In January 1999 Sarah Flannery won the Esat Scientist of the year for Ireland with her project on cryptography. “Single-handedly a 16-year-old appeared to have found a way of securely encrypting – that is, the science of secrecy – hiding sensitive information on the Internet, which worked 22 times faster than the one developed at MIT in 1997.”
She was brought up in a household where her parents are lecturers, but they did not force their daughter to perform mental gymnastics or pressurise her to be anything other than a normal girl. The one thing her father did was to set her and her brothers puzzles, which he wrote on a blackboard in their kitchen.
He often finishes his lecture at the Cork Institute of Technology with a 10-minute puzzle because he finds that they are the best way to teach self-confidence and creativity. The reporter, Cassandra Jardine, was presented with one to solve when she went to interview the family.
“A farmer has 12 barrels of apples. Eleven are filled with 5-oz apples; one contains the heaviest, 6-oz apples. The farmer wants to find out which one holds the heaviest apples. How can he, in one weighting, find out which barrel holds the weightier apples?”
In Proverbs 25:2 it says “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” God is the master at encryption and puzzles, and what he seals no one can decipher. He hid the church in the Old Testament teaching and then suddenly sprang it on Paul. He has given us 3 books Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation – they are all in a sense encrypted, but the Holy Spirit can resolve the mysteries.
I’m not sure about you but I’m pretty hopeless at solving puzzles and intelligence tests – I do not want to think of what my IQ is – I doubt if I would reach 100 — “as high as that” you say, “it’s time for you to stop boasting.” However, bearing that in mind, perhaps it could be a little higher in the things of God!
Here’s one puzzle I’ve never been able to solve and I think there are many others in the same situation – “Why did Jesus die for me?” A puzzle indeed, known only to God. I have laboured for 65 years trying to unravel that conundrum. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour when I was 15 and since that time I have experienced his overwhelming love and forgiveness, but how to answer you as to why He did it and continually does it, is a mystery.
But, don’t let the lack of an answer deter you from accepting that divine love, He came that we might live, and live abundantly. Life is found in Jesus Christ who rose from the dead, to die no more. Those who put their complete trust in Him find God unlocks the scriptures to those who pursue Him, and solves all manner of mysteries revealing His heart. It’s not intelligence that does it but humility – just like Sarah who is “an ordinary girl” so are those who find God and know Him in reality. Some people with a low IQ by the world’s standard could have an IQ of 145 in spiritual things, which is professorial level!
 Daily Telegraph March 18 2000 article by Cassandra Jardine.