We have drawn heavily on three sources for training teachers to integrate in our math department.
- Biblical Principles for Integration in Mathematics by Mark Eckel, 1990.
- Mathematics: Is Silent? by James Nickel.
- Repairing The Ruins by Douglas Wilson, 1996.
How does teaching 1 + 1 =2 differ if you are a Christian teacher in a Christian school? The subject matter is the same, Christian or not. But depending on how you understand God, everything you teach is different? Why is 1 + 1 = 2 an absolute truth, everywhere, at all times?
Throughout the ages, man has attempted to explain math apart from God. (Philosophers Plato, Aristotle and Pythagorus say these numbers exist in a Number World, which is another world in which numbers have independent, absolute reality. Skeptic, Bertrand Russell says math is only about the absolute necessity of numbers. Educationalist, John Dewey says the meaning of numbers is only in its use, etc.)
The Christian, however, recognizes that math reveals the invisible attributes of God: His logical character, His creative, sustaining, precision and orderly power. His dependability and immutability. The study of math teaches us about the character of God and reflects His glory.
Mathematics relates to physical reality because God is the Creator both of the workings of men’s minds and the workings of the universe. A few basic equations predict the motions of planets and the paths of projectiles.
Math works because it is true and therefore finds application in such diverse areas as computer programming, architecture, biology, music, quantum mechanics, and laying floor tile!
As we study math, we should as Christians expect to see God’s handiwork everywhere. We should not be surprised to discover mathematical regularity in physics, astronomy, chemistry, and other sciences. We can trust that the facts that what we discover to be true today will be true tomorrow, because God is behind them all, revealing truth to men through His creation (Rom. 1:20)
In the Dominion Covenant of Genesis 2, Adam was given the dominion (rule) over planet earth. Man was given everything he needed to rule. Man was also given the ability to observe and apply numeric relationships: time, regularity, distinction, space, quantity, and so on. However, his ability to continue with this dominion was marred when Adam fell (Genesis 3). In our history that follows, mankind continuously attempts to rule without God, to trust in the human mind as the source of mathematical truth, and man continues to fail.
At the Rutland Area Christian School, we are striving to “repair the ruins” by teaching our students that the source of math is found in God Himself, as revealed in Jesus Christ.