Math Eternal

Levi is my youngest. He’s five and just finished kindergarten. He asks me some really funny questions. Here’s one from today while on a car ride to a friends house we were helping move.

Levi: “Dad, ask me what 20 + 20 is.”

Me: “Levi, what’s 20 + 20?”

Levi: “40!”

Me: “Levi, what’s 20 + 21?”

Levi: “Mac, what’s 20 + 21?”

Mac (Levi’s 7 year old brother): “41. It was a trick question.”

Levi: “41!”

Levi: “Dad, what’s 80 divided by 90?”

Me: “I don’t know buddy.”

Levi: “Siri knows.”

It’s like Siri is a child, or dependent of some sort, except she doesn’t ever know anything. It’s like she’s that really smart person that was on Jeopardy and won 74 games straight but now knows nothing… or is like a really smart older person that can’t hear and understand anything I say.

When Levi asked me what 80 divided by 90 was, I knew it was going to be one of those numbers with a decimal and a bunch of 3’s in it. I did ask Siri, actually. Before answering the correct number, she was confused on what I was asking her. Here are her replies.

“80 is the natural number following 79 and preceding 81.”


“The answer is 80, Timbo.”


“It’s about 0.8888.”


“It’s about…”, she says.


I’m not a numbers guy but numbers that end with a decimal and a bunch of 3’s or 8’s don’t give me closure. It’s about time she tells me the truth.

The calculator wasn’t much help either…


Who’s telling the truth! Do I trust Siri, my kind, hearing impaired and friendly assistant, or the math wiz? At least the calculator will shoot me straight… right!? They probably have this ongoing joke with mortals: “Just throw four 8’s in and I’ll throw in 7 or so, and then I’ll throw in a 9 at the end just to keep them guessing. This is going to be hilarious!” 

The calculator doesn’t even know. Philosophy is beyond his pay grade so he just makes something up so we can sleep at night.

Calculator appealing to our logic:“It’s like this. Ask me the sum total of a complicated equation that you’ll never use — a number that can’t really be broken down into a simple category. What I’ll do then is give you an answer by putting a bunch of numbers on the end of it that trail off somewhere into eternity. I’ve put that number so far out there, you’ll never have to worry about it never being resolved!”

We want answers. Answers give us certainty. Certainty gives us security. Security leads to peace. Really, anything that can give peace will qualify to most as the right answer, but this is a mistake. The right answers don’t always fall in the fertile soil of the mind.

Andy Stanley says that people “…aren’t on a truth quest as much as they are on a happiness quest…” and I couldn’t agree more. Let’s just agree right now that we’ll never get to know it all. God has booby trapped this world in such a way so that it cannot be enjoyed to the max, all because He’s showing us that we were not created for this world, but another.

Maybe the questions you’ve been asking don’t have a simple answer like you want them to have, or maybe the simple answer you’ve been given isn’t the one you wanted. Now what?

I offer you this.

Not all mystery is my story.

All mysteries find their answers in God who not only knows all truths, He IS truth! Push that mystery back across the table and rest in the one who can comfort you even in face of life’s cruel silence. Mystery is an introvert. She likes to plays hard to get. Stop playing her game and get on with the truth who will give you something certain even if it’s not the certainty you wanted.

3 thoughts on “Math Eternal

  1. Great post, but I am a numbers guy. 80 divided by ninety is a decimal then an infinite number of eights that follow. That means that when we are in heaven, we could start putting eights after the decimal and in a few thousand years, we wouldn’t be done yet. But I think I’d rather set the math problem aside and gaze upon the face of Jesus instead.

    Liked by 2 people

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