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US writer BRIAN NIXON, in an article first published on ASSIST News Service, looks at the concept of God as the archetypal mathematician…

Via ASSIST News Service

In his commentary on Thomas Aquinas’ theology – Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St Thomas Aquinas, Peter Kreeft writes: “Truth in science is discovered; truth in art is created. God is an artist, not a scientist; He designed and created the world, which is first of all the product of His art and then becomes the object of our science”.

I’m intrigued with Kreeft’s comment.

As an artist, I love the fact that I’m reflecting God’s creative impulse; but as one fascinated with science, particularly mathematics, geometry, and biology, I’m not sure if God is not a scientist-inventor, at least in the Supreme sense.


PICTURE: Valium88/ 


“It seems logical that since God created mathematics, then He is an archetype mathematician, the foundation of the actuary upon which numbers flow.”

In astrophysicist Mario Livio’s book – Is God a Mathematician?, the Israeli-American scientist asks if God is a mathematician? Behind Livio’s question lies another question: are mathematical concepts created or discovered? For the theist, mathematical concepts were created by God and then discovered by man, as Kreeft attests (see also this video). But the debate, as Livio shows in his book, is an ancient one, with people taking differing sides on the issue. It seems logical that since God created mathematics, then He is an archetype mathematician, the foundation of the actuary upon which numbers flow.

The debate continues.

What most parties usually agree upon is that mathematical principles are found throughout creation, from the Golden Ratio to Fibonacci numbers; there are patterns, sequences, and numerical similitude in nature that shows apparent design and purpose in the world. Put another way, there appears to be a deliberate and determined use of mathematics in a resolute and real way; numbers help point to the numinous – God.

The common design and purpose in nature is called teleology. From a theistic perspective, teleology demonstrates that God is analogous to a scientist, an inventor of abstract principles that take the form of particulars found in the natural world, from numbers to nebula and nouns; all is the handiwork of the Creator.

And just as God is the first artist, the un-caused Cause of all that is created, so too is He the first mathematician, the Cause and creator of abstracts that take the form of numbers, logic, principles, and then tangibles, things we can see, touch, and test.

I hold that abstracts are not independent from God; they are a product of His Person, a creative act. So, in this sense, God is an artist as the inventor of the principles that govern and guide the universe. But at the same time, the fact that there are mathematical principles (natural laws, etcetera) tell me that God, in addition to His artistic side, demonstrates His analytical creativity through the application of His handiwork through His invention, mathematics.

To give an analogy: God, as an artist, is the mind behind the portrait that is to be painted; He’s constructed the image from beginning to end, painting the visual magnitude of the work. But part of His application (the materials and medium used) is as a mathematician, implementing the logical use of the abstracts He created in a rational and reasonable way. And though there is much abstraction in nature, it seems to be held together through purpose and precise principles (even if all the principles are yet to be discovered).

For me, both art and science find their foundation in God (something Kreeft would definitely agree with me on). God is the author, architect, and creator of all that is true, beautiful, and good, including all truth found in science and art. I like that natural theology (the sciences), systematic theology (the Bible), and moral theology (faith, sociology, ethics) all find a home in the Artistic-Mathematical mind of our Loving Lord.

In Him we find both the splendor of the seas and the sublimity of numerical sums, integers of art and math moved from the mind of our Maker.



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