We can review ancient and modern records testifying how the scientific elite down through the millennia have been deeply puzzled by the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in defining the features of nature. The validity and consistency of the mathematical patterns, binding these features of creation, have resulted in mathematical prophesies concerning sub-atomic structures that have ultimately been vindicated. The most emotionally unsettling component of these repetitive mathematical patterns is perhaps the way they drive to the conclusion that there is an intelligent designer. This conclusion is fought with every emotional ounce by both the mathematically inclined as well as the mathematically challenged, because of their naturally self-worshipping perspective. This supposedly ‘unreasonable’ effectiveness has generated the continuing question as to whether mathematics was invented or discovered. This continuing quandary for the unexpected effectiveness of mathematics in displaying the patterns and inter-related and inter-dependent nature of our universe is the premise for the most recent book by a senior astrophysicist associated with the Hubble space project. Dr. Mario Livio is the author of Is God A Mathematician?
The perspective differential
We have determined that the foundational motivation for the intentional complexity of all divine communications, is to empower the meek, circumcised as it were in their heart, to progress into increasingly greater levels of divine enlightenment, while preventing the self-obsessed from escaping their blissful ignorance. The expressions and parables of Yahweh and His son were carefully designed to give to those who had, and take away from those who had not. The crucifying of our ego (heart) facilitates an entirely new perspective for both the written word of God (Bible) and the spoken word of God (creation). Underestimating our Creator and overestimating ourselves is the universal paradigm for the societies of the children of men (as opposed to the community of the children of God). This differential in perspective is quite evident in these musings of the mathematical elite, as referenced in Dr. Livio’s book. (He is a Jewish scientist from Israel.)
The universal underestimation of our creator
Sir Isaac Newton was perhaps the greatest of history’s mathematicians. He was also a Bible student and believer in the intelligent design of creation (as opposed to ‘nature’ accidentally progressing from simple chaos to an ordered, yet interdependent complexity). However, Newton could not scientifically explain the stability of our solar system. He suggested that the reason the planets do not spiral into the sun or slingshot into deep space was the power of the Creator who miraculously (and unnaturally) maintained the balance of the solar system. Newton’s reasoning suggested that because the Creator’s works of creation were not perfectly balanced, this somehow proved His existence. Despite Newton’s faith in a Creator, his underestimation of that Creator somehow confirmed his confidence in the existence of a (somewhat) intelligent designer. A little over a hundred years later the Marquis de Laplace published his research entitled Celestial Mechanics. This work answered the questions about the stability of our solar system, without requiring magical tweaking by an almost omniscient and almost omnipotent creator. Laplace most certainly did not believe in an Intelligent Designer. His Perturbation Theory demonstrated how the stability of our solar system would extend for far longer than that anticipated by Newton. Laplace maintained that since nature was perfectly balanced, needing no magical interference, this somehow validated the absence of an intelligent designer.
Isn’t that fascinating?! Both elite scientists employ their disrespectful impressions of a less than omniscient and omnipotent Creator to validate their diametrically opposed reasoning. Newton promotes the concept that because the Creator couldn’t get it quite right and had to tweak the features of creation for sustainability, this somehow proves intelligent design and control. LaPlace promotes the concept that since the sustainability of the universe is perfectly right (that the Creator did a flawless job), that this somehow proves there is no need for man to ‘create’ some power higher than ourselves. Both men based their conclusions on the premise that our Creator cannot be as all-powerful and all-knowing as He claims. This Creator-degrading presumption is extremely common. The Creator is not some mere manipulator of a universe greater than Himself. Literally everything that has been made projects the divine truths and principles of our Creator, right down to the finest sub-atomic detail. The disciplines of mathematics, chemistry and biology all offer the same patterns as Scriptural expressions. The glory of the knowledge of our Creator is far more amazing than we can possibly understand with such limited mental capacities as we currently possess.
The enlightenment barrier
This line of reasoning begs the question: If we human beings can discover such incredibly complex scientific truths that have been the springboards for incredible lifestyle advances, why is it so impossible for mankind to see the supposedly far simpler relationship between spiritual truths and creational features? (We think of examples in medicine, travel, energy, communication and mechanization.) The answer is academically simple but very difficult to emotionally accept. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jer 17:9). The human heart is the barrier to eternal spiritual truths, but not scientific truths.
Listen to our hearts … and we will always be wrong
The sad truth is that society’s shared foundational presumptions are entirely based on a shared set of heart generated presumptions. Political, religious, humanist and entertainment leaders all parrot the same mantra of listening to our hearts so that we will never go wrong. This is the great lie of this, our final Ecclesial Age generation. The serpent philosophy, preferred by our original ancestors over divine righteousness, is naturally generated from an uncircumcised heart. Our instinctive thought process is naturally self-validating. Enlightenment doesn’t reverse that reality. It simply highlights the real danger of listening to an uncircumcised heart, untrained in the eternal divine truths and principles. This is why apostasy is a constant and ever-present threat within the community of believers. This is why literally every form of false doctrine is always both God degrading and flesh exalting. Jesus addressed this issue with the Sadducees when he proved the doctrine of the resurrection by simply reminding the Sadducees how his Father defined Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Luke 20:37-38). If there was no resurrection, this would simply have identified God as nothing but a god of the dead, like the Greek Hades, the Roman Pluto, the Egyptian Anubis or the Indian Kali. Rejecting the doctrine of the resurrection is absolutely blasphemous, as is the same case with all heart distorted doctrines. Perhaps this stinging embarrassment is why none of Jesus’ opponents were willing to risk the humiliation of asking him any further ‘trick’ questions after this response (Luke 20:40).
Our final Creation’s Gospel commentary will touch on the microscopic validation of divine truths and principles offered by the things that have been made (Rom 1:20).
Jim Dillingham (Granite State, NH)