Is God Infinite?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We are diving into the ocean of truth and learning what we can about the doctrine of God. Our guide for this is the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Those of you who do not have a copy are free to go to and read a copy of the Summa online. First, I wish to offer my prayer requests. I ask first for my Christlikeness as I’m noticing a number of attitudes that I seem to have that I don’t wish to have and I’m asking the divine surgeon to remove those from me. Second, I ask for prayers for my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers for the third related area in my life. For now, let’s get to tonight’s question.

Is God infinite? Thus, we begin our study of the infinity of God with this one and since we’re studying the infinity of God, it must follow that God is infinite for Aquinas. However, like any other great medieval philosopher, he will be answering the question first. As I’ve stated earlier, the medievals did not simply take things on faith. They analyzed their arguments.

The objections largely come from Aristotle. Aristotle said that everything that was infinite had parts and matter. However, it was shown earlier that God has no parts and no matter. Therefore, it cannot be the case that he is infinite. Second, infinite is related to quantity, but in God there is no quantity. He does not possess X amount of something. Therefore, God cannot be infinite.

One aspect to keep in mind is that to say God is infinite is really to exclude him from the category of finite things. We cannot comprehend the infinite. For the medievals, this was the via negativa way of understanding God. It is that we realize how different God is from the creation and we largely know more about what God is not than about what he is.

Aquinas says that the ancients did think the first principle was infinite, but they thought matter was the first principle as well. They assumed that it must be a material infinite and that an infinite body must then be behind all things. Aquinas has already argued however that there is a first principle, vis a vis the five ways, and through the argument of simplicity has shown that he is free of matter.

However, Aquinas says that any form is limited by the matter that it takes. In turn, matter is made finite by the form it receives. Matter has the potential to be many things but once it receives a form, it is terminated by that form as it were. Once matter clings to my form, in a sense, it is limited to being me if it must be something.

God however has no matter to him and his form is being. His being is also not received in anything, which is what is important as well about the argument we looked at last night, and is therefore not limited in anything. The conclusion that Aquinas reaches then and rightly so is that since God is not limited, he is without limits, i.e. infinite.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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