Question...

...how can finite language apply to an Infinite God?


[created 3/18/97]
Some wrote in...

I have been spending some time on your pages recently. Much goes over my head. However, what doesn't I find gripping and comforting. I decided early in my walk with Christ, that if He is who He said He was, then I need not fear science, technology, intellectual thought, nor anything, because He is the source of all. Not too long after that decision I discovered Henry Morris, John Whitcomb and Ken Ham on creation science and Josh McDowell on apologetics. Set free indeed, free to think!

I was attracted to your site by its name. I had been sharing the personal Savior with a very thoughtful and gentle man who fancies himself a follower of Wittgenstein's teachings....

I now find myself intrigued by Wittgenstein's idea that the finite cannot describe the infinite, and that language is an inadequate transmission medium for it. The example he gives is of a hamster in the wheel. This seems to be a stumbling block to my friend. My immediate response was to tell him that the Bible is of supernatural and not natural (or finite) origins, and therefore the Infinite has described Himself to us, even though He used finite and imperfect human tools, and an inadequate transmission method (language). So the finite is not defining Infinite, but Infinite has given a limited definition of Himself in the finite. Therefore, we can know what cannot otherwise be known.

I got the general impression that he thought that I was not "getting it", which very well may be the case...
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Sorry for the really short reply...

I agree that there are some problems with using language to describe "infinite things" (but not necessarily all of them--we do okay with infinite series and sets, for example--but more on this later)...but I do NOT see a problem with using language to describe a Person...we use language everyday to describe and tells stories about Persons--without any limitation or restriction regarding "finite vs. infinite"--that issue just doesn't seem to come up in the language of personal actions and attitudes...

So, briefly, whereas there MIGHT be a problem with language for philosophical theology speculations on the essence of God, I don't see a meaningful problem when talking to or about the Person (consciousness) called God...agent-to-agent conversations and descriptions seem to bypass the measurement-oriented or geometrically-defined finite-infinite discussions (the phrase 'infinite Person' normally means "Person with an infinite nature that 'supplies' potentialities to that Person's range of actions etc."...whereas there may be no overlap between finite and infinite, there is (by creative design of the Image) a very substantial overlap between a Person and a person...enough so that the Person could take on a human form and be called the express representation of His character (Heb 1)...

hope this makes sense--it was hastily written...scrambling...

thanks for visiting...keep in touch...glenn


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