Let me blow your mind, and then I’ll you why it matters.
Psalm 145:3, “There are no boundaries to (God’s) greatness.”
God is limitless, no boundaries.
God is … infinite …
We see the infinity of God in three ways in scripture.
God is timeless. God has no beginning, no end.
2 Peter 3:8, “A single day is like a thousand years with the Lord. “
Secondly, God is everywhere present (we say he is imminent), or present in every point of space with His being, and yet God is also transcendent, not limited to any one space.
Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
Last Friday morning at 2 am my alarm went off.
I woke up and thought: My phone has taken over my life. I got up and drove out past Pine Valley on the 8. Just past El Cajon, still mostly asleep, sipping espresso, about 2:30 am, I realized why I was on the freeway when everybody else was sleeping.
I wanted to see the Perseid meteor shower. I did — 75 fiery lines in the night sky in about an hour.,Universal gravitation tugged the remains of comet Swift-Tuttle into my world. Looking up, I was so taken with the Milky Way arm — 100 billion solar masses. So vast, but God there, in me too, and in an infinite number of other places too.
I apprehended the hem of the physics of eternity.
God is infinite in time and space, and God has no boundary on his understanding
Psalm 147:5, “His understanding has no limit.”
God is limitless, unbounded, unlimited, unrestricted, without end regarding time, space and knowledge.
Matthew 19:26, with him “all things are possible.”
Let’s try to get a grip on this.
God’s Infinity, the concept of infinity, is not just a very, very big number – it’s a lot stranger than that.
Consider big numbers. A Googol is a very big number, a 1 followed by one hundred zeros :
To be happy imagine a googol of bowls of ice cream.
Then there is the Googolplex — ten, raised to the power of a googol.
Carl Sagan calculated that a Googolplex is bigger than the number of elementary particles in the known Universe so we can’t even write down that number because there is not enough matter in the universe to form all the zeros.
And yet a googolplex is nothing compared to infinity.
If something is infinite, it is endlessly bigger or smaller. Infinity is different than size. With infinity there is no finite counterpart in our numbering system to talk about it.
It is like seeing something you can’t see. Infinity is like caterpillars turning into butterflies. It happens when you aren’t looking.
Sometimes people (including me) say infinity “goes on and on” which sounds like it is growing somehow. But infinity does not do anything.
It already all is.
Consider the infinity symbol, the figure eight on its side. Like the symbol, infinity has no beginning, no end.
A fractal is a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. It is also known as expanding symmetry or evolving symmetry.
An example of this is the Menger Sponge. The box pattern repeats — infinitely.
The Koch snowflake is another fractal. Here the progression of open triangles at the perimeter diverges to infinity. The infinitely expanding snowflake is a reality that we cannot measure or count but we can imagine.
Do scientists apply infinity, or just discuss it? Some apply it.
The most popular explanation of our Universe is inflation, where the universe creates an infinite volume by stretching space indefinitely.
And some scientists theorize that perhaps black holes have infinite density.
Infinity is practical.
It is applicable to pragmatic theology too.
Consider with me how the concepts of infinity and God intersect.
God’s infinity, his limitlessness, is at the core of his very nature and one of the principal things that makes him different from us. It fact, it seems logical that God be infinite or he would have come from another source, had a beginning, and therefore not be God. If not infinite he would have an end and therefore not be God. His being infinite is that which ever makes him God.
Infinity draws the line between man and God. God is infinite, we are not.
And there are other ways infinity helps us understand and apply theology.
First, realize that infinity can make you happy! Immeasurably happy. Literally!
Infinity allows for the possibility of deep, lasting happiness because in infinity, happiness can go on and on, or better yet, always be.
You can expect not to be bored in eternity. Heaven will not be boring harp music around the throne because there will be an infinite number of things to discover, sing, paint, invent, explore, see! Infinity will maintain excitement. If infinity goes in both directions, smaller and larger, and it will, then there will be infinite detail awaiting our research.
In contrast, the finite world we live in is full of ends, limits. Ends cause feelings of loss.
My mom has dementia. I am losing her a bit everyday. Ends separate.
But infinity has no ends, and it contains the possibility for deep joy and ultimate recovery because the good will never end and what is sick and hurt will be swallowed up by it. Harm will not last! But the good, being infinite, will be ever-increasing and end all finite endings.
infinity will make us happy!
The second thing infinity does for us is that it helps us better understand and cope with the problem of evil and suffering.
How could God allow suffering? He only allows it temporarily. Evil is finite. Good will last forever; evil will end. God allowed evil within the finite universe.
Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.
We known God hates this. He will not allow it to go on forever. We shouldn’t either, but do everything we can to help.
Taking in refugees, feeding refugees, stopping such things is God work.
The Top 4 Christian humanitarian organizations fighting poverty, slavery and world hunger are as follows:
Food For the Hungry
These organizations do great things to alleviate suffering. Yes, God will himself ultimately set all things right so we should also get busy helping right now. You can give to these partners who are in the trenches working with God.
Let’s make this very personal.
Has someone hurt you? Your hurt is not infinite. Forgive them, as Christ commanded, and open an eternity of forgiveness. The hurt will pass, and the pain will pass, the forgiveness will remain.
What if the person who hurt you is a Christian? And they go to heaven? And you have an Eternity with them? Yikes! Part of the good news is that the infinity of forgiveness will make it okay, and the infinity of space will allow you to live an infinite distance from them and yet remain in heaven!
Our sense of evil and suffering here seems long and horrible but within infinity God simply views it differently, as having already done what it needs to do to perfect and transform us.
He sees the beginning, middle and end of evil and suffering all in one glance and sees that it has no ultimate power over him or us.
In other words as said earlier, the infinite good, already all is and swallows up all evil.
Lastly, infinity has a soteriological component.
Infinity can save you.
John 3:16 For God so loved … he sent … his infinite son into our finite world.
The incarnate Son of God and his reconciling work is a bridge that God has established which enables the finite creature and the infinite God to have personal relationship. God, or part of God, for a short time, exchanged his divinity, or his infinity, for our humanity, so that we might one day exchange our finiteness for his infinity.
God has chosen to inhabit the finite universe, in Christ, therefore, we are saved from oblivion, through the expanding, fractal-like symmetry of God’s love … forever.
Zeno, the Greek, was born circa 490 BC. He was a philosopher, and he imagined some paradoxes of infinity, one being the paradox of the infinite path.
The paradox of the path is that by ever subdividing the distance left along the path, we never get to the end. One-half, one-quarter, one-eighth, one-sixteenth left to get to the end of the path, etc … forever?
No. Not on life’s spiritual path, here we are not stuck with infinite divisability. Christ gets us unstuck from never getting there. All infinite subsets of difficulty exist within the infinite set of God’s salvation in Christ. We get to eternity through him.
Ultimate infinity is part of what God has saved us for, and living within the infinite salvific love of God we keep advancing along life’s path, we step over sin’s subset thresholds and in Christ become larger than life, universally infinite in motion, love and freedom. We get on down the road.
Infinity is real. God put the awareness of it within. The Bible tells us this.
He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecc. 3:1.
God put eternity or infinity in our hearts. He put the idea of the reality of infinity within.
Recently, I weighed myself. I had been avoiding this, avoiding seeing myself heading toward infinity. Why? Getting larger can make you feel smaller.
But if I am infinitely valuable to God … and myself … then I have the power to change, to fight. So I redownloaded MyFitness Pal, and I am counting calories again. I am an infinitely empowered person in Christ!
You Christians are now in Christ — whatever your issues — forever, and thus infinitly. In Christ, you are infinite, and thus infinitely valuable.
God put infinity right here — feel it! — in your hearts, a sense of the possibility of it. This is empowering. Join him in it! Do stuff! Get spiritually better. You are headed that way. Even after you have gotten physically worse, and die, you are headed for better!
God made us to last and to grasp this is to have hope for something so much better than we now know. This matters because we matter — to God. Something that is and will be ours forever has already been placed like a gift within us.
It is infinity.