Picture by Lucas
93 How to be more than infinite
Three articles, beginning with
article 50, describe life as an ascending progression from
one order to another. A person grows at each step. Birth and
death look like end points, but in the whole story they are
points on an infinite line. In mathematics a line extends
infinitely in both directions and any lesser portion is a ray
(one fixed end point) or a line segment (two fixed end points).
Mortality is a segment.
Several word games are possible. Can one
thing be more infinite than another? That sounds oxymoronic—the
words don’t fit together. On the other hand, can there be a
higher order than being infinite? Today’s article shows
how that is possible. By analogy to mathematics, it supports the
statement in article 52 that humans have no terminal state. Godhood is not final.
First, we examine the infinite line on
which we are now. Consider how a line is like the real number
system. A real number can be attached (like a label) to any point
on the line. There are an infinite number of points between any
two points on the line. Compare the fact that by extending to
unlimited decimal places, one can list an infinite set of numbers
between any two given numbers. That applies whether the endpoints
are zero and one or astronomically large positive or negative
numbers. There is always a one-to-one match of points on a line
or line segment with the real number system. That is first order
Although our imagination limits our
concept of the sequence, we have discussed a linear progression.
One individual identity exists before birth, progresses into
human mortal experience, and resumes progression in a different
state after death. Humans are in a finite segment. Godhood is to
realize the entire infinite line; therefore, God is called
Article 62 makes the infinite extent of human life logical by
filling in details missing from some popular belief systems.
Unending sentience (self-awareness) is not unfathomable mystery.
There is Platonic reasoning to support life beyond our current
physical observations. Life is a line, infinite in both
directions. However, being infinite does not end the
To appreciate an order higher than an
infinite line, consider two intersecting lines. Together they
define a plane. Within that plane, either line can rotate and
sweep the entire plane while both lines still have the point of
intersection in common. In other words, for every point on a
line, there exist an infinite number of lines in a plane. Because
of the infinite-to-one correspondence, the plane represents a
higher order of infinity. It exists in two dimensions.
If one rotates (spins) the plane around
one of its lines, it sweeps through a volume. For every line in
the plane, there exist an infinite number of planes that include
that line. That is again an infinite-to-one correspondence, and a
volume represents a higher order of infinity. It incorporates
This describes first, second, and third
order infinities. We now use them as analogy for human
progression. This is not cosmological proof. It is storytelling
to expand our thinking, an exercise people regularly do. This
corresponds to using mathematical reasoning in making logical
comparison to physical phenomena.
When God says my thoughts are higher than
your thoughts, we should take that as a clue that we fall short
of understanding the depth of God's thoughts. How can we
become upset over these small differentiations we make among our
God theories when all of them combined don't touch the higher
properties that attach to godhood? Our finite mortal mind should
never pretend that one human representation is significantly
superior to another. All of us can expand from where we are to
something larger. Compared to this something larger, our
differences shrink to insignificance.
Theology is commonly treated as a study
of one god. People might be called atheists for rejecting
specific descriptions of that one god. I prefer to think more
broadly. I, too, reject the idea of one supreme being on a throne
surrounded by passive subjects. However, I obviously do not
reject a status that includes being infinite. I use the word
nontheist to stay clear of endorsing or discarding one specific
portrayal while retaining a spiritual depth of a different kind.
Ernstraudian philosophy is about eternal progression, not
So, what makes an infinite god forever
able to make progress? The key lies in orders of infinity. A
being that encompasses infinity along the line on which humans
exist is well occupied with approaching a higher order of
infinity. As humans do not remain in the mortal state
throughout their eternal existence, so gods do not remain in the
first order of infinity forever. We must not feel that we humans
are so important that we occupy the absolute complete attention
of an infinite being. While we follow one who leads us, that god
is also busy learning, inventing, or occupying a higher order.
Yes, we have shown mathematically that there are higher orders of
infinity. We and that god are privileged to grow eternally.
Not as it seems
In passing I note that a curved line is
not described in a single dimension. The circumference of a
circle might appear as an infinite line to a particle confined to
the points of the circumference, but outside observation proves
that the circle lies in a plane. A line we draw with a compass is
not the mathematical line discussed in the previous section. A
larger perspective leads to more accurate understanding.
Humans sadly regard a toroid as an
infinite tunnel. They see themselves in an infinite conduit that
has only one dimension extending from behind to ahead. It looks
like a straight line with no end points. Eventually a longer view
backward or forward would reveal the curvature. Getting out of
the tunnel would show that the circle exists in two
Silly humans, we get it wrong when we are
too deep in what we are doing. We are so completely occupied with
the linear perspective straight ahead that we limit ourselves to
that one dimension. We will be enlightened as eventual godhood
exposes the higher orders. Becoming aware of them will enable us
to spread out from the line and occupy the plane. Advancing to a
higher order will be a qualitative, not just a quantitative,
Being For Others Blog copyright © 2020 Kent Busse
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