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After millennia of silence, God is now speaking to us

By Brian Holden - posted Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The survival of human life 10,000 years ago was as precarious as that of any animal - even more so, as one could be victim of inter-group conflict, which did not occur in any other animal species. Nevertheless, humans were on another level as they had language and tools and could make fire.

Humans were as frightened of thunder and lightning as the animals were, but the frightened were told by their elders that the cause had been identified as being supernatural and that charms must be worn and ceremonies of appeasement be engaged in.

Life was still precarious 2,300 years ago, but now there is ownership of domesticated animals and patches of land, and there are crafts and trade. These activities require measurement. Mathematics was a tool that you did not hold in your hands - but held in your head. About this time in Alexandria there was a school like no other school. The students in this school were absorbed in the deductive reasoning of geometry. They arrived at conclusions by a stepwise rigorous method from first principles.


The students were excited as they felt that they were tapping into some unvarying truth hidden in the normally unfathomable natural world - and that only a privileged few had exclusive access to. But which god was favouring them?

Now imagine you are an educated person in late 18th century in Christianity-dominated Europe. Great minds have described in precise mathematics the motion of moving objects on Earth and even the motion of planets. When Isaac Newton published his Principia Mathematica, an admirer gushed: "No closer to the gods can any mortal rise." But, in 1687, there was no hint of Newton actually being able to communicate with the Creator through his stupendous mathematics.

Then James Clerk Maxwell published the four equations, which described electromagnetism. These are the energy fields that allow us to see, hear, smell, taste and feel by touch - in other words, interact with the world at a higher level than what a tree does. One of his colleagues remarked: "I see God in these beautiful equations." So now, in 1873, the mind of the Creator is beginning to arrive in some men's perceptions in the form of mathematics.

Because of our ability to describe the physical world mathematically, you can take an object from your pocket and speak to your daughter in London as if she was next to you. A resurrected Maxwell would be shocked - but he would know that this was not magic because men, even in his day, were already learning to read the language of God.

Without mathematics there can be no technology beyond simple craft. No bottled Coca Cola, no music on disk, no antibiotics and no human genome sequencing by computer. Almost nothing! Mathematics has also allowed mankind to reach out. Once it enabled a ship to sail when out of sight of land. Now it enables a space probe to transmit images back from a place one hundred million kilometers from Earth. We have this ever-increasing power because, in the reading of the language of God, we are expanding our vocabulary.

The mathematician's God


Most mathematicians have rejected the notion of God as a supernatural being who loves us and wishes to be loved in return. Rather, the intelligence of God is viewed as being the actual equations the mathematician works with. Euclid's geometry is as spot-on today as it was in 300BC because mathematics is the one and only real grip we have on anything.

You could say that every mathematical equation discovered was always waiting in the mind of God to be discovered. One of the best examples is when Albert Einstein was solving a problem with the peculiar speed of light. The little equation E=mc2 popped out of his mathematics to give birth to the nuclear age.

But you might also say that it was the physical law relating energy to matter through the speed of light which was in the mind of God - and that man simply put the symbols E=mc2 down on paper to describe the relationship. However, a theorem in Euclid's geometry is not describing anything about changes in energy states - and yet it is describing a truth about the nature of reality.

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About the Author

Brian Holden has been retired since 1988. He advises that if you can keep physically and mentally active, retirement can be the best time of your life.

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