Guest post by David T. Crater, chair and associate professor of Engineering and Computer Science at The Master’s University.
Our executive director, Dr. Bradley, received an inquiry recently asking how our slogan, “Esteeming the voice of Christ in STEM,” relates to our work. This is an important question and gets to the heart of what we are about. The New Testament says that Jesus Christ was not simply a virtuous man, a prophet, a king, and indeed the Son of God incarnate — these claims by themselves were enough to make the Roman world of Christ’s time believe His followers had lost their minds and were worthy of death if they disrupted the political peace with their preaching — but that He existed before he was born, was present at the creation of the world, and was the very wisdom, the “Logos,” with which God created the world.
Understand the staggering nature of this claim, which is historic, orthodox Christian teaching in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions. The Logos of God in creation means the laws of calculus, famously summarized by Newton; the laws of electromagnetism, codified most succinctly and famously by James Clerk Maxwell; the laws of relativity, discovered and reduced to write form by Einstein; the laws of molecular, atomic, and subatomic matter, including the rules governing the transformation of matter to energy and the forces that bind the material cosmos together from the smallest quantum of electronic energy to the largest galaxy; the laws of photosynthesis, by which flowers bloom into radiant colors at the right time every year, and by which plants turn the sun’s radiation into life and food for both animals and humans—also at just the right time every year; and the laws of gravity that are strong enough to bind us permanently and protectively to the sun but weak enough so as not to bring us so close as to kill us. According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was not only involved in the establishment of all of this, but is actively participating today in upholding and maintaining it so that it does not collapse.
This is nearly impossible to believe, but if it is true, it is worthy of scientific and mathematical investigation. This is what we are interested in at The Math3ma Institute and what our slogan means. In fact, it is what motivated and established modern science in the western world in the first place primarily by men and women who believed this “preposterous” teaching. As new discoveries in mathematics, engineering, geo-science, and artificial intelligence are uncovered, we, like them, are interested first in how those discoveries relate to the existing body of knowledge built up by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) over the centuries — What knowledge does some new discovery make obsolete or, perhaps, more relevant and important than ever? And what new discoveries help unite all prior knowledge and discovery into some greater single, unified system? — and secondly and more fundamentally, what those new discoveries reveal about God, about His wisdom in creation, and about the majesty and power of Jesus Christ, who is that wisdom in human form.
The role of Christ in creation is not unrelated to His role in salvation. When Christ entered the world as Savior and as the eventual object of faith for billions of people, He entered to save the world He had created as God’s agent of wisdom. In fact, according to Christian tradition, this is the reason the cosmos exists in the first place: as a stage upon which the historical and political drama of redemption could be played out. Thus when God through Christ spoke the atomic, molecular, electromagnetic, plant, and animal worlds into being, each strictly and unceasingly obeying its laws, He was setting up a platform, a stage, a canvas, on which to plan, execute, and reveal His dramatic history of human salvation. Furthermore, when He created the human body with its enormous brain and then breathed into that body a rational soul capable of investigating, understanding, and writing down the laws of mathematics and science and of leveraging those laws to produce creation-subduing machines and technology and political kingdoms, He was in fact creating an ingenious material and mechanical and social and political landscape that His own Son and Wisdom would one day inhabit on his mission of salvation.
This is also why the New Testament claims Christ is ultimately a king. If He as God’s agent created the world and the human body, inhabited that body himself, not only died in that body but endured the pain its nervous system transmitted under colossal torture, and then rose from the dead in that same ingenious atomic, molecular, electrical, and mechanical body now transformed into some new eternal and immortal state, and in the process by some cosmic divine transaction accomplished eternal salvation for all who exercise faith in Him — all of this, again, is no science fiction but is standard, historic Christian teaching — then, to put it bluntly, He deserves to rule the world. All nations, at all times, and in all places ought to recognize His power and divine right and submit themselves to His authority.
We of course know they will not do this now, but the New Testament predicts that some day they will do it voluntarily. The New Jerusalem is the ultimate destiny of the world, and into it “the kings of the earth will bring their glory” (Revelation 21:24), which is a way to capture concisely in a single term their economic wealth, political power and influence, scientific knowledge, technology, and prestige — their “glory.”
At The Math3ma Institute, we want to be about that work now: investigating the creation in light of its true story and destiny, and performing STEM scholarship — not as atheists telling ourselves we are by accident descended from primates and the Biblical story is all feel-good fairy tales, but rather — as ingeniously-engineered, wisdom-possessing, Christ-created, Christ-saved, and Christ-devoted mathematicians, scientists, and technologists, studying the material world and its laws in light of eternity.
At the Math3ma Institute, we esteem the voice of Christ in STEM.