God and Infinity (∞)
from the Catholic Encyclopedia
and the Writings of Saint Alphonsus Liguori
(Latin infinitas; in, not;
finis, the End, the Boundary).
Infinity (∞) is a 'Concept' of
the Utmost Importance in Christian Philosophy and Theology.
The Infinite (∞), as the word
indicates, is that which has no End, no Limit, no Boundary, and therefore cannot be measured by a
Finite Standard, however often applied; it is that which cannot be Attained by Successive Addition, not Exhausted by
Successive Subtraction of Finite Quantities. Though in itself a Negative Term, Infinity
(∞) has a very Positive Meaning.
Since it denies all Bounds -- which are themselves Negations -- it is a Double Negation, hence an 'Affirmation', and Expresses
Positively the Highest Unsurpassable Reality. Like the Concepts of Quantity, Limit, Boundary, the Term Infinity
(∞) applies Primarily to Space and Time, but not exclusively,
as Schopenhauer maintains. In a Derived Meaning, Infinity
(∞) may be applied to every kind of
Perfection: Wisdom, Beauty,
Power, the Fullness of Being itself.
The Infinity of God
The actual Infinity (∞) of
God in every respect is Catholic Dogma. In accordance with the
Holy Bible and Unanimous Tradition, the Vatican Council at its Third Session declared God
to be Almighty, Eternal,
Immense, Incomprehensible, Infinite
(∞) in Intellect and
Will and every Perfection, Really and Essentially Distinct from
the World, Infinitely (∞)
Blessed in Himself and through
Himself, and Inexpressibly Above all things that can exist and be thought of besides Him.
From the Infinity (∞) of
God it is easy to deduce all His Perfections:
His Unity, Simplicity, Immutability, etc., though these may be proved also by other means. Many of
God's Attributes are nothing else than His Infinity
(∞) in a Particular Respect, e.g.
His Omnipotence is but the Infinity (∞)
of His Power; His Omniscience, the Infinity
(∞) of His Knowledge. Whatever
is known to be a Pure Unalloyed Perfection, must be an Attribute of
God on account of His Infinity
(∞). We say a Pure Unalloyed
Perfection; for God, just because He is
Infinite (∞) does not possess all
Perfections in the same way. Only Pure Perfections -- i.e.
those which include in their Concept no Trace of Imperfection whatsoever -- are contained in
Him Formally. We must therefore ascribe to Him the
Attributes: Wise, Powerful, Amiable, etc., without any restriction, because these are all Pure
Perfections. Of the so-called Mixed Perfections, which include besides the Positive
Reality, also some Imperfections, as e.g., Extension, Contrition, Courage, Sound Reasoning, and Clear
Judgment, He possesses only the Perfection without
the connected Imperfection. His is, for example, the All-Pervading
Presence, without Composition; Love for the Good without having
Committed Sin; Power without having to overcome
Fear; Knowledge without Formal Reasoning or Formal Judgment.
He possesses, therefore, the Mixed Perfections in a Higher Form -- Eminently, i.e. in
the only form which is worthy of the Infinite (∞).
But even the Pure Perfections are contained in Him in a
Higher Form than in the Creature, in which they are Dependent, Derived, Finite. God's Perfection and
that of the Creature are the same Analogically only, not Univocally.
The Dogma of God's Infinity
(∞) is not only of the Greatest Import for Theology in the
strictest sense of the term (i.e. the Treatise on God), but it throws New
Upon the Infinite (∞)
Malice of Sin, which, on the account of Him Who is
Offended, becomes Objectively Infinite
Upon the Infinite (∞)
Majesty of the Incarnate Word and the
Boundless Value (∞) of His
Merits and Satisfaction;
Upon the Necessity of the Incarnation, if God's Justice
required an Adequate Satisfaction for Sin.
The Infinite (∞)
Malice of Sin
The Lord calls upon Heaven and Earth to detest
the Ingratitude of those who Commit Mortal Sin, after they had
been Created by Him, Nourished with His Blood, and Exalted to
the Dignity of His Adopted Children. "Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear,
O Earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children, and exalted them; but they have despised Me" -
Isaiah 1:2. Who is this God Whom
Sinners Despise? He is a
God of Infinite (∞)
Majesty, before Whom all the kings-of-the-Earth and all the
Blessed in Heaven are less than a Drop of Water or a Grain of Sand.
". . as a drop of a bucket, . . . as a little dust" - Isaiah 40:15. In a word, such
is the Majesty of God, that, in His Presence, all Creatures
are as if they did not exist. "All Nations are before Him as if they had no being at all" -
ibid 40:17. And what is a Man, who Insults Him? Saint
Bernard answers: "Saccus vermium, cibus vermium". A Heap of Worms, the Food of Worms,
by which he shall be Devoured in the Grave.
"Thou art Wretched, and Miserable, and Poor, and Blind, and Naked" - Revelation 3:17.
He is so Miserable that he can do nothing, so Blind that he knows
nothing, and so Poor that he possesses nothing. And this Worm
dares to Despise a God, and to Provoke
His Wrath. "Vile dust", says the same Saint,
"dares to Irritate such Tremendous Majesty". Justly
then has Saint Thomas asserted, that the Malice of Mortal Sin is,
as it were, Infinite (∞).
"Peccatum habet quandam infinitatem malitiae ex infinitate divinae majestatis". And Saint
Augustine calls it an Infinite
(∞) evil. Hence
Hell and a Thousand Hells
are not sufficient Chastisements for a Single (1)
of Jesus Christ
The Juridical Axiom "honor est in honorante, injuria in injuriato"
(Honor is measured by the dignity of him who gives it, Offense by the dignity of him who receives it)
shows that any Sin against an Infinitely
(∞) Good God bears in a
way an Infinite (∞)
Malice and that nothing short of a Person possessing Infinite
(∞) Worth is capable of
making Full Amends for it.
The Infinite (∞)
Majesty of Jesus Christ
The Incarnation of Jesus in the Womb of Mary -
by PIERO DI COSIMO -
from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
(Click to enlarge)
If God had created a Thousand other Worlds, a
Thousand times Greater and more Beautiful than the present, it is certain that this Work would be
Infinitely (∞) less Grand than the
Incarnation of the Word: He hath showed
Might in His Arm. To Execute the Great Work of the
Incarnation, it required all the Omnipotence and Infinite
Wisdom of God, in order to Unite Human Nature to a
Divine Person, and that a Divine Person should so
Humble Himself as to take upon
Him Human Nature. Thus God became Man . . . the Divinity of the
Word being United to the Soul and
Body of Jesus Christ, all the Actions of this Man-God
became Divine: His Prayers were
Divine, His Sufferings
Divine, His Infant Cries
Divine, His Tears
Divine, His Steps Divine,
His Members Divine, His
very Blood Divine, which became, as it were, a Fountain of Health
to wash-out all our Sins, and a Sacrifice of
Value to Appease the Justice of the Father,
Who was Justly Offended with Men.
And who, then, are these Men? Miserable, Ungrateful, and
Rebellious Creatures. And yet for these, God becomes Man;
subjects Himself to Human Miseries;
Suffers and Dies to Save these
Unworthy Sinners: He Humbled
Himself, becoming Obedient unto Death, even to the
Death of the Cross. O Holy Faith!
If Faith did not assure us of it, who would believe that a God
of Infinite (∞)
Majesty should Abase Himself so far as to become a
Worm like us, in order to Save us at the cost of so much
Suffering and Disgrace, and of so
Cruel and Shameful a Death?
"O Grace! O Power of Love!'" cries Saint Bernard. O Grace,
which Men could not even have imagined, if God Himself had not thought of granting it to us! O
Divine Love, which can never be fathomed! O Mercy! O
Charity, worthy only of an Infinite (∞)
Satisfaction for Sin
When the Eternal Father saw that we were all Dead and
Deprived of His Grace by Sin,
what did He do? For the Immense Love, as the Apostle writes, for
the too-great Love He bore us, He sent
His Beloved Son to make Atonement for us, and so to Restore
to us that Life which Sin had Robbed us of,
Who "for His exceeding Charity wherewith He Loved us, even when we were Dead in Sins, hath
quickened us together in Christ" (Ephesians 2:4-5).
And in granting us His Son (not sparing His Son, that
He might spare us), He has granted us every
Good together with Him, His Grace,
His Love, and Paradise, since assuredly all these
Gifts are much less than that of His Son.
And so, likewise, the Son through His Love for us has given
Himself wholly to us. In order to Redeem us from Everlasting
Death and to recover for us the Divine Grace and
Heaven which we had Forfeited,
He became Man and put-on Flesh like our own. Behold then a
God, Reduced to Nothingness. Behold the Sovereign of the World,
Humbling Himself so low as to assume the Form of a Servant and to subject Himself to all
the Miseries which the Rest of Men endure.
But what is more astonishing still is that He could very well have Saved
us without Dying and without Suffering at all. But
no, He chose a Life of Sorrow and
Contempt, and a Death of Bitterness and
Ignominy even to Expiring on a Cross
-- the Gibbet of Infamy, the Award of Vilest Criminals. But why,
if He could have Ransomed us without Suffering, why should
He choose to Die, and to Die
on a Cross? To show us how He Loved us.
He Loved us, and because He Loved us, He delivered
Himself up to Sorrows and Ignominies
and to a Death more Cruel than ever any Man endured in this World.