- Meaning. Infinity means that God has no bounds or limits. He is in no way limited by the universe nor by time-space boundaries. But it does not mean that He is somehow spread out through the universe, one part here and another there. “The infinity of God must be conceived as intensive rather than extensive. . . “ (Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 59).
As human beings and as believers, it is hard for us to understand the concept of infinity (symbol ∞). God is spoken of throughout scripture as being the alpha and omega (without beginning and without end). Such terms are difficult for us to understand. All humans have a beginning and an end. We are limited in time and space. The concept of infinity is beyond our ability to understand, and so it is fitting that God is infinite: without bounds and without limits. For any sane person, this thought should make you “quake in your boots” with reverent fear. When God decides that time will end (and it will), every human being will stand before Him as the eternal judge. Are you ready to meet the infinite God?
Ryrie mentions in point 2, scripture Solomon’s words about God at the temple dedication, i.e. “Solomon acknowledged God’s infinity at the dedication of his temple (1 Kings 8:27) …” which says: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? Solomon in his wisdom knew that God was infinite and without limits. Are we greater than Solomon?
Man with all his wisdom and knowledge today is still wrestling with how to understand infinity. Mathematicians do their wizardry and postulate theory after theory about what infinity really means. The difficulty is they cannot come up with a workable explanation. If man can really comprehend it, is it really infinite? No human being (other than Jesus) can understand infinity nor will we ever be able to do so. We are not God, we do not have infinite wisdom, and never will.
For us as believers, the positive side of infinity is that when we are promoted and go to heaven, we will be overwhelmed by what we see and experience there. We will begin to know the fullness of God the Father and our Lord Jesus to the full extent of what God has prepared for us. For believers what we will experience there will be far beyond what we now know or can imagine. For we will become part of the never-ending blessings that He has in store for us. We are now prisoners of time and space, then we will be free to be with God time without end, for infinity. How can we really understand all that we have in store for us when we get there? AS believers all of this should keep us very excited to get there!
This week’s subject is one that I find more difficult to write about. My mind does not easily wrap itself around the idea of infinity and what I should do with it. So much of my personal experience is how to deal with the finite things of life. What decisions should I make today? How are these choices I am going to make affecting my walk as a believer? Are the actions that I take in line with God’s Word and are they obedient acts of faith? None of these questions fall into the idea of infinity. To my limited intellect and abilities, infinity is such a mind-boggling idea that it is difficult to apply it to daily life. Infinity is “out there” someplace and I cannot quite grasp what I should do with it or how it should impact what I do. It is a concept that I struggle with in trying to (1) understand it, (2) what do I do with it, and (3) how does it fit into the here and now of daily life.
Again, the quote that Ryrie used from Berkhof “The infinity of God must be conceived as intensive rather than extensive. . . “ (Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 59) somehow eludes my understanding. How do I use this thought to comprehend the “infinity” of God? Extensive brings to my mind the thought of linear ideas, like the limits of time and space. But intensive on the other hand brings to my mind the idea of power and force. These thoughts bring me to the reality of how little I know about God and who He is. It leaves me with the frustration that I may not be able to fully understand what the infinity of God is really about. Am I alone in my feelings in this?
For many of us, and our finite minds, we have difficulty understanding the idea of infinity. If we read several verses in scripture, it may help us get a better understanding of the meaning behind infinity. In Genesis 41:49 “And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.” (see also Judges 7:12 and Jeremiah 33:22) Infinity means uncountable or without discernible boundaries and some examples can help us grasp this meaning. Think of an infinity of stars and understand that the stars are countable, but we cannot comprehend such a number. The drops of water in the ocean are uncountable by us, but God knows the number.
For human beings, we are limited in understanding and have boundaries that limit us. But God has no limits or boundaries and He therefore has unlimited vision, understanding, and creative ability. When believers get to heaven, they will only be limited by what God puts upon them. No ear has heard and no eye has seen the full glory of the Lord in heaven! Give that some time to sink in!
One final note as we leave the discussion of infinity. Ryrie, under point 3. Observation, leaves us with this thought: Sometimes this attribute is labeled immensity. These words came to mind in thinking about this last comment he makes about infinity: hugeness and vastness. If we can pursue this concept about infinity, we realize that it has no limitation in any direction, (i.e. up, down, sideways, linear or non-linear) that we can imagine. This makes infinity most difficult for us to grasp. God has no limitations in any way imaginable. That is the God we serve!