Math in Process: An Introduction

As I’ve mentioned here previously, this semester I was charged with composing a research paper on the topic of my choosing. My choice: the negative relationship between process theology and a distinctly Christian understanding of mathematics. In the next few posts I would like to share with you a condensed and un-academified (hey, I’m a mathematician not a…a…word…person) version of my paper. Today is the overview.

First of all, why is this important? The person largely credited with the development of process theology, at least as it is presently understood and practiced, is Alfred North Whitehead. Whitehead was also a mathematician. In fact, he was primarily a mathematician. The process philosophy that he put forward was driven by mathematical advances. So this raises the question to begin with: should our understanding of mathematics influence our understanding of God? Does there really exist a relationship between the two at all? Is the process view a viable option for Christian mathematicians?

I propose the answer to the last question is no. N – O – no. Negative. Nope. Nay. Not gonna happen. (That’s a pretty good list of synonyms for someone who isn’t a word person. I even had more, but I think you get the idea).

Here is how I plan to demonstrate this thesis:

  1. Give you a brief overview of process theology
  2. Give you a brief history on the relationship between process theology and the philosophy of mathematics
  3. Give you a brief critique on process theology, highlighting the modifications process theologians make to the Christian doctrines of Scripture, the Trinity, and Jesus Christ.
  4. Offer a guiding framework for how to approach mathematics from a Christian perspective

Should be fun.

…seriously.

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