1. Melbourne, Australia
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    16 Nov '12 19:39
    This post for discussion follows from a statement, ""Not if your infinite, it's not" made by robbie when discussing the number of stars etc, in the thread on extra-terrestial life.

    "God is infinite" presents some theological conundrums. I wonder if you can see them, particularly with the "God" assumptions and religious stories around.

    Infinity is a definable word in the dictionary, but in conceptual practice it poses conundrums, especially "theological" ones. I have no real belief problems with infinity but trying to relate to it and attach it to "entities" can lead to a morass of thought from which one struggles to get out of.

    Infinite has no form, no 'edge', no start, no end.
    This has the sound of a very Zenny type of "entity" when applied to a "God" concept. For Zen this is a contradiction of terms, however - Zen Buddhism baulks at final self existent entities or 'selves', seeing all as interdependent throughout. Nothing stands alone, not even a "God". This is one reason why Siddartha Gautama, "Buddha", and those after him shared the view that we are unable to finally say we are theist OR atheist.

    What is an infinite 'entity'? I am not saying robbie is wrong, but what does it MEAN to our other ways in which we speak of "God" to state "God" (or any concept) is infinite? It appears obvious that a "God" must be infinite, i.e. not finite. But we are then lead into our conception of what that "God" is form-wise. Infinity has no "edges".

    Mmmm?
  2. Melbourne, Australia
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    16 Nov '12 19:56
    Further to this is the question about infinite things like "God" and the apparent finitude of the world in which we live. Are they totally separate? How does an infinite entity interact with a finite world, that supposedly that infinite entity "made".
    Where is the edge of encounter between an infinite entity and that which is finite?
    Just thinkin. Dangerous, that.
  3. Standard memberAgerg
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    16 Nov '12 20:12
    Interesting question, to which I'm typing my response on a mobile phone...infinity isn't so much a thing as it is a behaviour or a descriptor...when we say the size of the integers is infinity we mean the size of that set of numbers is unbounded...same train of thought could be applied to be applied to an infinite god in that its powers are unbounded


    I would say more but typing on this thing is a hassle
  4. Standard membervivify
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    16 Nov '12 21:10
    I understand "infinite" when relating to the Christian god as "unlimited", or basically, another way of saying all-powerful. In other words, god's supreme power never runs out, never waivers or gets weak, and he can do an infinite number of things, an infinite amout of times.

    "Infinite" also describes another commonly held belief about God by Christians, which is that God is eternal. This means that God's past goes back infinitely, meaning there's no such thing as "before" God. It also means that God will also continue to exist for an infinite number of years.
  5. Standard memberSoothfast
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    16 Nov '12 22:13
    Originally posted by Taoman
    This post for discussion follows from a statement, ""Not if your infinite, it's not" made by robbie when discussing the number of stars etc, in the thread on extra-terrestial life.

    "God is infinite" presents some theological conundrums. I wonder if you can see them, particularly with the "God" assumptions and religious stories around.

    Infinity is a ...[text shortened]... t that "God" is form-wise. Infinity has no "edges".

    Mmmm?
    The number of ways a man can pee in a stream is also infinite. Deep, eh?

    Anyway are we talking about countable or uncountable infinity???
  6. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    17 Nov '12 01:21
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    Anyway are we talking about countable or uncountable infinity???
    Uncountable by man
    Countable by God
    😉
  7. Melbourne, Australia
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    17 Nov '12 01:442 edits
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    The number of ways a man can pee in a stream is also infinite. Deep, eh?

    Anyway are we talking about countable or uncountable infinity???
    Yes, this question is a bit like peeing in the stream, like the number of angels on the head of a pin. But what the heck? See if I can get a bit of flow going.

    Countable infinity - signifies to me countable entities that go on endlessly like the figures in pi (although one never actually knows if there is an end to them). This raises the question of origin of these countable entities - whether infinity goes both ways. Do they "pop up" like a Big Bang Universe, or are they steady state, always were and will be - and still counting? The entities are bounded but not the instances. Query, the origin?

    To me this type of infinity does not apply to the normal conception of "God" as we continue to stumble across it, which is by all appearances, both in supposed nature and singular quantity an unbounded, singular entity in itself - a contradiction.

    Uncountable infinity - To me, this is more like what we are talking about. Is the nature of the entity bounded or unbounded? Uncountable implies it is unbounded, (not finite) and thus ungraspable and not so easily defined as a separable entity - yet which people do so easily with hardly a flinch when referring to "God".
    The related view of the "Ground" as being "empty" (not nihilistically ie. not there at all) within Buddhism is more mature in thinking (to me) than the theism of an separable, presumably bounded "entity". This is not a very conceptually satisfying "God" that is so bounded.

    In maths, the concept of infinity is highly problematical, (as I thus far understand - only being a 'mathematician' of limited lay view unfortunately) - yet essential nevertheless to the mathematic schema, as are imaginary numbers. Similarly the concept of infinity as to entities does not mean non-existent, yet the inability to define remains.

    And thus to say that an entity "God" does NOT exist (atheism) presumes you have defined this entity in the first place to deny its existence. An infinite "entity" has an inherent contradiction.
    However atheists do have very strong arguments to counter the simplistic ideas of "God" (usually bounded and finite in nature) floating around and I do stand alongside of them in that regard.
  8. Joined
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    17 Nov '12 02:15
    Originally posted by Agerg
    Interesting question, to which I'm typing my response on a mobile phone...infinity isn't so much a thing as it is a behaviour or a descriptor...when we say the size of the integers is infinity we mean the size of that set of numbers is unbounded...same train of thought could be applied to be applied to an infinite god in that its powers are unbounded


    I would say more but typing on this thing is a hassle
    It would take an infinite number of characters to adequately deal with this topic.🙂
  9. Joined
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    17 Nov '12 02:21
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Yes, this question is a bit like peeing in the stream, like the number of angels on the head of a pin. But what the heck? See if I can get a bit of flow going.

    Countable infinity - signifies to me countable entities that go on endlessly like the figures in pi (although one never actually knows if there is an end to them). This raises the question of origin ...[text shortened]... n nature) floating around and I do stand alongside of them in that regard.
    Just a side note, we can actually know that Pi goes on forever.
    It's not something we have to wonder about, it's been proved mathematically.

    And I think you are getting a bit wibbly about infinity not mathematically justified.

    And thus to say that an entity "God" does NOT exist (atheism) presumes you have defined
    this entity in the first place to deny its existence. An infinite "entity" has an inherent contradiction.


    You have this a bit backwards.
    Claiming that god exists is a positive claim that needs to be supported by positive evidence.
    Part of that requires that you can identify what god is and determine (at least some) of it's properties.
    If you can't tell me what god is, or what it's properties are, then neither you nor I should believe in it
    until you can tell me what it is, and demonstrate that it actually exists.


    And it's not good enough to demonstrate that your idea of god is logically or even physically possible...
    You have to show that it's actually existent.

    There are lots of things that are logically or physically possible.

    That doesn't thus require that they exist... Or at least not here. (obviously IF the universe IS infinite then
    anything possible under the laws of physics is guaranteed. However that doesn't mean that they happen/exist
    here, or anywhere in the visible universe)
  10. Melbourne, Australia
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    17 Nov '12 05:151 edit
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Just a side note, we can actually know that Pi goes on forever.
    It's not something we have to wonder about, it's been proved mathematically.

    And I think you are getting a bit wibbly about infinity not mathematically justified.

    [quote]And thus to say that an entity "God" does NOT exist (atheism) presumes you have defined
    this entity in the first at doesn't mean that they happen/exist
    here, or anywhere in the visible universe)
    Thanks gf. I was unaware about proof of pi's infinity.

    I wasn't saying infinity wasn't justified as a concept in mathematics. What was trying to point to was discussions I have encountered where the concept of infinity, like zero, does raise issues (perhaps not "problems) within mathematics, although accepted as a concept that has a "completing" function in the mathenatical schema - ie necessary. I am a layman and open to correction by the mathematically knowledgable.

    edit: "Claiming that god exists is a positive claim that needs to be supported by positive evidence."

    This of course is logical, but when we examine the phrase 'god exists' and we are talking of the likes of infinity, the discussion turns a priori to the meanings of 'god" and 'exists' before making positive claims, (or denying them) on the basis of evidence, with one such evidence put forward being the concept of infinity - inherently indefinable and without "form".
    If theists argue for "God" as a being, where do we find such a 'being' in an infinite field? If the atheist says, 'no evidence' is he able to define without question what he means by 'evidence' ?

    However, I do think atheists are correct in questioning proffered so-called evidence of "God". This base of discussion is undeveloped from the start with theistic assumptions and a more developed discussion is the nature of the term "to exist" - or not to "exist".
    This definition of "existence" problem also impinges directly on quantum "entities" that both appear to exist and not to exist as a separate entity.

    Buddhist philosophy centers around this with its concept of a potent "emptiness" or absence. It states that all is interdependent for existence and stating that a thing or entity exists unto itself alone (including god or person "selves" ) is not supportable.

    I am saying that before you can argue whether a thing exists - "is" or "is not" - what it means 'to exist' needs to be clarified. And impinging on this is the concept of infinity - if something is boundless, it is inherently unable to be defined, in form at least.

    I agree something can be possible and logical but not existent (even interdependently).

    My main issue for this post is the way theists talk about "God" as infinite, but then talk almost in the same breath as if "God" is bounded and definable. This like many theistic argument is unfortunately contradictory and unexplored fully.
  11. Melbourne, Australia
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    20 Nov '12 03:56
    There appears to be an abandoning of the field by theists here.

    I ask again, if "God" has a form", and "He " is infinite, what "form" does infinity take?
    Simplistic undeveloped ideas of "God" don't stand up to such questioning, it is plain.

    Some other questions:

    "Where" is "God" ? ["Heaven" being as vague and unsubstantial as "God" is not an adequate answer. - It simply means where God is - another circular argument]

    Is "He" perhaps in some sense everywhere - a bit like the Brahman concept or a tad like the Tao? These are real questions, if you want to stop thinking like a child.

    "Is "He" or "She" or "It" subject to time and space like us?
    "Does indeed "God" have a sexual gender?

    Do theists ever think about their "God" concept in any deep way at all?
    It often clearly doesn't add up.

    But, of course, there will be the usual charge of "hatred" for asking such rational questions and expecting people to back up their beliefs with a modicum of reason. *sigh*

    Unfortunately it all shows a sort of very shallow thinking indeed, generally.
  12. Cape Town
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    20 Nov '12 05:06
    Originally posted by Taoman
    This post for discussion follows from a statement, ""Not if your infinite, it's not" made by robbie when discussing the number of stars etc, in the thread on extra-terrestial life.
    'God is infinite' is just like 'supernatural'. It is little more than an attempt to place God in a position where he does not have to conform to the rules.

    As for infinity in mathematics, I think the most common error is to try to treat it like a number. It isn't.
  13. Melbourne, Australia
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    20 Nov '12 06:17
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    'God is infinite' is just like 'supernatural'. It is little more than an attempt to place God in a position where he does not have to conform to the rules.

    As for infinity in mathematics, I think the most common error is to try to treat it like a number. It isn't.
    Edit: "It is little more than an attempt to place God in a position where he does not have to conform to the rules".

    Like that.
  14. Joined
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    20 Nov '12 13:16
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Edit: "It is little more than an attempt to place God in a position where he does not have to conform to the rules".

    Like that.
    Does God have the power to irrevocably limit his infinititude?
  15. Account suspended
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    20 Nov '12 13:421 edit
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Edit: "It is little more than an attempt to place God in a position where he does not have to conform to the rules".

    Like that.
    umm, actually no. I would go far as to state that the minds capacity for learning is
    infinite, given the correct environment and stimulus. Its such a great pity that we have
    such a fleeting life span with which to explore our world of endless possibilities.
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