Pi Day Is March 14

March 14 (i.e., 3/14) is also known as Pi Day.

Pi, which begins 3.14, is a number that has long fascinated people, as it keeps going and going and going. In other words, it’s a number we can’t even fully describe, yet at the same time, it’s useful in an amazing number of situations (including in helping us measure circles).

Pi reminds us of our limited knowledge (we can’t even fully describe parts of God’s creation) and should cause us turn in awe and wonder at God’s greatness!

Yet instead, many get lost focusing on the number pi itself–worshiping the creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:20-23).

For more thoughts on pi, check out “Thoughts on Pi,” as well as this lesson from Principles of Mathematics. They both have information you could share with your students now or whenever you cover pi; you could also have students apply pi themselves by finding the circumference of a few circles…or, for older students, by using one of the many physics formulas that utilize pi (see this Wikipedia list for ideas). Update: NASA has put together a Pi Day Challenge that shows just how useful pi is! Note that NASA does not come from a biblical worldview, so please use discernment (while most problems looked great, one at least hinted at finding life on other planets).

When looking at pi or any area of math, remember to point students to the Creator and not to the creation itself.

Reminder: We’ve got a lot of math resources (and even curriculum) to help you teach math as a real-life tool that points to the Creator.

Please share this post with your friends to help them see God’s handiwork in math too!

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The Grand Canyon, Finding Joy in Math, and New Video Supplement

I wanted to quickly share a couple of articles I’ve recently had published. I hope they encourage you in your math journey and remind you to find joy in math as you praise the Creator and see math as a way of exploring God’s handiwork and completing the tasks He’s given you to do. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and please feel free to share these with your friends.

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Math, Assumptions, Dating Methods, and the Grand Canyon

On a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, I was reminded of how misunderstood dating methods have become. We hear dates quoted as fact so often that they’re held up as mathematical fact. Few understand that the answer to a math problem is only as accurate as the starting information—and that in the case of dating methods, that starting information is based on unverifiable assumptions.

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Finding Joy in Math
If the words “joy” and “math” don’t seem to go together in your mind, please take a look at this article I wrote for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Math transforms when we look at it from a biblical worldview.


Principles of Mathematics eCourse
New Video Supplement

The video supplement for Book 2 of Principles of Mathematics is now available to start (I expect it to be completely finished in early 2017).

Math, Fractals, and Worldviews

math, fractals, and worldviews

In this workshop, creation scientist Dr. Jason Lisle explores numbers, using fractals to help show the incredible beauty in even abstract mathematics. Around 36 minutes into the workshop, Dr. Lisle explores the nature of math itself, showing how math simply doesn’t make sense apart from a biblical worldview.

While this isn’t a light video (expect to have to think a little…although you can still get the general idea even if you don’t get the mathematical details), it is an encouraging reminder that there’s amazing beauty in math…and that God is the Creator of that beauty.

Thank you to Don S for sharing the video with me in a comment to a previous post.

Improbability of Evolution Math Lesson Plan

I was pleased to learn about this middle school math lesson plan that uses math to show the improbability of evolution. (The main math concept is probability, along with large numbers and scientific notation, although others are also used.) While designed specifically for a public school setting, it could be easily adapted for Christian or homeschool. (Thank you, Mr. Karl Priest, for putting it together and letting me know about it!)

I especially loved the suggestion given to have students try to write tally marks to help drive home how much a million is. Coupled with quotes like the one below, it brings home the point that, even from a human reasoning perspective, evolution doesn’t make sense:

“Imagine 10^50 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.” Fred Hoyle, “The Big Bang in Astronomy”, New Scientist, Vol. 92, No. 1280 (1981): p.527

evo-mathI would just add that evolution and creation can’t be proved—they occurred in the past. The issue ultimately comes down to faith, and that faith shouldn’t rest in our human reasoning of probability, but in the Word of the God who was there and has told us what happened. However, math does show us how even from a human reasoning perspective, evolution doesn’t make sense…and this lesson plan does a wonderful job showing that.

As the cartoon at the end of the lesson plan (and shown here) reminds us, you can’t reason someone into the kingdom of heaven. God has to do a work to change a heart. Let’s make sure we’re sharing the gospel with people as we remind them that creation clearly proclaims a Creator.

Note: If you’re stuck on how to begin sharing the gospel, check out the free resources at LivingWaters.com. He has a lot of helpful training materials to help.

Free Resource: Truth and the Transcendent

truth-transcendentA friend recently let me know that Truth and the Transcendent is now being offered for free online. I was really excited to see that…as now it means I can share it with all of you!

This book, published by Answers in Genesis, is one that I read years ago and found most helpful in wrapping my mind around how math points us to the Creator. As you might guess from the subtitle (The Origin, Nature, & Purpose of Mathematics), Truth & the Transcendent explores the philosophy behind math: what is it and what is its purpose.

My favorite chapter is Chapter 5, where Mr. Zimmerman points out that within math, we have the opportunity to behold God’s glory, allowing that to transform us from the inside out. He begins the chapter like this:

Why is it so important for the Christian to behold the glory of God reflected in mathematics or anywhere else? Simply because beholding the glory of God is the prime directive for spiritual growth.

He goes on to explain that so often we as Christians fall into the trap of trying to make ourselves more Christ-like through simply changing our actions, neglecting the reality that we’re transformed from the inside out as we behold God’s glory.

The key to resolving this tension between what is God’s part and what is my part, as a Christian, is found in II Corinthians 3,4, and 5, the linchpin being 3:18. “But we all, with uncovered faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the likeness to Him, from one degree of splendor to another, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” I become like Christ by beholding His glory.

As we realize how mighty, faithful, wise, etc., God is, it drives away our fear and pride. And within math–as well as every other area of life–we have an opportunity to behold God’s glory, letting our hearts be amazed at His handiwork and reminded to trust Him completely.

Math is an opportunity to behold God’s glory, as well as to complete the tasks He’s given us to do. As Mr. Zimmerman says,

Christian teachers, then, motivate their classes in two valid ways to learn mathematics. First, mathematics exhibits the glory of God, necessary to growth in His image, which is the destiny of Christians. Second, mathematics equips students to care for the creation, under the divine command.

Here’s the link to read Truth and the Transcendent for yourself. If you do, please leave a comment below with your thoughts. And until next time, remember to behold God’s glory as you study math, reflecting on His faithfulness that makes math possible and knowing that He’ll be just as faithful to everything else He says in His Word.

New Math Articles on The Creation Club

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image by freeimageslive.co.uk – creator

I’ve recently been asked to do a guest column over at The Creation Club on mathematics and God’s creation. I thought I’d post the links here so you could head over there and enjoy them as well 🙂

Math and the Creator – For many, math has become associated with a subject of number manipulation and rules. Yet math is much, much more than that…

Math, Sunflowers, and God’s Wisdom and Care – Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. They’re my favorite, not because of their colors or initial beauty, but because of the incredible testimony to God’s wisdom and care hidden inside—a testimony math helps us discover…

I hope you all are having a lovely fall, a giving-thanks-filled November, and a blessed time seeing God’s handiwork in math.

Until next time,

Katherine

 

Math Evangelism Video

Math and the Gospel

For a long time, I’ve been pondering about how to use math to share the gospel. Recently, a group of friends helped flesh out an idea. We ended up going to a college campus and asking random people some questions. The video below is the result.

Please share the video with others–I would love for it to make unbelievers stop and think and encourage believers that the very consistencies around us testify to God’s faithfulness. Here’s a direct link to copy and share: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhnAT688xWY

(Thank you to Jonathan Hynes for doing the videotaping and to everyone else who came/prayed for the event/provided feedback.)

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Math and the Gospel

Below is a short extract from Revealing Arithmetic–please feel free to share with others! There’s a PDF Version available if you’d like to print it.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:20 (KJV)

Within math, we see a glimpse of God’s eternal power and Godhead. His power keeps one plus one consistently equalling two. His infinity makes infinite numbers possible.

Although we might try our hardest, we cannot change math. We can change the symbols or names, but no matter how we refer to or write it, one of something plus one of something else will consistently equal two. Math is not relative. Why? Because God is God and we are not. He, not us, decides how things will be. He set and keeps certain principles in place, and if we want a math that will actually work, we have to conform to those principles.

We tend to change God and His truths to fit our understanding or thinking. We think, “Surely there must be some good in me. God must want me to fix myself up and be a good person. And He would not send me to hell when I tried so hard.” But we need to heed what God says in His Word. Just as we cannot change math principles, we cannot change truth. God decides truth, not us.

So what does God say? The Bible teaches that God created a perfect universe, one that was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was originally no suffering, sickness, or death. But man rebelled (Genesis 3). This rebellion is sin, and the penalty for sin is death.

The moment the first man, Adam, sinned, death came into the world. Man’s relationship to God was no longer perfect. His body began to die. Creation, too, suffered the effects of sin—sickness, suffering, and death had entered the world. One day, Adam would die completely. Unless someone saved him from sin, he would spend eternity separated from his Creator in Hell, a place of perpetual torment.

God, in His loving kindness, already had a plan in place even before He laid the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). Right there in the Garden of Eden, God clothed the first man and woman with garments of skin (Genesis 3:21), foreshadowing the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ, whom He would send into the world to take the penalty for our sin upon Himself.

We see God’s plan of redemption woven throughout the Bible. Over and over again, God showed mankind his need for a savior—and promised to send one. He gave the Law to show mankind how incapable we are of being holy. Just look at the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20)—by their standard, each one of us falls short. As descendents of Adam, we are born in sin, incapable of doing anything good at all. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Jeremiah 13:23 adds, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Even the good things we do are as “filthy rags” in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6). God wants us to realize how much we need Him to save us. We simply cannot save ourselves!

Yet God can save us. The Bible tells us Jesus, God the Son, took on the form of a man (John 1:1-5). Since He was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23), He was not born with Adam’s sinful nature. He was the second perfect man—the second Adam. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Jesus lived on earth as fully God and fully man, living a perfect life. He then allowed His own creation to beat, mock, and nail him to a tree. Jesus—the very One who upholds all things so consistently that one plus one consistently equals two—humbled himself to die and bear the wrath for all the evil mankind has ever and will ever do (John 19). It is as if He said, “I did that” to every sin ever committed. Can you imagine a king willingly giving his life for one who tried to take his throne? Yet what Jesus did is far greater than even that. The Giver of life and Creator of all died for the very ones who nailed Him to the tree!

Just before He gave up His spirit, Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had completed all that was necessary for our salvation. He had paid our penalty.

But the glorious gospel message does not end there. Three days later, Jesus rose again from the dead. In so doing, He conquered death forever (1 Corinthians 15). He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). And one day soon, He is coming back again (Revelation 22:20).

God’s way of salvation is clear: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). God offers us Jesus’ righteousness and eternal life in exchange for our sin. What an exchange!

If you have not yet handed your life to God and asked Him to credit Jesus’ righteousness to you in exchange for your sin, do not delay! Go to Him in prayer right now. What God says, He means and is able to perform, as math’s very consistency so clearly reminds us. God’s Word tells us both of His wonderful salvation and eternal life for those who trust Him, and of a coming judgment for those who do not.
If you have already trusted in Jesus as your savior, ask yourself, “Am I living in the truth of the gospel?” The Bible tells us we are to live the same way we are saved—admitting our own inability and trusting and clinging to Jesus and His righteousness.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Colossians 2:6 (KJV)

Note: If your heart has been touched by this explanation of the gospel or if you have any questions regarding it, please contact me. I, or one my family members, would be delighted to share more with you on this topic.

 

New Video – Math Overview

Math from a Biblical Worldview

Description: God…and math??? How can math be presented biblically? What does God have to do with math? Learn more in this short (2:23) video.

Note: If a picture says a thousand words, how many does a video say?

For some time now, I’ve been feeling the need for a very short video on math from a biblical worldview that could serve as an introduction to new visitors to this site and a resource our subscribers could use to easily share the message about math with their friends.

So at long last, here it is. I would love to hear your feedback…and would be delighted if you use the share button on YouTube to share the video with your friends.

Katherine

“Biblical Math” May Not Really Mean Biblical

I was recently reminded of the fact that many people use the term “biblical math” to mean something very different than I do when I use it. So I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at some different ways the term has been used.

Many use the term “biblical math” to refer to using math to unlock some sort of hidden code within the Bible. In fact, there have been numerous books written on this topic. Each one claims to have unraveled a mystery within the Bible’s pages.

If you’ve ever been intrigued by any sort of “biblical numerical code,” I’d encourage you to read the article linked to below by James Nickel. I found this article incredibly helpful in understanding why I felt such a caution and uneasiness in my spirit every time I read anything about these hidden codes. Mr. Nickel explains how these “hidden” codes really have Gnostic roots and are a distortion of the gospel of Christ and the Word of God.

http://www.biblicalchristianworldview.net/Mathematical-Circles/behindBibleCode.pdf

Although many people attempt to use these codes to defend the authority of the Bible or to proclaim some other truth, the whole idea of finding some sort of “hidden” revelation is not true and is actually very dangerous. God’s truth is available to all, not just those who can crack a special code. There’s a harmful elitism and mysticism in saying we need some sort of special knowledge to understand part of God’s message to us. God warns that He has hidden things from the wise and revealed them to babes (Luke 10:21). We’re to use the Bible to help us understand math, not use math to unlock the mysteries of the Bible. God has given us His Spirit, note a code, to help us understand His Word.

Other people use the term “biblical math” to refer to a curriculum that contains Bible verses and Christian morals. Yet although the student is being taught a biblical perspective on morality and learning biblical truth, he’s not necessarily being taught how to look at math itself from a biblical perspective.

I would define the term “biblical math” as an approach to math that leaves the student with an understanding of how math itself is viewed from a biblical worldview. The Bible gives us principles that impact the way we view and approach all aspects of life, including math. God is the creator and sustainer of all things and is a consistent, faithful God; hence, we can expect the universe to be consistent. Man is created in the image of God; hence, we’re able to observe the consistent way God governs all things and record that using math. Man is fallen; hence, we are prone to error and cannot place our faith in our own reason. God gave us the responsibility to work and “subdue” the earth; hence, God has given us math as a useful tool to help us with the tasks He has given us.

The above statements are just a few (and are simplified for the sake of space) of the ways the Bible’s principles should impact the way we approach math. When we take these and other principles and build our approach to math off of them, it completely transforms math from a meaningless exercise to something both meaningful and useful—and something that, above all, points us to the Creator (see Beyond Numbers).

I hope the above explorations of “biblical math” help clarify things a little for you. It’s amazing how differently a phrase can be applied, isn’t it? : )