by Andrea Hall, April 2021
This past year I spent some time focusing on teaching math from the Bible and in many other practical ways. Throughout this process, I have fallen more in love with God and with mathematics. I now look for the spiritual lesson in every math lesson that I teach. So, what does math teach us about God? It teaches us that God is infinite, that God is a God of order, and that Jesus is the answer.
God Is Infinite
First, math teaches us that God is infinite. There is no beginning, and there is no end. We see this in the number infinity, shown here:
In mathematics, when we are writing the domain of a linear function, we say that it is all real numbers (or -infinity, + infinity). If numbers can have no beginning and no end, and we accept that, then why do we doubt an infinite God! Psalm 90:2 says: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” I am reminded through math that I serve an infinite God.
God Is a God of Order
In mathematics, we learn about the order of operations, affectionately called PEMDAS or “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” The order of operations states the order in which we must multiply, divide, add or subtract numbers. The P indicates that any operations that are within the parentheses must be done first. The E indicates that exponents must be evaluated second. The M and D indicate that you must multiply or divide from left to right (those can be interchanged). The A and S indicate that you must add or subtract from left to right (those may be interchanged). You cannot add or subtract before you multiply or divide. The order of these operations cannot be interchanged.
Through I Corinthians 14:40 and the order of operations, I am reminded that I serve a God who wants things to be done “decently and in order.”
Jesus Is the Answer
In math, there is only one correct answer. There can only be one! You may write it differently but there is still one answer. You may go about solving your problem differently than the person next to you, but there is still only one correct answer.
For example: Solve 3x + 2 = 6 for x.
To solve this problem you can subtract 2 from both sides then divide both sides by 3 as illustrated here:
On the other hand, you could divide both sides by 3 first and then subtract 2/3 from both sides then as illustrated here:
Notice that in option 2 the fractions are introduced earlier, which might be more difficult for some students. Option 1 might be more direct.
In our Christian walk, some of us might take a more direct route while others of us might be like the children of Israel, wandering in the desert for forty years. The route we choose will depend on how much we are submitted to the Holy Spirit. God gives us a choice, just like you have a choice on which method(s) to use when solving the math problem. There is one thing that is constant though. There is only one answer.
In both options, the answer was still x = 4/3.
John 14:6 says: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So while we might use a different method to get to the answer, math reminds me that there is only one answer, and that is God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.
May you continue to be blessed as you see God in every aspect of your life.
Andrea Hall, M.Ed., is a certified educator, executive director and mom of three with over seventeen years of homeschooling experience. As an educator, she designs online courses and teaches through The Study Hall Education Consulting Company, LLC. She was motivated to start the In Real Life Math Community, www.irlmath.org, by her love of math. She is also the founder and executive director of EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc., a nonprofit homeschool organization that seeks to enrich, enhance and empower home education in the community (www.epichsn.org). When she is not working, she likes to blog at www.nomommyleftbehind.com where she shares her journey as a busy, working, homeschooling mom. Andrea will be a speaker at the 2021 Thrive! Conference.