‘Infinity’ is a very basic concept that God has built into the construct of His Creation. Most everyone understands what it implies; but, it is literally impossible to fully explain or even comprehend from a finite perspective.
This article takes a brief, common-sense approach to examining the concept of ‘infinity’ based on its mathematical definition in light of the Scriptures in order to demonstrate that wherever we find ‘infinity’ in nature (or the mathematics used to represent the physical universe) we are, in fact, viewing the ‘Signature of God’ upon His Creation.
In its most rudimentary form, the definition of ‘infinity’ includes the idea of something that is ‘without end’ – terms such as ‘boundless’ or ‘limitless’ are also often used when describing the concept of ‘infinity’. As we shall see in a moment, even these terms are woefully inadequate when attempting to define just what ‘infinity’ really is.
From a mathematical perspective, any value that is divided by ‘zero’ results in ‘infinity’. Mathematically we can represent this concept in the following manner:
Now, if this kind of mathematical notation scares you (please don’t be ashamed – I’ve taught many adults who are intimidated by math symbols and notations), don’t worry. Let’s put some actual NUMBERS in first so you can follow what’s going on as we move forward…
By definition, when a numerator (the ‘x’ in the previous formula) is divided by a denominator (the ‘0’ in the previous formula) to yield a result (the ‘∞’ in the previous formula); then, when the result is multiplied by the denominator it should return the numerator for an answer.
In other words, the number in the denominator (bottom) of the fraction must be the correct number to multiply the result by in order to return the number in the numerator (top) of the fraction.
Returning now to our original expression, let’s first evaluate it by letting x=1:
Mathematically, this is a true statement which reads, “One divided by zero equals infinity.”
Now, as we have seen already, in order for this statement to be true, the following expression must also be true:
What this means is that ‘infinity’ must represent some value that is so incredibly large that it can LITERALLY make ‘1’ out of ‘0’. In non-mathematical terms (although this is EXACTLY what the mathematics imply):
Infinity is a value that is capable of creating something out of nothing!!!
This sounds pretty incredible already – right?
It doesn’t end there, though…
Let’s returning once again to our original expression:
We need to recognize that ‘x’ is just a ‘place-holder’ that can represent any finite number in the universe, up to and including an astronomical number that represents everything in the universe (and even more than that if we so choose)!!!
Nonetheless, the original expression STILL holds true, that ANY VALUE divided by zero yields ‘infinity’. This also means that the following expression is also true:
So ‘infinity’ multiplied by ‘zero’ is capable of yielding any finite number no matter how large. This allows us to further modify the definition of ‘infinity’ as follows:
Infinity is a value that is capable of creating anything or everything out of nothing!!!
Using the strictest interpretation of the data that are presented to us by this simple mathematical expression the above definition of the capability of ‘infinity’ is completely valid.
Infinity and Creation
Atheistic mathematicians and physicists would love to do away with ‘infinity’ because, although they have no definition for its value, they must learn to contend with it because it is a REAL VALUE that is built into the very fundamentals of the mathematics we use. The reason why I specifically mention ‘atheists’ at this point is because this is where those who deny the existence of the Lord God as Creator of all things begin to look elsewhere for their answers. They abandon ‘infinity’ as ‘taboo’ and search for solutions that either deal ‘neatly’ with the concept of ‘division by zero’; or, try vehemently to turn away from solutions that result in ‘infinity’ altogether.
Conversely, through this simple mathematical expression, Christians have the opportunity to see the Signature of God upon all that He has created. Not only does the very mathematical definition of ‘infinity’ point directly to God as the Author of the mathematics that are used in the explanation of laws that govern our physical universe; but, the value of ‘infinity’ itself is encountered on a daily basis by everyone on planet earth.
Common irrational numbers such as π (pi) and e are among the many values representing real mathematical relationships in our physical world. These constant values are known as irrational numbers because their exact value cannot be calculated. This is also true of many numbers like ⅓ which as a decimal becomes 0.333333…. However, unlike the value of ⅓, which can be represented by an exact numerical or mathematical expression, both π and e cannot be represented in the manner – but only approximated. This kind of number is called a transcendental number.
While we have numerous mathematical formulas to approximate the values of π and e, even accurately giving us each next decimal point value in sequence, there is no actual pattern to the decimal values, and no sequence or sequences which repeat themselves. Therefore, no matter how many decimal places we calculate for these two numbers, we will NEVER know the next one until it has been calculated –AND– we will NEVER be able to find or represent the exact value of either number with absolute precision and accuracy! Therefore.
The determination of both π and e is a process of INFINITE CALCULATION.
So you may ask, why do we even look at π and e to begin with? What do they even mean anyway???
Of these two values, π is certainly the most familiar, and therefore the most commonly obvious. This value represents the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle. In mathematical terms we would write it like this:
where: C = circle circumference, ϕ = circle diameter
Simply put, if we divide the exact distance around the outside of a perfect circle by the distance across its diameter the result would be π.
This means that, even though the exact ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter exists in the physical world, we can NEVER exactly calculate that ratio because the value exists to an infinitely unknown number of decimal places!!!
The value of e is a bit more difficult to explain without going into extensive mathematical theory and detail; however, it is just as important (and almost as prevalent) as π in the physical world because it appears in so many formulas and equations that represent processes that take place in the natural world. Furthermore, like π the value of e exists to an infinitely unknown number of decimal places while representing a real and useable value in the physical world. Furthermore, each mathematical expression which accurately represents the value of e contains ‘∞’. Therefore, e (as is the case with virtually an infinite number of mathematical values) cannot exist without ∞. Thus it follows that:
Infinity is a necessary value without which our physical laws and the mathematics by which they are explained would be utterly unable to function.
Infinity and God
The Bible begins by telling us that “In the beginning God” created everything that is (Genesis 1:1). In the New Testament we further learn that ‘All things were made by Him and for Him’ and that ‘by Him all things consist’ – that is, they are held together (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). Most importantly, however, we not only learn from the Bible that God has created everything that exists; but, that He has accomplished this so that, ‘Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear’ (Hebrews 11:3). This is a clear account of God not only creating ‘something from nothing’, but creating everything from nothing as well – an act in perfect harmony with the mathematical and physical definition of ‘infinity’.
We also learn according to the Bible, that God is possessed of three infinite properties. He is (1) Omniscient – all-knowing, (2) Omnipotent – all-powerful and (3) Omnipresent – everywhere at once and at all times.
Just a few of the many passages from the Scriptures that speak of these traits of God are listed below:
- Omniscient – ‘Thou knowest all things.’ (John 16:30 & John 21:17)
- Omnipotent – ‘Is there anything too hard for the Lord?’ (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27)
- Omnipresent – His going forth is everywhere (Psalm 19:6). He is in all places at once (Psalm 139:7-8).
Therefore, not only does the work of the Lord point to an Infinite Creator; but, the Creator Himself by His very Nature is presented as Infinite in the Scriptures.
This is only fitting because by definition,
God must be Infinite in order to perform the work the Bible claims on His behalf.
Two great servants of the Lord attest to this truth in the Scriptures, one in the New Testament, and one in the Old.
In 1 Timothy 1:17 of the New Testament the Apostle Paul calls Him the ‘Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, and ONLY Wise God’ as he writes instructions on Church leadership to young Timotheus.
Moses writes in Psalm 90:2, ‘From everlasting to everlasting ([←∞ to ∞→] – eternity past to eternity to come) Thou art God’. This verse is especially revealing because it speaks of the Lord’s Eternal Nature as being without beginning and without end which is truly boundless.
We began our examination of the concept of infinity by stating that it is a concept that is easily understood from a general perspective, but is a concept that is utterly impossible to fully comprehend. The Scriptures teach us the very same thing about the Lord God who is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, when they record that, ‘His thoughts are above our thoughts’ and ‘His ways above our ways’. His Word tells us that, ‘His ways are past finding out’.
When we examine God from our perspective apart from the wisdom of His Word we are truly the finite attempting to explain the Infinite. The answers to all we need to know about Him are found in His Word. The Eternal Blessing we have been promised if we accept His Dear Son Christ Jesus as Savior, making Him Lord of our life, is that ‘one day we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is’!!!
- More about e: http://mathworld.wolfram.com/e.html
- A Brief History of π: http://www.math.com/tables/constants/pi.htm
- Does the Bible Say Pi Equals 3.0? – Russell Grigg: http://thecreationclub.com/does-the-bible-say-pi-equals-3-0-russell-grigg/
- The History of Infinity – G. Donald Allen, Texas A&M University [PDF]: http://www.math.tamu.edu/~dallen/history/infinity.pdf