The works of John Taylor and Charles Darwin in 1859 were epochal. Taylor points to divine, Darwin to natural explanation of origins. The struggle between these divergent and irreconcilable viewpoints spawned what has become a gigantic realignment of the core Western worldview: God is no longer the assumed, default foundation for meaning. Really this is more than just a realignment of the West. The entire history of the world is people groups revolving around their God, their theology, and their common religious practices. Atheism was largely unknown on planet Earth until the 20th Century. The Industrial Revolution was the new Grand Inquisitor elevating the gods of efficiency, mechanization and its service of creature comforts, snuffing out slowly, methodically, every metaphysical spark, sucking dry any connections to eternity, a perfecting of the inevitable unified theorem: “Time is money.”
But. John Taylor. As I write this, it is March 14, which officially in America, since 2009, is “Pi Day.”
It was John Taylor who first proposed, in his book The Great Pyramid: Why Was it Built? and Who Built it?, the idea that the number π (pi) was incorporated into the design of the Great Pyramid. He found that dividing the perimeter of the Pyramid by its height, equals 2π. Since a circle’s radius is related to its circumference by that same number (2π) Taylor thought perhaps the Great Pyramid was intended to be a representation of planet Earth, the height corresponding to the radius joining the center of the Earth to the North Pole and the perimeter corresponding to the Earth’s circumference at the Equator. Scotland’s Astronomer Royal, Charles Piazzi Smyth, picked up on this concept, spent considerable personal wealth in measuring the Great Pyramid to confirm and champion it, along with other ideas from Taylor’s book, such as the antiquity and divinity of the cubit as a measure. So much so, that a movement was formed which battled back against the steam roller of godless efficiency and said no! to its ultimate symbol: the metric system. A totally rational man-made system of measures, easily manipulable by tens, initially based on a meridian through Paris, capitol of the Enlightenment, who would deny it worldwide takeover?
John Taylor. Charles Piazzi Smyth. Britain and America said no. They said no to the metric system, when everybody else was saying yes, because they believed that the builders/designers of the Great Pyramid had a connection with the Creator, the Creator had given the cubit, the cubit was used in the Great Pyramid’s design, and the English system of measures – the foot, inch, the pound, the acre – was descended from the cubit. The metric system had no such divine connection, but was a creation of the Enlightened mind. So this battle of which measuring system to use was another manifestation of the Darwin – Taylor stand-off. Naturalism and its pinnacle, the mind of man, juxtaposed to Intentional Design from the mind of a Creator.
So on this Pi Day, let me meditate out loud about π, in a way to strike back against the onslaught of skepticism grounded in empiricism, the unique modern conceit. π is an infinite number. It never ends, can never be finally calculated, goes on and on in endless song. It is what mathematicians call an “irrational” number. Perfect! It is only irrational because they cannot contain it, turn it into a simple fraction. They cannot define and control it. But a wonderful characteristic of this “infinite” number is that it is used practically all the time, not just to calculate circumferences or diameters, but to help establish normal probability distribution, and to allow “signal processing” which basically converts a signal to a frequency spectrum, thus allowing, for instance, your cell phone to communicate with a cell tower. π is infinite, yet can yield practical results by being operationalized to 22/7 or 3.14.
π, at the center of construction of the Great Pyramid, is a perfect symbol for the Silent Sage. The Sage is mysterious, “irrational”, yet one of the world’s most visible, recognized and beloved monuments. The Pyramid, like π, embodies a higher wisdom from the ancient past. It can be said of the Sage, like the heavens talked about in Psalm 19:
Day after day it pours forth speech;
night after night it reveals knowledge.
3 It uses no speech, it uses no words;
no sound is heard from it.
4 Yet its line goes out into all the earth,
these nonword “words” to the ends of the world.