The infinity of God

So here’s a quick thought I’ve mulled over for many years and I’m presenting it here for everyone to critique!

Here goes…

There cannot be multiple infinite Gods. Infinity, when referring to a higher power, implies that that God contains within himself everything there is and then some. There is nothing he does not contain within himself.

In the real world any two objects or bodies are distinctly different entities bound by certain parameters and limits. One necessarily has what the other has not, and vice versa.

While God does not have these physical boundaries he does contain everything in himself and then some. There cannot be two or more infinite Gods because saying so necessarily implies that those Gods, each of them, has attributes and contains things within themselves that the other Gods do not have. Just take a look at the wide range of personalities and skill sets of the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods!

Therefore infinity doesn’t appear to be “shareable”…either you have it or you don’t. Sharing is impossible here because it goes against the very definition and meaning of infinity.

Does my philosophy here make any sense? Thanks for reading!

I do believe you are right in some sense, insofar as the super-nature of God is concerned. But I would like to share a very interesting remark made by Fr. Robert Barron in his book “The Priority of Christ” concerning the super-nature of God:

It is intriguing that, for many of the ancient philosophers, infinity is an imperfection, since it implies incompleteness, inchoate unformedness, lack of form. The truly divine, they thought, is that which [appears] utterly complete, pristine, and definitive. Christian theologians have consistently maintained, on the other hand, that God’s boundlessness is not an imperfect but rather the expression of the inexhaustibility and endless fascination of God… Thomas Aquinas says something similar when he asserts that the blessed in heaven, witnessing the beatific vision, are seeing for the first time, not exactly [positively] who God is, but just how incomprehensible He is [to us].

Unfortunately I couldn’t find the page number… I retrieved that quote from a text I sent to someone.

But I like the basic idea of your assertion… God is always greater, and greater, ad infinitum… The watershed moment happens when you describe how the Incarnation happened. That rather than a lessening of God’s power, is was the ultimate expression of it.

Peace
Anthony

What about the “god” of finite possibilities…that great sea serpent Leviathan?

Just kidding…but seriously…God is stable because He abides by a kind of Law…goodness, God does not “die” or corrupt…not because He is unlimited…but because He is Wise in keeping the Righteous Law of Goodness.

There is a logical contradiction to having two infinite Gods.

How would you distinguish them from each other? In fact you couldn’t. The two would be one, that is, there is only one.

Aquinas says something like this somewhere.

Much more could be said along that line,

but also consider this.

God is the Necessary Being. That being the case there could not be two Gods, because by his very necessity one God would have to be the other too. It’s necessary that there only be one.

Philosophically speaking, there is no problem with two infinite things. You can have two different lines of infinite length.

Lest one reply by saying that we mean God is infinite in every possible respect and in every possible way, I would point out that I exist and I am not God, hence in some respect, there are some respects in which we might say God is not infinite. God has infinite knowledge, infinite power, but not infinite dimension, not infinite mass, etc.

Thus, when we say that God is infinite, we mean that in respect to certain attributes. Thus, it is possible that something else infinite exist, though perhaps not infinite in the exact same way and same respect that God is infinite. i.e. you can argue that there could not be two omnipotent beings, or two omniscient beings, but saying that there cannot be two infinite things is technically incorrect. It needs to be qualified.

Student of Systematic Theology at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

:bigyikes:

Don’t send your kids to that school.

From Aquinas’s Summa Contra Gentiles:
www3.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/gc1_42.htm

That God is One

THERE cannot possibly be two sovereign goods. But God is the sovereign good. Therefore there is but one God.
2. God is all-perfect, wanting in no perfection. If then there are several gods, there must be several thus perfect beings. But that is impossible: for if to none of them is wanting any perfection, nor is there any admixture of imperfection in any, there will be nothing to distinguish them one from another.

  1. If there are two beings, each necessarily existent, they must agree in point of necessary existence. Therefore they must be distinguished by some addition made to one only or to both of them; and thus either one or both must be composite. But no composite being exists necessarily of itself, as has been shown above (Chap. XVIII). Therefore there cannot be several necessary beings, nor several gods.

  2. If there are two gods, this name ‘God’ is predicated of each either in the same sense or in different senses. If in different senses, that does not touch the present question: for there is nothing to prevent anything from being called by any name in a sense different from that in which the name is ordinarily borne, if common parlance so allows.* But if the predication is in the same sense, there must be in both a common nature, logically considered.* Either then this nature has one existence in both, or it has two different existences. If it has one existence, they will be not two but one being: for there is not one existence of two beings that are substantially distinct. But if the nature has a different existence in each possessor, neither of the possessors will be his own essence, or his own existence, as is proper to God (Chap. XXII): therefore neither of them is that which we understand by the name of God.*

  3. If there are many gods, the nature of godhead cannot be numerically one in each. There must be therefore something to distinguish the divine nature in this and that god: but that is impossible, since the divine nature does not admit of addition or difference, whether in the way of points essential or of points accidental (Chap. XXIII, XXIV).

  4. Abstract being is one only: thus whiteness, if there were any whiteness in the abstract, would be one only. But God is abstract being itself, seeing that He is His own being (Chap. XXII).* Therefore there can be only one God.

This declaration of the divine unity we can also gather from Holy Writ. For it is said: Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord (Deut. vi, 4) And, One Lord, one faith (Eph. iv, 5).

LOL! I just realized that I’ve missed your over-the-top hyperbole around here! :slight_smile:

But actually, he is correct. The two of you are in agreement – there cannot be two gods – but that’s not where he started off: he started by saying “there can be two infinite things”, and that’s correct. It’s just that the things cannot be gods.

He started by saying “there can be two infinite things”, and that’s correct. It’s just that the things cannot be gods.

He also said there could be two lines of infinite length.

There could not be one line of infinite length.
Anything that can be counted, divided, or measured can’t be infinite.

I’ll give you “divided or measured”, but not counted. It’s easy to conceive of two infinite lines: picture them as parallel!

There is no school which is more faithful to the magisterium than Christendom, and no school which is more Thomistic in its philosophy and theology.

The section you quoted from the SCG in no way refutes anything I have said.

He also said there could be two lines of infinite length.

There could not be one line of infinite length.
Anything that can be counted, divided, or measured can’t be infinite.

St. Thomas himself argues that God could have created a world with an infinite past and infinite future. I assure you that St. Thomas never argued it is impossible to have two infinite things–for crying out loud, you yourself are infinite in respect to the duration of your own existence. Yes, you had a beginning, but you will exist for an infintely of time. Anything which is immortal, like angels are infinite beings in that respect–in respect of the duration of their existence.

St. Thomas himself argues that God could have created a world with an infinite past and infinite future. I assure you that St. Thomas never argued it is impossible to have two infinite things–for crying out loud, you yourself are infinite in respect to the duration of your own existence. Yes, you had a beginning, but you will exist for an infintely of time. Anything which is immortal, like angels are infinite beings in that respect–in respect of the duration of their existence.

_

Your idea of infinite duration is dead wrong.

We will exist everlastingly, but we will never reach an infinite duration.

I’m really shocked by your confused ideas. If this is what your professor is telling you, find another.

I am puzzled by your hostile tone and by your definition of infinite. Will there be an end to our existence? I assume your answer is no, since you agree that we will exist “everlastingling”.

Merriam-Webster’s provides 4 definitions for the term “infinite”

1: extending indefinitely : endless

2: immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible

3: subject to no limitation or external determination

4: extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any preassigned finite value however large

I assure you that according to all four definitions, the duration of our existence is infinite. You have to at least concede the first definition. If we exist “everlastingly”, then our existence extends indefinitely, or more simply, is without end. That is (by definition) infinite!

Merriam-Webster’s provides 4 definitions for the term “infinite”

1: extending indefinitely : endless

2: immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible

3: subject to no limitation or external determination

4: extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any preassigned finite value however large

Why did you stop at #4 ? :mad:

5.Mathematics .
a.not finite.
b.(of a set) having elements that can be put into one-to-one correspondence with a subset that is not the given set.

6.something that is infinite.

7.Mathematics . an infinite quantity or magnitude.

8.the boundless regions of space.

9.the Infinite (Being), God.

Oh, I see why.
a. A real infinity belongs to mathematical theory that doesn’t always correspond to reality.
b. Only God can be infinite.


Why are you calling me hostile?

Oh, I see why.
a. I’m disagreeing with you.
b. I’m pointing out your error.


Will there be an end to our existence? I assume your answer is no, since you agree that we will exist “everlastingling”.

There will not be an end to our existence. There will always be a “tomorrow”. So we will never reach an infinite duration.

c. your tone is brusque and uncharitable. :sad_yes:

I stopped at 4 because all of the other options (with the exception of 8) include the term being defined in the definition, making it not a true definition and completely useless for our purposes. If someone asked me to define “infinite” and I replied “something that is infinite”, I would be considered mentally impaired.

You seem to have the hidden premise that because something exists only accidentally in the mind, and one cannot point to a physical substance which is quantitatively infinite, that such an idea of infinity is not “real”. Are you trying to change your position to say that there can not be two infinite substances, rather than two infinite “things” (accidents are real too even though they are not substances).


Why are you calling me hostile?

Oh, I see why.
a. I’m disagreeing with you.
b. I’m pointing out your error.

It actually had more to do with comments like “Don’t send your kids to that school” which have nothing to do with the argument itself.


There will not be an end to our existence. There will always be a “tomorrow”. So we will never reach an infinite duration.

Well, at least now, I understand what your argument is. Thanks for that. Now that I understand what you are trying to say, I can actually research the argument.

After a preliminary investigation, I am going to have to temporarily concede the entire argument. In Question 7, Articles 2-4 of the Prima Pars, St. Thomas addresses this point rather directly. Though I had read that question before, I hadn’t realized the ramifications of the argument for our topic at hand. I am not quite sure how St. Thomas’s position here corresponds with this contention that an eternal world is possible, but he does seem to have convincing arguments against even an accidental infinity.

Full quote for anyone interested: newadvent.org/summa/1007.htm#article4

Mathematically proven, there are an infinity on infinites growing in quantity of elements, in such a way that each one has an infinity more elements than the precedent one. God is superior even to such infinity of all infinities.
I hope I do not say something wrong:
because Jesus ascended into heavens in a glorified human body, is it posible that our new glorified bodies to be infinite in esence, but of course with an infinity lower than the one of God?

Mathematically proven, there are an infinity on infinites growing in quantity of elements, in such a way that each one has an infinity more elements than the precedent one.

There’s something you don’t see everyday.
The basic tenets of mathematics, chemistry and physics all overturned in one sentence. :bigyikes:

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