If God is infinite, is He like Shiva?
I'm no philosopher; I find myself tangibly shrinking in the presence of philosophers and feeling distinctly uneasy trying to read philosophical treatises. Yet I'm going to have a stab at a philosophical idea today because I'm concerned about what I believe is an illogical direction taken by many people from the simple premise that God is infinite — in power, knowledge, wisdom, goodness, and so on. We will work from the premise that God is infinite in His very being, thrumming with infinite attributes. The biblical verse that plainly suggests God's capabilities are infinite is found in Jeremiah:
Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? (Jer. 32:27).
Jesus also said that “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). In 1933 B. R. Brasnett argued — and I found his arguments convincing — that God is infinite in all His attributes (The Infinity of God). And, surely, God has infinite attributes.
Many scientists today who mock the notion of an infinite God willingly embrace the notion of an infinite “multiverse”, of which our universe is but one tiny component. In a Scientific American article entitled, “Parallel Universes”, Max Tegmark, makes the incredible comment that, “If so, then somewhere out there, everything that is possible becomes real, no matter how impossible it is” (May 2003). He even goes on to say that right now out there somewhere your double is reading exactly the same article!
I'm not convinced that even if one accepts the premise that you have an infinity of universes out there that you must embrace the conclusion that everything that could possibly be does in fact exist. Infinite does not mean everything that could possibly be must be,
only that you cannot put a limit on what does exist. Got the picture? Or am I totally wet?
I have a friend who argues from the premise that God has infinite knowledge that He therefore knows now exactly who will be saved, even of people not yet born. But I don't think it logically follows that God must know everything that could potentially be known, only that what He does know has no limits.
Consider the serious problem that arises if you follow what I consider false reasoning. If God has infinite attributes, then to be consistent with the line of reasoning, one must conclude that God is evil. And resentful, and bitter and gluttonous and lustful. See what I mean? If by God's infinite attributes one means that God must be everything that He possibly could be, then to represent Him as a six-headed elephant becomes as legitimate as representing Him as “… merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:6). Thus, it could be argued, God can be worshiped under any representation one likes, since it must be an accurate portrayal of at least part of God. And we human beings, as finite creatures ourselves, cannot have a full image of God in our minds when we worship Him, thus any image we can think of becomes legitimate.
Yet God says He is like nothing on earth, either, “male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth” (Deut. 4:17-18). He condemns representing Him under the image of any aspect of creation. His infinite attributes, rather than making Him “like” everything in existence seem, rather, to make Him like nothing in existence. Hmm. Now that's a hard one.