“God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically”. Albert Einstein
Several sources of this quotation cite it as originating in an autobiographical book by Leopold Infeld, who introduces the quote as “one of Einstein’s beautiful phrasings.”1 Infeld was assistant to, and then a scientific collaborator with Albert Einstein (at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey), so he is presumably able to provide such a quote from first-hand experience.
One of the problems on which they worked together was Einstein’s theory of general relativity. They sought to reconcile equations of the gravitational field with equations of motion. (What does that all mean? Don’t ask. Just know there are elusive, complex calculations involved.) At the same time, they wanted “to pay any price in computation to obtain a theory which is cleaner and purer from the logical point of view.
Part of the complexity of the equations involved finding solutions to partial differential equations, and to compare those mathematical results with what can be physically observed. The mathematical technique that must be applied is called “integration.” An empirical approach begins with evidence derived from observable experience rather than logic from first principles.
Einstein and Infeld worked with the mathematics, and Infeld says, “When we had toiled for months over problems of this character, Einstein used to remark:
‘God does not care about our mathematical difficulties; He integrates empirically.’”
In layman’s language:
God does see any situation the way we see it, because His capacity to comprehend the situation is too far greater than what can be compared to ours due to His vast experience that lasts from eternity to eternity.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! (Psalm 113:5-6)
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)