In Catholicism if God is infinite good/joy, can goodness/joy always increase in intensity or does that mean quantity?

If God is Joy what do we mean by ‘joy’…I have always thought of joy as being ‘intense pleasure/happiness’ but the Pope has said there is a distinction between joy and happiness (one that, I assume, is more than just ‘degree’)?

I realise that, by ‘infinite’, we mean ‘unending’…but when do we know (if ever!) if the Pope is using the term as literally ‘unending amounts’ of something or as hyperbole?

Frank Sheed’s “Theology for Beginners” would be a helpful book for you if you are seeking to understand God’s Nature. That seems to be the basic gist of your question.

In the title of this thread, “…if God is infinite good/joy, can goodness/joy always increase in intensity or does that mean quantity…” you are already assigning a finite nature to joy and goodness. “Joy” is joy, and “goodness” is goodness. They are what they are. Here on earth we have a limited (finite) capacity to experience what these are. We don’t experience them fully. When we are with God, we will experience them as they are, fully as they are. Our ability to experience something can increase, because we are finite creatures (we have a beginning). That doesn’t necessarily mean the thing we experience can increase or decrease. Maybe it can, maybe it can’t. But what you are doing, perhaps unintentionally, in that title is trying to assign a human aspect (a finite nature) to “joy” and “goodness”. But unless humans are the authors of joy and goodness, I don’t think it makes any sense to do that.

Happiness can be fleeting, it can last for days, hours or minutes. The joy of a relationship with God is so much deeper and satisfying to the soul. God is the only source of the kind of joy, for he is our Creator.

**‘How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.’ (Saint Augustine)
**

As some random person on the Internet, i am happy to provide you with an opinion.
Happy because I get a chance to relate some ideas, to pretend I’m intelligent.

It’s a little thing, and in itself, posting is not going to make me very happy for very long.
If I tried to stretch it out, to try and be happy for a prolonged period of time, it doesn’t quite happen. I’m getting bored already.
If I were to try and find something else to keep the happiness topped-up, I’d be going from thing to thing with diminishing returns.

It’s an emotion, just like when I read you saying that the Pope’s comments are hyperbole.
It makes me irritated, offended and bad thoughts begin to arise, a question like why am I bothering to talk to a fool.:wink:
Emotions, feelings come and go depending on the circumstances. And then, even the same circumstances will not give rise to the same emotion at another time.

Now, get me talking about God! Well that’s where the joy begins. How can one ever get enough of talking about Him?
Joy isn’t being sought; it just keeps coming when one contemplates the Source of all that is. He who is Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
Praying and thinking about Him brings instant joy.
Having said that, His presence is often felt acutely in pain. Like a dirty windshield, in the brilliance you can’t see anything else but dirt. So fear and awe come into it as well.

I’m rambling because the question is complex. I would urge you to find your answer in prayer - within your relationship with God.

Specifically, infinite implies

  • unending,
  • that the joy is complete, immeasurable and such that it cannot be added to
  • it fulfills all want
  • that it is there for each and every one of us, for all creation

something like that

But if we will only fully enjoy these things in their eternal form (without beginning) that implies what ‘infinite’ means is quantity rather than endless in the degree of its intensity? When the Pope talks of ‘infinite’ things he means they are eternal rather than endlessly ‘upped in volume’?

I can’t speak for the Pope, but science does not recognize ANYTHING as “infinite” in the sense that it is “eternal” (meaning it has no “beginning” and no “end”) Science regards the universe itself as “only” 14.3 billion years old.

There are physical things in our universe that scientists recognize as having infinite properties. Although, offhand, I can think of only one - the gravitational curvature of a singularity (a “black hole”). A singularity is a zero-dimensional point with an infinite curvature in space-time. The “Big Bang” originated from a singularity (ie, everything came from “nothing” - upon this point, theologians and scientists are in complete agreement). But there are at least 130 BILLION black holes in the universe, and they all had a “beginning” within our concept of time (they came into being after the Big Bang), yet they all are “infinite” in their gravitational curvature. So they had a finite beginning, but possess an infinite property (I want to discourage physicists from pointing out that there is no concept of “time” within a singularity - that is REALLY off-topic, and nobody understands it anyway).

Science predicts that the universe will eventually “burn out” and become cold, when, eventually, the only things in the universe will be black holes. So, from a scientific standpoint, black holes have a starting point, but cannot ever have an end point. They are “eternal” in one direction only - an infinite future, but a finite past.

I think that we are kinda like black holes - we have a starting point, but no end point.

Didn’t you recently ask this already?

No, I don’t think so. That would presuppose that we have already fully experienced something (joy, for example), just not in a quantitatively “full” way. But this is only seeing a small portion of the picture and is presumes that we are capable, in our human and earthy existence, of experiencing all that there is to experience. In other words, you are trying to fit “eternity” into our finite understanding.

For example, what if I never knew that I could eat an apple? So, here I have 1 apple. I can experience that apple by looking at it and seeing its color and general appearance. I can even experience that apple by touching it and feeling its texture, or I can smell it and experience it still more. To experience it more fully still, I can put it under a microscope and see the finer details. Have I experienced the apple yet? Sure, sort of. But what if I go now to an electron microscope and experience that apple by seeing the atoms it’s made of, etc…? Have I experience that apple? No, not fully. So, when I finally realize it is food and I eat it, I am experiecing that apple in a way I never knew, and am more fully experiencing it…this 1 apple. Yet even still, have I experience that apple in its FULLNESS? I would guess not. It’s still an apple, and just the 1 apple. It’s “quantity” has never changed during my increasing experience of it. The “quality” of that apple has also not changed. It’s the same one that I started with. What changed was fullness with which I experienced it.

Now, this example will eventually fail, as most do. But you can get the gist of it.

I can experience “joy” here on earth. But in eternity I will experience it in its fullness. Not only can I then experience it more fully for what “joy” truly is, but it will also be eternal. That does not necessarily conclude in a quantitative measure.

When the Pope talks of ‘infinite’ things he means they are eternal rather than endlessly ‘upped in volume’?

I can’t speak for the Pope. But when I hear “infinite” in realtion to Church teaching, I think if that which has no beginning and no end, as they are…for what they are. I’m not sure I could explain that any other way than I have. This is where my limited understanding must rely on others who can understand and explain it better than I ever could hope to. That’s why I recommend the book that I did above: “Theology for Beginners” by Frank Sheed.

orly, lol :wink:

check out: nature.com/news/stephen-hawking-there-are-no-black-holes-1.14583

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.