Infinite Qualities of God

Infinite Limits

Psalms 139:1-18 NIV

You have searched me, lord,

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

you, lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast. 

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,"

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well. 

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you.

Infinite limits are a wonderful extension of the mathematical world studied in calculus.  In a precalculus context, behavior of a function at a value where the function is not defined is excluded from consideration. (No division by zero nor even roots of negatives allowed!)

But in a calculus context, evaluation of function behavior near these same input values numbers yields interesting characteristics of the function.  Do function values approach infinitely large positive results  from both slightly larger input values and slightly smaller input values?  If so, we say that the limit of the function at this excluded input value is infinite.  Disagreement between the two one-directional limits still gives interesting information, but not quite as general as in the case where the two agree.

Limits help finite creatures such as ourselves understand the amazing qualities of our Creator God a little better.  Where we have finite knowledge, God has complete knowledge--exceeding the limit of all accumulated human knowledge for all time!  Where we are limited to a single presence, God is not--he is everywhere present simultaneously!  Where we are weak, God is all powerful; he can control time (see 2 Kings 20) and weather (see Matt 8:23-27) and physical laws (see Matt 14:22--36), and the hearts of people (see Exodus 7:3-4).  Where we have a life-span of at most 100 years, God is not bounded by time; God transcends time (see 2 Peter 3:8).

God exceeds the limits of our understanding in so many ways.