Monday Musings for July 10, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

I dealt with an odd question this week. A believer challenged the notion that we could squeeze an infinite God into a finite Bible. The main problem is that we don’t try to do that… and the Bible doesn’t say of itself that it squeezed him in there… nor do commentators… nor do philosophers… nor do most readers.

I think that we natively understand that nothing in creation can be infinite — even the Bible. Only God is infinite. But he created us to be profoundly aware of the infinite — and some of us even work with that concept in science, mathematics and philosophy. That being said, there is no real-life infinity. Even the universe has boundaries!

God gave us powerful minds… and a lot of empirical data! But these two gifts are all about knowing him more. They are not reasons to dismiss him… yet many do. Take the philosophical naturalists like Richard Dawkins, for example. God spoke of these types of people as ones that misuse the data (Romans 1:18-25). They are in no way a majority, but their influence is growing… which is a shame. The cosmos gives us a chance to continually re-examine God — to test him and see if he is true. But the naturalists’ methodology prohibits them from considering the supernatural… and I think that is an arbitrary limit. I’m a Christian, and I embrace all the data and weigh all the conclusions… even theirs — and here’s what I’ve found.

God alone is the Self-Existent One. He is the only infinite entity… because every non-God entity has been created… and created things have beginnings. Well, it’s those “beginnings” that thwart the possibility of an actual infinity. You see, we can conceive of an infinite future — indeed, the Bible says we humans have those! But an infinite past cannot exist. Why not? Because, if there were an infinite number of previous moments, the “now” would never happen… and the mere fact that we are here proves that infinity-past doesn’t exist in spacetime.

This is one of the reasons that an infinite entity must be both transcendent and omnitemporal. God alone transcends time and creation… but he does so while also being immanent in it. God is fully present in every place and at every moment. To do this he must experience linear time like we do. But also, he must experience all time at the same time… like only he can do.

Now, even the Bible says that it is not the only source of God’s revelation. The creation itself speaks to his power and his divinity (Romans 1:18-25). But also, we find a moral compass in human beings that reveals his law through conscience (Romans 2:14-15). These are extra-biblical revelators, but they are revelators none the less.

Please note, however, that we should bring every thought back to the Bible. Just know that every written work has scope — and this includes the Bible. As such, many details of contemporary life are beyond its narrative. The Bible says nothing about cell phones or brain surgery — but not purchasing a phone or deferring brain surgery because they’re not in the Bible exceeds epistemological warrant. Where the Scripture does not contain the details of life, it is still the touchstone for all truth. Nothing that contradicts the Bible can be true. Owning a cell phone or having brain surgery does not contradict anything in the Bible, but God would have to weigh in on them in a work whose scope purported to be infinite concerning God.

But another issue (that I think is a more basic one) jumped right out at me: God does not need to supply his finite creatures with infinite instructions. They just have to be sufficient… and that’s our stand on the scope of Scripture. It contains everything we need to develop a life of faith and service. So — and although it is God’s primary source for revelation about himself — it was never intended to be comprehensive in a “complete” kind of way… and besides… there wouldn’t be enough paper to do that.

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

http://mainsailministries.org/index.php/q-a-a-god-bible-theology-culture/388-an-infinite-god-cannot-fit-into-a-finite-bible.html

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