God ... in Math?
When your child finishes his math for the day, what thoughts whirl through his head? Many students end up sighing with relief and thinking, “Whew! At least I don’t have to do that again until tomorrow.” Some still probably leave pondering the new concept learned that day. But wouldn’t it be neat if a student could finish math problems thinking about God’s greatness and faithfulness and praising Him?
You’re smiling, but I’m serious. Although most students leave math with their minds whirling with numbers and formulas, there’s much more to math than endless figures. Believe it or not, math is an incredible testimony to God.
Have you ever stopped to consider where math came from or why it works? Although most textbooks don’t ever really explain math’s origin or purpose, the Bible gives us the answers we need. Take a look at these two verses:
“For by him were all things created … ” (Colossians 1:16)
“ … upholding all things by the word of his power … ” (Hebrews 1:3)
The Bible makes it clear—God created and holds all things together. Notice the Bible doesn’t say all things except math. All includes everything—even math!
What does it mean that God created math? Obviously, it doesn’t mean God created the symbols on the piece of paper (symbols like 1, 2, etc.) we typically think of as math. Man developed those symbols. But those symbols represent a real-life principle—a principle God created and sustains. Much like words represent ideas, math symbols represent real-life principles.
For example, we can easily see the real-life principle of addition all around us. If we take an object and add another object to it, we will always be left with two objects. If we have one cookie and one piece of pie, we will have ended up eating two desserts, whether or not we want to admit it. There is a real-life principle of addition that we can’t escape. When we write “1 + 1 = 2”, we are recording a principle God created when He created the universe. God is the one who determined how objects would interact. He chose to make one plus one equal two. The symbols we learn in math class are just ways man has agreed on to write the consistent relationships God set in place all around us.
God didn’t just create math—He also holds it together. Think for a moment about the amazing way math works. It does not matter what we attempt to add, objects always add in the same way. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t bother to study math, would we? What would be the point of memorizing addition facts if sometimes one plus one equaled three?
Yet math only works because this universe operates in a regular, precise manner. One of anything plus one of anything else always equals two. There aren’t any exceptions. The Bible tells us that God is the one who, day after day, holds this universe together. Math only continues to operate consistently because God never changes. Objects always interact the same way because God is still holding those objects together in the same manner as He has since the beginning of time.
Underneath all the numbers and symbols, math has a powerful message. Every time math works, it is reminding us that God is still faithfully holding all things together consistently. It is as though it were shouting out at you, “God is faithful! You can trust Him.”
As you teach your child math this week, remember math’s not just a bunch of meaningless facts. Math’s very ability to work is a testimony to God’s faithfulness.
Want to learn more about how biblical principles apply to math and about how you can teach your child math concepts—from counting through calculus—from a biblical perspective? Visit www.christianperspective.net.
Copyright, 2009. All rights reserved by author below. Content provided by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC.
Katherine Loop, a homeschool graduate, is the author of a variety of homeschool resources, including several family devotionals and a book titled Beyond Numbers: A Practical Guide to Teaching Math Biblically. Katherine lives in Northern Virginia where she works from home for her state homeschool organization (HEAV) and operates Christian Perspective, an online ministry to homeschool families. You can find out more about her ministry at www.christianperspective.net.