“The earth and the fullness with which it is stored, the World and its dwellers belong to the Lord.”
Every creature whether liquid, solid or vapor, whatever is visible or tangible, microscopic or telescopic, you name it, it belongs to the Lord Who made it and upholds it, sees it and employs it rightfully to the glory of His own Name.
Therefore in teaching geography to our children we must cause them to see that it is their Father’s world which they are examining and upon which they live. In the history class His hand again must be seen in every event that has taken place upon the face of the earth. And heaven also has its own history as part of His world.
But there is another part of His world from which we may not expel Him in our teaching. We do very frequently, and not necessarily because we want to do so or set ourselves to do this evil, but because we find it very difficult in our fallen state to see Him and present Him in that sphere of His creation. We are speaking of mathematics, the world of numbers. In fact the whole world of thought and ‘of reason, of the abstract sciences as well as natural sciences belongs to Him. And it makes no, difference whether in the field of mathematics we are teaching arithmetic, algebra, calculus or geometry, it all is God’s world.
How frequent indeed does the number of the triune God Himself appear in this world which He has made. There is length and height and breadth. There is root, trunk with its branches and fruit. Father, mother and children form the complete family. There is planting, cultivating and reaping of the foods we need for our existence. We speak and use subject, predicate and direct object. We eat, we sleep and we work. But why continue? The Father is to be seen in His world of mathematics in so many other and more revealing ways.
We refer you to the Standard Bearer, Volume XXXV, pages 1533 and 85 for a series of articles which we wrote on Jehovah, the God of Arithmetic. Therein we pointed out several unique and intriguing aspects of the number nine. We will not duplicate them here, although we will give a few additional observations in this world of numbers of Father’s world. Note the following:
45 equals 9 plus 8 plus 7 plus 6 plus 5 plus 4 plus 3 plus 2 plus 1. Now write these numbers in this order and underneath in the opposite order and then subtract the lower number from the upper, thus:
987654321 – 123456789 = 864197532
You will note that the answer again contains all the numbers from 1 through 9, even though they are in a different order. Add them up, and again the result equals 45.
Here is another striking result:
123456789 x 9 + 10 = 1111111111
123456789 x 18 + 20 = 2222222222
123456789 x 27 + 30 = 3333333333
123456789 x 36 + 40 = 4444444444
123456789 x 45 + 50 = 5555555555
123456789 x 54 + 60 = 6666666666
123456789 x 63 + 70 = 7777777777
123456789 x 72 + 80 = 8888888888
123456789 x 81 + 90 = 9999999999
It may be noted here among other points that the number 9 figures so prominently again. For in the second column we find that number 9 x 1, 9 x 2 (18), 9 x 3 (27) and so on down the whole line.
Let us give only two more examples of many, many others that can be found and recorded.
1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321
Why is all this?
It just happens that way? This is the product of the ingenuity of the mind of man? Listen, man could not change that no matter how hard he tried. And it is that way because this is our Father’s world! Behind this amazing set of numbers, wherewith we deal every day in all our earthly lives, is the God Who has designed them all. And you could never teach a child anything else than two and two are four. Never could you get him to believe that two and two are three or five or any other number than four. You could callthe product of two and two by another name. But you could never get the child to take two objects and add two objects to them and get anything else than what we call four objects. You can never make any of the above intriguing sets of numbers do anything else than produce the answers that they do when used in the order pointed out for us. Yet some would like to have us believe that this just happened or is one of those things. We know that behind all this amazing system of numbers wherewith we deal in mathematics is the all-wise God who designed every bit of it. This all belongs to His world.
There are then especially two attributes of God that must be brought to the child’s attention when you teach him arithmetic. First of all is His virtue of unchangeableness. These numbers have not changed from the creation of the world; they never will change in the new creation. We find in the new creation the same order of numbers. There are still twelve tribes mentioned as dwelling in the new Jerusalem. There are 144,000 upon Mount Zion. But the point is that God Himself never changes, and for that reason the system of numbers never changes either. And the mind of the child can certainly receive this truth that God whose world this is changes not and reveals this truth in the unchanging system of numbers. We need not necessarily apply this spiritually to show that His promises are sure for that reason. We need not necessarily point out that we can take Him at His word and that the Scriptures also are infallible because He speaks in them and. through them to His Church. But especially to the youth of God’s Church must the truth be brought home that He is unchanging in His demands. No more than He ever makes two ‘and two equal five does He change His demand that with all things at all times in every way we serve Him in love. Let the little children learn that and learn it well! Let them learn it in order to learn to know themselves as the sinners that they are in need of the atoning blood of Christ. Let them learn it in order that they may appreciate the full and free salvation that they have in Christ. They that are whole have no need of a physician. But how terrible for those who need one and know it not! Gradually the cholesterol fills the blood vessel, and the victim has no knowledge of it, for it happens inside where he cannot look, and it does not as yet make itself known by pain and discomfort. And then suddenly the heart attack takes place. O, if we had only known, we could have gone for treatment and medicine and avoided that crippling and killing malady. Silently and unnoticed a small tumor appears. It is so small that it gives no pain. When it has grown and begins to bother, there are so many explanations for that pain and discomfort that the idea of a tumor is not even considered. Or a tumor in the brain brings distress and pain in the area of the kidneys and the X-ray shows nothing there. And so the little malignant tumor has spread and made great progress through the body before its presence is fully known. O, if we had only known that it was cancer, we would have had it cut out long ago and spared this life that now is swiftly departing from a loved one. How needful that we know our spiritual misery too. Let us not bring up a generation of self-righteous Pharisees who point to others and thank God that they are not like so and so! In the arithmetic class the glory of an unchangeable God may be caused to shine forth and ought to shine forth, for this also belongs to His world. In this connection it may be pointed out to the child how serious one little slip is. Have every step in multiplication or addition or subtraction of a list of numbers correct, but err only by one numeral at one stage of the process, and the answer is wrong. It is not almost right. It is wrong. Two plus two is five is not almost right. It is no more right than two plus two is fifty. God does not say that we almost kept His law. We keep it or we break it. We love Him or we hate Him. We behave as though it is His world, or we behave as though it is ours and we are our own to do as we please with this creation.
And that same unchangeableness of God, we might even say His intolerance with nothing but perfection, is to be seen in other spheres where we use numbers. Water freezes at 32 degrees. Fahrenheit. God does not change that. And whether they are the water pipes of the sinful road house or of the church building that are exposed, the water in them will freeze and do damage. When the room of a den of iniquity is filled with gas and a match is lit, the whole business goes sup in one tremendous explosion. But it is no different when a church building is likewise filled with gas and a spark appears from one source or another. So intolerant He is with all sin. Not a fraction of disobedience—if indeed we can speak of fractions—would be ignored by Him or discounted. With Him it is perfection that is demanded. And the world of numbers underscores and illustrates that fact.
Numbers are important for us in our life. We deal with them every day. But God deals with numbers too. As our sins pile up heap upon heap, He keeps an exact record, never misses one or adds up to get one too many. And early we ought to learn how exacting He is. How unchangeable He is in His demands of us. And childhood is the time to begin to learn of His unchangeable demands that we may grow up in His fear.