This is part 2 of a 3 part series on starting to think through integrating math. Check out part 1 (the worldview questions approach) here.
The Perspectives Approach
In Every Bush is Burning, I highlight the prophetic, priestly, and kingly roles of teachers. These connect directly to each perspective listed below. The prophetic teacher shares needed information about God and the world. The priestly teacher helps the students understand and rightly relate to God through the content on a personal level. The kingly teacher leads the student to lovingly live out the what is learned in real world action.
Information (Norm/Head): What do we learn about math from the Bible? It is always wise to have the Bible in mind when helping students know God better. Here are a few elements to note:
- Math is powerful. It can be used for great good (planning and building an ark – Gen 6) or evil (executing a pride-driven census – 1 Chron 21, or engineering a tower intended for reaching heaven – Gen 11).
- God is engaged in mathematic activities (counting hairs – Luke 12:7, collecting tears – Ps 56:8).
- Math can help us understand wise choices (the use of money – Prov 13:11-13).
Understanding (Existential/Heart): How does understanding math affect me? It should lead to worship. God is unique, and math shows that. For example, He is one in being but three in person. He is infinite in power. He is eternal. On the flip-side, everything else is limited and finite. All of our measurements show the contrasting brevity and weakness of the created when compared to the Creator. Further, God’s knowledge of all things (“all” is a math idea) should lead us to praise. Math can help us better understand God, the world, and our relation to both. In other words, math can help us worship.
Action (Situational/Hands): What are the facts about math?… And what do I do with them? Well, we live in a real world that is often measurable through math. And we are moral beings called to live well in this world. Therefore, we should note that math can help us live as good stewards of our money and time. Math can help us plan (count the cost before building – Luke 14). It can help us see the greatness of God and his plans (descendants that outnumber the stars – Gen 22:17). Math can help us better understand the needs of the world (How many people need Christ? How many people are hungry? etc.). And math can help us wisely and creatively meet those needs.