Back when my kids were still in school, they often complained about their math homework. I always reminded them, “Math is life.”
My goal was to make them realize that math is not a tedious exercise designed by sadistic school teachers to torture students, but rather it’s the foundation of all of life’s endeavors.
Technically speaking, math IS life. If you break down living organisms to their most basic elements, you’ll have quite a puddle on the floor. You’ll also have biology, chemistry, and physics, all of which are specialized fields of mathematics, which means math is life and life is math.
This is why theologians say the language of God is mathematics. OK, maybe theologians don’t say that, but mathematicians say it since they’re desperate to convince kids that math is not a tedious exercise designed by sadistic school teachers to torture students, but rather was invented by God, so go blame Him.
By the way, God’s native language is ancient Hebrew, and math is His second language, but He speaks it so fluently you can’t even detect an accent.
When I told my kids that math is life and they should be grateful for the opportunity to acquire such useful knowledge, they replied, “Yeah, well what about algebra? No one uses algebra in the real world.”
“All right,” I conceded, “algebra is, in fact, a tedious exercise designed by sadistic school teachers to torture students, but all the other types of math are very important. You can’t
survive in the modern world without good math skills.”
Back when I was a young man in my 20s, I was a proud and arrogant atheist. I was convinced that everything that exists in the Universe was the result of matter plus energy, shaped by blind random chance—exactly as I was taught in my science classes. I was certain there was no need for a supernatural Creator called God.
Recently I read a description of Atheism: “The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits, which then turned into dinosaurs.”
That’s quite snarky, no doubt, but it does capture the essence of atheism: the belief that inert matter rearranged itself, without any plan or purpose or outside guidance, into complex self-replicating living organisms.
More than anything else, what caused me to lose my faith in “nothing” and become a recovering atheist was math, specifically the mathematical discipline of probability and statistics.
Imagine you’re part of an expedition hiking through a remote part of the Amazon rain forest, and you find an iPhone on the ground. You exclaim, “Someone’s been here!”
However, one of your companions says, “No, that thing was accidently formed as minerals were pushed around by the rain and the wind and the heat of the sun.”
You say, “But it’s way too intricate and complex. How could it just form by accident?”
Your friend says, “Oh that’s easy. It had billions of years to do it.”
Well, my science teachers taught me the same basic story, except instead of an iPhone they substituted living organisms—which, by the way, are FAR more intricate and complex than any device made by the Apple Corporation.
It was the language of God, math, that helped me realize the silliness of claiming that complex, intricate, self-replicating organisms came into existence by pure chance, even if you allow billions of years for it to occur. It is mathematically impossible. The odds are zero, even if you allow a billion years TIMES a billion of years. It’s a basic truth that created beings require a Creator.
Math is indeed life. It is the language of God. It is the language that led me, a proud and arrogant atheist, to fall on my knees before Him. But to be honest, I have to agree with my kids: I don’t know why He invented algebra.