Here there be cookies.

Here there be cookies. (Blogger uses cookies, folks.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Discoveries in mathematics + science = discoveries about the Creator


Stanislaw Ulam noticed something interesting about prime numbers, Mark C. Chu-Carroll wrote an article about the phenomena that is now called the Ulam spiral, Phil Johnson tweeted about it, and that tweet was imported to facebook, which is how I became aware of this noticing. Every new thing that mathematicians or scientists observe in creation is something that the Lord built into His handiwork long before mathematicians and scientists were around to discover them, or even scoff at Him and/or deny His existence.

Toward the end of Chu-Carroll’s article, he wrote this:

This has been cited by some religious folks as being a proof of the existence of God. Personally, I think that that's silly; my personal belief is that even a deity can't change the way the numbers work: the nature of the numbers and how they behave in inescapable. Even a deity who could create the universe couldn't make 4 a prime number.

His point about the nature of numbers is interesting. God will not do anything against His character and nature, and numbers do seem to be an intrinsic part of Him.* Here are a few examples of this that I can think of off the top of my head: He is one God, three Persons (Genesis 1:2, 26-27; Matthew 3:16), infinite (Job 38; Psalm 10:16, 45:6, 48:14; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 4:9), omniscient (the sum of all knowledge is His, Psalm 147:5), omnipotent (the sum of all power is His, (Genesis 17:1), and omnipresent (He exists in all of space + all of time + all that is outside of time at once; Psalm 139, Colossians 1:16-17, John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:20).

However, God isn’t required to obey the laws He made, whether they be laws of mathematics or nature. Fire didn’t burn (Exodus 3:2), plagues happened on command (Exodus 7-10), water temporarily left its proper course (Exodus 14:21-29, Joshua 3:11-17, 2 Kings 2), time turned back  (2 Kings 20:9-11) and stood still (Joshua 10:12-14), and animals behaved unnaturally (Numbers 22:30, 1 Samuel 6:10-12, 2 Kings 2:34-25, Daniel 6:22).

While Jesus walked the earth, He was 100% God  + 100% Man, but He was still only 100%. He side-stepped natural law with His first miracle when He turned the water into wine (John 2), and His creative power continued to be made manifest as He went on to heal lame feet (John 5:5-9), sightless eyes (Mark 10:46-52), sound-deprived ears (Mark 7:32-37), lifeless bodies (Luke 8:41-55; John 11:1-45), etc. He simply spoke and a storm and sea calmed (Mark 4:36-41; the same sea He walked on,  Matthew 14:22-33), and a fig tree to shriveled (Matthew 21:18-19). He prayed and loaves and fish multiplied, twice (Matthew 14:13-21, 15:29-38).**

God is sovereign over all creation, and is able to act within its bounds, or out of them, according to His will.

I find it interesting that if I replace “math and science” with “God” in Chu-Carroll’s opening paragraph of his article, it then expresses how I feel about my Lord.

One of the things that's endlessly fascinating to me about (God) is the way that, no matter how much we know, we're constantly discovering more things that we don't know. Even in simple, fundamental areas, there's always a surprise waiting just around the corner.

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand” (Psalm 139:17-18a).


* In saying this, I am not saying that numbers are God; I am saying that numbers can be seen in His nature.

** “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

No comments: