Does a Christian Education Promote Faith in Math?

Posted by Dr. Caroline Robison, O.D. on November 26, 2017
Dr. Caroline Robison, O.D.

Does a Christian Education Promote Faith in Math?

Imagine that you were Adam on the 6th day of the creation of the world.  How awesome and overwhelming to see everything God created within a few minutes of coming into existence.  Then God brings a long parade of animals before you and asks you to give them a name.  This is an extraordinary opportunity to glorify your Creator.  Whether you realized it or not, you were learning about vocabulary and truths that God created as you were naming and organizing the animals.  Learning how to do math is also a vocabulary.  Mathematical rules were created by your God.  You started a process that is still continuing today in math classes everywhere of discovering and learning mathematical rules.

I had the pleasure of observing a couple math classes taught by Pastor Brent Whitney at Heritage Oak School. He has been teaching or tutoring students in math for about 20 years with 10 of those years here at HOS.  He has a passion for helping his church congregation at Country Oaks Baptist Church and his students see a connection with the Bible in their personal lives.  Weaving faith into his math lessons is a natural extension of Pastor Whitney’s passion, as I witnessed listening to a few math lessons.

One of the classes was studying Pre-Calculus functions.  Studying functions involves looking for predictable patterns, which are part of God’s creation.  Some functions involve triangles whereas others involve circles.  The symbols commonly used to describe these functions are man-made, but God created the concepts.  For example, have you heard the Pythagorean theorem?  Use any triangle with a right angle as an example.  The side opposite the right angle is called the hypotenuse.  The sum of the hypotenuse squared is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.  Did Pythagoras invent his theorem? Was the sum of the hypotenuse squared of a triangle not the sum of the squares of the two other sides before Pythagoras stated his theorem? Of course not.

Another class was studying linear inequalities.  These math problems have two variables rather than one that needs to be solved for.   For example, y =  3x +10.  The students used graphs to describe their answers to the problems. Depending on how the question is written, there may be infinite solutions. By changing the equal sign to a greater than sign such as y > 3 x +10, there are now more answers to the problem.  The concept of infinity directs students to God because God is infinite.  If there was nothing before the world existed, then infinity is just theoretical.

I have a question with infinite answers to the students of Pastor Whitney’s class.  Genesis 2:20 states, “The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.”  How long did it take Adam to name all the animals?  The known variables are that it took less than 24 hours.  The unknown variables are how many animals there were and how long he spent thinking of each name.  No matter the answer, the most important concept is that if you discover something awesome in this math problem, allow it to point to God.  We were created to be worshippers.  Heritage Oak School offers a comprehensive Christian education by encouraging students to worship God not just at chapel, but also in math class.

Read about How a Christian School Fosters Spiritual Growth in our previous blog post.

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Topics: Christian Education