Tag Archives: 12 apostles

Math + religion = Trouble

This article from the Toronto Star is 7 months old, and I’ve had a draft sitting waiting to be posted since then.

Which math-phobic among us has not beseeched God for help with another colon-clenching algebra or calculus exam? Had we heeded the words of the German mathematician Leopold Kronecker, perhaps we would have realized we’ve been talking to the wrong person: “God made the integers; all else is the work of man.”

Pythagoras, who gave us his eponymous theorem on right-angled triangles, headed a cult of number worshippers who believed God was a mathematician. “All is number,” they would intone.

The article shares all sorts of neat tidbits about how certain numbers are found regularly in nature. It also quotes the New York Times in saying that “mathematicians believe in God at a rate 2 1/2 times that of biologists”.

There are several numbers that hold special meaning in the Church:

  • 1 – Jesus Christ is the One, our only Saviour
  • 2 – In the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses shall every word be established
  • 3 – Virtually all presidencies are made up of 3 people, there are 3 degrees of glory, there are 3 members of the Godhead
  • 7 – 7 quorums of 70
  • 12 – 12 apostles
  • 70 – quorums of 70

I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones I could think of quickly.