Gödel and God

The greatest mathematical discovery of the 20th century may be Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems. Kurt Gödel was an Austrian mathematician and philosopher who emigrated to U.S.  In 1931, Gödel published his two Theorems of Incompleteness. In layman’s terms, they can be greatly simplified to this: there are always more things that are true than you can prove.  More formally, Gödel's showed that finding a complete and consistent set of truths for a mathematical system is impossible.

To be clear, many mathematical theorems have been rigorously proven to be true; others proven to be false. For example, Pythagorean theorem is true, and the square root of two cannot be expressed as the ratio of two whole numbers. Some important mathematical theorems remain unproven (i.e. they have not yet been proven to be true). For instance, Goldbach Conjecture or Riemann hypothesis. For these unproven theorems, there is often enough evidence and examples where these theorems are true that mathematicians proceed as if these theorems were always true.

  Mathematicians once thought that every true theorem has a rigorous mathematical proof. Gödel’s discovery was ground-breaking because he showed that provability is a weaker notion than truth. When someone states that they do not believe in God, we should rejoice that we live in a time and place in history that people can believe whatever they want, and they express their beliefs without fear. But unbelief is a much lower foundation than proof.

If the rigorous logical discipline of mathematics accepts that not every truth can be proven, is it too much to consider that God call us to a faith that is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)? It does not matter that we cannot “prove” that God exists. The important question is whether or not God has provided enough reasons in how His creation works, enough evidence in the unfolding of history, and enough blessings in our lives to trust and obey Him at all times and in all circumstances.