Monday, June 16, 2014

Infinity + 1

Just the other day my daughter Haley turned six.  About a day before her sixth birthday party she asked me a profound question.  "Daddy…what's the biggest number in world?"  Did I mention that Haley got a top grade in math this year?  Being more of a theologian than a math student I did my best to answer.  I said, "Well, honey, there are a lot of big numbers.  There is one million, that's big.  There is one billion, that's bigger.  And there is one trillion, that's really the biggest number."  I thought to myself that one trillion might be the biggest number she was able to conceive of as a 6 year old.  Then she asked, "But daddy, how can those numbers be the biggest?  Why can't you just add 1 to that number and it will be bigger."  "That's true," I said.  Felling that I needed to assert my supremacy in numbers as someone who is 36 years old than Haley, and who is now working on my fourth degree, I said, "Actually, infinity is probably the largest number out there.  There is nothing larger than infinity."  To this, Haley had a stunning riposte; "Well what about….

Infinity + 1

I was stumped.  Stumped at the age of 42 by a 6 year old.  And the question has boggled my mind ever since.  Would it be possible for there to be an Infinity + 1?  Infinity is a number that goes on indefinitely, it is perpetual, it never ends, it goes on for…infinity (ad infinitum).  But what is Infinity + 1?  Naturally my mind goes to theological more theological angles than mathematical ones.

Infinity + 1

As I have contemplated this question for the last week or so, Infinity + 1, might be the best definition of heaven I have heard in a long time.  Let's try to break it down a little more:

We have a pretty good idea from almost everything the Bible writes, that time in and of itself means nothing to God.  God is the God of CHRONOS (the Greek word for time in general) and CHAIROS (the Greek word for "moment").  God owns time.  Time is an inconsequential medium for our creator.  King David said; "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night" (Psalm 90:4).  One thousand years equals one day.  One million years equals two days.  One billion years equals three days.  The apostle Paul also talks about God's eternal nature.  In Romans Paul says, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse."  God has bought all the universe's real-estate in the market of time.

(By the way, this is why it is sometimes the best policy to wait for some time after a particularly difficult life situation, or someone says something mean to us, or we face a challenge.  Since God owns time, and God is with us…time is on our side.  God gives us time to think and pray and respond in…due time.  The Bible says we are all allotted "three-score and ten" years - 70), time is our best ally in processing hard things.)

Eternal Life:
One of the hallmark tenants of our faith is that those who believe in Jesus Christ are promised eternal life.  Of course, eternal life means a whole lot more than just infinity.  A better translation of eternal life is; "full life, overflowing life, life in plentitude, whole life, complete life".  However, God also offers us a the key to infinity.  God offers us a number of years to live, that never ends.  God offers those who believe in Him life without end.  John Zebedee puts it best in 1 John 5:11, "And this is the testimony; God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life."  Being a Christ follower means that our souls have eternal access to infinity.

And yet, infinity, in and of itself, is quite a scary idea when it boils down to it.  I will never forget when I was about Haley's age (like daughter, like father), and I was visiting my Scottish grandparents in Edinburgh.  I was trimming the hedge out front one morning, and the thought occurred to me that since I was a Christ follower, that I would live forever.  The thought terrified me!  Forever was too long.  Forever lasts…forever.  "Daddy," I said, "I don't want to live forever, it never ends, I will never rest, it will go on for infinity…."  My Dad assured me of one very important thing.  "Heaven, eternity, is not like this life.  God will be with you, you will be with God.  I will be with you.  We will all be with one another with God, in a very different form."

And that, my friends, is my best current definition of heaven

Heaven = Infinity + 1

Heaven = Infinity + God

We live forever with God.    

Way to go Haley!

That's all the TIME I have for this week's blog post…

All For Now,

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