The Evangelical Universalist Forum


I was just wondering what infinity actually means in a theological sense. I know in mathematics and physics, it is used to describe something without limits. Translated in our common sense notion, endlessness. Abstractly speaking, the concept is perfectly logical, but hard to concretely grasp at. The best we can think of Infinity is something fleshed out in a form of endless progressive time. Or in theological terms, it is referred to as eternally travelling in hope without ever arriving.

I understand there are some logical implications used to describe theological principles. Like the primacy of God, and Good being superior to evil. Good and evil are traditionally understood as not two opposing forces, but good being existence and evil a lack of existence. So God is infinite existence, therefore unsubtractable. As infinity - 1 is still infinity. Logically speaking, he cannot have any evil, if he cannot be subtracted in any way. Which I know is a crude analogy. I also read another definition that explains infinity as a wholeness indivisible internally speaking. Like how we dont have God + creation = greater than God, or how the Holy trinity is not three separate parts of God, like 33 1/3% Father, 33 1/3% Son, or 33 1/3% Holy Spirit, or Jesus as being half God and half Man. Which I know are concepts that are impossible to intellectually grasp at.

That would indeed be a desperate theology to be caught in… “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.Prov 13:12

Take a look at Infinity in theology and mathematics. Also look at the entry in the Catholic encyclopedia (i.e. The infinity of God section). In the Wiki article it says,

Now can someone here finally answer this question from the middle ages?

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

All of them, if the head of the pin is infinite in extension.

I personally witnessed 14 angels on the head of a ball-peen hammer, but it was really crowded…

I read the paper. It was a difficult read. Almost impossible to understand, as it would be to imagine being outside time. But then, all earthly analogies cannot even begin to grasp at God.

Now to answer the angels and pins, Peter Kreeft answered it by saying that infinitely, because angels are non-material, and therefore dont take up space, like a pin does

Hi, Joe. Don’t worry about it. I assume you mean “INFINITY IN THEOLOGY AND MATHEMATICS?” The problem is that historical and contemporary philosophers are sometimes both mathematicians and philosophers. And they write for those who have a background in both those subjects. Somebody needs to just translate it into a Cliff Notes or Readers Digest version, for the lay person.

Here’s a joke I shared elsewhere about Zeno’s Paradoses, and underline the important part:

Here’s a tidbit of research from Chicago’s Straight Dope columnist Cecil Adams on Did medieval scholars argue over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin?. This point is extremely important, so I will quote it:

I guess a better question is how do we as mortals experience infinity? The popular concept is to see the human experience of infinity in quantitative terms. Case and point, the idea that Heaven is endless time, which sounds pretty scary to me. This reminds me of the question of how to tell if something is super or sub rational. On the surface, they have the same appearance of lacking explanation, only with the sub-rational, there is no explanation, and the super-rational, the explanation transcends rationality.

Here’s an interesting thread from Quora: How could we better imagine infinity?

I never witnessed angels on a ball peen hammer, but personally know a man that used a ball peen hammer on the hood of a ‘72’ ford station wagon…

Busted up his knuckle changing the water pump… must of hit that hood a least 50 times :blush: Looked like *real bad *hail damage :laughing:

Is infinity just a negation. Like the ideas that Heaven is endless time and space that goes on forever. Or if Infintiy is even an accurate term? I have noticed that infinity understood as Endless numbers, which compares God to being infinite in numerical terms, and that Humans are finite in numerical terms. But it sounds like a still ultra-rational way of understanding God, and still reductionist.

I just reread this post about infinity from about two years ago. There was something I wanted to say for your consideration. I think we would all agree that there are an infinite number of integers (…-4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, …), and also that there are an infinite number of rational numbers. The latter set includes the set of integers as well as an infinite number of fractions. Intuitively, there seems to be more rational numbers than integers, for the set of rationals includes all the integers as well as infinitely more numbers. But no! Two sets have the same number of elements if one can set up a one-to-one relationship between the elements of the two sets. And this can be done between the set of integers and the set of rationals. This infinite set is expressed by the symbol “aleph sub zero” as follows:
But here’s the amazing thing! The set of “real numbers” include the set of rationals, but it has been proved that you CANNOT set up a one-to-one relationship between the rationals and the reals. Indeed, it has been proved that there are MORE reals. The number of reals has been represented by the symbol “aleph sub one.”

What’s the purpose of all this? Just to show that there is infinity and also another infinity that is GREATER!