The natural world, the universe testifies to God. It shows His footprints and His handiwork. This testimony is so pervasive that it takes inveterate blindness not to acknowledge it: a blindness born of contumacy and stubbornness and prejudice. Unbelief is never about a lack of information or demonstration. It is always the product of arrogant, stiff-necked pride. Thus declare the Scriptures: the fool says in his heart, "There is no God" (Psalm 14: 1-3). Unbelievers, we are told, actively suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18ff).
What are some of the testimonies of God in His creation? One is the universal application of mathematics.
As Stephen Prickett notes:
It was Pythagoras who first referred to the God who was always doing mathematics, and the correspondence of mathematical theory and experimental data in physics, in particular, has fascinated and battled generations of scientists and philosophers alike. For some it is so close as to compel the belief that mathematics is in some deep sense the natural language of science. Wigner writes:The Fibonacci Number series is one example. There is a useful BBC episode discussing the significance of this number sequence in nature here. (At the 37th minute, the discussion turns to Plato and whether the idea that creation is mathematically structured is raised. Polite declinations to comment ensue.) No divine footprints here--move along!
The enormous usefulness of mathematics i the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and there is no rational explanation for it. It is not at all natural that "laws of nature" exist, much less that man is able to discover them. The miracles of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor observe. [Stephen Prickett, Narrative, Religion and Science: Fundamentalism Versus Irony 1700-1999 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 251.]
As scientific knowledge of the natural world has grown, so has the wonder of its mathematical compliance. It is taken for granted. Yet no explanations are forthcoming for this huge elephant in the room--at least amongst Unbelievers. Nothing to see here--move along! Mitch Stokes drives the point home:
We take for granted that we can apply mathematics--something done entirely with the mind--to the study of the physical world. What could be more natural, we now believe, than to use mathematics in science? But the fact that we do is pure magic and has intrigued philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians since the beginning. [Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith to the Head (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), p. 163. Emphasis, author's.]It has got to the point where mathematics is driving theoretical particle physics. Maths is telling researchers what they will find in the sub-atomic world, where observation is so operationally difficult. Einstein was the one who started the drive using maths, not observation to advance dramatically our knowledge of the universe's building blocks.
And the mystery deepens as modern physics becomes almost purely mathematical. Einstein--who discovered his theories of relativity by following mathematics instead of observations--said, "At this point an enigma presents itself which in all ages has agitated inquiring minds. How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality?"And all of this in a world, which, according to the cosmologists and the secular wizards is the product of chance--brute random stochasticity--in every place. Imagine that. No divine footprints anywhere. No evidence whatsoever. It's all random I tell you. Move along before I get the thought police on to you! The Bible condemns the Unbelieving human race, indicting it with charges of futile speculations and a self-darkened foolishness. Never has these charges been more just and evident than in our present generation. Recall Christopher Hitchens bald-faced effrontery when discussing the properly dreadful notion of God to a guilty and fallen race: " . . . there exists not a shred of respectable evidence to support such a horrible hypothesis."
Einstein isn't alone in his appreciation of this enigma. The physicist and Noble Laureate Steven Weinberg says that "it is positively spooky how the physicist finds the mathematician has been there before him or her." Richard Feynman, another Nobel Prize winner, said, "I find it quite amazing that it is possible to predict what will happen by mathematics, which is simply following rules which really have nothing to do with the original thing. [Ibid.]
Stubborn, intractable blindness. Wilful contumely. God is witnessing to us every instant of our lives and fallen man refuses to see--because the implications for his rebellion against the God who made us and rules us are too devastating and unpleasant to contemplate. Better to believe in a world of utter brute chance.
But it gets even weirder. We will document it all in a future post in this series.