Re: [asa] eternal universe in Aquinas' time?

From: Merv <>
Date: Wed Mar 12 2008 - 08:16:38 EDT

I had often thought about the difference between a line and a ray, just
as you discuss below; but I had never thought of using it to illuminate
a difference between infinity and eternity. Thanks for the insight.
Here is a further reflection (which doesn't necessarily augment or
elucidate anything in your analogy below but may rank as nothing more
than further fun & mathematical confusion.) Even a line segment, which
has two endpoints, contains an infinite number of points. Its infinity
is inward rather than outward. I.e. one could think of it as a kind of
"logarithmic ray", one that you can infinitely zoom in on, and by
magnifying it infinitely -- pushing its endpoints infinitely far away
from you, you can blur the distinction between it and a line. And by
infinitely zooming out, you make the line segment disappear into a
point. I suppose to a sub-atomic particle, if one could be conscious
to ponder it, something the size of a human body could seem like a

Thanks for the reflections. I don't know that I'll actually pursue
more math lessons with her (except where her interest lies in the
practical business math --she is a home-schooled student, and there are
other considerations), but she may be more interested in the theological
insights you have all shared. Thanks! I'm a math teacher, myself,
so please don't interpret any of this as a trivializing of the
importance of a math education.


Jon Tandy wrote:
> I think this would be an excellent time to follow up with the gentle
> reminder for her: no, there are other things besides God which are infinite.
> John 3:16 and many others say that we who are mortal may attain eternity.
> This doesn't mean we are co-eternal with God, any more than 0.33333333 is --
> both it and we start at one finite point and go on to infinity; if one is
> willing to endure to the end (Matt 10:22). Who would have thought that 1/3
> could provide a lesson about eternal life?
> My dad (a former math teacher) also talked about the difference between a
> ray and a line, as one mathematical analogy of God and believers.
> Technically, though both are the same length (infinite), they are different.
> One starts in infinity and goes to infinity, the other starts at a finite
> point and goes on to infinity (eternity).
> Jon Tandy
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of
> Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:59 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [asa] eternal universe in Aquinas' time?
> --Merv
> p.s. said to my niece as I was giving her a math lesson: " there are
> an
> infinite amount of threes needed after the decimal point before it can equal
> 1/3 since it can only approach 1/3. So in a sense .3 repeating forever =
> 1/3" Her immediate reply: "No they don't. Because if the threes went on
> forever, then
> you're claiming something besides God is infinite; and only God is eternal."
> Never having had theology trump a math lesson before, I smiled in submission
> and thought it best to resume practice with percentages.
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Received on Wed Mar 12 07:18:44 2008

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