PART II

PROPERTIES OF

THE INFINITE


CHAPTER 6

THE INFINITE:

NEGATIVE PROPERTIES

6.1. A look back and forward

The argument we just got through is by its nature conclusive, and not merely scientific, since in order to get to the non-finite existence, we had to show that no finite existence was capable of being the cause. Hence, no "this worldly" solution of this particular problem is possible.

This does not mean, however, that the argument is irrefutable. It could be mistaken, and so be refuted, in one or more of several ways. Let us look at these, and see how plausible they seem.

First of all, it could simply be denied that there is a problem in consciousness as finite. That is, you could say, as some do, that you don't have to (and in fact shouldn't) argue to existence from consciousness, because existence is given in consciousness. My reply to this is, Do you mean that existence (as something other than consciousness) is given in an act of consciousness? In that case, you are saying what I am saying: consciousness contains within it what is explicitly not consciousness and is outside consciousness. But that's a contradiction. If you mean that the "existence" which an act of consciousness "talks about" is actually not something other than the conscious act (the philosophical position called "idealism"), then you have the other contradiction which I called "consciousness as finite": that the act is and is not different from itself (it is nothing but consciousness and yet is not the same as the other act which is also nothing but consciousness). There is also the not insignificant problem on this idealist view of how you account for imaginary-type as opposed to perceptive-type experiences, since the former don't seem to "talk about" existence. The point here is that if you want to attribute contradictory properties to something and then allege that "it doesn't need explaining," then I fail to see what would need explaining.

The weakest part of the argument is the one establishing that the existence that causes a given finite act of consciousness is itself a finite existence. I have given my reasons for thinking that it is; but it might be possible to construct a theory that would make each existence absolutely unique--which is the philosophical position called "nominalism." But this runs into the severe difficulty that we not only distinguish acts of consciousness from periods of consciousness, but we also classify acts of consciousness into all sorts of categories, implying further analogies among existences: we distinguish hearing from seeing, and these from tasting and smelling. In all cases, we are reacting to existence; but there must be something about all the existences we call "sounds" that makes them the same among themselves and different from what we call "colors," or how does the (single) mind react to them in different ways?

The point here is that if the theory is refuted by a denial of the finiteness of finite existence, then whatever refutes it must also be able to account for classifications of the effects of existence without a real identity-difference in the existences themselves. I don't see how it can be done; but this is not to say that I can prove that it is impossible to do it.

The theory could also be refuted if the theorems about identical effects, different effects, and similar effects turned out not to be tautologically true based on the concepts of effect and cause. It seems to me that the one about identical effects is incontrovertible, since you can show that it must be true by showing that its denial contradicts the definition. The one about different effects, however, doesn't seem to have this powerful a proof; and so it's conceivable that it is false, however plausible it might seem.

Of course, once you admit that something is in-itself-unintelligible as finite, and that the cause of a finite act of consciousness is a finite existence, then you're stuck; there has to be a non-finite existence.

There may, of course, be other weaknesses in the argument; but those are the ones I see, and why I don't really think that they're very weak.

So we will take it as established that there is a non-finite existence; and anyone who denies this now has the burden of refuting the argument if he is going to call himself rational.

Now then, where do we go from here? We know that this non-finite existence has all and (as cause) only the characteristics necessary to be able to make sense out of the fact that any given finite existence is the finite existence which it is; this thing, in other words, restricts (finite) existence to being no more than and no other than the finite existence which it is--analogously to the way finite existence restricts my conscious act to being just the conscious act it is (which is why it "talks about" the existence).

Clearly, since the Infinite (let us call It that from now on) is analogous to finite existence, it must be different from finite existence in that as an existence is it not finite, and the same as finite existence in that it too is an existence. But since you can't separate finite existence into "existence" plus "finiteness," as we saw, then this "sameness" between the Infinite as existence is only a to-us-unknown similarity or analogy. We have to be very careful what we say here, or we are going to go beyond what the evidence warrants.

Let us take the "negative properties" of the Infinite first, since they are the easy ones. These aren't really properties at all, of course, but negative statements you can make about the Infinite based on the fact that It isn't finite.

[You can find discussions of these also in Modes of the Finite, Part 1, Section 4, Chapter 7.]

6.2. Unity

One thing I am going to do here that does in a sense go beyond the evidence: I am going to put in reduced type Theological comments from the point of view of Christianity. The evidence establishing whether Christianity is true or not is the factuality of the reports from the New Testament about the claims that Jesus made and the things he did (including coming back to life) to establish those claims; and this is clearly beyond the scope of an investigation like this. I think, however, that the evidence is pretty solid; but it seems to be "refuted" by some of the characteristics the Infinite. It turns out, however, that, though some of the characteristics the God of Christianity has are very unlikely to be compatible with the Infinite, you still can't prove that they are. So what these comments will say, essentially, is that it's not positively irrational to be a Christian (and, supposing the evidence for Christianity is true, then it might well be irrational not to be one).

This becomes significant based on the first thing we can say about the Infinite: that there is only one Infinite.

The reasoning behind this is pretty simple. Suppose there were two, such that one was really not the other. Then clearly, at least one of the two, if not both, would have either of the following: (a) It would have to have a real something-or-other other than existence which would distinguish it from the other being--in which case, its existence contains a non-existence as defining it, as so it is (by definition) finite, not infinite. (b) It would have to lack (some of) the existence the other one had, in order to make its existence really different from the other one; in which case, its existence is less than what it is to exist, or is a finite existence.

So there can be only one non-finite existence.

It is, however, not inconceivable that there could be two (or three or more) Infinites such that each was not really different in any way from the others (that is, that whatever distinguished them was not an additional real characteristic or a lack of anything)--but in that case, "two" or "three" would mean in reality the same thing as "only one." So if you believe that God is a Trinity (a "three" which is "no more than one") this is not necessarily a contradiction, though it probably is one.

But actually, a "multiple unit" is not quite so far-fetched as it might seem. Your own consciousness as the "consciousness of this page" is also your consciousness as "the awareness that you are conscious of this page." But it can be shown that these, though in some sense not "the same" as each other, are nonetheless one and the same act. Any act of consciousness is both "aware of X" and "aware of its awareness of X" in the same act--which is why we can recognize imaginary experiences as imaginary. Each "awareness" contains the other one as "part" of itself--which obviously doesn't limit it, since the "part" contains "the whole" as part of itself. This is all very mysterious; but since our consciousness itself cannot be described as anything but a kind of "dunity," (dual unity), then a Trinity is not automatically a contradiction in terms.

It follows from this property that anyone who worships (acknowledges absolute dependence on) anything other than the Infinite is worshiping a false God. The reason is that your existence as a whole and the existence of any act you perform depends on the Infinite and nothing else for the fact that it is a finite existence (though which particular finite existence depends on other causes). Hence, if you can't show that the God you worship is compatible with the Infinite (i.e. is a causer which, as cause, is in fact the Infinite), then you aren't worshiping the one Being which alone should be worshiped.

Note that this does not necessarily imply that the Infinite ought to be worshiped. All it says is that worship, if it is given at all, should not be given to anything other than the Infinite.

6.3. Simplicity

Can this single Infinite be single but complex: that is, can It contain any parts? The answer is No.

The Infinite has no really distinguishable parts.

Suppose It did. Then Part A would be really different from Part B. But this would mean that whatever made Part A Part A and not Part B (its characteristic in addition to "plain old existence") would be a non-existence contained within the (whole) existence which is the Infinite--which in turn would mean that the Infinite is an existence containing within it a non-existence as defining its existence (the whole with this part in it). But that is the definition of the finite. Hence if "the Infinite" contained really distinguishable parts, It would be finite, not infinite.

By a parallel comment to the one above, of course, if the Infinite had a "part" or two that was identical with the whole, then the reasoning I just gave would not apply.

So all the Infinite is is existence: "plain old existence." When you say "is" of the Infinite, you've said all there is to say. Put it another way,

The Infinite is pure, simple existence.

6.4. Distinctness

There are some philosophies and religions (called "pantheisms" or "pantheistic" views of things) which maintain that God, as infinite, contains within him the whole universe. Some say that he is "the-universe-and-then-some," and some (who presumably think the universe itself is infinite) think that he's the essence of the universe itself.

Can we decide this question? Indeed we can.

The Infinite is a distinct, other Being from any finite being or even from the sum of all finite beings.

The reason for this is contained in what we already saw. If the Infinite actually contained some finite being within Itself, then it would by definition contain the "non-existence" (the limitation) that makes that finite being the finite being which it is. But, as we saw in the preceding section, that means that the Infinite is an existence containing non-existence within it, which is the definition of a finite being.

But then how can the Infinite be infinite if It isn't the only being? Obviously, it would seem, if It's only one among many beings, then there's more to being than just the Infinite (there are the other ones); and so It's finite.

Here is where you have to realize that we defined the "infinity" of the Infinite in a very precise, technical sense. The Infinite is the being which is existence with no qualification and no quantification: no internal non-existence within itself. This doesn't imply that It's the only being that exists; just that It's the one with no internal limitation on Its existence.

All other beings, in other words, are cases of existence that isn't equal to "what existence is in itself." The Infinite is the existence (and the only existence) which is equal to "what existence is in itself." So the other beings are distinguished from the Infinite in that they are limited cases of what the Infinite is the complete example of, not that they are actual parts of the Infinite.

Put it this way: The Infinite is more active than any finite activity (we saw that existence and activity are two different words for the same thing); but this doesn't imply that the Infinite has to include explicitly within Itself all limited cases of activity, any more than a temperature of 100 has all the degrees less than 100 actively within it; it's just greater than any one of them. Similarly "plain old activity" is greater than "this or that kind of activity."

So no, you are not part of God.

6.5. Self-sufficiency

We know that the Infinite is the cause of the finite existence of every finite existence. Can the Infinite Itself be an effect of anything? No, as we will see below. Therefore, we can say the following:

The Infinite is absolutely self-sufficient: It can have no cause.

There are actually two lines of reasoning to establish this. First of all, if It were the effect of anything, It would have to be the effect of something finite. But that would mean that it was the effect of Its own effect, which is impossible, since the finite being which was supposedly its "cause" would depend absolutely for its finite existence on what was its own effect. And, as we saw by Corollary I of Theorem III in Chapter 1, the cause is independent of its effect.

The second line of reasoning is that, in order for the Infinite to be an effect, there would have to be two aspects of It that would contradict each other. But the Infinite is single and simple; not only does It not have anything within It that contradicts something else within it, It doesn't have anything "within" It at all (i.e. as distinct from Its "whole self"). So the Infinite not only needs no cause (because It's just a fact, not a problem), but It can't have a cause.

6.5.1. The Infinite and "where did you come from?"

We can see now why the believer was, in a sense, right when he said that everything "came from" God; and the unbeliever's question "And where did God come from?" was not well taken. Everything finite must have a cause, because its existence contradicts itself (taken by itself). But the Infinite not only doesn't have the "problem of the finite," It doesn't and can't have any "problem" at all.

But in another sense, the argument is not a good one, because the effect there was not the effect of existence as finite, but of the beginning of (what happens to be a) finite existence. And that's a different effect, and different effects have different causes. The cause of your beginning to exist was your parents' sexual activity. Now that was a finite act, of course, and as a finite act (a finite existence) it had to have the Infinite as the cause of its finiteness; and similarly, your beginning existence (i.e. the transforming of the egg into a human being) was also a finite act, and as such had to have the Infinite as its cause.

So the Infinite was involved in your beginning to exist; but It was not precisely the cause of the beginning as such. So, supposing there to be an eternal, expanding-and-contracting universe, you don't need and would never get to the Infinite as the ultimate cause of the origin of the universe (because in that case, it wouldn't have one).

Supposing the "big bang" to have occurred only once, however, then this origin needs the Infinite, because we have the absolute beginning of finite existence, (not it's coming "out of" something, but just be-ing), and only the Infinite causes finite existence to be. It isn't that the Infinite "made something out of nothing," because nothing isn't something you can make something "out of." It's just that this is the first moment in which there is finite existence (or at least material finite existence)--which is precisely what the Infinite accounts for.

So be aware of the fact that the Infinite isn't what "brought you into existence." The Infinite causes you to exist now, because your existence now (just as at any other time) is finite existence, and can't exist now on its own.

This is not intended to deny that the Infinite might be needed to account for how you as organized spiritually could have come into existence from what was living at essentially a lower level of existence (human sperm and eggs are not spiritually organized); and so there is a problem in how these two beings can "lift themselves" to an essentially less limited kind of existence. So it might be (in fact it is) the case that what some call "the infusion of a spiritual soul" can only be accounted for by the Infinite. But to establish this gets us into a very complex analysis of the organization of bodies, which has all kinds of possibilities of error, and so it forms an "argument" for God's existence which is so weak as not to be worth mentioning. I put this here merely to show that, as far as I can see, the reasoning isn't false.

6.6. Formlessness

[The characteristics I mention here are discussed along with the particular modes of the finite in Modes of the Finite, Part 2 Section 1.]

The property I call "formlessness" is not one of the traditional properties of the Infinite (though it is implied in the tradition), and it doesn't mean that the Infinite is an "amorphous blob." What is "formless" in the sense of "amorphous" is something that has no definable shape, like a cloud, which changes shape from moment to moment and (at a given moment) doesn't "look like" anything in particular.

No, "formless" here means "lacking form," which is a technical word.

DEFINITION: The form of activity (existence) is the fact that the existence is (in this case) limited to being only this kind of existence (activity).

Another name for form is quality.

Thus, heat is a form of activity, sound is a different form, color a different one, and so on (these are all qualities). It turns out that we can classify our perceptions into various categories, with a number of perceptions in each category ("seeings," "hearings," etc.) similar among themselves and different from those in other categories. So all of the existences that cause a given category of perception are analogous to each other; and I (following a long tradition) give the name form or quality to the "commonness" of the cause of a particular category.

Clearly this form is some limitation of existence, since all the categories are perceptions and therefore are responses to existence; but it is a kind of "common limitation" that certain existences have that others don't have.

That's all we need for our purposes, because, since form is precisely an aspect of limitation, then it immediately follows that the Infinite has no form.

Of course, grammatically speaking, you can say that the Infinite lacks form; but since the form itself is a kind of "deprivation" of existence, what the Infinite "lacks" is a lack; and so that's another way of saying that the Infinite is not limited qualitatively.

6.7. Spirituality

The term "spirituality" is another term that is apt to be misleading; but not to make a long story out of it (which belongs to metaphysics, not this particular study), what it means is this:

DEFINITION: An act is spiritual if it is not limited quantitatively.

DEFINITION: Quantity is the limitation of a form of existence to being only this much of the particular form of existence.

It turns out that all the existences we directly experience (except the existence that is the very act of being conscious) are limited qualitatively and the quality has the further limitation of "having" a quantity. That, in fact, is why we know that there are many different examples of acts in a given category. They don't differ qualitatively, which implies that the "thisness" of each example is a limitation of the form of existence. (That is, as essence is to existence, so quantity is to the form of existence). The quantity is just how much of the form of existence there is in this case.

Thus, heat is a quality, and its temperature is the quantity (the amount of heat) that a particular case of heat is; color is a quality, and its brightness is its quantity; electricity is a quality, and its quantity is charge; and so on. The set of quantities for each quality tends to have its own distinct name, indicating that quantities of one quality are only analogous to quantities of a different one.

Of course, since quantity is a limitation (as a matter of fact, it's a limitation of a limitation), we can then say that the Infinite has no quantity, and therefore is spiritual.

No doubt you have noticed that quantity is what allows us to put numbers on things (or measure them). So when I say that the Infinite "has no quantity" I do not mean to imply that the Infinite is "zero activity"; nor do I mean to imply that the Infinite is "activity = ." That little sideways 8 (which people call "infinity") is a symbol for a number that doesn't exist, since it would be the last number. But any number always has another number following it, no matter how big it is. And you can see that in itself it is a contradiction in terms, since quantity is a limit, and this quantity "represents" the "unlimited limit." That's why mathematicians always use it with a little arrow pointing to it, indicating that the number they are talking about "becomes infinite" in the sense of arbitrarily large, or larger than any number you want to name.

So the Infinite is neither zero, nor any finite amount of, nor even an infinite amount of activity or existence. It is simply not describable in terms of numbers, since It is not limited in a way in which numbers would apply meaningfully to It.

This isn't too hard to fathom, actually. Consider a sheet of clear glass. What color is it? You say it's clear, or colorless. But what color is that? If you answer, "No color," I can come back with "Then it's black, because black is the absence of color." But it's not black. Then it's all colors. No, because then it would be white. And the glass is obviously not the color you see through it. It's "no color" in the sense in which "What color is it?" is a meaningless question.

Similarly, a spiritual act is "quantitiless" in the sense in which glass is colorless. To ask, "How much is it?" is to ask a question that has no answer. You say, "Well it has to have some amount." Why? Why is it necessary for something to be limited quantitatively in order to exist? In fact, quantity, as a limit, is an unintelligibility of the act, not what makes sense out of it.

It turns out that if you try to describe "how much" of a spiritual act there is, you get contradictory answers. We already saw this in a comment above when talking of your act of consciousness (which is one and the same act as your act of being conscious of this act of consciousness). So the act is both two acts and only one act. The fact that both of these answers are true is the best evidence that consciousness is spiritual.

Thus, if God is a "Trinity," all this implies in practice is that He is a spiritual act.

Note that there are finite spiritual acts as well as the Infinite. Finite spiritual acts would of course be "pure" forms of activity, and each would be a unique kind of activity, differing in quality from all others. Thus, the thought, for instance, that "2 + 2 = 4" is not half as much a thought as the thought that "4 + 4 = 8." They're just different.

Note further that a finite spiritual act is infinite with respect to quantity. That is, since it is not limited quantitatively, it is less limited than any quantified act, however large the quantity might be. Again, it's not that it has the quantity ; it's that it's beyond the quantitative limitation. So here we have an "infinite" in a sense that's still finite, because it's only a given form of activity (though it exhausts all the intelligibility in that form of activity, while a quantified act is not all there is to the form of activity which it happens to be).

6.7.1. Energilessness

We are now in the overlap between philosophy and physics, which can make things quite complicated. Suffice it here to say that the reality the physicist is referring to by his definition of energy as "the capacity for doing work" turns out to be any quantified (form of) activity (existence). In other words, energy is non-spiritual activity.

DEFINITION: Energy is any existence that is limited quantitatively.

What makes energy "energetic," of course, is the fact that it is existence or activity. What makes the activity able to be called energy (and not a spiritual act) is that it is measurable activity. But it's measurable because it's quantified.

Now as far as the Infinite is concerned, then since quantity is a limit, then the Infinite's activity (i.e. the Infinite) cannot be called energy. Of course, that would have to be true if It's spiritual. It's analogous to the "energeticness" of energy, but not to the measurability.

6.8. Imperceptibility

This is an easy one. Everything we directly perceive is a form of energy (or a bundle of forms of energy), as can be seen from the fact that all our information about anything other than our consciousness comes through our sense organs; and too much of the act that activates the organ destroys its ability to sense (as too bright a light blinds you, etc.).

Of course, it immediately follows that the Infinite cannot directly be perceived.

This does not imply that the Infinite is unknowable, any more than the fact that radio radiation is imperceptible implies that it is unknowable. Radio radiation is a form of energy (electromagnetic); but we just don't happen to have any sense organ that responds to it (just think of what it would be like if we did!). So we have to argue to it, just as we do to the Infinite, from some perceptible existence.

Note that that feeling of joy, love, and peace people sometimes get in prayer is not a "perception" of God; it is an emotional response to the act of thinking about God. The mystics tell us that direct contact with God (i.e. His action directly on our minds) has absolutely no emotional content (and is not even a definite, distinguishable thought, because that would have to be caused by a finite existence). It is more like an intellectual exclamation point. What I am saying is that you can't really "feel God's presence."

6.9. Positionlessness

Like spirituality, the "lack" of a position for the Infinite is apt to cause people trouble. The Infinite is not here, not there, not anywhere, not everywhere and not nowhere. As clear glass is to color, so the Infinite is to position. And why?

Not to make a long story of it, an object's position with respect to another object is how strongly it is acted on by the other's field. We could go into detail on what this involves; but it is enough for our purposes to realize that to be in a position is to be at a (measurable) distance from something; and this clearly implies quantity. But the Infinite doesn't have any quantity. Hence the Infinite is not in position.

So it's not strictly true to say that "God is everywhere," or that "God is within you." Some authors say this on the grounds that the cause "is where" its effect is. But then, since my gravitational field is (however slightly) affecting the moon, then you would have to say that I am on the moon--which is absurd. So God is not everywhere and not nowhere and not somewhere.

6.10. Incorporeality

[You can find a discussion of this in Modes of the Finite, Part 2, Section 2.]

This property is usually regarded as the same as spirituality (because traditionally "spiritual" is the opposite of "material" or "bodily" rather than "quantity"). There is a sense in which my approach would be consistent with this; but to go into it would be to engage in a lengthy description of a particular mode of the finite which is not necessary for our purposes here.

First of all, we can say this: The Infinite is not a complex unit, as our bodies are. This is obvious from the fact that the Infinite is simple. If, as spiritual, It is both one-and-more-than-one act, It does not have distinct parts (as our bodies do) connected to other parts making a unified whole.

Since the "many" of spiritual acts "interpenetrate" each other, it follows that any complex unit has to be a bundle of energies, with quantities. And it is this unified energy-bundle that we call a body. Therefore, the Infinite is not a body, or is "incorporeal."

Christians, of course, believe that Jesus, who is clearly corporeal, is God, in the sense of the Infinite. This is clearly a contradiction in terms, isn't it? Not so fast. Remember, we saw that a spiritual act can be a unit-that-is-more-than-one; or, if you will, it can "duplicate" itself in one and the same act. Now all we need is for one of these "duplications" to express itself in a finite way and to a finite degree, and we have an act that is both a spiritual act and a form of energy (with a quantity).

And this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. It turns out that our own acts of sensation are--as one and the same act--the form of energy which is the nerve-output in the brain, and the consciousness associated with this nerve-output. So such a spiritual act which contains as one of its "duplications" of itself energy (or which "empties itself" in this "dimension" as only energy) is not only thinkable, it forms the only sensible explanation of sensation as consciousness and energy.

Of course, Jesus in his corporeal "dimension" would have position and size and shape and would change and all the rest of it; and since Jesus is only one Act, the Infinite Act, then in this "dimension" of Itself, the Infinite can be said to be in position and change and so on. But that is not incompatible with the Infinite's being as such positionless and incorporeal and so on. God as causer would include Jesus; God as cause does not. Everything said about God as cause is true of the Christian God; but there are also things (because of the Jesus-"dimension" of God) that are true of the Christian God that are not true of the "dimension" of God that is "purely" Infinite.

This is, of course, not to say that Christianity is true, or that Jesus is in fact the Infinite in some "reduplicative dimension." All it says is that it is not a flat-out contradiction to say that he could be God, however fantastic and improbable it would be to do so.

6.11. Sizelessness

Obviously, only bodies have size. The space between bodies we call distance with its correlate, position. The size of a body is the (internal) distance between the outermost parts. But since the Infinite is not a body, then the Infinite does not have size.

This does not, of course mean that the Infinite is a point. That's the zero of size; but the Infinite is to size as colorlessness is to color.

6.12. Shapelessness

What shape actually is is a kind of complication of size; it involves the internal spatial interaction of the parts of the object that has shape. For our purposes, a discussion of this, like size, is not necessary; it is enough to realize that shape is something that belongs to a body insofar as it is a body. But since the Infinite is not a body, the Infinite has no shape.

Obviously, this does not mean that It is an "amorphous blob," as we saw, but that the concept "shape" simply doesn't apply to It.

6.13. Immutability

[This topic and the next are discussed at considerable length in Modes of the Finite, Part 2, Section 3.]

One of the traditional properties of the "philosophical God" is that He is completely changeless. The God of the Bible seems to change; but religionists have explained this as a way of speaking about God that could be grasped by philosophically unsophisticated minds.

But there are a number of philosophical theories nowadays that say that God is in process, and is developing or "becoming," in some real sense. Can they be true?

Well, if the Infinite is to "become different" in any real sense, then It must be different somehow afterwards than It was before--and yet also (in some sense) be the same thing (or why say It changed?). So It has to be in some real sense the same as and different from Itself. But this is the definition of the finite.

In fact, we were using the fact that consciousness changed (though I didn't explicitly say so) to establish that consciousness was finite. So clearly, change implies finiteness. Therefore, the Infinite cannot change in any sense.

"How boring to be the Infinite!" you say. No. You will notice that you are only bored when you are not doing what you want to be doing at the moment. But obviously, since the Infinite is doing all that can be done (It is activity itself), then there is no sense in which It could "want" to be doing anything else.

It turns out that in fact (for various complicated reasons) only bodies can change; and so when you die, you will be (as nothing but consciousness) your full self and will not any longer be able to change (at least naturally. God could supernaturally cause some changes in you, such as restoring you as a body--i.e. relimiting your activity).

6.13.1 Eternity

The concept of time is another of those complex issues that we don't need to go into in detail, since it is clear that in some sense time is measurable (and therefore either has or involves quantity, and so limitation). It turns out that "eternity" is the name given to the timelessness of the Infinite (and it can be applied to the timelessness of finite spiritual acts which can't change either, though some like to use "eviternity" for them). At any rate, we can say that the Infinite is eternal; that is, time-concepts do not apply to It.

This is a bit tricky to apply, however. Again, eternity is to time as colorlessness is to color. So the Infinite does not always exist; It does not now exist, It did not exist in the past, It will not exist in the future, and It does not never exist. Supposing the Infinite to be conscious, then everything--past, present, and future--is "present" to It in the sense of "not absent," but this does not imply that the Infinite now knows what will happen tomorrow.

So the question, "What was the Infinite doing before the 'big bang,' which was the first moment of time?" is a meaningless question. There was no "before" the first moment of time (obviously), and so the Infinite did not exist before time began. The Infinite exists eternally (timelessly).

The point of this is that time (which is actually a comparison of the quantities of changes) is a "tag" that describes bodies. It is actually not an activity in its own right, but a relation between two activities, or parts of one activity. Hang onto that. Time is a characteristic of bodies as related to certain other bodies, that's all.

And you have no problem with God (who is colorless) creating you as having a color, and God, who is positionless, creating you (causing you to be) at a position, and so on. So God, who is timeless creates you with a time-tag. For instance, I can now think of my dog Luthien as existing from 1979-1993; meaning that she was doing things that connected her with a certain set of other things (the ones we say existed "at that time"). Well then, what's the problem with the Infinite's causing her to exist as interconnected with that set of objects? That's all it means to exist at a certain time. But this doesn't have to imply that the Infinite is "connected" with those objects. It can't be, because It can't be affected by anything finite at all, as we saw.

Granted, it's hard to imagine the Infinite as not causing me (who am now 62) before you (if you aren't that old yet); but while I began to exist before you, that doesn't mean that the Infinite's act that caused me happened at that time. It can't have. It doesn't mean the Infinite is always causing me to exist beginning in 1933 either. It timelessly causes me to exist from then on.

You can understand this if you can understand what "colorless" means; but just as you can't picture colorlessness, you can't imagine eternity either. You have to use your mind, not your imagination.

Anyway, with this property, we come to the end of the properties which amount to things that can be denied of the Infinite.


SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 6

Since the Infinite is non-finite existence, we can deny of the Infinite anything that is a characteristic of finite existence as finite. We can affirm that the Infinite is analogous to any characteristic of finite existence insofar as it is existence. First, the negative "properties" of the Infinite.

There is only one Infinite, since if there were two with a real difference between them, one would lack some existence that the other had, making it finite. The Infinite is a simple existence, having no really different parts within It, because if it did, then the finiteness of each part would be contained within the Infinite, making It finite, which is absurd. The Infinite is a distinct being, different from any finite being, because if It contained the finite being within It, It would contain its finiteness, making the Infinite finite. The Infinite is absolutely self-sufficient; It can have no cause, because to do so, It would have to contain within It really conflicting aspects, and It is simple. Thus, the Infinite does not need to, nor could it, "come from" something. The Infinite is formless in the technical sense that it is not a type or kind of being, since to be (only) a kind of existence is a limitation. The Infinite is spiritual because what is spiritual has no quantity or degree (cannot be measured), and quantity is a limitation of a form of existence (to being only this much of the form).

Since energy is any existence as measurable (or as "having" a form and a quantity), then the Infinite is energiless. It is active, and so analogous to what makes energy "energetic," but It does not have an "infinite amount" of energy (which is a contradiction in terms--an unlimited limit). It is just superior to energy as limited. Since what causes our perceptions is always some form of energy, it follows that the Infinite is imperceptible; we can only know of It as the cause of some (perceptible) finite existence. Since position is established in reality by the interaction of the energy in fields, the Infinite is positionless. That is, position-terms do not apply to It; it is neither everywhere, nor here, nor there, nor nowhere--just as glass is not white (all colors) or red (some color) or black (no color), but colorless.

The Infinite is not a complex unification of many distinct parts (It is simple); and so It is incorporeal or "bodiless." And since size is the internal position-relations within a body, so the Infinite is sizeless, which does not mean that It is a point, or is "infinitely big." By the same token, the Infinite is shapeless, which does not mean that It is a "blob," but that shape-terms do not apply to It.

To change means that something afterwards is different from what it was before, while somehow remaining the same thing; and this implies really different aspects of what changes. But the Infinite is just simple existence, and therefore, the Infinite is absolutely immutable; It cannot change in any way. And since time is a comparison of changes, matching up the progress of one change with the progress of another, it follows that the Infinite is eternal, meaning that time-words do not apply to It. Thus, the Infinite does not now exist, did not exist in the past, will not exist in the future, does not always exist, and does not never exist. The Infinite exists eternally. Eternity is to time as colorlessness is to color.

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