Math, Science & Christ: How do they mesh?

By Jason Hindall

How do we approach math and science from a Christian worldview? There are two primary reasons to explore the disciplines of mathematics and physical sciences from a Christian worldview, and those are: the fulfillment of the Creation Mandate found in Genesis 1 and as justification of our faith.

After God created humankind, he set them above all other beings to care for and protect His creation. Genesis 1:28 says “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” He has placed us in a representative authority role for his creation; we are stewards of that which He has made. In order to act in authority requires wisdom and understanding of the needs and relationships between the environment and its inhabitants. Science is the most appropriate tool to this end. The discovery of cause and effect in the world allows us to draw patterns of relationships and uncover the needs and interactions of each part of the system. We are to bring glory to God through the exploration of that understanding and then act upon it to improve the condition for humanity first and then for animal and plant prosperity. We have done this time and again through medicine, agriculture, invention and innovation.

Secondly, the pursuit of mathematics and science allows us to establish in our minds the certainty of God’s existence. The underlying motivation for the scientific revolution of the pre-enlightenment period occurred because men of faith sought to find the evidence of God’s order in his creation. The entire concept–that the universe is ultimately understandable–follows only if the universe flows from an ordered mind. And if this is the case, the evidence of that mind will be present in the laws and inner workings of that creation. We can know that God created the universe because mathematics works. In an uncaused universe, we have no right or claim as to why complex numerical relationships should be able to explain motion or predict events. However, the fact that we can very accurately model reality with numerical representations is because, I would argue, God created with intent for the physical to be clearly understood and trusted so that the claims he would make about the less observable aspects of spiritual realities could likewise be trusted. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

The deeper we peer into the complexities of the physical universe, the more the secular scientists fall into despair, recognizing as they face the necessity of choosing between the two options:  that either there is a God and we are supremely loved or the universe is meaningless and science can do nothing about that. Thankfully, we know that it is our loving God who orders it all.

 

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