The Impossibility of Infinities

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

Two Christians having lunch between classes

Neil: That whole discussion of infinities made my head hurt. I felt like Mr. K was going out of his way to make everything confusing.

Matt: Really? I thought it was interesting.

Neil: You would. I’m just glad that I’ll never have to deal with this stuff again after I graduate.

Matt: You can’t get away from infinity.

Neil: I can if I avoid math. You can’t have an infinite thing in real life.

Matt: That’s not true. I can draw a line, and a line has an infinite number of points in it.

Neil: You can draw a representation of a line, but it’s not a real line, in the math sense. A real line would be infinitely long, infinitely thin, and made up of points that are infinitely small. Those don’t exist in the real world.

Matt: That’s true.

Neil: What good does it do us to have these concepts then?

Matt: You can use the fact that there are no real infinite things to prove that God exists.

Neil: Wow — that’s not at all where I thought you were going to go with that. Okay, how?

Matt: In the real world, there can’t be an infinite amount of time, right?

Neil: Why couldn’t the past be infinitely long?

Matt: Because if there was an infinite past, then the universe would have had to have been around for an infinite amount of time to get to now, and it’s impossible for something to go on for an infinite amount of time because infinities don’t ever end.

Neil: But we already knew that the universe had a beginning at the Big Bang.

Matt: Right, and since time started at the Big Bang, then something outside of time must have caused the Big Bang, and that’s God.

Neil: How’s that possible? An effect always comes after a cause, but if there was no time when God caused the Big Bang, then how could anything come after anything else? There is no “after” without time.

Matt: This universe’s time started at the Big Bang, but God has His own type of time that’s not connected to our universe, and it’s in that time that He created everything.

Neil: Then wouldn’t God’s time have to have always existed?

Matt: Sure.

Neil: Then wouldn’t that be an infinite span of time?

Matt: It’s not the same thing. God’s time is special since it’s unchanging, just like God. Nothing happens if everything’s unchanging, so time doesn’t really pass and there isn’t an infinite series.

Neil: How can nothing change? If God is in this time, he must be aware of it passing, so his knowledge of how much time has passed must be changing every second.

Matt: It doesn’t. Time passing is noted by things changing, so if nothing changes time doesn’t pass.

Neil: God’s knowledge of how much time has passed changes.

Matt: God’s all-knowing, so his knowledge doesn’t change.

Neil: Wait a sec — This isn’t making any sense to me. Forget God for a second. Maybe time’s a circle instead of a line, so at some point in the future it turns into the past again, like going around the globe and ending up back where you started. There’d be no infinite time that way.

Matt: Now you’re the one not making sense. How could the same thing happen over and over for eternity?

Neil: It wouldn’t be the same thing over and over. After time got back to the start, things might go differently, after another Big Bang or something, but reusing the same time. It’s like temporal recycling.

Matt: No way. That’s just too bizarre.

Neil: Maybe it is, but it looks like our options are an infinite past, a time loop, and some kind of divine time that I don’t think either of us really understands. No matter what we choose, we end up with something that doesn’t make sense. I’m sure the universe makes sense once you understand it, so we’re probably missing something, like a fourth option that we haven’t thought of.

Matt: That could be, but I think it’s most likely that we just can’t understand because we’re not on God’s level.

Neil: No wonder my head hurts.

 


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Posted on January 29, 2014 at 5:07 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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