Original Research

Mathematics declaring the glory of God

Volker Kessler
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 43, No 1 | a2432 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v43i1.2432 | © 2022 Volker Kessler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2021 | Published: 19 April 2022

About the author(s)

Volker Kessler, Gesellschaft für Bildung und Forschung in Europa, Gummersbach, Germany; Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

This article discussed the question ‘Does God speak through the language of mathematics?’ For centuries, mathematicians with different religious backgrounds would have answered this question in the affirmative. Due to changes in mathematics from the 19th century onwards, this question cannot be answered as easily as it used to be. If one regards mathematical concepts as creations of the human mind, it is difficult to argue that mathematical formulae exist in a divine mind. The article argued that there were traces of the divine in mathematics. Six kinds of traces were explained: (1) the existence of indisputable truth, (2) the existence of beauty, (3) the importance of community, (4) rational speaking about infinity, (5) the discovery that speaking about unseen and abstract objects is reasonable and (6) the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. In practice, traces (1), (2) and (6) are probably the most convincing.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article is very much interdisciplinary as it combines mathematics and theology, especially the philosophy of mathematics and systematic theology.


Keywords

philosophy of mathematics; general revelation; truth; beauty; infinity; unreasonable effectiveness

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