My name is John. We probably just met. Maybe we swapped business cards. But a
business card doesn’t really tell you about someone. So, here’s this. It’s
a bit of my story. I hope you like it and maybe you can relate to some of it.
But first…a picture!
(Yes, that’s me in the reflection. I love doing that!)
This sticker jumped out at me in a random parking lot. I’m definitely a math geek, which helps me do my job as a computer programmer.
But for me, math goes way beyond just practical application. Math makes me think of deeper questions. Meaningful questions. Like…
Why is (π) pi never-ending?
Pi fascinates me. I have it memorized to 70 decimal places. (Way more than is usable.) I could memorize digits until I die and still it would keep going on. Forever!
Pi is everywhere, too! Every circle, sphere and planetary orbit is governed by Pi. The curvature of a rainbow and the circumpherence of a water droplet. The frequence of radio waves used to carry the Web over WiFi at the coffee shop. And donuts, too! (I love donuts.)
So…why would a fundamental constant of mathematics—no, the Universe—not be more rational? After all, it would certainly be easier if Pi were 3. Or 3.5. Or 22/7.
But it’s not.
What does that tell us?
- That the Universe is trying to be annoying? Nah, probably not.
- That an alien race has embedded knowledge in binary at the tail end of Pi? Nope, but I’ve heard crazy theories like that.
- That there might be things that stretch our minds as we to grok them? Yeah, I think so.
Pi is a sign post
Pi points us at the infinite. No matter how many decimal places we record, there’s always more. It’s an “undiscovered country” that we simply will never fully experience.
Some mathematicians devote their whole lives to calculating and memorizing Pi. I’m pretty happy with my 70 digits. For me, another 10 digits would be cool, but ultimately, it’s just numbers. There has got to be more to infinity than cold numbers.
Human experience isn’t content to just discover the facts. Facts are boring by themselves. They only are exciting when they reveal something about a person, esp. about a person we want to know better.
As I think of Pi, its infinite irrational continuation, I wonder about the Person being pointed to by Pi. Pi is far beyond human understanding, but could there be Someone who does understand Pi? Someone who has an infinite mind?
Proof and discoverability
Mathematics is the basis for all sciences. We use logic to reason out proofs for theorems, based upon certain axioms that we accept as true at the beginning of each proof. (Yay, geometry!)
There’s no reason to throw out logic when pondering the Infinite. In fact, we should embrace logic, but be prepared to challenge some widely-held axioms. (Just as Einstein challenged the axioms held by Newtonian physics.)
And sometimes, there’s no substitute for actual experimentation. Like Christopher Columbus, we may have to embark on a journey of discovery to prove out a theory.
The Great Experiment
Hypothesis: I can discover the Someone with the Infinite Mind who is pointed to by Pi.
Or, put in plainer English: “I can really find and know God…and that He’s pretty amazing!”
Pi is just one small fingerprint of God. There are many (infinitely!) more to be found. As a reference, check out the Bible. I find this statement to be one of the most compelling:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. —Acts 17:24-27
I gotta warn you: This experiment is not for the faint of heart. You can’t do it half-way. But, it does come with a guarantee:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:13
Jesus and the scientist
I could tell you a lot of awesome things about Jesus. But you’ll find them, too, in your own on-going experiment. And more!
I could also tell you some things this experiement taught me about myself, the scientist. The biggest is that I’m not as good as I thought I was. It’s actually kinda freeing to know that. And you’ll find out stuff like that too.
Just keep this in mind: Jesus isn’t quite what you imagine–he’s better!
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. —Revelation 3:20
How to start
This is your experiment. It’s going to be different than mine. But a good way to start is by reading the Bible. If you’re philosophical, you’ll probably enjoy the book of John a lot. If you’re very matter-of-fact, then start with the book of Mark. They’re all good, and can be read in any sequence.
As you read, record your observations and questions. You can find answers in the Bible itself, though it may take some study to find them. When I need help, I ask God (aka, “pray”). Sometimes, I compare notes with someone else who is running this experiment. (If I’m around, feel free to ping me.)
Many people told Columbus that he’d never make it. But those people had no proof to the contrary, and Columbus did indeed cross the Atlantic. (Technically, he never made it to India, but he did cross the Atlantic and come back.)
Even today, some people will tell you not to bother looking for God, but…maybe they just haven’t found Him. Don’t let that hold you back. Boldly go and seek out the Infinite, Amazing God!
Pi to 70
Here’s how I memorized it and would repeat it verbally:
3.14159 2653589 79323 84626433
83279 50288 41971 69399 37150
58209 74944 59230 78164
The quotes are from the New International Version of the Bible. http://www.bible.com