror to hide despite not even seeing anything. The mind boggles.
What an amazing thought, that we will be able to swim like Thorpy the torpedo, and run like Robert De costello. What’s more seeing with perfect vision, a fact I have taken for granted. I have been wearing glasses since I was seven years old, subsequently I do not like any ball games. My mother could not afford to replace my broken frames every time they where smashed in a ball game. These are truly wonderful thoughts that should be on our minds all the time. We must indeed be focused on being with the Lord Jesus. The book that Randy Alcorn wrote, “Heaven” is my recommendation for all those that long for this place.
Bill, not being able to write by means of sight is no longer a excuse, you can sit back and simply speak the words. No Sir you won”t get off that easy.
In His Service,
Bill Heggers, Perth
Hey Bill. Eyesight will definitely be better than 20/20 as it is common for people today to have vision better than 20/20.
Bill, you might need to hire yourself a scribe or maybe just get yourself to a church that puts James 5:14 to practice.
I can think of at least one! 🙂
Mario Del Giudice
Thanks guys. Another amazing savant story is here:
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Bring them on! I am so looking forward to getting my resurrection body. It’s going to be great. I’ll know for one thing, I’ll be dancing with mine!
Thanks Bill. The guy on the piano was most amazing. They all are. The brain and spirit are obviously functioning on a plane far removed from anything we can conceive. Maybe with those disabilities, there is a break in the veil between mind and spirit in some way? I believe that when we are more transformed into the mind of Christ, we inch more and more into that arena of being able to access something beyond ourselves. But definitely can’t wait to be fully moving into that freedom when we finally leave these earthly bodies behind! P.S.Hope you have your eyes functioning and able to help you write for a long time yet!
I pray your eyesight will be saved, but I hear your heart saying that no matter what the outcome, God will still be glorified and praised in your life. The glimpse we get into the power of God’s creativity in these stories above is mind blowing!
I often think about heaven…more so since my 36 year old son has gone on to be with the Lord last year. I love this song by Mercy Me… “I Can Only Imagine” it makes me long for our glorious reunion and keep my eyes focused on the Lord.