Chapter

Mathematics, Reality, and God

Paul A. Schweitzer

in Teaching the Tradition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795307
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932894 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795307.003.0013
Mathematics, Reality, and God

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Simplicity and symmetry are the heart of beauty in mathematics. Beauty often motivates mathematicians and physicists. Einstein said that his theory of general relativity had to be true because it was so elegant. Archimedes was thrilled with his discovery that the ratio of the volume of a cylinder tightly enclosing the volume of a sphere is 3:2. Mathematics offers beauty without defects. Salvador Dali produced two religious paintings that have important mathematical components. Mathematics have very precise norms for proving theorems, but these generally don’t apply to ordinary life or other academic disciplines. Kurt Gödel brilliantly proved that a mathematical system could be proven either complete or consistent, but not both. This means mathematics is open to the transcendent, as must other disciplines be as well, since they are less precise than mathematics. Every type of rational discourse must be judged according to its own procedures and limitations. By developing n-space, the mind shows it is made in the image of God. It is helpful to compare theology with mathematics. Both subjects always have new problems to solve. It is now known that Gödel developed a proof for the existence of God based on the ontological argument.

Keywords: beauty; golden mean; Einstein; Dali; Gödel; completeness; consistency; theology; ontological argument

Chapter.  9284 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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