First-Class Mathematics Degree

As from today, I can finally say that I have graduated from the University of Southampton with a First-class honours degree in Mathematics BSc.
It’s been a rather wild ride and there were many times when it seemed like it would be impossible to keep up my studies in amongst my other commitments. From leading Text a Toastie – the popular outreach mission – as part of the Christian Union, to being secretary and competing in the BUCS Championships for the Southampton University Triathlon Club, all the while, I’ve known that God has been in control this whole time and he’s always been my focus and my direction.

Many people along the way have questioned why I decided to study Mathematics, a seemingly dull subject not offering anything to the ‘real world’ as engineers put it. Admittedly, I have come to similar thoughts sometimes during exams, or when writing about ‘characterising quotient spaces – orbifolds that arise form symmetric group actions on wallpaper groups’, asking myself, when will this ever be used?
But I think I’ve concluded that actually Mathematics does form the very building blocks for most sciences, from formulas and equations that physicists and engineers use, to its abstract nature and logic found in philosophy.
As Richard Feynmann once said: “If all mathematics disappeared, it would set physics back precisely one week.” to which Mark Kac famously responded “Precisely the week in which God created the world.”

John Lennox, a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford has helped me to see that, belief in a personal, all powerful, all knowing and loving God is not only possible within the logic and complexity of mathematics, but seems to require it.

Having had the opportunity to study Black holes, Relativity and Cosmology in my final year of Mathematics, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of evidence and necessity that scientists had found which appeared to suggest a creator of this universe. On finishing one of our modules on cosmology and solving Einstein’s field equations, our professor, Nils Andersson who had worked on these equations for many years and had contributed to the discovery of gravitational waves recently, when looking at the precision of the cosmological constants, said that, there is no way that this is a coincidence, to this level of precision, that something clearly isn’t right, this universe can’t just be random. If the universe isn’t random, it must have been made to be like that, suggesting that something, someone, must have designed the universe.

There are many different philosophical arguments that I’ve come across over the years, from Kalam’s cosmological argument to the Teleological argument, all suggesting that God must have created this incredible universe, and in so much intricate detail. It has definitely been interesting, and informative, to hear other scientists views on the existence of a divine being, and my faith has only grown the more I learn.

The more we learn of science, the more we see how God really is at the centre of it all, from the intricate instruction, to the vast displays of the galaxies, he is in control of it all.
Ben Stein once said: “Beyond the statistical improbabilities of evolution, we’ve learned that the single cell is not at all like a mud hut, but rather more complex than a galaxy. In fact, for a single wing of a dinosaur to evolve, all five systems in a cell would have to change identically at the same time. Something that Darwin could never have imagined.”

Now, I could go on for hours talking about how Christianity, the Bible stands up to scientific criticism, but instead, I’d like to just leave you with this. As I continued on through my studies, learning Mathematics, I was always reminded of how much of a powerful and loving God he is. In the Bible, it says:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” – Acts 17:24-25

Though the Bible may not always give us all the scientific answers we’re looking for, it does give us the answers as to why the universe was created, and this is what I live for.