Going to the doctor isn’t my favorite thing, but in preparing for a recent missions trip to Africa, I had to get a vaccination. As the nurse assisted me, she asked about my job, and I gave my usual reply about BJU Press being a Christian textbook publisher for grades K–12. To define Christian, I explained that one of our primary values is biblical worldview—teaching what God’s Word has to say about different subjects.
But when I mentioned biblical worldview, the nurse stopped me with this question: “How can you have biblical worldview in math? It either is or it isn’t.”
What she meant was “How can math problems have more than one answer?” We all know 2 + 2 always equals 4. (English is the subject with all the exceptions—not math.) Thrilled that the nurse was engaged in our conversation, I quickly thought through how to explain the impact of the gospel and the value of BJU Press curriculum. Two ideas about God’s involvement with math immediately came to my mind.
Two Ways God Is Involved in Math
- Our God created order. He allows us to explain His order with equations that always have the same answer. It delights Him when we seek to solve problems, and He graciously allows us to find the solutions.
- Our God created us to serve. Knowing how to solve an equation should be applied to doing good for others. Math is one of the tools we can use. For example, here she was serving me by giving me an inoculation before a missions trip to Africa. Her ability to measure the correct amount of vaccine based on my weight and height (think mental math equation) ensured that I would be fine.
These thoughts off the top of my head are not the only ways that God impacts our study and use of mathematics. But what I really hope the nurse took away from our short conversation is that math is a tool—not the master.
Sadly, our secular culture has reversed math’s role by valuing it over God. Many mathematicians, statisticians, and scientists use numbers to dictate outcomes that fit their own agendas. They choose to ignore God’s truth and instead idolize what the numbers say.
For example, consider the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis, which argues that legalized abortion in the 1970s was an important factor behind the lower crime rate in the 1990s. The numbers point to a seemingly good correlation because less crime is good for society. But the foundation of this hypothesis is the assumption that abortion is morally right. That assumption leaves God out of the picture.
Our Sovereign Master rules over all and that includes math. He desires us to use our study of math to glorify Him and serve others.
Learn more about BJU Press math curriculum.