“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Pattern of Mathematics

...Mathematics is the framework and structure upon which this world is built and the language of God himself (see "A Theology of Mathematics"), and in it we see many of the characteristics of this "pattern of reality." There is explosive outwards growth and the emergence of new things, all from basic, fundamental truths: The whole field is based on simple, elementary things like the natural numbers "1,2,3..." From this seemingly simple foundation one can build up to a vast and intricate web of mathematical concepts, theorems, etc. 1 and 2 is 3, a prime, but 1 and 3 is 4, which is twice 2, a composite number: here we find not just a new number but a new kind of number! But this is only the very beginning. Fractals, exceptional Lie groups, the Riemann zeta function, each with a sublime and mysterious beauty of its own. Beautiful theorems that penetrate into the depths of existence, truths that have made men weep from joy and wonder. Who knows the heights and depths of mathematical truth that may lie forever beyond the discovery and comprehension of man. And all this from the most basic, self-evident ideas. All this limitless glory is to be found in seemingly ordinary beginnings like the relationships between counting numbers "1,2,3..." In mathematics, then, we see the same patterns of interrelatedness and boundless growth from a foundation that can be found in the whole of creation, the Great Dance and Story of God. And in both cases God is himself the foundation and origin from which the pattern grows.

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