Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Perfect Post (Part III: Infinity...and Beyond?)

So, then, I left off last post with something about proving God, which has always been a hot-button topic. Well, now that I've covered perfections of the pure and mixed varieties (read my previous posts if you haven't already), I'm ready to move on to one of the philozophical epiphanies which I had after a metaphysics class.

But first we have to start with infinity. Discussing just what infinity is and isn't, and what sort of infinity God (as the perfection of being) would possess. So, then, the first thing which we want to distinguish between is infinity and indefiniteness. An infinite thing possesses everything, and is defined infinitely. In fact, it is the opposite of an indefinite thing, which possesses no definition. In fact, there can be no such thing as an indefinite being, because something which truly is indefinite possesses no essence (the what-ness of a thing, that which defines it; for example, a dog possesses the essence "dogness", it is defined by "dogness") An infinite being, on the other hand, perfectly possesses essence (it is defined to the infinite degree), and so possesses being perfectly.

The next distinction to be made is between absolute and finite infinity. Finite infinity is an infinity limited in some respect, while absolute infinity is unlimited. A finite infinity would be an infinity like the infinity of numbers. There may be an infinite amount of numbers, but the infinity is limited, because only numbers exist in that infinity. The infinity of numbers cannot, for example, contain the letter "B", or the idea of "dog". Absolute infinity, on the other hand, contains infinite infinities, and is totally full.

Where the link, then, comes from infinity to perfections is that pure perfections are infinite. Thus, it is out of pure perfections that absolute infinity must be comprised. But how can we say anything about this? Are we not still merely left with a collection of infinite perfections? Not in the least. We need to think back to an important property of pure perfections: they inhere in one another.

Where there is infinite Truth, there must also be infinite Beauty, infinite Justice, infinite Reason, etc. Because these pure perfections exist infinitely and therefore fully, they fully exist in and through one another. A key pure perfection here is infinite Unity. Because the other perfections exist in this, they are united and one! In addition, Being itself is a pure perfection, because it meets all the requirements. And so these infinities also are part of infinite Being! And infinite Being is the perfection of Being.

Thus, this infinity of infinities, this perfection of perfections, is the perfection of Being, the infinite Being, which metaphysics calls God. We don't have to stop there, though, because we can continue to learn many important things about this God, by examining what we now know about Him. First off, that He is personal.

Personhood is formed from the pure perfections of Reason, Will, Good, and Love, among others, and in fact is a pure perfection itself. It is absolutely better to be a person than not to be, and to be a person exists in perfect harmony with the other pure perfections. So, God, this completely and fully defined Being, infinity of infinities, is truly a person, and is fully a person, and possesses personhood far more than any human ever could.

Quite interestingly, this meditation dovetails nicely onto Anselm's ontological argument. Anselm argues that God is a being greater than which none other can be conceived. Take a step back, and look at this concept of the infinite being, the infinity of infinities. It isn't even possible to conceive of anything greater than that, because to be the infinity of infinities is beyond human comprehension, and so humans cannot possibly conceive of greater than that! This helps to confirm Anselm's use of that as the definition of God, and the two arguments, combined, make quite a formidable duo.

I'm fully aware that this is a bit of a summary, and I'll clarify if needed. But hopefully you found this an interesting read.

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