Mathematics, God and Probability

If you were to ask me what my worse subject in school was growing up (even now at times), I would have to say mathematics without even blinking.  The fact remains that after letters took the place of numbers within the equations, my ability to succeed in mathematics spiraled down in the negative sense.  There is one thing though that I have been considering for some time now and it has everything to do with mathematics.  Probability.

I believe the mathematics, even the science of mathematics, if flawed.  I know I am probably not the right person to even discuss such matters but I have to be honest and state what I think, which oftentimes is more than I know.  Probability though is a statement that “such-and-such” will occur a certain percentage of the time.  For example, I was reading my nephew’s math book the other day and they asked a simple mathematical question:  If a person is rolling a die (dice is the plural of die), how often will the number “6” be rolled if it is done at random?  He proceeded to show me this ridiculous mathematical equation for finding the answer of probability that resulted in 1:6, as long as it was done in random.  When we looked in the back of the book, his answer was confirmed and he proceeded to go to the next problem.  I stopped him though and asked him if he believed the answer was actually 1:6.  He just stared like I had fallen off the chair or something “Yeah… The answer is 6.  The back of the book said so too, so the answer is 6.”  Looking back at his book, he began the next problem.  I looked at him and said, “You really believe that?”  Once again, he just looked at me.  I told him that I wanted to challenge that answer with a test.

I told him that I did not believe that the answer was 1:6.  Rather, I believed the answer was 50 percent.  He couldn’t believe that I was challenging his math book and even his math teacher.  I could sense a bit of interest muddled with a bit of disbelief from him as he sat and listened.  So I asked him another question:  How likely is it that it will rain tomorrow?  Immediately he went over to the computer and looked up the weather channel to see what the weather said.  He came back and said, “The weather channel says that it is 70 percent likely to rain tomorrow.”  I answered him again and said that they were wrong.  He just looked at me and began to laugh, believing that I was playing a game with him or something.  Finally, I shared with him something that we need to understand.

There are many uncertainties, several probabilities, and a few certainties in life.  If I sit and ask someone what the probability is that I will roll a 6, the answer is 50 percent.  I will either roll a 6 or I will not.  If I ask someone what is the probability that it will rain tomorrow, the answer is 50 percent – either it will or it will not – period.  Though we have sophisticated instruments that better assist us in understanding our universal atmosphere, it is not perfect – it can make mistakes.  That is why it is called a forecast.  A forecast is a determination based on what we know, what might happen if the progression of what we believe will happen, happens.  It is not for certain though – it is a “logical guess if you will.  The truth of the matter though is that you would be more correct to say that it is 50 percent probable that it will rain tomorrow rather than the weather channel saying 70 percent.  Since we do not know what tomorrow brings, we can only make a round about guess.

What’s the point?  It is simple:  There are people who do not believe in God.  There are those who say that God cannot exist – that He is made up, figment of our imaginations in order to provide a crutch for those who are unable to answer life’s most difficult questions.  Even if we have not seen God, we must at least admit that there is a possibility that God exists.  Even when I cannot make sense of anything that is going on in my life; I cannot just make outlandish statements about God.  Why must we at least admit that God might exist?  Because we are finite beings who are unable able to understand a small portion of everything there is to know about anything and everything.

If I am a man who knows 10 percent of everything there is to know about anything and everything (which would probably be too high for me), then I have to admit that I do not know a lot.  In fact, there is 90 percent of everything there is to know about anything and everything that I know absolutely nothing about.  How then can I say for certain that God does not exist?

I guess the statement could be reversed as well – saying, “How can you say God DOES exist,” using the same logic – you are right.  Knowing only 10 percent of all that there is to know about anything and everything that exists (which I have already established I don’t), I can only conclude on that matter that my faith servers the 90 percent of what I don’t know.  My faith fills in a large part of what I don’t know about God and provides the necessary components to believe that God exists.  As I continue to learn more about anything and everything, my understanding becomes clearer concerning God and His existence.  Faith is the ultimate component though when it comes to believing in God as Savior and Lord.  We cannot escape faith.  Without faith, we are crippled in our ability to understand God, ourselves or anything and everything that exists.

In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate what I have already said.  When I roll the die, it is a 50 percent chance that I will roll a number that I am looking for – either it will be that number or it won’t.  In the same way, it is a 50 percent probability that it will rain tomorrow – either it will or it won’t.  With that in mind, and admitting that I couldn’t possibly know all there is to know about anything and everything, stating that God does not exist is foolish.  What makes my probability a littler higher than 50 percent for me (actually I would put it at 100 percent certainty), is faith.  It is what takes my belief in God from 50 percent to 100.

I look at it this way:  If I believe God exists and He doesn’t, in truth, I have lost nothing.  I die and then I live on as a butterfly or energy or something else.  There is no loss.  If I do not believe that God exists and He doesn’t, I can go around and brag that I was right and yet, I lose nothing (except perhaps my humility).  If I believe God exists and I He does (which is what I believe because of the faith that I hold onto), the Bible is clear and tells me that I will live with Him for eternity in a new, resurrected body on a new earth – I would gain everything.  If I do not believe that God exists and He does, the Bible is also clear and states that I will suffer a life separated from God for eternity and I would lose everything.  There is only one option that makes the most sense.  If you want to take a chance and roll the dice and see what happens, that is your choice.  I hope that you will consider option three though – believing God exists – because I believe He does.  And, even though it is a 50 percent chance that I am right, I have chosen to stake my life on it.  I hope you will as well.  God bless.

Posted in Faith. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Mathematics, God and Probability”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Pick one of these options:

    I will roll a die and give you a million dollars if it lands on a 1.

    I will roll a die and give you a million dollars if it lands on a 1,2, or 3.

    Which do you choose? In either case, you get a million dollars or you don’t. Hopefully for you, you would choose the 2nd option. Why? Because in the first case, it’s MORE likely that you won’t win a million dollars. The chances of rolling a 1 or not rolling a 1 are NOT equal, or 50/50. In the second case, the chances are 3 out of 6, or 1:2 which is 50%. In the first case, as your son said, the chances are only 1 out of 6. Do you really think there is an EQUAL chance of, say, winning the lottery and landing on heads when you flip a coin? Just because there is a chance that something will happen, and a chance that it won’t happen, doesn’t mean those chances are equal, which is what a 50% chance means.

  2. igor Says:

    It would seem therefore that if I purchase a lottery ticket in which there are ten million tickets, I (and everybody else who purchases a ticket) have a fifty percent probability of winning first prize.

    The bigger issue with the God argument is that there heve been posited many hundreds of Gods throughout human history. By this argument, each has a fifty percent probability of existence. Alternatively the argument could be that “a god” exists, without specifying which – that is, that a supernatural realm exists and that within that realm is at least one god. This would be a more useful argument to assess.

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