An Oversimplified & a Mathematical Galatians
Dear Church Family,
Having just concluded our sermon series in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, I thought that a good way to review would be try and write a brief (and oversimplified) summary of the book. Additionally, I sat down and tried to imagine what Galatians might look like if it was written from the perspective of a math teacher to his second-grade class (in this case, just as the doctrine of “justification by faith alone” is the center and basis of the gospel, the equation “one plus one equals two” is the center and basis of mathematics). Hopefully, it makes sense. Both endeavors were interesting exercises. Enjoy!
An Oversimplified Galatians
Hello (1:1-5), you guys are messed up (1:6-10)! Listen to me because I am not messed up; I am an Apostle: what I am telling you came straight from Jesus, Himself. So, listen up (1:11-2:14). Righteousness (justification) only comes through faith in Christ. We are all sinners, so anything we do (including keeping the law) is worthless and we will die. But because Christ died, was resurrected, and now lives in us, we will live (2:15-21). Let me prove it to you: you experienced it (3:1-5), the Old Testament proves it (3:6-4:11), I’ve experienced it (4:12-20), and here’s an illustration from the Old Testament (4:21-31). Therefore, forget about the silly, man-made rules, and serve each other in love because you are all of one faith in Jesus Christ (5:1-15). Live by the Spirit; don’t gratify your sinful nature (5:16-26). Help each other with this. You guys need all the help you can get (6:1-10). Alright, I’m done now. Let me just summarize everything that I just said in my own handwriting, so you know that this letter is from me, and how important I think this is. May God’s peace, mercy, and grace be with you (6:11-18).
A Mathematical Galatians
(1:1-5) Dear second-grade class: How are you doing? I am fine. I am writing to you in the name of Pythagorus, that great mathematician who has helped to define all that we know about mathematics and unites us together in one theory of numbers. I am surprised to hear that you have already turned from the truth that I told you about when I first taught you – when you came to see the light of the truth in what I said. Anyone who says any different has perverted mathematics. In fact, just by changing it, they have moved on to talk about something that is not really mathematics at all.
(1:6-2:14) You should listen to me because I have actually spent a lot of time with Pythagorus himself. He, the one who started it all, gave me his formulas and taught me about the intricacies of math in geometry, trigonometry, and even calculus. In fact, he chose me to deliver the meaning and understanding of mathematics to you. I didn’t get it from anyone else. He taught me himself. I took what he gave me and presented it to the other great mathematicians of our time (not so much to see if I was right, but to make sure that we were all on the same page). They all agreed that what I had received was truly from Pythagorus. There were a few who thought they should oppose me in my understanding of math, but I showed them that they and their followers were wrong.
(2:15-21) Here is the simple truth: one plus one equals two; one plus two does not equal two.
(3:1-5) You foolish second-graders, who taught you that one plus two equals two? You must know that this is wrong, or you would not have seen the truth when I first told you about it. Look at your own fingers. If you have one finger up on one hand, and one finger up on the other, what do you find when you put them together? Two, of course!
(3:6-4:11) I cite the works of Democritus and Hippocrates as proof that this is true. Otherwise, they could not have determined the formula for the area of a pyramid. Not only that, look at the works of Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollonius. All these great mathematicians and scholars point to the fact that one plus one is two. Otherwise, they could not have determined the area of a cone.
(4:12-20) I know how you all have looked up to me. Just because I am speaking the truth and am not trying to make you feel good, you should realize that I still care about you. I know from my own experience that one plus one equals two. That is one of the chief reasons that I want you to be like me and come to the full understanding of this fact. For there is so much more, once you get the basics of mathematics down.
(4:21-31) Look, ‘one plus one equals two’ and ‘one plus two equals two’ cannot both be right. How could it be? The moment that you change one of the numbers in the equation, it is no longer truth. The former equation (one plus one equals two) is true and leads to a life of freedom in mathematics. It is a glorious thing which sets you free so that you can soar on the wings of Pythagorus. However, if you return to the lie of the latter equation (one plus two equals two) then you will be enslaved to its deception. It will lead you down paths, from which you will never be able to return. Your mind will turn in on itself. You and your companions will turn on each other and you will be consumed in your own web of hypocrisy and you will surely die.
(5:1-26) Because one plus one equals two is such a simple and fundamental truth, I want you to rest in it and be assured that it will never fail you. From this simple equation, the boundaries are limitless. You are free to progress far beyond it and have fun with math. Soon you’ll be painting pictures. Wait until you see what happens when we start multiplying and dividing and applying our theorems to everyday life!
(6:1-10) Get away from that which is inside you that causes you to try and be too creative. What I have told you is really not that difficult, but you make it difficult when you begin to disbelieve it and begin to think that one plus two equals two. It can never be! You kids need to help each other in this. I know how easily it is to forget, so I need you to remind each other every day that one plus one equals two. Be kind when you do it, and remember that you are all bearers of this same truth.
(6:11-18) Well, let me close this letter with my own handwriting so that you know that it is truly me telling you these things. Remember, one plus one equals two. Now stop making trouble for me by saying anything but ‘one plus one equals two.’ I bear the truth from Pythagorus himself. Anything that comes from anywhere else is rubbish. May you continue along the path which Pythagorus has set for us. Goodbye.
Allow me to close with the apostolic blessing and benediction of this book (Galatians 6:18): The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch
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