God’s Mathematics

math_symbolsFollow Santosh on Twitter

by Santosh Poonen

God has an interesting way of doing mathematics, and His way is as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:9). He makes it quite clear in His Word, however, how His math works.

Subtraction comes before addition

In Isaiah 56:8 God identifies Himself as “the Lord God who gathers the dispersed.” We know from the history of Israel that this subtraction (dispersion) was something that God had allowed, and in some cases, even caused. But, as He states here, it was so that He could then add His people back together according to His way. He makes this even clearer in Zephaniah 3: “I will remove from your midst your proud, exulting ones, and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain” (v11). And it is only after God does this subtraction that He does His addition: “I will gather those who grieve about [sin]… [for whom] the reproach of exile is a burden on them” (v18).

Division comes before multiplication

Long before God commanded His creation to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22,28), He divided. He separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4), separated the waters which were above the expanse from the waters which were below (Genesis 1:7), and separated the dry land from the water (Genesis 1:9). He also separated Man from the rest of the animals (Genesis 1:26).

The spiritual principle

Many people try to understand God’s calculations using the logic of earthly mathematics – which gives negative connotations to subtraction and division. Yet, as we see throughout Scripture, subtraction and division are an integral part of God’s work, and are actually a requirement for God’s addition and multiplication. So, if the church is “growing” without this proper subtraction and division, it’s not God’s work.

Notice whom God subtracts from the church: the proud, haughty, exulting ones, who sin constantly, tell lies, are deceitful in their speech, and spread the spirit of fear (Zephaniah 3:11,13). Notice also from Genesis 1, the kind of division that God brings about in the church: light away from darkness (v4), the heavenly away from the earthly (v7), that which is a firm foundation (land) away from that which is not (v9), and that which is Spirit-breathed (Man) away from that which is not (v26).

After this division and subtraction, God does add – the lame and outcast and shameful (Zephaniah 3:19), the poor and humble who trust in the name of the Lord and not in themselves, who do not have the spirit of fear and whose lives are marked by peace (Zephaniah 3:12-13). These are ones who grieve over God’s Name being dishonored and over the reproach on God’s people (Zephaniah 3:18).

Jesus made it clear that if anyone wanted to experience God’s addition (discipleship) in their lives, they must first subtract all attachments to family, selfish ambitions, etc. (Luke 14:26). Further, Jesus warned that even the branch that does bear fruit should experience this subtraction – in being pruned by the Father to remove the deadweight and areas which are a hindrance to the overall growth of the branch (John 15:2).

Where God finds a church that is taken up with His mathematics, rather than the falsely compassionate way of trying to build the Church that comes naturally to our humanistic emotions, He makes that church His dwelling place; He silently plans for it in love and exults over it with shouts of joy (Zephaniah 3:15,17).

3 Responses to "God’s Mathematics"

  1. Max Steele
    Max Steele Posted on September 26, 2017 at 5:00 am

    God does everything for a reason and when we look for these insights we start seeing Him in more and more in everything and uses everything to His benefit. Its people like you who is used by God to give wisdom and understanding to those who want the Truth. The Truth is not a concept. It is a person. You shall know the Truth and that Truth will set you free. Jesus is the Word. A word is a thought expressed and Jesus said to His disciples that when you have seen Me you have seen the Father ( God ). Jesus is the thought expression of Father God. The closer you seek Him the better.

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. karen kioko
    karen kioko Posted on March 22, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Am finally understanding that subtraction is a way of pruning the branch .nice piece,really blessed me and gave me insight.thanks

  3. Isaiah-White
    Isaiah-White Posted on October 13, 2016 at 3:24 am

    i love this. God bless

Leave a Reply