God’s language is math

(Thanks to Mark Eckel for giving permission to share this post of  March 25, 2011 from his blog, Warp and Woof.)

“I’m not a math person.”  For years this had been my response to any question involving numbers, equations, or solutions.  But I had wrongly given up responsibility for a crucial characteristic of God’s creation.  I began to realize my answer was a wrong approach to math or, for that matter, anything else in life.

In the summer of 2003 I was asked to do a Christian school in-service on biblical integration including three hours on elementary math.  I asked for and received the table of contents along with sample lessons from each textbook.  As I pondered God’s natural revelation of arithmetic The Spirit began to open my eyes to at least twelve major concepts directly dependent upon Scriptural truth.

I used to believe that math was the most difficult subject for biblical integration.  Indeed, it seems immediately plain that math is the essential core of God’s world.  As I understand it now, math could well be described as “God’s language.”  For instance, John D. Barrow’s book The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega–the Numbers That Encode the Deepest Secrets of the Universe seems to mirror Scriptural injunctions concerning “the works of God’s hands” that endure “from age to age.”  The stability of creation is consistently used as the measuring rod for God’s interaction with people.  Why?  The Creator’s truthful rule over this world and this life marks his dependability for the next world and afterlife (see examples in Psalms 35, 71, 73, 80, 88, 92, 95, 103, 118, 120, 146, and 148).  Numerical order is essential for life and central to “the whole truth” of God’s creation.

Here is a sample of biblically integrative lesson plan goals from the first of twelve mathematical concepts entitled “systems and roles.”  Each aim is premised upon observations from Genesis one and two.  [I have created 12 lesson plans which include goals, objectives, anticipatory sets, readings, discussion, methods, and questions.]

  1. To prove God’s world is interrelated—each part working within the whole.
  2. To express how God brought various systems together in complementary equilibrium.
  3. To state that creation’s organization is based on the plans and decrees of God.
  4. To explain how something is “unique”—each thing assigned its place, given a role by God.
  5. To appreciate math as a system by which God runs His world.

After describing God’s numerical ordering of His creation Job cries, “And these are but the outer fringe of his works!” (26:14). Never again will I say, “I’m not a math person.”  Since The Personal Eternal Creator binds His world with numbers, I am bound to discover more about math.  Discovering more of God’s world helps us to know more of our God.

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5 Comments

Filed under Biblical worldview, curriculum, distinctively Christian, resources, student outcomes

5 responses to “God’s language is math

  1. I’m going to share this with my math people. Thanks again

  2. “I used to believe that math was the most difficult subject for biblical integration. Indeed, it seems immediately plain that math is the essential core of God’s world.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m a Christian and also have a Ph.D. in mathematics, with many years of experience as a math professor and textbook author. I’ve written a book called The Faith Equation that highlights some of the ways I have found that my faith is connected to mathematics, including statistics that prove the power of prayer and the math behind the prophecy in Matthew 24:14 being fulfilled.

  3. These are great ideas, rich in love of thinking, logic and most importantly our Creator. This statement points to the real reason it is so hard to make God a part of a math classroom. Math, at least in American textbook curriculum, is not any longer about our Creator. Nor is math about logic. Nor is math about thinking. Math as we teach it is about algorithm, it is about arriving at the one true answer for a problem. As long as math continues to only be about algorithm we will never have a natural path to our Creator in math class. The only interesting problems worth solving in this world do not have single simple answers. Our God is creative. God did not say, “there I made one human now the rest should be easy.” God knit each one of us. Until math curriculum changes to include thinking, creativity and logic it will always be hard to weave the Creator into math class.

  4. I like to connect the Chaos game with Fractals and Pascal’s triangle (Google for more info). Students roll a die and plot a point within a triangle based on simple rules in the Chaos game. After a while, I ask if students see a pattern. They don’t. I then run a calculator program (TI 83+) which continues the method for a while. As students watch, they begin to see Sierpinski’s triangle appear. I then connect the idea that God reveals to us his patterns in creation over time – using various methods – inspiration, technology, etc.. The chaos game uses a simple rule, with an element of randomness, repeated over and over again. I will ask questions like: Why are Oak trees identifiable, yet no two are the same?
    Even though to us, we may see chaos, God sees His design in full splendour!

  5. Great ideas! I shared it on Facebook and I’ll be sharing it with my classes.

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