Some time ago, I was sitting in church listening to a Nigerian missionary my church supports and his sermon made mention of mathematics. At times my thoughts can begin very far from where they end, but this time it produced a valuable realization about God’s visibility in the natural world. In order to establish my reasoning, I should give some background. If you’re familiar with the M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable, then forgive my summarizing for others. Essentially, a man born with a disease that makes his bones extremely fragile, Elijah (played by Samuel L. Jackson), takes it upon himself to find his opposite in life. That is someone who has the reverse of his condition and is so durable the person would be “unbreakable.”
Now, consider the history of mathematics. Many of the Enlightenment pioneers of mathematics began their inquiry into the nature of mathematical infinity as a way to prove God’s existence. Of course, there are a great many people who use these mathematician’s work without sharing their theistic convictions. But perhaps they have not considered a fascinating detail or rather collection of them.
Everyone wants to be able to see the immortal and invisible God. Skeptics feel that there should be greater evidence of His presence in the natural world. A fingerprint, as it were, because generally we consider fingerprints to be evidence that a person has touched something. Now, bearing all the aforementioned in mind, if Enlightenment mathematicians’ exercises, not unlike Elijah’s in Unbreakable, were meant to explore the existence of an infinite being with the notion that He must be since there are such things as discrete, finite beings, then the fingerprint of God is in the infinite. Here’s what I mean. For centuries, millennia, man has been examining the natural world pushing his knowledge to its furthest reaches in mathematics, astronomy, physics, etc. and one concept is integral to these pursuits, indeed is integral to the description of how our universe functions at the greatest macroscopic levels and most minute subatomic levels: infinity.
In a discrete world bounded by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, everything is laced with the underlying concept of infinity. Yet there is no practical experience of infinity available in the natural world, save one. The infinite, eternal, and blessed Creator: God. In His wondrous work of forming the universe, He left His invisible fingerprints on everything. We can recognize His work and only through it are we able to come closer to fully understanding the universe’s working. If other proofs are ignored it is no surprise this will be either, but God has indeed imbued His divine tool marks on the universe in accordance with Romans 1. So that whether desensitized through intellect to the wonders of the natural world or not, everyone is without excuse for ignoring the evidence of His presence and His power amongst us. I suppose it is akin to the adage of not being able to see the forest for the trees.
The thoughts are bit scattered, but hopefully you come away with the same incredible realization I did. Men want to see proof of God in the natural world. Our universe and everything in it is finite, yet conceptually everything is built around the notion of the infinitesimal and the infinite. If we cannot begin to conceive of our modern world and the knowledge we’ve acquired without depending on the concept of infinity to do it, then perhaps we should step back and realize that in all our searching for God’s mark on our world, we too often neglect to observe the obvious.
For more along this line of thought, check out: Colossians 1:15-20, The Message