For many of us, the language of the Trivium has become almost comfortable. Grammar, dialectic, rhetoric. Knowledge, understanding, wisdom. We readily acknowledge the importance of naming and language in Scripture. But we cannot stop at the Trivium. We need to continue on to study the Quadrivium. Why?
All four arts of the Quadrivium—and notice that Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music are arts, not subjects—deal with numbers and measurement. Arithmetic is synonymous with number; geometry is defined as number in space; harmony is understood as number in time; astronomy encompasses number in both space and time.
Have you ever wondered why the Bible spends entire chapters describing the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6-7)? The meticulous attention to detail is a model of excellent craftsmanship, but it is also puzzling. Even Solomon asked, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).
Well, many generations later, he had his answer. The Word became flesh. The Eternal entered time. Language and space were reunited at the Incarnation in the person of Immanuel, God-with-us. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
That’s why we cannot afford to neglect the physical arts of the Quadrivium. These arts, just as much as the language arts of the Trivium, reveal the Lord’s character and His great plan of redemption.