It doesn’t follow that because one can not see how far the universe goes therefore it is infinite. That is like saying because I can’t see all the way around the earth therefore the earth must be infinite in size. Of course we know the earth is not infinite. If the universe is expanding how could it be infinite in size since what would it be expanding into? Since the universe would already exist in any space it could possibly expand into.
This story from The Dogma of Hell is slightly off topic, but it definitely demonstrates God’s “infiniteness”.
One day, a holy soul was meditating upon Hell, and considering the eternity of the pains, the frightful “always… never,” she was thrown into complete confusion by it, because she was unable to reconcile this immeasurable severity with the divine goodness and other perfections. “Lord,” she said, “I submit to Thy judgments, but do not push the rigors of Thy justice to far.” “Do you understand,” was the answer, “what sin is? To sin is to say to God, I will not serve Thee! I despise Thy law, I laugh at Thy threats!” “I understand, Lord, that sin is an outrage to Thy Majesty.” “Well, measure, if you can, the greatness of this outrage.” “Lord, this outrage is infinite, since it attacks infinite Majesty.” “Must it not, then, be punished by an infinite chastisement? Now, as the punishment could not be infinite in its intensity, justice demands that it be so at least in its duration.
God is infinite, so I then would assume that His largest creation, the universe, to be infinite as well.
I shouldn’t be surprised if one can find Bible passages that can be interpreted in a way that goes against science. That doesn’t bother me because the Bible is not a science book.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the truths of faith and the truths of science can never conflict because God is the source of both:
159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”
Your source attempts to use layman’s terms to describe something, and that is what is confusing you.
The term ‘observable universe’ is a pretty specific term. It means more than what we can see with a telescope. It means the area where space\time exists. In an infinite universe, the maximum distance between two points is infinite. But that is important because the word ‘distance’ is directly tied to space\time it means that this is only valid where space\time exists, within the universe.
What this article is conveying is that the universe is most likely going to continue to expand. Given an infinite amount of time, it would encompass an infinite amount of space. But it does not do so now.
The other alternatives were finite and spherical, infinite and saddle shaped ( infinite space to expand, but non-Euclidian, or infinite and flat ( infinite space to expand and Euclidian)
The current estimate of the size of the universe is 46 billion light years, that is the maximum distance between two points. We cannot legitimately talk about ‘distances’ outside of space\time. What we CAN talk about is the maximum distances that two points could ever be, and that would be infinite…after an infinite amount of time.
So, in English, you’re saying that our universe isn’t infinite yet but may be after an infinite amount of time?
Are you Catholic? If so, does the ability for the Universe to expand to infinity in the future contradict the Bible or Catholicism?
I have nothing to base this on, but my theory is if you had a spacecraft that allowed you to go to the ends of the universe, at some point you would be right back where you started.
That would be the case if space had a positive curvature and closed back in on itself in the shape of a sphere. (Except that the surface of the sphere would be the three dimensional space of the universe.) In that case if you started out traveling in a straight line in any direction you would theoretically return to your starting point. Just like circumnavigating a globe. Likewise if you had a sufficiently powerful telescope you might be able to see the back of your head, (after waiting a few billion light years for the beam of light to make the circumnavigating.)
However, the current thinking in cosmology seems to be that the universe is flat rather than curved, in which case it would apparently end up as a spatial infinity, with the galaxies continuing to become more and more isolated as the amount of space between them increases.
You said earlier that even if the Universe is infinite, it wouldn’t contradict Catholic theology. Would it contradict anything in the Bible?
There are different types of infinities, and some are larger than others. If you added 1 to a number over and over again forever, that would be infinite but still smaller than if you multiplied it by 2 over and over again.
In any case the only concrete thing the Bible says about the universe beyond the Solar System is the scene in Job where God says that he knows and has done things that we can not even begin to imagine, let alone comprehend. So if a scientist in Heaven spent eternity asking God questions about the universe and being answered, he would spend eternity learning things and still wouldn’t come close in any meaningful way to God’s knowledge.
I don’t think so, but it wouldn’t matter if it contradicted the cosmology of the Book of Genesis, for example, since the cosmology is not a matter of doctrine. To get an idea of how the ancients thought of the universe, lie on your back in a flat field in Kansas and look up at the sky. It might seem that you are lying below a transparent hemisphere with blue waters above it. That was sort of how they saw it.
That’s true, I never thought of it that way. Are you Catholic?
Yes. I am a Catholic.
I thought so but decided to ask. ::::::::
Would there be anything else in the Bible that could contradict an infinite Universe which would go against doctrine?
Anyway, the term ‘infinite’ has so many shades of meaning that when discussing infinities we have to specify what kind of infinity we have in mind. But in any case, an infinite universe would not be a problem from a theological or doctrinal standpoint.
Good! Thank you!
I would agree, once again poor wording strikes on my part.
But I personally don’t believe in the multiverse, I see it as a speculation with very little evidence to back it up.
Yes I am Catholic ( and I am an Engineer who is married to a Physicist
And no it does not contradict the Bible, why would it?
If even now, it were possible for two points in our Universe to be an infinite distance apart from each other, how would that add or detract to any truth about God?
If God made the universe infinite, then it is infinite. Scientific observations that suggest an infinite universe would not contradict God’s existence.