Math came from the mind of God, and He gave it to us for a specific purpose. We are responsible to teach our students and children math from a biblical worldview so they can use it the way God intended. But finding God in math is not always simple. We tend to think of math as a neutral subject safe for discussion. It’s tempting to look at math as amoral or as nothing more than facts and numbers. We assume that all people no matter their religion or background can agree on math. But that’s only true to a point. When it comes to the origin and function of math, Christians need to know and defend what they believe. We need to equip ourselves and our children to answer questions like, “Did God create math?” or “What does the Bible say about math?”
Did God create math?
The short, unequivocal answer is yes. You can find an expanded answer in Colossians 1:16: “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through Him and for Him.” The word ‘all’ includes math along with everything else God created.
Math goes all the way back to the book of Genesis, where God numbered the days of Creation. Man did not invent or create math. Man has developed symbols, numbers, and equations to implement and use God’s creation of math. Only a perfect, all-knowing God could create something as complex, logical, and consistent as math. Math requires order, and God created order. As one mathematician put it, “He allows us to explain His order with equations that always have the same answer.”
What is the relationship between God and math?
If we believe God created math, we should consider why He created math and how that helps us relate to Him.
First, God created math for the same reason He created the universe and everything in it, including you and me: for His glory. Math reveals the sovereignty, infinity, and perfect wisdom of God. When we study math, we cannot help but marvel at its Creator Who designed it to be unfailingly consistent and reliable. We can use math to solve problems, build things, overcome obstacles, and order our finances in a way that glorifies God.
Second, math helps us relate to God by implementing logic and order in our everyday lives. Math helps us gain solutions to daily challenges and problems. We use it to balance our checkbooks, pay bills, follow recipes, conduct business, and make home repairs and improvements.
Math is also a reason to praise God for His faithfulness. The reason we can rely on math is because our faithful, all-powerful God is consistently holding our universe together (Colossians 1:17). He ensures that the principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division will always result in clear answers. We know that since God is perfect and perfectly made all things, He always makes math work perfectly.
What does the Bible say about math?
It may surprise you to learn that there are more than 150 references to math in the Bible. In both the Old and New Testament, the principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are presented.
Math in the Bible
The principle of addition isn’t restrained to just adding numbers together. God commands believers in 2 Peter 1:5–7 to combine, or add, virtues together. We are to “add to your faith virtue, to virtue [add] knowledge, to knowledge [add] self-control, to self-control [add] perseverance, to perseverance [add] godliness, to godliness [add] brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness [add] love.”
A surprising but powerful example of subtraction in scripture is found in Judges 7. God appointed Gideon over Israel to deliver them from their enemies the Midianites. The Midianite army numbered 135,000 soldiers, but Gideon could gather only 32,000 men to fight. Then God told Gideon he had too many men in his army and instructed all who were afraid to fight to go home. Twenty-two thousand Israelites left, leaving just 10,000. Even with that greatly reduced number, God told Gideon he still had too many soldiers. So Gideon told all the men to drink from a stream; all those who put their faces to the water to drink were sent home, and all those who lapped the water from their hands stayed. Another 9,700 men were sent home, now leaving just 300. God promised Gideon He would give Israel the victory with that small army so there would be no doubt it was by His power, not theirs, that they conquered their enemies. That night, Gideon and his army of 300 did indeed defeat the Midianites, and God was glorified.
One of the greatest miracles Jesus performed on earth involved multiplication. In Matthew 14:13–21, Jesus multiplied five small loaves of bread and two tiny fish to feed 5,000 men. Including women and children, it’s likely there were 15,000–20,000 people Jesus fed with one boy’s meager lunch! Not only was everyone able to eat their fill, but there were also twelve baskets of food leftover.
Another example of multiplication is found in Matthew 18:21–22, when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a person. Jesus answered, “Seventy times seven.” Jesus’ point wasn’t for us to forgive an offender exactly 490 times, but as many times as needed.
In Ezekiel 47, God gave the prophet clear instructions for dividing the land of Israel among the people equally. He told Ezekiel in verse 13, “This is the boundary by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel.” Other references to dividing the land are found in Numbers 34.
One of the many fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah’s death is found in the book of Luke, when the soldiers divided His garments and cast lots for them.
What to Look for in a Christian Math Curriculum
As parents and educators, we want to educate our children from a biblical worldview. Every subject, including math, should point students to God. A math curriculum with a biblical worldview uses biblical principles to lay a solid math foundation.
- It will teach students how to properly apply elementary math skills such as addition and subtraction to their lives so they can use what they know to serve others.
- Students will gain critical thinking skills in algebra, geometry, and economics.
- It will demonstrate the ‘why’ and not just the ‘what’ of math.
- Most importantly, it will help students use math to glorify God by being a good steward, honest employer or employee, and an obedient taxpayer.
Benefits of the BJU homeschool math curriculum
We write our curriculum to meet all the above criterial. Here are just a few of the benefits our homeschool math curriculum offers:
- Different teaching methods for different learning styles: Not every student understands math in the same way, and BJU Press accommodates accordingly. A variety of math exercises and reviews present math concepts in different ways so students can learn at their own pace.
- Life application: BJU Press math teaches students how math relates to their future occupation as well as their present relationship to God. It also equips them to apply math to everyday, real-life situations.
- Teacher support: We do our best to offer the best teacher support in our math curriculum. We provide assignment schedules, overprinted answers with step-by-step solutions, PowerPoint presentation suggestions, and more.
BJU Press Homeschool can give you the tools you need to effectively teach math in a clear, systematic, God-honoring way.