Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday's Quote: Infinity and the Infinite One


I came across another neat quote in An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson last week.  (You can read a previous quote with my thoughts here.)  As a boy, Leonhard had his first taste of infinity as he watched raindrops falling into a river, and this is how he recounts the experience:
I'd looked at the wide surface [of the river], which was vast to me then, and considered how very, very many drops of water there were:  innumerable, then no, they could be counted.  It would only take a very long time.  Perhaps all day!  In my childish calculation.... 
I watched more drops fall....And then I knew, that whatever their sum was, it could always be one more, and if always more, then never to end.  For any number, there was one more beyond.  Always. 
I had only one way to comprehend that.  The Mathematics of infinity was still beyond me.  But my father's preaching was already deep in everything I would know about my world.  From him, I knew a word for something that was beyond everything else:  heaven;  a place where "one more beyond, always" did reach its end.  So I had always understood the infinite end of all numbers as God showing himself in his creation.  Everything he made had his image, and part of his image in Mathematics, was infinity.  It was invisible because it was far past the end of sight.  It was the greatest elegance.
I had never thought about how math can teach us about God, but as we can see from this quote, the fact of infinity clearly points to Someone who is infinite, Who is much greater than we are and much greater than we can comprehend.  Just as there are numbers that are too great to grasp, so is our God. He is so much more than we can possibly understand, but we can begin by imagining infinite numbers.

Creation proclaims the Creator, and we can learn much about Him by observing what He has made.  As Romans 1:20 says, "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

What have you learned about God from what He has made?

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