Let me tell you the essential truth to physics and the universe…
In mathematics it doesn’t get more beautiful than that. Apparently this equation is so beautiful that, according to the BBC, it excites the same areas of the brain as a great piece of music or art would! It is known as Euler’s Identity.
Prof. David Percy from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, speaking to the BBC, said,
“It is a real classic and you can do no better than that. It is simple to look at and yet incredibly profound, it comprises the five most important mathematical constants – zero (additive identity), one (multiplicative identity), e and pi (the two most common transcendental numbers) and i (fundamental imaginary number). It also comprises the three most basic arithmetic operations – addition, multiplication and exponentiation. Given that e, pi and i are incredibly complicated and seemingly unrelated numbers, it is amazing that they are linked by this concise formula. At first you don’t realise the implications, it’s a gradual impact, perhaps as you would with a piece of music and then suddenly it becomes amazing as you realise its full potential.”
He said the beauty of it was a source of “inspiration and gives you the enthusiasm to find out about things”.
If reading that equation meant absolutely nothing to you, or didn’t inspire you to break out in song, don’t worry, you are in the same boat as about 99% of the world’s population. It’s because the equation means absolutely nothing to the most of us!
Christians need to understand this fundamental concept: Without meaning, truth is gibberish.
That goes for Christianity as much as it goes for mathematical equations.
No matter how beautiful we expose it to be. No matter how logical we may think we are. No matter how right it all seems to be. Christian Truth means nothing unless meaning is addressed. And meaning is different for everyone!
When I first looked into Euler’s Identity, it made absolutely no sense to me. It required a whole lot of explaining, and even then it didn’t really make all that sense to me.
Christian truth is the same. Without addressing the inert human desire for meaning, Christian truth will just not make sense. It’s the reason why they don’t understand why we would give up our time on Sunday to worship a God we cannot see. Or why we believe that Jesus is the ONLY way. It’s why Christian Apologetics is becoming more and more irrelevant (I’m sure to get some backlash from that comment!!). But we don’t win people over with arguments (When was the last time time you won an argument on Facebook?). Nor does logic work (it will until something else “logical” takes its place!). It’s the reason why conversions today are so few and far between in western culture (the reason Christianity is growing so much in third world countries is because Evangelists are thrust into extreme situations of poverty, crime and abuse, both political and familial, that they are forced to address the fundamental question of meaning). In the western world many have resorted to emotional manipulation to help convert people, and then we wonder why so many of the “conversions” didn’t stick!!!
Christianity is just like Euler’s Identity. Think about it…
Zero (additive identity = Restored relationship with God),
One (multiplicative identity = Jesus),
E and Pi (the two most common transcendental numbers E = Meaning, and Pi = Context)
…and then i (fundamental imaginary number)
I can’t explain what the fundamental imaginary number is in mathematics. Fundamentally it is an imaginary number right?? I mean it’s imaginary!!!! Maybe there are some of you out there much more smarter than me that can explain it.
But in Christian terms I would say i = the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit is imaginary, but there is an ethereal aspect to Him. It’s hard to nail Him down, and many Christians tend to make Him up as they go! (Or, with emotional manipulation, shape Him to their purposes). But without Him, there is no understanding of truth, no matter how logical you think you can be or how much emotional manipulation you employ. Ultimately, without the Holy Spirit, you are left with nothing. The equation is neither beautiful or right.
Christian Truth is Truth to Christians, but not to those who are not. For those who are not, it’s a search for meaning, not truth. It can only become truth through the revelation of the Holy Spirit and a true conversion experience. We really need to be mindful of this when we engage with the world.