You who started reading now, I can’t see you responding to the question. Perhaps you just thought: “Blasphemy! How could she ask that!” If you did, it is because you see autism as a flaw, and your God is not flawed. In that case, your perspective on autism is the problem: Autism is not a processing error, it is a different operating system.
Or perhaps you are autistic, and want to think over how you reflect an all-powerful being. By the law of averages you are likely to be neither, but the header interested you. Or some other reason.
What I ask is whether God has qualities which are common among Autistic people, and whether autistic qualities thus reflect qualities of God. This would not mean neurotypical (non-autistic) people fail to reflect God, or that God has nothing in common with them. God is big enough to have the good qualities of both groups.
Could it be that autistic mind workings display some aspects of God’s mind? I think so.
1) God is not into the same details most people are:
“God does not look at the same things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7b.”
It is normal for autistics to notice details others miss, and not care much about the details others focus on. Autistic people, like God, is particularly less likely to focus on outward things, and more likely to look at people’s hearts.
2) God struggles to really communicate with people:
Most people’s minds and communication preferences work in such a way that they find God hard to understand or listen to. Most does not even try to listen to God. As a speaking person on the autism spectrum, I could relate to that. I believe that non-speaking autistics could relate even better.
3) God has real expertise in His special interests:
Autistics often study their special interests to the point of being experts. While God is all-knowing and can thus be said to be an expert in everything, God does take a special interest in some things like people, and in the fight between good and evil. In the things where an all-knowing God has a special interest, this God could really be trusted!
4) God is utterly unique, and God’s perspectives are life-changing.
There is a saying about autism which goes like this: If you met one person with autism, you met one person with autism. People on the autism spectrum offer unique and enriching perspectives, unlike those the average neurotypical hears from all of society. God is even more so: It may be hard to listen for the voice of God, but it is certainly worthwhile!
5) God cannot lie:
Autistic people are less likely to lie, at least partly because the social motives that drive people to hide parts of themselves are not present in them. This is in the image of a God who does not lie, who does not try to fit in with people, and therefore does not lie to be acceptable. (Numbers 23:19)
6) God loves us passionately:
Commonly, people with autism really care, passionately care, about the issues, people and things that matter to them. God, likewise, loves us passionately! (Do I need to give references here? If you never heard of the passionate love God has for humans, you have not encountered Christ-centered churches.)
7) God is the creator
Autistic thinking is often associated with having limited creativity. But researchers at the universities of East Anglia and Stirling did this test to study creativity and autistic traits:
“Their tests of creativity involved coming up with as many innovative uses for common objects or interpretations of vague pictures as they could in one minute. The total number of suggestions was recorded, and they were rated on how unusual they were.
The authors found that individuals with higher levels of autistic traits made fewer suggestions than those with lower levels of autistic traits. Surprisingly, however, the suggestions from those with higher levels of traits had greater originality. It seems that being on the autistic spectrum is associated with being able to generate suggestions that were more creative. – Anna Remington at IFL Science
Autistics reflect God the creator in their originality!
Autism certainly reflects God. I think the same way that God can be everywhere, God can be both autistic and neurotypical. My God is autistic.
Autistic people and those familiar with autism, in what ways do you see autism reflect God? Your stories are welcome in the comments!