One Sunday when I was in high school, I glanced at the church bulletin and thought, “That’s weird. I wonder why Pastor Terry is preaching on trigonometry this morning.” Of course, he wasn’t. When I saw the single-word sermon title “Sin” I read it as the abbreviation for “Sine,” the ratio of the length of the opposite side of a right triangle to the length of the triangle’s hypotenuse. Of course, Pastor Terry’s topic was Sin. As in, as Billy Graham once described the phenomenon, any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. My mom was sitting next to me in the church pew. I nudged her and shared my sin vs. sin confusion…we still laugh about the mix-up.
I’m also still reflecting on the mix-up, some twenty years later. Why did I confuse sin and sin? Was it because I’m a 1/168 Christian? That, of the 168 hours in a week, my focus is on God only the 1 hour a week when I’m in church? And even when I’m in church my thoughts first go to math and then to Christ? And why did I think a sermon on trigonometry was weird? Because the world tells us that math and church aren’t supposed to coexist? Because math is rooted in theorems, proofs, and logic and church is rooted in faith?
We’ll leave the 1/168 Christian discussion for another day, but I do have some thoughts on math and church coexisting. I’m not a mathematician, but I am an engineer. And as an engineer, I apply the principles of science and mathematics to solve problems. Being an engineer also requires faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Take, for example, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The 2nd Law describes the entropy of a system. What is entropy? Entropy is a way to quantify a lack of information. It’s a measure of disorder. Of randomness. We can’t see entropy. We can’t feel it, taste it, or hear it. But we know it’s there. We know because we’ve read about entropy in text books and we’ve been taught about entropy in classrooms.
As an engineer, I know entropy exists. And as a Christian, I know God exists. I’ve read about Him in the Bible. I’ve been taught about Him in church. I believe that God is telling the truth, and I endeavor to act in accordance with His truth.