Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A visual argument on the nature of God and the infinite

The picture below is meant to visualise the difference between the infinite and the finite, and thus between God and creation.

Click on it to see it full size

This picture highlights one idea of what the 'finite' is: that the 'finite' is basically about differences/'distinctions' between things. Numbers keep increasing from an original point, let's say -1, 0, and 1. They do so forever. The original point could be thought of as the 'ability' to make distinctions/differences between things. If there are differences, then there can be a lot of numbers to represent those differences.

The same thing applies to finite objects like computers, tables, chairs etc. For example, a computer is made up of a number of parts and each part has a huge number of distinctions you could assign to it, e.g. small, light, electronic, and so on. The idea of a 'location' is essentially a finite concept, where you need to make a distinction between where you are and where you're not.

The infinite is surely different from what I've described above or it seems it would be finite. This picture visualises how the infinite might be different. If the finite is associated with distinctions, then maybe the infinite is associated with 'distinction-less' existence? Perhaps a finite world of distinctions can 'emerge' out of a distinction-less unity, as in the picture. This would imply (although it's hard to understand) an infinite unity that contains everything in a way that doesn't break up the unity into separate parts.

What could that infinite unity possibly be like? Without the finite, there is simply 'oneness', the eternal infinite that stretches from everlasting to everlasting. With no concept of time, place, cause, effect, before, after, and so on, as such are 'distinction concepts'. It is the ultimate 'I AM' - it 'just' exists, from eternity.

If there is such a 'distinction-less existence' underlying the finite, then an interesting conclusion arises. The fact that we are here would imply that this 'distinction-less infinite' is a mind. Otherwise, why would distinction-less existence ever give rise to existence with distinctions, if there was no mind involved anywhere? Because distinction-less existence is so totally unlike existence with distinctions, it makes no sense that it distinction-ful existence would emerge 'naturally' as a natural part of distinction-less existence.

Does this idea of the infinite fit with the Bible? It might. Suppose that the Christian God is this infinite, and that through being infinite God has all the qualities that the Bible gives Him in a way that finite reasoning cannot grasp. Suppose that in a way finite reasoning cannot understand, distinction-less existence has a mind, free will, love, and is a trinity of one person who is three persons. I think it's OK that we don't understand it, because finite reasoning seems very unlike whatever is going on in 'distinction-less existence'. This could be an interesting way of looking at God. But it's important to remember it's just speculation.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home