Ok, this is (partly) what I wrote to a scientist friend of mine who is a very keen ( and well read) Christian. If anyones an expert on theology, he is:
‘PS. Although we had an interesting discussion over the term ‘infinite’, we both seem to agree every attribute of God (and He must have more than we can imagine) is boundless in degree of quality. But is that Biblical? Again, like Plato and ‘unimaginable joy in Heaven’ it seems an add-on belief created long after the Scriptures were produced. God’s often described as ‘unimaginably great’…but the same can be said of our own inspirational heroes, or loved ones, on Earth.’
This was part of his reply:
‘Finally, your PS… I didn’t agree with all that stuff about God’s attributes! We seemed to agree that “infinite” is a useful metaphor for talking about God, and you then said, “‘infinite’ is metaphorical as it does entail “God is beyond our ability to describe or fully know”…” - and I was OK with that… But your PS contains some speculative theology about the quantity and quality of God’s attributes, which I don’t get at all… and I think you’re spot on when you suggest it could be Plato and/or later additions to theology! We are creatures, so there’s no point in us trying to describe what God is really like in Godself. Neither now, nor ever in the new creation, will we be able to see God’s inner self! All attempts to do this end up reducing God to something creaturely (like quantity, space, logic, substance, feeling), even if they use very abstract terms like “infinity” (which is originally mathematical) or “boundless” (which is geometric), “love” (feeling) etc.’
I am confused! This is yet another occassion a line of thinking is above my head…
But surely ‘beyond our ability to describe or even know’ MEANS infinite? And I thought that God being
- Reflected by our pleasures.
- More desirable and enjoyable than any Earthly pleasure, being infinite
- Being what we ultimately desire (even when we think we want something else) as he is the actual fulfillment of anything in existence we see as enjoyable…
Was all ‘canon’. Not just canon but the a given belief if your Christian (Catholic, Anglican, whatever…). Although it countlessly astonishes me that people don’t get visibly excited or obbsessed by the idea, none the less I had gathered that you simply COULDN’T argue against it.
Now I see someone can, and it leaves me subtly shaken (along with the populace’s underwhelming response to the notion of infinite joy) as I realise I only ever agreed with the idea…because I liked it. I can’t think of any rebuttle, except a whingy, selfish ‘But I want so much endless joy and a fulfillment to all the things I love! Waah!’