A Bat and A Ball Cost 10 Cents
Shep Johnson
Sunday, November 13, 2016

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, the Nobel Prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman offers a simple puzzle.  See if you can solve it.

A bat and a ball together cost $1.10.  The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.  How much does the ball cost?  What is your answer?  Say the answer in your head before moving to the next paragraph.

Is your answer 10 cents?  Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  According to Kahneman’s research, that’s the answer most people give, even many Ivy League students.  But 10 cents is wrong.  The distinctive mark of this easy puzzle is that it evokes an answer that is intuitive, appealing, but wrong. Do the math, and you’ll see. If the ball costs 10 cents, then the total cost will be $1.20 (10 cents for the ball and $1.10 for the bat), not $1.10. The correct answer is 5 cents.

Kahneman notes that solving this puzzle doesn’t depend on intelligence as much as it depends on our willingness to slow down, focus intently, and pay attention.  Slowing down to focus and pay attention is important in mathematics and theology.  As believers we need to slow down and concentrate when we think about God.  The Psalms help us to do just that.

Psalm 8:1-9 (NASB95) says;

“O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!  From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease.  When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?  Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!  You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.  O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

Did you notice the phrase, “When I consider”?  The Hebrew word for “consider” is the word “rawAH.”  It means “to see, to contemplate, to take in, to perceive, to consider deeply, to think upon, to see the significance of.”

The Psalmist is saying, “Lord God, when I see creation and take it in, when I see all that You have done, I cannot help but marvel that You love man and have entrusted so much to him.  O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

This week let us slow down and think about the greatness of our God.  The Lord God is worthy of our total attention and deep contemplation.  No wonder Stuart Hine wrote;

“And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,

Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in,

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:

How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:

How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

  Brother Shep