Is the Christian God finite?

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Philosophers have proposed that, surely, one of the attributes of a perfect being is existence.

*giggle*

This is one of the reasons why i could never be bothered studying philosophy.

Seriously though, is the Christian God perfect in the sense of having infinite knowledge and capacity for reason? Or is this just a notion invented by idiot philosophers kissing up to their Christian patrons?

I used a bible search engine to look for the word "infinite". There were three matches, only one referring to God, Psalm 147:5. In the King James version:

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

However in Young's Literal Translation (a translation more concerned with accuracy than sounding nice), this is:

Great [is] our Lord, and abundant in power, Of His understanding there is no narration.

i.e. God is very powerful, but perhaps not infinitely so. The King James version, it would seem, has employed a little artistic license. (there may of course be other passages that do say God is infinite without using the word infinity, i'm no Bible scholar, but suppose for a moment there aren't...)

Why is this important? Free will and personal responsibility. There is no such thing as free will of course, but there's something close enough to make me think it's what people have in mind when they use the term. Except if there's an infinite God.

If God has perfect knowledge, and infinite reasoning capacity, he could forsee our every choice. He could subtly guide us so that all our choices unknowingly contribute to His grand design. If this is so, we having nothing remotely resembling free will.

If on the other hand God is merely very very very knowledgeable, and/or has onyl very very very great reasoning capacity, we can surprise him. Chaos theory and all that, pseudo-randomness that confounds even His powers of measurement. I can write simple computer programs that have the capacity to surprise me (see Ghost Diagrams). We could be to God as such programs are to us, simple things but still capable of disappoing or delighting Him. Or we could be to Him as small children to a father, a common metaphor in the Bible.

This is not free will, but it's pretty close. Close enough as makes no practical difference, so long as the powers of God have some limit (though perhaps still vast beyond our puny imaginations). Close enough that people can reasonably be asked to take personal responsibility for their actions.

I can view every line of Ghost Diagrams, i know exactly how it works. It is merely simpler for me to run it than for me to reason out what it will do. There's no easier way for me to compute its output than to step through it line by line.


Rather ironic. People are only responsible for their actions, should only feel obliged to act morally, if God is less than perfect.

There's an interesting contrast between Christianity and Islam that perhaps stems from this. Islam seems rather more teleological, events occur in the way they do because it pleases Allah that they should, and society is structured such that people are kept from temptations (alcohol, female flesh, etc) lest they fall into sin. Christianity is more into free will and especially the resistance of temptation. By moderation and the resisting of temptations we become more Christ-like. Thus things like alcohol and the sight of female flesh are not banned in Christian society.




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