RMCF General Articles

Math Musings

By: Joli Storm, RMCF

"Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics; I can assure you that mine are still greater." Albert Einstein

I love math. I'm not so good at it now that I've had three children, and have lost my mind ( I always say that my brains came out with my babies...) but I still love it. Let me briefly plunge you into the world of mathematics which I love so very much!

Back in 1986 or so, at Texas Tech University, my undergraduate differential equations professor told our class that many events in life can be described by differential equations. Then he told us that even earthquakes, which seem to us chaotic and unpredictable, can be described by differential equations. That rattled my mind! On a different and earlier note, I failed miserably at calculus based physics because I couldn't get a grasp on the math involved!

A few years later, in a math seminar in graduate school, a professor was expounding on his research about where to amputate a person's leg so that mathematically, they had the greatest range of motion for their prosthetic. I was amazed that something as serious as an amputation critically depended on mathematics!

The deeper I delved into math, the more I discovered that EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, PERIOD follows mathematical principles. There are equations and/or expressions or a series of equations and/or expressions to describe everything, every movement every living being makes, walking, sitting, eating, speaking, etc. They describe every movement every non-living thing makes: planetary motion, waves in the ocean, a flag or blade of grass blowing in the wind, etc. Math describes every sound and every color imaginable. There are even equations and/or expressions to describe weather patterns and earthquakes. Some of these equations and expressions are unknown and are highly complicated. The largest galaxies in the universe down to the smallest particles known or unknown to man follow mathematical properties. Even chaos is mathematical. The concepts in physics, chemistry, and biology ALL boil down to mathematics.

Math also describes an unimaginably huge UNIVERSE of ideas which don't represent the physical world! To prove and study anything--when it comes right down to it, requires math--in physics on the sub-atomic level or when proving things about galaxies. Think about it. Can we see quarks and muons, which are smaller than electrons, or can we see galaxies at the furthest reaches of the universe? We (I use that term loosely, because it surely doesn't include me!) use mathematics as our eyes to "see" the unseen. We prove they exist by using mathematics.

Mathematics is literally intricately involved in the air we breathe, and of course all of the atoms in the molecules in the air follow mathematical principles. DNA also follows mathematical principles, and babies being put together in their mommies' tummies follow mathematics.

Our brain function absolutely abides by mathematical principles. Even the process of decision making is mathematical. Time itself is mathematical. Electricity follows mathematical principles. All our machines and computers operate using mathematical principles. In business, it's a given that math is indispensable, and even at the governmental level math is required. Math is used for measuring. We measure time, populations, etc. and our society seems to love statistics. Environmentally if something needs to be proven it has to be done mathematically (e.g., counting how much particulate matter is in the air or water). And don't forget about the medical field, sports, architecture, music, and shopping! Does history involve mathematics? You bet it does!

Again, some of these equations or expressions are known and many are unknown. The mind blowing part is that for us to live our lives, we never are required to know ALL the mathematics supporting our lives! What is also so fascinating about math is that it is so incredibly complicated that even the most brilliant of minds (like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, just to name two) couldn't and can't completely comprehend it, and yet it is so simple, that even my oldest child, when she was two years old, could comprehend counting and adding one plus one.

So my question to you is, "Where did math come from?" Where did something, which describes EVERYTHING, come from? Where did something that EVERYTHING in the universe abides by, come from? Where did something which is so incredibly complicated that even the MOST brilliant minds in the WORLD don't fully understand it, and yet so simple that a child can comprehend it, come from? Did we invent it? Did it evolve?

I dare to say that it existed way before humans ever showed up. I dare to say that it existed before matter or energy existed, since matter and energy ABIDE by it, too! Man did, however, discover ways to take math which can't be seen and give it symbols so that it can be "seen". That in itself is fascinating to me. That the numbers and symbols of mathematics give us mental eyes to see, operate, and understand the mathematics which in turn help us to see our world and universe and beyond.

So where did math come from? The conclusion I draw from all of this is that it came from an intelligence way far beyond the intelligence of ANY human or super computer. I believe it came straight from the mind of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, everywhere-present, unimaginably intelligent Creator, since math is basically that way (well, maybe math isn't loving--though love could be a part of math which is undiscovered...and love does happen in the mind, which operates on mathematical principles...).

So "What or who is this intelligence?" is my next question. I believe this intelligence is the God presented in the Bible. This God and Creator took these mathematical principles, equations, and expressions, which came from his heart, and gave them unbelievably beautiful physical form and function. There is MUCH more substantiation than just what I believe. Also, look at what is written about Him in the Bible. I got everything from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

John 1:1-4 (Living New Testament version)
Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. He created everything there is nothing exists that He didn't make. Eternal life is in Him, and this life gives light to all mankind.

Proverbs 3:19-20
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the depths were broken up and clouds drop down dew.

Job 38:4-6
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone...

Amos 5:8
He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; the Lord is His name.

Amos 9:6
He who builds His layers in the sky and has founded His strata in the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth-the Lord is His name.

Zechariah 12:1
...Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him...

Daniel 5:23
... and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways...

Job 33:4
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Now for the next part of my musings... From these verses, it sounds like this God is basically untouchable. Is He? Does He care? Can a person actually KNOW Him?

Psalm 139:1-4,13,15,16 (I can't remember what version this is from. I had it written down a few years ago.)
Oh Lord you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; even from a distance You know what I'm thinking. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence... You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 10:9,10
...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

Can you believe I actually have more math musings? It seems that math mirrors some characteristics of God. For instance, God is infinite in all directions. He had no beginning and will have no end. That's just like numbers. They have no beginning, because any number you start counting with, there's always a number smaller, just subtract 1 from it. There is no end to numbers because any number you end with, just add one. Even between EVERY number, there are infinite sets of numbers, which have no beginning and no end.

Next is an idea I've mentioned earlier. Math is so extremely complicated that even the most brilliant of minds cannot fully comprehend or understand it, and yet it is so simple that even a child can learn it. That is just like God! He is so extremely complicated that no human or computer could ever figure Him out, and yet He is so simple, that even a child can understand Him and love Him.

I'm going to have a little trouble getting these next ideas across, so please hang with me. Sometimes, in trying to prove something, people will take an isolated event and extrapolate it so as to explain thousands of events. We seem to do that with God, also. It is SO easy to look at one part of our view of God and then draw conclusions like we know ALL about God. A way that math also mirrors God is that people will form a negative image of math for whatever reasons, usually a bad experience with it or a bad experience with a teacher, and people do that with God also. We just can't know all there is to know about math, just like we can't know all there is to know about God.

I really think that math comes straight from the heart of God and is evidence of God's love and His order in the universe. EVERYTHING is based on it. It is the blue print of the universe. Also, in order to understand and go further in math, LOTS of time and effort must be spent on it and with it. This is the same with God. People can't just hear about Him once and then know all there is to know. Time and effort must be spent with God and His word in order to know Him more deeply.

So another question I have for you is, knowing the beauty and intricacies of math thus far, do you think that math is a key for unlocking the secrets of the universe? An even more complicated and important question is, if atheists or skeptics were aware of the concepts of mathematics as set forth here, could they be led to believe in a creator? Can they possibly understand that the origin of something that is so highly complicated that even they themselves, and their idols such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, can't fully comprehend could not have even remotely evolved?

Well, it's time for my math musings to end and for me to get back into the "mommy mode". Actually, after just about every sentence here, I've had to wipe a nose, answer a question, aid in an argument, tend to an "owie", get a drink or snack for some hungry munchkins, answer the phone, and clean up a multitude of messes made!

I love math! I love the implications inherent in mathematics which point directly to our wonderful Creator! I hope that through these musings, your love and appreciation of mathematics has grown, and that your love and appreciation of the absolute incomprehensivity (one of those made up words) of our loving Father has grown, also.

NOTE: One of my favorite sayings is "Don't believe everything you think." So just because "I think" something doesn't make it truth! There are several books I like which show tons of historical and archeological evidence for things in the Bible. Two of them are Josh McDowell's Evidence Which Demands a Verdict, Volumes I & II, but there are many, many more! Thanks.