Posted by: T. Boyd | December 3, 2009

The Golden Ratio in Creation

The older I get,  the more I enjoy the beauty that exists all around us in the creation.  The second time I stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon,  after  a 10 year gap, I expected to be less impressed than the first time.  But again, amazed,  I stood there and gazed at it “with bated breath and whispering humbleness,” (thank you, Shakespeare).

I get the same thrill studying a spider web reflecting the early morning sunshine from the tiny droplets of water adhering to it and reading that the Creator gave that versatile creature from 2 to 8 spinnerets to spin several types of silk.  For example there is dragline silk, capture-spiral silk, and silk to wrap eggs in;  a different silk to wrap victims in, and a temporary silk to help build the web.

Wonderful too are the creations made by God’s children: inventions in technology, discoveries in science, and the beautiful language of mathematics.  For example, I get excited about the fractions 1/98, 1/49, and 1/7 (try them on a calculator and look for the patterns in the sequence of digits).   My wife is frequently amused by my enthusiasm for numbers.

But she did find the Fibonacci Sequence interesting.  It is made up of the numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, … where each number is the sum of the previous two terms.  “O.K. , and where…,”  she responded.

“This set of numbers shows up in living organisms a lot,” I continued. “For example, flowers with 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21 petals in blossoms are very common, while other numbers of petals are not so common.

“Look at your hands: 2 hands, each containing 5 fingers, each of which has 3 parts, separated by 2 knuckles. ” And I measured the joints of her index finger, and showed her that the lengths were very close to 2, 3, 5 and 8 centimeters (the 4th bone is hidden in the hand).  “Now that,” she said, “really is neat.”

“If you use a calculator to divide: 3/2, 5/3, 8/5, 13/8, etc.  you will see that they tend to the decimal fraction:  1.6180339.. .  (Note that this number has a unique property shown by 1/1.6180339 = 0.6180339)

“This special number, 1.618.. , is called the golden ratio.  It has been used for centuries in architecture for the ratio of the sides of buildings, in art work as the ratio of the sides of a picture; it is the ratio of the height to width of Mona Lisa’s face by Leonardo, and on and on.

“It is an aesthetically pleasing ratio. ”  I measured her pretty face, and said it fitted the pattern.  She rewarded me with a smile.

As I ponder these designs, I conclude that our Maker is not only Himself astonishing, but He loves for His creatures to enjoy the beauty of the creation.  “Let them praise the name of the Lord!   For He commanded and they were created.” (Ps. 148:5)


  1. Lauren writes (via e-mail): Hi!

    My name is Lauren J. and I wanted to provide feedback on your page, . I’m not sure if you’re the right person to contact, but I wanted to tell you that since I have been working on creating some new resources on the Fibonacci sequence, your page was a great source of information.

    As a thank you, I thought I would pass along this additional resource I have been using as well in case you were looking to add more to your page. I have been using material from this page, [link no longer works]. It has a ton of great fun Fibonacci resources that you and your users may find useful!

    Thanks Again 🙂

  2. Comment from my cousin Rick:

    i recently received a youtube video from a friend that was an advertisement, but all the lead up to the ad was very interesting. you probably are already familiar with Fibonacci’s (sp) ‘golden rectangle’. check it out. it is only a couple + mins long.

    [the youtube video is no longer there]

    talk to you later.


  3. This essay got more positive feedback via e-mail than any other one I have written. I’m glad, but wonder why?

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