Mathematics & Christianity

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    Bovell, Carlos R.

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    Pairing and Plus-ing the Godhead: An Algebraic Analogy

    "This essay is an exercise in the integration of mathematics and theology. Its purpose is to show the usefulness of mathematics with regard to theological discourse. The author explores the problem of the Trinity and illuminates certain factors that contribute to our failure in comprehending it. An algebraic analogy is employed that (approximately) represents the doctrine of the Trinity. The analogy serves to illustrate the means by which humans innately group and combine individual objects. Such combining and grouping, it is argued, obtains by means of a pairing mechanism. This binary mechanism, though capable in most mathematical enterprises, is inadequate when one considers the relations within the Trinity. Moreover, the very operations that define our means of arithmetic conception fail to apprehend the divine perichoresis."
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    Chase, G. and C. Jongsma

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    Bibliography of Christianity and Mathematics

    The first edition of an extremely helpful and comprehensive bibliography of books and articles on the subject of the intersection of Christianity and the study and teaching of mathematics up until 1983."
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    Davis, Philip J.

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    A Brief Look at Mathematics and Theology

    "We are living in a mathematical age. Our lives, from the personal to the communal, from the communal to the international, from the biological and physical to the economic and even to the ethical, are increasingly mathematicized. Despite this, the average person has little necessity to deal with the mathematics on a conscious level. Mathematics permeates our world, often in "chipified" form. According to some theologies, God also permeates our world; God is its origin, its ultimate power, and its ultimate reason. Therefore it is appropriate to inquire what, if anything, is the perceived relationship between mathematics and God; how, over the millennia, this perception has changed; and what are its consequences."
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    De Young, Gary

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    Where Does Mathematics Fit?

    "Often when I mention to people that I’m a mathematician at a Christian liberal arts college, I can see their minds beginning to spin. Some thoughtful people begin to wonder what mathematics and Christianity have in common. Others ask how is “Christian math” different? After all, does not 1+1 = 2 for non-Christians too? The quick answer is yes, but the longer answer puts this simple answer in perspective. My students often share similar puzzlement. In fact, many expect no interaction between mathematics and Christianity. They can easily understand that Christianity can influence disciplines such as music, sociology, biology, etc.. But they are totally confused when asked what relevance Christianity has for mathematics...Mathematical truth is abstract human reasoning based on experiences that when realized in a model can provide a measure of truth about the model. This ability to gain knowledge of a model demonstrates the power that is present in mathematics and is a direct result of the order God created in all of creation."
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    Fackerell, Edward

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    The Relationship Between Mathematics and the Christian Faith

    "For those who teach from a self-consciously Christian worldview, an important question to keep constantly in mind is “What is the origin of the subject matter that we are teaching?” In the case of mathematics, the answer to this question has been dominated by two main non-Christian views: those of (1) Platonism, which in all of its variations, asserts that mathematics is timeless and uncreated, part of the eternal order of things, and (2) modern humanism, which asserts that mathematics is the free creation of the human mind, and that it therefore is invented, not discovered. The significant thing about both of these positions is that they both deny that mathematics is part of the all things that according to Colossians 1:15-17, 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Hebrews 1:1-3 belong to the creation mediatorship of Jesus Christ."
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    Howell, Russell W.

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    Does Mathematical Beauty Pose Problems for Naturalism?

    "This paper will focus on features of truth and beauty contained in mathematics. More precisely, it asks whether aspects of mathematical theorizing, based mostly on notions of beauty and symmetry, and the subsequent success of mathematics in the natural sciences, cause difficulties for a naturalistic worldview. Several thinkers have raised these issues, at least indirectly, though not so much from the standpoint of mathematical beauty...[A] theistic explanation is the best one in accounting for the continuing success of mathematical theories that ultimately grow out of aesthetic criteria...Human aesthetic values, and their subsequent use in successful physical theories, dovetail nicely with a Christian view that humans are created in the image of God. Whatever being in God's image exactly entails, it seems to include a rational capacity reective of his that enables humans to understand and admire his creation."
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    Kišš, Igor

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    Venn’s Diagram in Mathematics and Its Application to Theological Ethics

    "In this paper, I would like to deal with one mathematical case, which might well clarify complicated relationships in theological ethics. This is the so-called “Venn’s diagram,” (see Figure 1 below) which belongs to the mathematical theory of sections. Using these circles, Venn interestingly shows how there can be different relationships among mathematical sets. They can be of triple character, such as in the relation of integration, conjunct, and adjunct. But that is exactly the same for the relationships among various kinds of laws in ethics."
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    Kvasz, Ladislav

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    The Invisible Link Between Mathematics and Theology

    "If we compare the mathematics of antiquity with that of the seventeenth century, we find differences in a whole range of aspects. For the ancients, notions like infinity, chance, space, or motion fell outside mathematics, while in the seventeenth century new mathematical theories about these notions appeared. I believe that this fundamental change can be ascribed to the influence of theology. For the ancients, ontology and epistemology were in unity. They considered the world to be as it appeared to them; the phenomena as infinity or chance, which appeared to them as ambiguous, they held to be really so. For modern humanity, ontology and epistemology differ in a fundamental way. The being of the world is determined by the omniscient God, therefore it is perfect, while our knowledge of the world is determined by our finite capacities, and therefore it is ambiguous. It is this gap between ontology and epistemology, which makes the mathematicization of notions such as infinity or chance, despite their apparent ambiguity, possible."